From Dissent, No Refuge Here: Iraqis flee, but where? Hope and Despair in Divided Iraq: When describing Iraq, the word "peace" is seldom used. Truth be told, the Americans have restored order to many parts of the county. But Iraq remains fractured, and where new schools are built today, bombs could explode tomorrow. The claim that we are increasingly in control of the battlefields in Iraq is an assessment arrived at through a flawed, American-centered framework. Elegies From an Iraqi Notebook: An Iraqi reporter chronicles life, love and death in Diyala Province. A Knife Under the Collarbone: Most soldiers in Iraq battle faceless IEDs. But in Fallujah, the fighting was hand to hand.

From The New Yorker, in a city run by people who have spent their lives endlessly reenacting their election as class president, Karl Rove was un-dull: he was the fabulist, boundary violator, autodidact, mean boy, schemer. Karl Rove dreamed of creating a "permanent Republican majority." But the era of conservative values that emerged in the 1990s is coming to a close. Death Grip by How Rove directed federal assets for GOP gains: Bush adviser's effort to promote the president and his allies was unprecedented in its reach. John Judis on how political psychology explains Bush's ghastly success.

A review of The Prince of Darkness: 50 Years Reporting in Washington by Robert D. Novak (and more). What is confidentiality? In the Libby case, Norman Pearlstine had to decide: A review of Off the Record: The Press, the Government, and the War Over Anonymous Sources. A journalist meditates on the wonders of balance and explores how it works: A review of Balance: In Search of the Lost Sense by Scott McCredie. 

From The Washington Monthly, forget neocons and theocons. It’s the money-cons who really run Bush’s Republican Party: A review of The Big Con; and a review of See You in Court: How the Right Made America a Lawsuit Nation by Thomas Geoghegan. The 2008 election may be about Iraq and George W. Bush and the housing market. But the future of U.S. politics is going to be which party helps people have babies. And that's up for grabs. A review of The Politics of Heaven: America in Fearful Times by Earl Shorris. 

Two years after Hurricane Katrina, many of New Orleans’ poorest residents still have not returned home. Surveys show that most want to go back, but feel they cannot because of a lack of affordable housing or the risk of interrupting their children’s schooling. Is this what some in the city actually wanted? Suffering a Slow Recovery: Failed rebuilding after Katrina sets off a mental health crisis in the Gulf. Something needs to be done. Who will step up to the plate and try to ease the already exhausting burden of the families of sick children?

From Forward, an excerpt from Aleph-Bet: An Alphabet for the Perplexed by Joshua Cohen; and a review of Creator, Are You Still Listening? Israeli Poets on God and Prayer. A review of Jews and Power by Ruth R. Wisse. "Jew-It-Yourself": An article on the philosophy behind new sites. A review of A Plausible God: Secular Reflections on Liberal Jewish Theology by Mitchell Silver.

The introduction to Demanding Work: The Paradox of Job Quality in the Affluent Economy by Francis Green.  A review of Deporting Our Souls: Values, Morality, and Immigration Policy by Bill Ong Hing. A review of Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them by Philippe Legrain. A review of Foreigners: Three English lives by Caryl Phillips. 

Form Scientific American, Take Nutrition Claims with a Grain of Salt: Dietary studies sponsored by the food industry are often biased; can fat be fit? A well-publicized study and a spate of popular books raise questions about the ill effects of being overweight. Their conclusions are probably wrong; This is Your Brain on Food: Neuroimaging reveals a shared basis for chocoholia and drug addiction; and Eating Made Simple: How do you cope with a mountain of conflicting diet advice?  A review of Delizia! The Epic History of the Italians and their Food by John Dickie. A review of The Sushi Economy: Globalisation and the Making of a Modern Delicacy by Sasha Issenberg.

When the lightbulb above your head is truly incendiary: A review of What Is Your Dangerous Idea? Around the world, a handful of scientists are trying to create life from scratch and they're getting closer. A review of The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism by Michael J. Behe. What Visions in the Dark of Light: Lene Vestergaard Hau made headlines by slowing light to below highway speed. Now the ringmaster of light can stop it, extinguish it and revive it—and thereby give quantum information a new look.

From The New Yorker, Past Perfect: Retro opulence on Central Park West. Cultural observers weigh in on architectural changes in the Persian Gulf and how they may be reshaping the world: A review of Evil Paradises: Dreamworlds of Neoliberalism. Art and Anarchism Thrive Together: Realizing the Impossible looks at political expression from a global perspective. The artless branding of Frida Kahlo: The centennial of the artist's birth is being marked by exhibits, merchandise, and family dissension.

Just for the record: OK Hollywood, here are the dos and don'ts of the celebrity profile. His Kind of Town: Horton Foote, at 91, is still working as a writer in New York and Hollywood. But in his plays he returns, as always, to the small Texas community of his imagination. A review of I’m a Lebowski, You’re a Lebowski by Bill Green. Movies are supposed to be about getting lost in emotion. But one scientist has broken down the film industry to cold, hard facts. Dean Simonton has done a statistical study of thousands of movies to determine what makes them critical darlings or box-office hits. 

From OJR, how the New York Times can fight back and win: Rupert Murdoch has the Times in his sights. But a Web 2.0 strategy could help the Gray Lady regain her glowing countenance; and the Los Angeles Times tells its readers: "Shut up". A Times editorial attacks the concept of reader comments on news stories, declaring Google a greater threat "than Osama bin Laden". Thanks to the web, readers now run the show. But is this good for journalism?

From Foreign Policy, The Terrorism Index: More than 100 of America’s most respected foreign-policy experts see a world that is growing more dangerous, a national security strategy in disrepair, and a war in Iraq that is alarmingly off course; it’s not easy representing one of the world’s most vulnerable nations. Not only must you confront such problems as endemic poverty, entrenched corruption, and ethnic violence, but you have to defend your government from ferocious criticism in the media. To get the other side of the story, FPTV sat down with ambassadors from seven of the worst-performing countries on the 2007 Failed States Index.

From American Diplomacy, a review of Divide and Perish: The Geopolitics of the Middle East by Curtis F. Jones. From TNR, why the U.S. must act in Darfur—right now. Forgotten: Despite years of war and now the looming threat of famine, Somalia’s desperate situation is largely ignored by the international community. A review of Timbuktu: The Sahara's Fabled City of Gold by Marq de Villiers and Sheila Hirtle. The age of Google Earth is troubling for someone born with the explorer gene: A review of Lost Oasis: In Search of Paradise by Robert Twigger. A review of Sea of Faith: Islam and Christianity in the Medieval Mediterranean World by Stephen O'Shea.

From Dissent, Globalization's Mad Scientist: A review of The Rebel Within: Joseph Stiglitz and the World Bank; and Globalization and Its Discontents and Making Globalization Work by Joseph E. Stiglitz. Jeffrey Sachs on Breaking the Poverty Trap: Targeted investments can trump a region's geographic disadvantages. Poor’s for thought: Physicists help map out an answer to the big question: why are poor countries poor

From The New Yorker, Beware Bailouts: James Surowiecki on the Fed and the market meltdown. Should central banks act as buyers of last resort? What would Bagehot do? Look out. This crunch is serious: What to expect as Wall Street's woes spill over onto Main Street. A review of Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster by Dana Thomas. With the markets in turmoil, familiar questions arise about the bond-rating agencies. Counterfeit Nation: America’s reliance on dubious credit goes all the way back to the country’s founding. The Unforgivingness of Forgetfulness: Why did so many home buyers ignore recent lessons and start viewing real estate as such a certain and profitable bet? 

How civilisation has begun to look more vulnerable: A review of A New Green History of the World: The Environment and the Collapse of Great Civilisations by Clive Ponting and Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations by David R. Montgomery. A review of Chris Mooney's Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle over Global Warming.  Gambling on tomorrow: Modelling the Earth's climate mathematically is hard already. Now a new difficulty is emerging (and more). Can ceramics make our air cleaner? A novel process makes fossil fuels burn cleaner. Though pricey, it's highly promising. There's just one catch. A review of The World Without Us by Alan Weisman (and the book's webpage). 

Mark Lilla on The Politics of God: After centuries of strife, the West has learned to separate religion and politics — to establish the legitimacy of its leaders without referring to divine command. There is little reason to expect that the rest of the world — the Islamic world in particular — will follow. From Vanity Fair, Christopher Hitchens' book tour—for God Is Not Great—takes a few miraculous turns, including the P.R. boost from Jerry Falwell's demise, a chance encounter with the Archbishop of Canterbury, and surprising support for an attack on religion. A life worth living for: Santayana’s writings provide an answer to militant atheists such as Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens.

From The Washington Monthly, an introduction to A Different Kind of College Ranking; America's Best Community Colleges: Why they're better than some of the "best" four-year universities; Built to Teach: What your alma mater could learn from Cascadia Community College; Inside the Higher Ed Lobby: Welcome to One Dupont Circle, where good education-reform ideas go to die; and this year's national university and liberal arts college and community college rankings. Thousands of students are wasting their own and taxpayers' money on "Mickey Mouse" higher education courses.

He Didn’t Worship the Market: When Colorado Christian University notified Andrew Paquin, an assistant professor of global studies, that his contract would not be renewed, he knew that not being sufficiently guided by Christ wasn’t the problem. But it might have been that he wasn’t sufficiently capitalist. Why study war? Victor Davis Hanson on how military history teaches us about honor, sacrifice, and the inevitability of conflict. Guantanamo in Germany: In the name of the war on terror, our colleagues are being persecuted - for the crime of sociology. Higher education doesn't secularize students: An interview with Mark Regnerus, author of Forbidden Fruit: Sex & Religion in the Lives of American Teenagers. A review of The Battle Over School Prayer: How Engel v. Vitale Changed America by Bruce J. Dierenfield. A review of Tough Liberal: Albert Shanker and the Battles Over Schools, Unions, Race, and Democracy by Richard D. Kahlenberg.

From CT, a review of Benjamin Franklin's Printing Network: Disseminating Virtue in Early America by Ralph Frasca; a review of The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher by Debby Applegate; and a review of From Nature to Experience: The American Search for Cultural Authority by Roger Lundin. A review of The House the Rockefellers Built: A Tale of Money, Taste, and Power in Twentieth-Century America by Robert F. Dalzell and Lee Baldwin Dalzell (and more). A review of Young J. Edgar: Hoover, the Red Scare, and the Assault on Civil Liberties by Kenneth D. Ackerman. From TLS, Anthony Holden reviews Conrad Black's Richard Milhous Nixon: The invincible quest.

The Invisible Manuscript: Ralph Ellison died leaving four decades' worth of scribbled notes, thousands of typed pages and 80 computer disks filled with work on an ambitious second novel. For 14 years, a pair of literary detectives labored to fit the pieces together. Now they're ready to share with the world. The hound of hell: Mikhail Bulgakov's satirical fantasy A Dog's Heart was written in 1925 but - thanks to Soviet censorship - went unpublished until 1987. James Meek reflects on its prophetic vision of Stalinist hubris. A master of rough crossings: A review of The Several Lives of Joseph Conrad by John Stape and Joseph Conrad: A Life by Zdzislaw Najder. 

From Sibila, an interview with Jerome Sala, though slight of frame, the first " heavyweight champion of poetry". Science fiction writer William Gibson has a reputation for forecasting the future. From The Atlantic Monthly, an article on Great Moments in Literary Baseball (1987). Behold, The Washington Post's "Book World" presents a sampling of the current crop of top picture books. What creates a great artist like Gentileschi, Van Gogh or Manet? Talent or training? Artists are both born and taught. Backstage with Rene Pollesch: Theater with a biting view of society.

A review of Dandy in the Underworld: An Unauthorised Autobiography by Sebastian Horsley. A review of Painting Chinese: A Lifelong Teacher Gains the Wisdom of Youth by Herbert Kohl. A review of Get Smashed: The Story of the Men Who Made the Adverts That Changed Our Lives by Sam Delaney. A review of Lonely Avenue: The Unlikely Life and Times of Doc Pomus by Alex Halberstadt. A review of The Source: The Untold Story of Father Yod, YaHoWa 13 and the Source Family by Isis Aquarian.

From Asia Times, a look at how Tajikistan is mired in great power game. More on India After Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy by Ramachandra Guha. A review of Holy Warriors by Edna Fernandes. More on Indian Summer. From NPQ, an article on China: From democracy wall to the shopping mall, and back. From Foreign Affairs, an essay on ASEAN at 40: Mid-Life Rejuvenation?

From The Economist, something rather exciting is happening in Latin America: Adios to poverty, hola to consumption: Faster growth, low inflation, expanding credit and liberal trade are helping Latin America create a new middle class. Destitute no more: Chile, a country that pioneered reform, comes close to abolishing poverty. Scarcity in the midst of surplus: Thanks partly to ethanol from sugar cane, Brazil aims to be an energy superpower. But can it keep its own lights on? Ad busters drain Sao Paulo's colour: One Brazilian city has cleansed its streets of all advertising and billboards. Should we do the same or would an ad-free future leave us cold?

From Wired, when it comes to Americans' favorite tool for navigating the web, most White House contenders are still pretty clueless, a recent round of experiments on Google's AdWords program suggests. Drew Westen on what polls can and can't tell us in presidential politics. A Clinton-Giuliani race would be entertaining. Just remember to duck. A solid foundation for future biographers: A review of Obama by David Mendell. A strange brew of populism and environmentalism: An interview with Mike Huckabee. Here's the start of The Wingnuttiad, a tour of Greater Wingnuttia in heroic couplets, with abject apologies to Alexander Pope.

From Radical Middle, Post-partisan: The first uniquely American political ideology is being born. The first chapter from Does American Democracy Still Work? by Alan Wolfe. A review of The Supreme Court Opinions of Clarence Thomas: 1991-2006: A Conservative’s Perspective by Henry Mark Holzer. David Gordon reviews The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution by Kevin R.C. Gutzman. A review of Americanism: The Fourth Great Western Religion by David Gelernter. 

From Scientific American, an op-ed Rational Atheism: An open letter to Messrs. Dawkins, Dennett, Harris and Hitchens by Michael Shermer. A review of The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. A review of Joseph's Bones: Understanding the Struggle Between God and Mankind in the Bible by Jerome Segal. A review of Is Belief in God Good, Bad or Irrelevant? A Professor and a Punk Rocker Discuss Science, Religion, Naturalism, and Christianity. The first chapter form After the Baby Boomers: How Twenty- and Thirty-Somethings Are Shaping the Future of American Religion by Robert Wuthnow. 

From Forward, is it still adultery if the spouse has Alzheimer’s? Is visiting a sex worker a lot more honest than pretending you're in to someone so you can lure them to bed? Does being born beautiful gift you a better life? Or does it just seem that way to us uglies? When we were hunter-gatherers a man’s height mattered, but can it really matter today? Yes, say the surveys: tall men attract women and are better paid. The Damaging Relationship: Why smart women make dumb mistakes about men and how it affects their lives.