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they cannot soar into the air and fly away so quickly

Liao Yiwu, poet, author of Bullets and Opium and former political prisoner, writes on the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre.
My father died in the fall of 2002. At the last hour, he couldn’t speak any more, but he would fix his eyes on me, his son, the political prisoner. The police had searched me and taken me away in front of him many times. He died worried about me. Maybe in his last moments, when he couldn’t speak anymore, he still wanted to tell me not to provoke the Communist Party. Tank Man vanished into thin air—another proof my father was right.

posted by frimble on Jun 4, 2014 - 29 comments

Everything old is new again

Why We’re in a New Gilded Age Paul Krugman reviews Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, and discusses the renewal of the importance of capital in preserving inequality across generations.
posted by jaduncan on Apr 15, 2014 - 131 comments

The World They Made

Mark Danner has been writing a series in the New York Review Of Books: Rumsfeld's War And Its Consequences Now
A bare two weeks after the attacks of September 11, at the end of a long and emotional day at the White House, a sixty-nine-year-old politician and businessman—a midwesterner, born of modest means but grown wealthy and prominent and powerful—returned to his enormous suite of offices on the seventh floor of the flood-lit and wounded Pentagon and, as was his habit, scrawled out a memorandum on his calendar:
Interesting day— NSC mtg. with President— As [it] ended he asked to see me alone… After the meeting ended I went to Oval Office—He was alone He was at his desk— He talked about the meet Then he said I want you to develop a plan to invade Ir[aq]. Do it outside the normal channels. Do it creatively so we don’t have to take so much cover [?]
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Feb 13, 2014 - 89 comments

On Breaking One's Neck

On Breaking One's Neck. Dr. Arnold Relman, former Editor in Chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, gives a first-hand account of a catastrophic accident, intensive care, and rehabilitation--as a patient. I am a senior physician with over six decades of experience who has observed his share of critical illness--but only from the doctor's perspective. That changed suddenly and disastrously on the morning of June 27, 2013, ten days after my ninetieth birthday, when I fell down the stairs in my home, broke my neck, and very nearly died. Since then, I have made an astonishing recovery, in the course of which I learned how it feels to be a helpless patient close to death. I also learned some things about the US medical care system that I had never fully appreciated, even though this is a subject that I have studied and written about for many years.
posted by russilwvong on Jan 19, 2014 - 22 comments

The New York Review of Books turns 50

In February 1963, a new publication took advantage of the New York City printers strike and launched with a daring editorial: It does not, however, seek merely to fill the gap created by the printers’ strike in New York City but to take the opportunity which the strike has presented to publish the sort of literary journal which the editors and contributors feel is needed in America. The New York Review of Books is now 50. [more inside]
posted by mattbucher on Oct 21, 2013 - 7 comments

The Women and the Thrones

When we were little, Jaime and I were so much alike that even our lord father could not tell us apart. Sometimes as a lark we would dress in each other’s clothes and spend a whole day each as the other. Yet even so, when Jaime was given his first sword, there was none for me. “What do I get?” I remember asking. We were so much alike, I could never understand why they treated us so differently. Jaime learned to fight with sword and lance and mace, while I was taught to smile and sing and please. He was heir to Casterly Rock, while I was to be sold to some stranger like a horse, to be ridden whenever my new owner liked, beaten whenever he liked, and cast aside in time for a younger filly. Jaime’s lot was to be glory and power, while mine was birth and moonblood.
Daniel Mendelsohn in the New York Review of Books on the Song of Ice and Fire as feminist epic. Previously.
posted by grobstein on Oct 18, 2013 - 150 comments

"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one."

My Psychic Garburator by Margaret Atwood [The New York Review of Books]
"Most dreams of writers aren’t about dead people or writing, and—like everyone else’s dreams—they aren’t very memorable. They just seem to be the products of a psychic garburator chewing through the potato peels and coffee grounds of the day and burping them up to you as mush."
[more inside]
posted by Fizz on May 8, 2013 - 17 comments

You should read this review. It's good for you.

Justifying Coercive Paternalism - autonomy is "not valuable enough to offset what we lose by leaving people to their own autonomous choices"
posted by Gyan on Feb 24, 2013 - 196 comments

Speak, Memory

A meditation on falsehood and truth in memory by Oliver Sacks.
posted by parudox on Feb 2, 2013 - 26 comments

"Cats may not vote," Ms. Viviani observed, "but cat people do."

The Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary has been taking care of the multitude of felines that haunt the Largo Argentina archeological site in Rome since 1995. Their website has a page about its history, videos of their cats, and all the things you find on cat shelter websites. But they also have a blog dedicated to their fight with local authorities. Italian archeological administrators have demanded that the feline sanctuary be evicted [NYT] from the location of Julius Caesar's assassination, but the cat shelter is fighting back. In the blog of the New York Review of Books, the almost certainly pseudonymous Massimo Gatto points out that the archeological site is a hodgepodge of actual ruins and bad reconstructions dating back to the Fascist era.
posted by Kattullus on Nov 26, 2012 - 17 comments

'R is for Rhonda consumed by a fire'

Edward Gorey's gothic tales from the vault: ' Edward Gorey's arch eccentrics are on display in two reissues and a never-before-published story.' [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 1, 2012 - 14 comments

Thirteen essays on the 2012 US election

Looking for a break from horse-race coverage of the 2012 election? The New York Review of Books has thirteen short essays on the election and its consequences. Michael Tomasky. Elizabeth Drew. Cass Sunstein. Frank Rich. David Cole. Richard Dworkin. Russell Baker. Darryl Pinckney. David Bromwich. Kwame Anthony Appiah. Steven Weinberg. Garry Wills. Jeffrey Sachs. Plus a blog post by Christopher Benfey: The Empty Chair That Keeps Me Awake at Night.
posted by russilwvong on Oct 21, 2012 - 4 comments

" the difficulty of disentangling culture and biology."

IT AIN’T NECESSARILY SO: 'How much do evolutionary stories reveal about the mind?' [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Sep 20, 2012 - 118 comments

"No one but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money"

Tim Parks has two interesting articles at the NYRB: Does Money Make Us Write Better? and Does Copyright Matter?
posted by the man of twists and turns on Aug 23, 2012 - 48 comments

50 Shades of #808080

By late May, more than ten million copies of E.L. James’s Fifty Shades trilogy, an erotic romance series about the sexual exploits of a domineering billionaire and an inexperienced coed, had been sold in the United States, all within six weeks of the books’ publication here. This apparently unprecedented achievement occurred without the benefit of a publicity campaign, formal reviews, or Oprah’s blessing, owing to a reputation established, as one industry analyst put it, “totally through word of mouth.” [Grey Area: How ‘Fifty Shades’ Dominated the Market]
posted by vidur on Jul 30, 2012 - 101 comments

What to Make of Finnegans Wake?

What to Make of Finnegans Wake? by Michael Chabon
posted by OmieWise on Jul 9, 2012 - 52 comments

Among the Republicans by V.S. Naipaul

Among the Republicans by V.S. Naipaul
posted by Cloud King on Jun 30, 2012 - 21 comments

You all need to have your heads examined

The epidemic of mental illness plaguing the Americans and the overmedication of psychiatric patients are in part artifacts of the diagnostic method. [more inside]
posted by hat_eater on Jun 22, 2011 - 50 comments

"We are under more of a moral obligation to try very very very hard to develop compassion and mercy and empathy."

‘A Frightening Time in America’: An Interview With David Foster Wallace
posted by timshel on Jun 13, 2011 - 50 comments

How We Know

How We Know. An essay about information theory in the New York Review of Books by Freeman Dyson, building off a review of James Gleick's The Information. [more inside]
posted by The Michael The on Feb 26, 2011 - 42 comments

Bad Men

'The writing is extremely weak, the plotting haphazard and often preposterous, the characterizations shallow and sometimes incoherent; its attitude toward the past is glib and its self-positioning in the present is unattractively smug; the acting is, almost without exception, bland and sometimes amateurish.' Daniel Mendelsohn dislikes Mad Men.
posted by verstegan on Feb 4, 2011 - 152 comments

A strange social fact that stands in need of explanation

The death penalty in America is “a strange social fact that stands in need of explanation.” John Paul Stevens served as Associate Supreme Court Justice from 1975 to 2010 and became a beacon for progressive and liberals. Here he writes on the death penalty, reviewing David Garland’s new book Peculiar Institution: America’s Death Penalty in an Age of Abolition.
posted by JL Sadstone on Dec 15, 2010 - 55 comments

Aargh! and Release: Fishers of Men and Money in Somalia

Are today’s ‘Barbary Pirates’ (i.e., Somalis engaging in high seas piracy) able accurately to be so-labeled? Not according to The New York Times East Africa bureau chief, Jeffrey Gettleman, and for several good reasons, presented in the current NYRB. [more inside]
posted by JL Sadstone on Oct 8, 2010 - 6 comments

The Death of the Artist

With techniques like "art by telephone" and a studio called "the Factory" where even the security guard helped with the painting, Andy Warhol redefined the relationship between artist and artwork, and blurred the line between work and copy. [more inside]
posted by sy on Mar 8, 2010 - 23 comments

David Levine, R.I.P.

David Levine, beloved caricaturist for several publications, but most notably for the New York Review of Books, died last Tuesday at age 83 due to complications of prostate cancer. Since 1963, he contributed over 3,800 caricatures for the magazine, which prominently featured his drawings in promotional material. You can look at over 2,500 of his drawings here, review his website featuring his painting here, and see him interviewed here. Toward the end of his life, his vision failed due to macular degeneration and his relationship with the magazine became somewhat strained. Upon his death, the magazine noted that he was, simply, "the greatest caricaturist of his time." [more inside]
posted by pasici on Jan 1, 2010 - 24 comments

We're gonna read DeLillo like it's your birthday.

Nabokov, Meet 50 Cent: Zadie Smith's Changing My Mind. "Those who have been paying attention to Zadie Smith since her White Teeth debut likely already know about her affinities for E.M. Forster, Lil Wayne, George Eliot, Kafka, and Fawlty Towers. She's one of probably three working writers capable of smuggling a riff on the perils of "keeping it real" into The New York Review of Books."
posted by geoff. on Nov 11, 2009 - 15 comments

The Truth about the Election

NYRB-filter: The Truth About The Election by Elizabeth Drew
posted by wittgenstein on Nov 30, 2008 - 33 comments

A Summer of Madness

Oliver Sacks on Manic-Depression.
posted by vronsky on Sep 7, 2008 - 30 comments

Ricky Williams on 'Oprah'

Talking back to Prozac. Review article in The New York Review of Books, covering some issues concerning the diagnosis and treatment of depression.
posted by hydatius on Nov 21, 2007 - 57 comments

Crashing the Gate

Bill McKibben reviews Armstrong and Moulitsas's book Crashing the Gate in the New York Review of Books. More importantly, Kos gets his own David Levine caricature.
posted by russilwvong on Apr 10, 2006 - 18 comments

Know your enemy

Max Rodenbeck reviews a new collection of Osama bin Laden's speeches and a biography by Peter Bergen. David Cole discusses the US side of the conflict, reviewing the latest book by Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon: "--when it comes to fighting the decentralized threat of fundamentalist Islamic terrorism, Benjamin and Simon maintain, the best defense is not a good offense, but a good defense." More on al-Qaeda: Rodenbeck, MetaFilter.
posted by russilwvong on Feb 24, 2006 - 1 comment

John Kenneth Galbraith: A Mind of His Own

How To Get Ahead. "In this, the high summer of the great conservative revolt, no one, whatever his past political aberrations, can remain unaffected. I am not. Accordingly, I am here offering, also in a great conservative tradition, advice and counsel to the young—advice and counsel on how to get ahead in an ideologically restructured world. I propose to tell you, graduates of the class of [...], how now to proceed if you wish the acclaim and goodwill as well as the income of your fellow men. The advice I offer I do not find wholly acceptable for myself. But that too is in a great tradition of advice to the young".
John Kenneth Galbraith, from an Address to the Yale Graduating Class, 1979. (more inside)
posted by matteo on May 11, 2005 - 16 comments

The Culture of Control: Crime and Social Order in Contemporary Society Reviewed

David Garland's disturbing new book addresses the question why there are so many more people in jail in America and Britain than anywhere else... Its broader concern is with "cultures of control," how societies treat deviance and violence and whom they single out for what treatment. Here are some facts about skyrocketing imprisonment... There are approximately two million people in jail in America today, 2,166,260 at last count: more than four times as many people as thirty years ago. It is the largest number in our history... [and] between four and ten times the incarceration rate of any civilized country in the world... Twelve percent of African-American men between twenty and thirty-four are currently behind bars (the highest figure ever recorded by the Justice Department) compared to 1.6 percent of white men of comparable ages. And according to the same source, 28 percent of black men will be sent to jail in their lifetime... It was not until crime rates had already leveled off that incarceration rates began their steady, year-by-year climb. Between 1972 and 1992, while the population of America's prisons grew and grew, the crime rate as a whole continued at the same level, unchanged. Jerome S. Bruner reviews The Culture of Control: Crime and Social Order in Contemporary Society for The New York Review of Books, as does Austin Sarat in the American Prospect.
posted by y2karl on Sep 18, 2003 - 9 comments

David Levine's Drawings

When Most Of The Reviews (And Indeed Books) Are Long Since Forgotten, David Levine's extraordinary portraits of the public figures and obsessions of the last 40 years will stand as a lasting impression of our literary and political lions, masters, avatars and bugbears. The generous and ever essential New York Review of Books offers us a complete and fully searchable gallery of the great caricaturist's work since its first issue hit the stands back in 1963 - almost 2,000 cartoons in all. It's fascinating to trace the sequence and evolution of Levine's drawings through the years of particular figures: Nabokov and Beckett, for instance.
posted by MiguelCardoso on May 29, 2003 - 10 comments

Sane discussion of world affairs.

Over the last few years, Tony Judt has been writing some brilliant commentary on the world political situation in the NYRB. His latest is one of the best pieces I’ve read for ages. Sanity, reason, non-shrillness, etc – and it’s only the first of three articles.
posted by Mocata on Mar 17, 2003 - 8 comments

Compulsory reading for the 'American Civil War was fought over states' rights' crowd.
posted by Mocata on Mar 27, 2001 - 2 comments

Very good election analysis by Joan Didion in the current NYRB. (More inside.)
posted by Mocata on Oct 17, 2000 - 4 comments

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