The fire this (last) time [With Question by John]

Featured image The end is nigh. This is the last in my series of posts about Ta-Nehisi Coates’s new book, Between the World and Me. The publisher retails the book for $24.00. Amazon sells it for the discounted price of $14.40. As a New York Times best-seller (number 1 on the nonfiction hardcover list), it is also available at a 30 percent discount from Barnes & Noble. None of these options represents »

The fire this time (5)

Featured image In the first week of its publication Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me entered the New York Times nonfiction best seller list at number 1. The book is dreadful, but Coates knows his audience and he has hit it with this book. I think conservatives would be well advised to pay attention. In this series I have tried to give conservatives unlikely to read the book a rounded picture »

Birth of “Lolita”

Featured image Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal carries an interesting review of Robert Roper’s Nabokov in America. (Subtitle: On the Road to Lolita.) The review, by Ben Downing, appeared in the paper under the heading “The naturalization papers.” I’m generally familiar with Nabokov’s career, but I had missed the humorous details behind the success of Lolita, a tale told by a classically unreliable narrator: When, in 1947, Nabokov began contemplating what he described »

The fire this time (4)

Featured image According to Ta-Nehisi Coates in Between the World and Me, his widely acclaimed new book, “The problem with the police is not that they are fascist pigs but that our country is ruled by majoritarian pigs.” Later he decries “the horror of our prison system” and “the long war against the black body[.]” “Here is what I would like for you to know,” Coates confides to his son. “In America »

The fire this time (3)

Featured image Ta-Nehisi Coates opens the second section of Between the World and Me with the death of Prince Jones, his fellow student at Howard University. Jones was killed on September 1, 2000, in Fairfax County (Virginia) by a Prince George’s County (Maryland) police officer (coincidentally named Carlton Jones) working undercover. Jones was 25 at the time. A Washington Post account of the incident fills in a few of the sorry details: »

The fire this time (2)

Featured image When I started writing about Ta-Nehisi Coates’s hot new book Between the World and Me earlier this week (here and here), I did so because Coates is an influential public intellectual and the book has been the subject of universal acclaim. Today NR editor Rich Lowry dissents in his excellent column “The toxic worldview of Ta-Nehisi Coates.” Rich’s column makes an important contribution. I urge interested readers to check it »

The fire this time (1)

Featured image I wrote yesterday about the cultural phenomenon of Ta-Nehesi Coates and his hot new book Between the World and Me, published last week under an imprint of Random House. I want to explore the book in a series of (mostly brief, I hope) posts, of which this is the introduction. I need a series to explore the book in all its awfulness. I am afraid that this is important because »

This year’s model

Featured image Certification as the liberals’ official angry black man is a lucrative gig. The market is upscale, but the job is only temporary. Fashions change, or rather remain subject to a cycle. The job isn’t easy; it requires high attainment in the art of performance. Black rage must be precisely matched to liberal guilt. James Baldwin provides the original model, in the essays originally published in the New Yorker and then »

Old Friends on the Road

Featured image I’m at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico, this week, participating in one of their “Summer Classics” great books seminars, and who should I run into but Bruce Sanborn of St. Paul, Minnesota. Bruce is not only one of the earliest readers of Power Line, but is also the person who is ultimately responsible for my meeting John Hinderaker and Scott Johnson, and hence ultimately becoming a Power »

One-eyed jacks of Wessex [With Comment by John]

Featured image When Professor Lesley Goodman left St. Paul to undertake her new responsibilities in the English Department at Union College, she left a long reading list of Victorian novels and modernist literature for me to continue my pursuits. I am slowly following up, though I greatly miss her helping hand. She is an inspired teacher of literature. In her course on the Victorian novel at Macalester College I reveled in George »

NY Times Surrenders to Ted Cruz

Featured image We wrote here and here about the New York Times’s effort to sabotage Ted Cruz’s new book, A Time for Truth by leaving it off their best seller list, even though it sold the third-highest number of books (hardcover nonfiction) in its debut week. The Times arrogantly asserted that no one was really buying Cruz’s book, and its “sales were limited to strategic bulk purchases.” Ponder that: the Times spokeswoman »

Breaking China Over “Shattered Consensus”

Featured image The folks over at RealClearBooks have arranged point-counterpoint style rival reviews of James Piereson’s new book Shattered Consensus: The Rise and Decline of America’s Postwar Political Order, one from me, and one from Will Marshall of the Progressive Policy Institute. I’ve reposted my review immediately below. You can find Marshall’s review here, and Jim Piereson’s reply to Marshall here. And at the bottom you’ll find the sound file of my interview with »

Meet the new Jim Crow, same as the old BS

Featured image This week President Obama commuted the sentences of “46 non-violent drug offenders.” In commuting these sentences, Obama is doing his thing to lead and otherwise contribute to the race-based assault on law enforcement. As I noted a while back, if you want to get a handle on this particular assault, you must acquaint yourself with Michelle Alexander and The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.. Published »

Churchill on “A Peculiar Type of Brainy People”

Featured image As with so many other things, Churchill was on to the problem of the administrative state and today’s presumptuous liberal cosmopolitanism from early on.  A 1933 speech offers a perfect description of our Beltway mentality today: The worst difficulties from which we suffer do not come from without. They come from within. They do not come from the cottages of the wage-earners. They come from a peculiar type of brainy »

New books, dead authors

Featured image Pending the arrival of Ammo Grrrll tomorrow, I need laugh now more than ever, and I do not think I’m alone. In the run-up to July 4, moreover, we have the time for it. Joe Queenan provides the opportunity for more than one laugh in his Wall Street Journal Review column “New books, dead authors” (accessible here via Google) of this past weekend. Queenan observes that Tom Clancy and other »

The Candidates and Their Reading Lists

Featured image Forget Jeb’s and Hillary’s tax returns. We get it: they both make a lot of money from speeches and such. More interesting is what they read, or claim to read. Last year The Atlantic put together a list of Jeb’s and Hillary’s current book list. In one sense it doesn’t much matter whether they actually read the books they list; more revealing is what they chose to disclose. Here’s Hillary’s »

In praise of Lesley Goodman

Featured image In his elegy of William Butler Yeats, W.H. Auden concludes with this couplet offering advice addressed to an unnamed poet: “In the prison of his days/Teach the free man how to praise.” This morning I want to take a brief timeout to praise Lesley Goodman. Professor Goodman has a Ph.D. in English from Harvard. She is a voracious and learned reader at the beginning of what should be a great »