Kissinger dies at 100

Featured image Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has died at 100. The New York Times obituary by David Sanger is posted here. Sanger’s obituary links to the statement announcing Kissinger’s death by his consulting firm. What a monumental American life he led. Ah, yes, the Times. In 2011 the Times Book Review featured Kissinger’s laudatory review of the new biography of Bismarck by Penn’s Jonathan Steinberg on page one. On my »

The persistence of Hayek

Featured image I was surprised to read what I thought was an exceedingly fair and illuminating review of two new books on Friedrich Hayek in the current (December 7) issue of the New York Review of Books. The review is by the financial historian Edward Chancellor. In “The Naturalist” he takes up Hayek: A Life, 1899–1950, by Bruce Caldwell and Hansjoerg Klausinger, and Liberalism’s Last Man: Hayek in the Age of Political »

“From the river to the sea”

Featured image The historian Jeffrey Herf is the Distinguished University Professor emeritus at the University of Maryland. Among the books he has written is Nazi Propaganda in the Arab World (published by Yale, now out of print). Professor Herf takes up the deep meaning of the Hamas charters of 1988 and 2017 in his learned American Purpose column “From the river to the sea.” He concludes: There is no precedent in modern »

Hope against hope

Featured image As I have mentioned a time or two before, the cultural left exerts a tyrannical force policing our speech. Witness the case of Elon Musk and X/Twitter. The cases can be multiplied endlessly. You don’t need my help on this score. The cause of free speech threatens to become the exclusive property of conservatives. Wherever the left holds sway, free speech is a dying or dead letter. The utopia implicit »

Thought for the day

Featured image Saul Bellow’s To Jerusalem and Back was published in 1976, but it is full of observations that bear on Israel’s current war. One line in the book has even become somewhat famous. I’m winding up this series of excerpts with a passage from pages 126-127 of the original hard cover edition: What is “known” in civilized countries, what people may be assumed to “know,” is a great mystery. Recently, a »

Thought for the day

Featured image Saul Bellow wrote To Jerusalem and Back after a visit of several months’ duration in 1975. Published in 1976 and still in print, it is full of observations that remain on point as Israel fights for its survival today. This passage is from pages 135-136 of the original hard cover edition: The 1973 war badly damaged their [i.e., the Israelis’] confidence. The Egyptians crossed the Suez Canal. Suddenly the abyss »

Thought for the day

Featured image Saul Bellow’s To Jerusalem and Back was published in 1976, but it is still in print and full of observations that bear on Israel’s current war. I quoted one passage from page 15 of the original hard cover edition here yesterday. This is from pages 25-26: Here in Jerusalem, when you shut your apartment door behind you you fall into a gale of conversation – exposition, argument, harangue, analysis, theory, »

Thought for the day

Featured image Saul Bellow visited Israel for several months in 1975. During his visit he kept a journal of his observations, his meetings, his conversations. Drawing on the journal, he published To Jerusalem and Back: A Personal Account in 1976. Having read it at the time, I have found one passage in particular to have stuck in my mind: And what is it that has led the Jews to place themselves, after »

A conversation with Tom Cotton

Featured image I’m on the distribution list for Mark Halperin’s Wide World of News on Substack and accordingly received notice of Halperin’s interview of Senator Tom Cotton this past Wednesday evening (video below). Halperin drew Senator Cotton out on subjects of current interest including the latest on the Hamas/Israel war and American support of Ukraine. Early on in the interview Senator Cotton expressed the (almost certainly vain) hope that Biden has delivered »

From the Chomsky playbook

Featured image I wrote about the monologue that preceded Tucker Carlon’s interview of Vivek the Fake in “Tucker’s tailspin.” Alana Goodman reported on Ramaswamy’s comments to Carlson in the Free Beacon story “Ramaswamy Says GOP ‘Selective Moral Outrage’ on Israel Driven By Money, Lobbying Groups.” Goodman’s account was cruelly accurate and Ramaswamy threw a fit complete with press release denouncing her. John McCormack reviewed Ramaswamy’s critique in the cruelly accurate NRO/Corner post »

Thought for the day

Featured image From Gerard Baker’s Free Beacon review of Franklin Foer’s hymn to Joe Biden: The Biden of Mr. Foer’s depiction—imagination might be a more accurate description—is not the fumbling, mumbling, stumbling president we have all come to see on our screens these last two years nor the predictable Democratic party hack we have known throughout his more than half a century in national politics. The figure who emerges from the pages »

Thought for the day

Featured image Tom Nolan usually reviews mysteries of the fictional variety for the Wall Street Journal. He loves the work of Ross MacDonald (the late Kenneth Millar) and has written biographies both of MacDonald (the aptly titled Ross MacDonald) and of MacDonald’s gumshoe hero, Lew Archer (that one is squirreled away in The Archer Files: The Complete Short Stories of Lew Archer, Private Investigator). Nolan recently reviewed Barbara Butcher’s What the Dead »

LBJ at 115 [corrected]

Featured image I’ve subscribed and canceled my subscription to the New York Review of Books approximately 10 times over the years. I am currently in a subscribed phase of the cycle. One attraction is the rich archive available to subscribers. Yesterday the editors noted in their weekly email that it was the 115th anniversary of LBJ’s birth: “Johnson was, of course, a frequent subject in the magazine, but it was in the »

Thought for the day

Featured image Barton Swaim dissects Fredrik deBoer’s How Elites Ate the Social Justice Movement in the Wall Street Journal’s Review section today. It’s a superb review that ends with five paragraphs on Thomas Sowell’s Social Justice Fallacies: The no-nonsense title of “Social Justice Fallacies” captures the book exactly: There is no introduction, no attempt by the author to lure the reader into the subject; just five essays on the dire unintended consequences »

Thought for the day

Featured image David McCullough covers President Truman’s recognition of Israel at pages 618-620 of his biography of Truman. Truman recognized Israel within minutes of its Declaration of Independence, with the support of the American people but against the great weight of the government (at least the executive branch). Truman’s recognition is set forth in the key document posted by the Truman Library here. McCullough quotes Truman’s later reflections: The difficulty with many »

The Obama factor

Featured image Everything biographer/historian David Garrow writes is worth reading. Garrow is the author, most recently, of Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama (2017). This staggeringly researched book — Garrow spent nine years on it — covers 1078 pages of text (even though Garrow relegates his comments on Obama’s presidency to a 50-page epilogue). Rising Star is full of discoveries that Garrow documents in great detail. The 1078 pages of text »

Stalin’s library and mine

Featured image NRO has posted an expanded version — expanded from the current issue of NR — of Jay Nordlinger’s “I met a book,” on readers’ “encounters with books that shaped their worldview or changed their life.” As a famous Senator put it, I have here in my hand a list… Last year Nigel Jones reviewed Stalin’s Library: A Dictator and His Books, by Geoffrey Roberts. Jones wrote in the Spectator: Roberts »