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…

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 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.…

The Last Days of Roger Federer: And Other Endings, by Geoff Dyer

Review by George Yatchisin Some lines from Robert Christgau about Lloyd Cole have always stuck with me: “So what if he can’t stop talking about books and movies and gathers…

I Saw Death Coming: A History of Terror and Survival in the War Against Reconstruction, by Kidada E. Williams

Blacks didn’t just pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, they seized freedom and built homesteads, farms, churches, schools and communities; they tilled the soil and planted cash crops like…

Orwell’s Roses, by Rebecca Solnit

Review by George Yatchisin Think of Rebecca Solnit’s Orwell’s Roses as a whydunit. Beyond admitting how much he influenced her as a writer/journalist/activist, Solnit was also moved to learn of…

Life Is Hard: How Philosophy Can Help Us Find Our Way by Kieran Setiya

Review by Walter Cummins For me, the essential advice Kieran Setiya offers in Life Is Hard is related to the distinction he makes between telic and atelic activities in the…

American Midnight: The Great War, a Violent Peace, and Democracy’s Forgotten Crisis by Adam Hochschild

Review by Brian Tanguay As much as Louis Dejoy was in the media spotlight in the months before the presidential election of 2020, one might assume that no person as…

Novelist as Vocation by Haruki Murakami

Review by Walter Cummins Novelist as a Vocation—Haruki Murakami’s collection of ten essays on novel writing, first published in Japan in 2015 but not translated into English until 2022—suggests that…

Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels and Crooks by Patrick Radden Keefe

Review by David Starkey Patrick Radden Keeffe tells us in the Preface to in his new book, Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels and Crooks, that the twelve long-form…