From NYRB, a review of Putin: The Results: An Independent Expert Report by Boris Nemtsov and Vladimir Milov; an interview with George Soros; and a review of books on Michel de Certeau. The simplification dodge: Robert Kuttner reviews 100 Million Unnecessary Returns: A Simple, Fair, and Competitive Tax Plan for the United States by Michael J. Graetz and Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (And Stick You With the Bill) by David Cay Johnston. A review of Sneaker Wars: The Enemy Brothers Who Founded Adidas and Puma and the Family Feud That Forever Changed the Business of Sport by Barbara Smit. The dictators are back, and we don’t care: With the fall of communism and the rise of globalisation in the 1990s, the West believed democracy had won — how wrong it was (and a profile of Robert Kagan, a neocon by any other name). Leon Wieseltier reviews Martin Amis' The Second Plane (and more from Bookforum). A simple and deceptively tricky question: What does a president do? Eric Banks reviews Tintin and the Secret of Literature by Tom McCarthy. Men and their mothers, what's it all about?: Why is the mother-son relationship so complicated? You are the river: An interview with Ken Wilber, on religion, New Age fads and the ultimate reality that traditional science can't touch.

From The Walrus, an article on Latrine Graffiti, Kuwait and Afghanistan. From PopMatters, a review of You Call This the Future? The Greatest Inventions Sci-Fi Imagined and Science Promised by Nick Sagan, Mark Frary, and Andy Walker; and an article on the persistent politics of the Olympic Games. From Newsweek, Barack Obama is a Niebuhr-reading ESPN watcher — the origins of his troubles with the "other" tag. The Natural no more: The greatest mystery in a mystifying campaign — what happened to Bill? Entertainment has come to mean junk, but its definition also should include everything pleasurable that arises from an encounter with literature. From Argentina to Canada to France, Alberto Manguel crossed a planet of stories, a world champion of books (and a review of The Library at Night and a review of The City of Words; and more from Bookforum). From Reason, an interview with entrepreneur Peter Thiel on liberty and scientific progress (and a look at Floating Burning Man, "jurisdictional arbitrage," and other adventures in anarchism). From CQ Politics, here are make or break moments on the presidential campaign trail. A review of Stuffed and Starved: Markets, Power and the Hidden Battle for the World Food System by Raj Patel. Rearming the world: Why nations are suddenly locked in an arms race unseen since the early days of the Cold War.

From the latest issue of Ethics & International Affairs, Philip Coyle and Victoria Samson on Missile Defense Malfunction: Why the Proposed U.S. Missile Defenses in Europe Will Not Work; Mathias Risse (Harvard): On the Morality of Immigration; and a review of Inventing Human Rights: A History by Lynn Hunt. Truth, can you handle it? Better yet, do you know it when you see it? Since World War II, Republicans and Democrats have presided over startlingly different economies. Confessions of a Sweatshop Inspector: Presidential candidates are calling for tougher labor standards in trade agreements — but can such standards be enforced? Here's what T. A. Frank learned from his old job. Erik Davis reviews Rudolph Wurlitzer's The Drop Edge of Yonder. Ilan Stavans makes the case of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude as one of the 50 greatest books. 50 best cult books: Critics present a selection of history's most notable cult writing; some is classic; some is catastrophic — all of it had the power to inspire. The future of dirt: Better soil could accomplish some surprising things, but improving it is no small task. What happened to South Africa’s transformation? A review of Thabo Mbeki and the Battle for the Soul of the ANC by William Gumede. Young gay rites: Why would gay men in their 20s rush to the altar?