From TAP, Ilan Goldberg on why McCain should embrace withdrawal; and how important was the surge? Ten Iraq experts weigh in. Christopher Hitchens on why Obama's attitude on the surge hasn't harmed his campaign. Frank Rich on how Obama became acting president. From The New Yorker, what he knows for sure: Tavis Smiley confronts the Obama candidacy; Adam Gopnik on modern magic and the meaning of life; and Charles Van Doren on the quiz-show scandals—and the aftermath. A review of Jacques Derrida's The Animal that Therefore I Am. From Cabinet, an interview with Rosalind Williams, author of Notes on the Underground, on actual and imaginary underworlds; and if you know anything at all about Cao Dai, chances are that this is what you know. Once the "disease of kings," gout is back with a vengeance. Today’s savvier consumers are said to be more impervious to advertising; Rob Walker says: nope. From Vanity Fair, a cover story on Carla Bruni and Nicolas Sarkozy, a pair of romantic predators who appear to have met their matches. More and more and more and more and more and more and more on James Wood’s How Fiction Works. A look at why historians should write books ordinary people want to read. More bang for the book: A growing number of writers have hit the rubber-chicken circuit. A review of Books: A Memoir by Larry McMurtry.

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