Books & the Arts

The Gilded Age’s Democratic Contradictions

A new history examines how the late 19th century’s raucous party system gave way to a more sedate and exclusionary political culture that erected more and more barriers to participation.

Eric Foner

Telling the Story of Undocumented America

Using both journalism and visionary vignettes, Karla Cornejo Villavicencio examines undocumented life in contemporary United States.

Gaiutra Bahadur

The Story of Sun Ra’s Egyptian Adventure

How a 1971 trip changed the course of the free jazz icon’s career.

Marcus J. Moore

From the Magazine

The Entwined History of Freedom and Racism

The Entwined History of Freedom and Racism

In White Freedom, historian Tyler Stovall examines how liberty for some has always entailed a lack of liberty for many others.  

Olúfémi O. Táíwò
Was Marx Also a Social Democrat?

Was Marx Also a Social Democrat?

In a new book, Shlomo Avineri explores the social democratic impulses and Jewish origins of Karl Marx.

Bruce Robbins
Why Do We Eat Bad Food?

Why Do We Eat Bad Food?

Mark Bittman’s new history looks at the economy and politics of junk food.

Bill McKibben

B&A Newsletter

Best of Books & the Arts

Mondays. A bi-weekly collection of the best of The Nation’s Books & the Arts section.

By signing up, you confirm that you are over the age of 16 and agree to receive occasional promotional offers for programs that support The Nation’s journalism. You may unsubscribe or adjust your preferences at any time. You can read our Privacy Policy here.

Literary Criticism

Yi Sang’s Global Poetry

Yi Sang’s Global Poetry

Through his synthetic and surrealist style, the Korean poet helped chart an alternate path of internationalism in an age of empire.

E. Tammy Kim
Richard Wright’s Lost Novel

Richard Wright’s Lost Novel

In The Man Who Lived Underground, Wright offers a gothic tale of police violence and urban surrealism.

Elias Rodriques
Jhumpa Lahiri’s Quietly Bracing New Novel

Jhumpa Lahiri’s Quietly Bracing New Novel

How writing in Italian gave Lahiri a new sense of creative freedom.

Jennifer Wilson

History & Politics

The Future of Postcolonial Thought

The Future of Postcolonial Thought

A pair of books—one by Walter Mignolo and Catherine Walsh, another by Achille Mbembe—consider the unfulfilled promise of decolonization.

Arjun Appadurai
What Comes After Meritocracy?

What Comes After Meritocracy?

The long-standing focus by liberals on meritocratic advancement has isolated the working class.

Elizabeth Anderson
Ami Ayalon’s Political Journey

Ami Ayalon’s Political Journey

In Friendly Fire, the former Shin Bet director offers two narratives—one of the story that Israel tells the world, the other of the story Israel tries not to tell the world.

Raja Shehadeh


The Burning of the Château d’Eau at the Palais-Royal

The Untold History of Freedom

A new book charts the tension between individual and collective notions of liberty.
Tyler Stovall

One of the more contentious issues to emerge during America’s Covid-19 crisis concerns the wearing of face masks. Heralded by public health experts as a vital way to halt the spread of the disease, masks have also been attacked by conservatives as unwarranted restrictions on personal freedom. Donald Trump, who… Continue Reading >

Ad Policy

Television and Films

Michael Apted’s Flawed but Brilliant Epic of British Social Life

Michael Apted’s Flawed but Brilliant Epic of British Social Life

The Up series was meant to investigate inequities of British class. It also ended up telling a different story as well.

Susan Pedersen
<i>Judas and the Black Messiah</i>’s Stark Binaries

Judas and the Black Messiah’s Stark Binaries

A new biopic of Fred Hampton poses a question: Will a film ever capture the radical spirit of the Black Panthers?

Stephen Kearse
‘Minari’ Is a Landmark for Asian American Cinema

‘Minari’ Is a Landmark for Asian American Cinema

Lee Isaac Chung’s poignant immigrant drama is the kind of film that can be felt with all five senses. 

Kristen Yoonsoo Kim


How Silicon Valley Broke the Economy

How Silicon Valley Broke the Economy

The question of how to fix the tech industry is now inseparable from the question of how to fix the system of capitalism that the late 20th century gave us.
Adrian Chen

One of Apple cofounder Steve Jobs’s most audacious marketing triumphs is rarely mentioned in the paeans to his genius that remain a staple of business content farms. In 1982, Jobs offered to donate a computer to every K–12 school in America, provided Congress pass a bill giving Apple substantial tax… Continue Reading >


More in Culture