Personality and Power: Builders and Destroyers of Modern Europe by Ian Kershaw

(Penguin Press) Review by Brian Tanguay In Personality and Power, historian Ian Kershaw poses and answers fundamental questions of historical analysis about twelve individuals who significantly impacted — for good…

Paul Newman and the Authorial Fallacy

Essay by Walter Cummins I’d always thought of Paul Newman as a pretty cool guy—handsome, talented as an actor, entrepreneurial supporter of the same causes I am, married to a…

Concrete Poetry: A 21st-century Anthology edited by Nancy Perloff

(Reaktion) Review by David Starkey Compare an accomplished short poem of several hundred characters—say Seamus Heaney’s “Wedding Day”—with just about any concrete poem of the same length, and you’ll quickly…

The Magic Kingdom by Russell Banks

(Knopf) Review by Brian Tanguay The year is 1971. The place is Florida, south of Orlando. 81-year-old Harley Mann sits on the porch of the house he has lived alone…

Haven by Emma Donoghue

(Little, Brown and Company) Review by David Starkey The opening of Haven (the title’s similarity to “heaven” is hardly accidental) has the feel of a classic adventure story. A well-traveled,…

Strangers to Ourselves: Unsettled Minds and the Stories that Make Us by Rachel Aviv

(Farrar, Straus and Giroux) Review by Walter Cummins Like Rachel Aviv, the people whose mental issues she explores in Strangers to Ourselves are driven to write, some with works that…

The High Desert: A Memoir by James Spooner

Review by David Starkey On a grand scale, not much happens in The High Desert, James Spooner’s graphic memoir of his freshman year at Apple Valley High School, which he…

A Heart That Works by Rob Delaney

Review by Walter Cummins Rob Delaney doesn’t exploit the ironic connection of the title used for his four-season television series—Catastrophe—and this book about the sufferings and eventual death of his…

The Persuaders: At the Front Lines of the Fight for Hearts, Minds, and Democracy by Anand Giridharadas

Review by Brian Tanguay Calling people out for their lack of political awareness or insufficient wokeness isn’t the problem with the political left; the problem is not calling people in.…