When Gerald Ford’s secretary of defense, James Schlesinger, opined that “Spengler was an optimist,” the world finally had the obiter dictum to sum up the trenchant doomism at the heart of the cold-warrior mentality—and the coldest of the cold warriors were at the rand Corporation, where
In the decades following the Revolutionary War, Americans had an opportunity––at once exhilarating and terrifying—to shape not just the politics of their new nation but also its culture. British political models abounded, of course: Thoughtful citizens could argue for William Godwin’s radical
The American West is a region of subtle, folksy flavors, each state characterized by an externally reinforced image: Colorado radiates an aura of upscale hippie crunch, Texas struts strike-it-big bling, Utah dazzles under the long shadow of Mormonism (and Sundance), and New Mexico pipes out a pleasing
This is a book about a contemporary phenomenon that is crucially important, utterly terrifying, and largely ignored. In AK-47: The Story of a Gun, Michael Hodges, a British journalist, charts the spread of the titular weapon—especially in Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia—and the ways
The real story out of Kazakhstan isn’t Borat, it’s oil. No sooner did this sprawling Central Asian state declare independence in 1991 than foreign investors began jockeying for a piece of the action. But for the excitable Arkansan heading there to meet his mail-order bride at the start of
It’s hard not to wonder whether anyone back in the mid-1980s—when Don DeLillo was busy crafting White Noise’s Jack Gladney, the wily chairman of Hitler studies at the College-on-the-Hill—could have anticipated that an entire book on the subject of the Hitler salute would someday be published.
In 2003, the Metropolitan Museum of Art mounted an exhibition celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Central Park Act, which designated the land we now call Central Park a public place. It was a hidden jewel of a show, tucked away in a corner of the American Wing’s mezzanine, where a viewer could
Sloane Crosley is at that age at which you’re old enough to realize that it’s not all about you but young enough to suspect that the majority of it must be. Fortunately for readers of I Was Told There’d Be Cake, her collection of essays, she’s also smart enough to know that if it’s going to be