The core disparity in childhood experience between the races has profound implications for middle-class black children. These children not only suffer from inadequate resources and crumbling schools; they also, unlike their white counterparts, have easy access to criminal networks that can send them abruptly into downward mobility.
With a nod to Elmore Leonard, Bad Paper seeks a bit of love for certain bad or not-so-nice people—the hundreds of debt collectors, some of them ex-cons, who chase down little old ladies on Social Security to cough up their last pennies to pay off the money they borrowed from the likes of Bank of America or Chase. But the marks aren't really paying off the banks. No, the banks long ago sold off these debts to debt buyers like the heroes of this picaresque nonfiction yarn:
How, and to what extent, clothing matters is the question at the heart of this book, which began in 2012, when Sheila Heti asked Heidi Julavits's advice, for a "little piece about women's fashion." She wanted to know whether Julavits had any "dressing or clothing rules," or a philosophy of clothes; Heti was trying, she writes, "to figure out how to dress."
In Story/Time, a collection of performance texts and lectures, the renowned choreographer Bill T. Jones describes a 1972 encounter with John Cage in tones of awe. More than the music itself, what impressed the young drama student was Cage's air of "sophisticated 'remove.'" It suggested a "world of ideas," inhabited by unassailable people who had rejected the pressure to connect and entertain.
There are two versions of Charles D'Ambrosio running through this important essay collection. First, there's literary journalist D'Ambrosio. You don't really care, reading this D'Ambrosio, how he got to be this thoughtful, conscientious, erudite, and so forth—you're just glad he did. Second, there's the D'Ambrosio who goes ahead and tells the story of how he got that way. And it turns out this is a story you want to hear after all—quite badly, in fact.
Two new works of fiction about war, Phil Klay's Redeployment and Hassan Blasim's The Corpse Exhibition, share a nightmarish view of Americans' role in Iraq. If you think these have been unjust wars, fought for specious reasons, and therefore productive of great evil, these books will only fortify your opinion.
For a long time, it has been unclear why the Americans are still fighting in Afghanistan. In 2001, when the Bush administration launched the invasion, the mission was to destroy Al Qaeda and the Taliban leadership. But thirteen years later, with Osama bin Laden dead and Al Qaeda's operations and leaders dispersed well beyond Afghanistan's borders, how can we sum up the main objective of America's longest-running war? Who is the enemy now?
Major policy changes and crime epidemics rightly generate front-page headlines, but daily press coverage only hints at the complicated experiences of individual women serving in the US military. With a handful of notable exceptions, war memoirs are written predominantly by men, and most war stories have male protagonists; it is as if war itself, and the stories we tell about it, were inherently masculine.
GO AHEAD AND CANCEL the asbestos-gloves order you placed with Amazon in preparation for reading Robert H. Patton’s luridly titled (and grandiosely subtitled) Hell Before Breakfast. You won’t need them. The book’s sulfur-and-perdition name oversells by a factor of about ten the levels of excitement,
William Tecumseh Sherman has always been known as an odd duck: depressive, erratic, prone to fits of mania and abiding personal grudges. He also married his sister, or at least his foster sister, though he passed their long periods of duty-related separation with whatever women were locally available. A new biography by the respected military-history writer Robert L. O'Connell revisits this well-known story, telling it again.