From Qantara, a portrait Albert Memmi: A sober look at freedom. "Why I am proud of being a European": An interview with Tzvetan Todorov. The Problematic Pages: To understand Vladimir Putin, we must understand his view of Russian history. Just because the press loves Obama doesn't mean it hates McCain. From NYRB, Michael Chabon on Obama and the conquest of Denver; and Joseph Lelyveld on John and Sarah in St. Paul. Thomas Frank on how the GOP loves the heartland to death — and now comes the fall culture-war offensive. From The L Magazine, an article on Christopher Hitchens and the utter creeping moronism of eloquence; and towards a definition of Martin Amis neocon disease. When are news photographs too shocking for public consumption? Bernard-Henri Levy wants to know, and more and more and more on Left in Dark Times. Clash of the literary titans: The caustic correspondence between Michel Houellebecq and BHL, titans of French literature, is to be revealed in a new book. Sarah Fay reviews A Manuscript of Ashes by Antonio Munoz Molina. From Strange Maps, a look at the population of Chinese territories compared to foreign countries. Der Spiegel reports on a dispute among Islam scholars: Did Muhammad ever really live? The pain beneath the swagger: Black male bravado allows no room for a mental health crisis.