From LRB, a review of The Civil War and the Limits of Destruction by Mark Neely and This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War by Drew Gilpin Faust (and more from Bookforum). A review of Quantum: Einstein, Bohr and the Great Debate About the Nature of Reality by Manjit Kumar. Can cities save the planet? Scientists are skeptical, planners are hopeful, the Dutch are pragmatic. Adam Zeman's A Portrait of the Brain is a detailed study of the organ's workings. A new breed of urban Catholic high school asks disadvantaged kids to work for their tuition. The Peanuts cartoons are a universal pleasure, as well as a portrait of one man and his marriage. Carlin Romano reviews Political Hypocrisy by David Runciman. From Open Source, Rick Moody is in the Obama Moment. Just because Obama won a landslide doesn't mean our voting system has been fixed. Secession we can believe in: How Obama-esque activists are remaking the Vermont separatist movement. Choosing not to choose: Ever feel lost in a maze of too many options? Here's how one man let indecision be his friend. A review of Transformations: Identity Construction in Contemporary Culture by Grant McCracken. A review of Beef: The Untold Story of How Milk, Meat, and Muscle Shaped the World by Andrew Rimas and Evan D. G. Fraser. Take the test: How happy are you?

From Diplomatic Courier, an article on the value of state-building vs. the cost of nation-neglecting in Afghanistan; an article on One World Government: conspiracy theory or inevitable future; and is the idea of complete nuclear disarmament remotely serious? A review of The Great Experiment: The Story of Ancient Empires, Modern States, and the Quest for a Global Nation by Strobe Talbott; and Democracy Without Borders?: Global Challenges to Liberal Democracy by Marc Plattner. An interview with Wesleyan economist Gary Yohe on the economics of climate change. A review of The Letters of George Santayana: Book Eight: 1948-1952. Gentlemen, stop your engines: A NASCAR fan makes the case to euthanize stock-car racing. An interview with former Christian Scientist Robert Y. Ellis on why he left the church he was raised in. Hundreds of thousands of government workers are about to retire, and we're nowhere near ready to replace them; can Obama's agenda survive if no one's around to implement it? The Chicago sit-in: Has Obama's election spurred a new mood of union activism? Conservatives are terrified that a new health care system would be so good we would never want to get rid of it. Lawyers aren't special: Why it's legitimate to investigate the Bush lawyers who approved war crimes. Can the tactics that succeeded against Big Tobacco simply be transferred to oil?

From Psychology Today, a look at why women have better things to do than make money (and part 2 and part 3); what do Bill Gates and Paul McCartney have in common with criminals? Men do everything they do in order to get laid (and part 2 and part 3 and part 4 and part 5 and part 6); and are men scum? A review of The Score: How the Quest for Sex Has Shaped the Modern Man by Faye Flam. A review of The Aftermath of Feminism: Gender, Culture and Social Change by Angela McRobbie. Intellectual sustenance: Laleh Khalili on two intimate, nourishing and, for female academics, often simultaneous acts: breastfeeding a child and feeding one's own mind. A review of Rhythms of Life: The Biological Clocks that Control the Daily Lives of Every Living Thing by Russell G. Foster and Leon Kreitzman. A look at the daily routines of interesting people. Here are 12 examples of what the recession means for specific things, from Spam to sex addiction. Before utensils, everything was finger food; here’s how some of our common eating tools wound up on our placemats. Don't know much about (awesome tidbits of information). Rule by whim: Sometimes grammar usage edicts are just arbitrary. The loneliness of the last native speaker: Dozens are on the verge of taking to their graves a system of communication that will vanish forever. An article on the last of the Zoroastrians.

From CJR, an interview with Clay Shirky (and part 2). The Number-Cruncher-in-Chief: When it comes to major policy reforms, cost matters; luckily, Obama's budget guru knows how to change the price tag. VHS era is winding down: The last big supplier of the tapes is ditching the format, ending the long fade-out of a product that ushered in the home theater. The Natural: An article on Bettie Page, Pollyanna of pin-ups — and what might be remembered of the life of a woman who was long ago replaced by her own representation? When Ian Halperin went undercover to investigate the lives of struggling actors in Hollywood, he soon found himself in a world of E-meter-wielding Scientologists. Martial law of the jungle: When defending the environment means calling in the military. A review of The Age of Entanglement: When Quantum Physics Was Reborn by Louisa Gilder. A review of The Structural Evolution of Morality by J. McKenzie Alexander. A review of Genomes and What to Make of Them by Barry Barnes and John Dupre. More and more and more on Susan Sontag's Reborn: Journals and Notebooks, 1947-1963 (and more from Bookforum). A review of The American Resting Place: Four Hundred Years of History Through Our Cemeteries and Burial Grounds by Marilyn Yalom. Cooling down the New Cold War: How President Obama should manage Russia.