From Policy, after the wall, 20 years on: A look at Germany's unification history. An article on Germany's disappointing reunification: How the East was Lost. Sex and the city of Berlin: The sexual unification of Germany appears to have resulted in lots of talk, but not much action. Finance senator to fire starter: Joachim Guntner reviews Thilo Sarrazin's book on Germany's slow death by immigration, which has ignited a debate of almost unprecedented ferocity. From Prospect, Germany seems more inward-looking and nationalistic since the euro crisis, but this shift is both more subtle and not as recent as it appears. German identity, long dormant, reasserts itself: A more confident nation has asserted itself in foreign policy, despite economic troubles and some internal dissent. From Dissent, there is so much talk these days about Germany’s economic Sonderweg (“special path”) that it seems wise to gain some perspective about what is going on. From Der Spiegel, Germany's rebirth following the annihilation of World War II is nothing short of a miracle, but the country's reconstruction was not without controversy — now, a new wave of construction is underway coupled with a new desire to rebuild the old; an interview with architect Albert Speer: "Calamity of postwar construction came from rejecting history"; and an interview with architect Christoph Ingenhoven: "Modernism is an attitude, not a style".

Carl L. Bankston (Tulane): Social Justice: Cultural Origins of a Perspective and a Theory. From Parameters, a special section on the Afghanistan-Pakistan conundrum. From Asia Times, Pepe Escobar on life in Talibanistan. From Gelf, when baseball let its hair down: It may not have featured the best players of all time, but the 1970s marked, for author Dan Epstein, the pinnacle of the national pastime's funkiness; and an interview with Michael Weinreb, author of Bigger Than the Game: Bo, Boz, the Punky QB, and How the '80s Created the Modern Athlete. From Government Executive, fixing IT has been a Sisyphean task, and governmentwide policy matters — but agency-level management matters more, and individual managers matter most of all; and can a federal agency be transformed through "openness" and "transparency"? Fighting the good fight: Dan Demetriou on a theory of honor in the octagon. Aside from the occasional l’chaim around the Kiddush table or on Purim night, Jews don’t drink, especially not beer. From European Alternatives, an interview with Samir Amin on emerging from capitalism in crisis; an interview with Ulrich Beck on a cosmopolitan outlook; an interview with Seyla Benhabib on immigration and asylum; and an interview with Nancy Fraser on transnational power and public sphere. Peru’s Lovely Bones: The Ocucaje Desert holds some of the most important fossils in the world — and Roberto Cabrera is standing guard.

From Spontaneous Generations, a special issue on Scientific Instruments: Knowledge, Practice, and Culture. The scientific method: J. Craig Venter wants to create creatures — bacteria, algae or even plants — to carry out industrial tasks and displace fossil fuels. About 13.7 billion years ago, the Big Bang created a big mess of matter that eventually gave rise to life, the universe, and everything — now a new material may help scientists understand why. Stewart Brand interviews Martin Rees on life's future in the cosmos. Can evolution be as certain as 2+2? Murray Gell-Mann won a Nobel prize for physics and still is working on quantum mechanics, but at 80 he has returned to his first passion — linguistics. Making heroes of inventors: William Rosen on James Watt, the most useful man who ever lived. A review of Science and Spirituality: Making Room for Faith in the Age of Science by Michael Ruse (and more). In defense of difference: Scientists offer new insight into what to protect of the world's rapidly vanishing languages, cultures, and species. Changing one of nature's constants: If correct, new finding could upend physicists’ view of universe (and more and more). Are we living in a designer universe? The creators of the world were closer to men than to gods. A look at how string theory finally does something useful.  More and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more on Stephen Hawking’s The Grand Design.

From Index on Censorship, don’t stop the music: Read about the songs they tried to ban, the musicians stopped from playing live, and the singers who are put on trial. Dan Abrams to write book proving that women are better than men — yes, really. Despite the belief that happiness has remained constant in modern societies, recent research says otherwise, citing rising democracy and increased basic freedoms as the cause. A review of Integral Pluralism: Beyond Culture Wars by Fred Dallmayr. The Trickledown Revolution: Arundhati Roy on how the answer lies not in the excesses of capitalism or communism — it could well spring from our subaltern depths. Sweatpants in Paradise: The Believer profiles the exciting world of immersive retail. Catherine Marshall on how hedonists miss the point of travel. Human tongue sauteed in buttermilk, things we do to each other in hotel rooms, and a few words about Amelia Gray’s Museum of the Weird. An interview with Viktor Mayer-Schonberger on books on memory and the digital age. An interview with Laura Kipnis, author of How to Become a Scandal: Adventures in Bad Behavior. A review of Ah-Choo: The Uncommon Life of Your Common Cold by Jennifer Ackerman. Sex to die for: Isabella Rossellini has been directing and acting in a strange and wonderful series called Green Porno. Did ancient coffee houses lay the groundwork for modern consumerism? A review of Toward a Rhetoric of Insult by Thomas Conley.

From NYRB, Paul Krugman and Robin Wells review Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy by Raghuram G. Rajan; Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance by Nouriel Roubini and Stephen Mihm (and more); and The Holy Grail of Macroeconomics: Lessons from Japan’s Great Recession by Richard C. Koo. From the Claremont Review of Books, bubbles, bubbles, toils and troubles: A review essay on the financial crisis; and Richard Vedder on explaining the Great Depression. From The National Interest, a review essay on the financial crisis. From ARPA, Tony Aspromourgos on the great financial crisis, the (brief?) revival of Keynesianism, and the question of public debt; and a review of Common Wealth: For a Free, Equal, Mutual and Sustainable Society by Martin Large and Aftershock: Reshaping the World Economy after the Crisis by Philippe Legrain. Let Them Eat Credit Raghuram Rajan on how inequality is at the root of the Great Recession (and more and more). David Warsh on big narrative accounts of the most dangerous episode in global finance since the Great Depression. Paradise Lost: Ian Bremmer and Nouriel Roubini on why fallen markets will never be the same (and a response). Not too big enough: How the “too-big-to-fail” banks got that way, and why the current banking reform won’t solve the problem. A review of Too Big to Save? How to Fix the U.S. Financial System by Robert Pozen.

A new issue of Jewish Quarterly is out. From The Hedgehog Review, Geoffrey Claussen on The American Jewish Revival of Musar. A review of A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs by David Lehman. The Jewish Encyclopedia: In the postwar era, no magazine has matched the breadth of Commentary (and more and more). The Rabbi and the Rabba: When Avi Weiss ordained the first woman in American Orthodox Judaism, he didn’t spark the outrage some were expecting — then he tried again. From Forward, how traditional is the Conservative movement? Whenever Judy Gold says she’s a Conservative Jew, “you can see people’s heads exploding” — who wants to be a metaphorical suicide bomber? Beyond Repair: Is tikkun olam, the Jewish concept of “healing the world”, as dangerous as David Horowitz says it is? The Man on J Street: Jeremy Ben-Ami has been called a Judas, but unruffled, continues lobbying U.S. policymakers to push Israel toward peace. A review of The Chosen Peoples: America, Israel, and the Ordeals of Divine Election by Todd Gitlin and Liel Leibovitz (and more). Onward, Christian Zionists: Jennifer Rubin on the fastest growing Israel support group in America. The Uncircumcised Israel Lobby: What Jews misunderstand about Christian ZionismMoment asks 35 American Jews to big questions: What does it mean to be a Jew today, and what do Jews bring to the world today?

From Dissent, Ben Gidley on the Left, social theory, and terror. David Attenborough and Richard Dawkins chat about the big issues: the unity of life, ethics, energy, Handel — and the joy of riding a snowmobile. A People’s History of Koch Industries: Libertarian billionaires Charles and David Koch are closetcase subsidy kings who milk Big Government tyranny, but want to slash spending on anyone else (and more on how Stalin funded the Tea Party movement). Eavesdropping on your eulogy: A tale of enjoying the funeral without having to die. Atlas faces prison: One of the greatest high-tech CEOs in Silicon Valley history is being sent to prison. The secret lives of Big Pharma's "Thought Leaders": What's it like to be both envied and disdained? John Derbyshire on Robert Putnam: Still bowling alone. Honesty and cruelty by the numbers: Christine Werthman on Pitchfork and the Art of Tastemaking. Bare-Naked Lady: Emily Joffe goes on vacation at a nudist camp. Why would anyone spend four months and $180,000 building something that will only last a week? The answer says a lot about Burning Man culture. Hooked: Ryan Burns on blood, masochism and the shocking thrill of human suspension. Incredibly, scientists are starting to view New York as an ecological hot spot — more diverse and richer in nature than the suburbs and rural counties that surround it. An article on 6 brutal leaders and their ridiculous secret hobbies.

From Utne Reader, here is a feast of reading about food. Michael Pollan on why $8 for a dozen eggs makes sense. From The Common Review, empire and alcohol: A review of I Drink Therefore I Am: A Philosopher’s Guide to Wine by Roger Scruton; The Prohibition Hangover by Garrett Peck; Uncorking the Past: The Quest for Wine, Beer and Other Alcoholic Beverages by Patrick E. McGovern; The King of Vodka: The Story of Pyotr Smirnov and the Upheaval of an Empire by Linda Himelstein; and Bacardi and the Long Fight for Cuba by Tom Gjelten. Market history: Historian Tracey Deutsch studies how food consumption has evolved in the 20th century. An interview with David Gentilcore, author of Pomodoro! A History of the Tomato in Italy (and more). There’s a thesis to be written on the ever-increasing number of food magazines out there — it must mean something. A review of What Caesar Did For My Salad: Not to Mention the Earl's Sandwich, Pavlova's Meringue and Other Curious Stories Behind our Favourite Food by Albert Jack. Table Manner: Anthony Grafton on the disposition of the Last Supper. In Praise of Fast Food: We need a culinary ethos that comes to terms with industrialized food. A review of Messianic Hopes and Politics in the Food Movement by Nicholas Sabloff. Here are 7 food myths you probably know (but are worth repeating). Christopher Shea on how Consumer Reports rebuts Malcolm Gladwell on ketchup. De Condimentis: Tom Nealon’s Foucauldian-condimental history of the West.

From Vanity Fair, the Wall Street Journal, ruled by the Establishment-hating Rupert Murdoch, has declared war against the New York Times,  defended by the tradition-loving Arthur Sulzberger Jr. — surveying the battlefield, Sarah Ellison doubts either side will be able to claim victory. Anmol Chaddha and William Julius Wilson on why they're teaching The Wire at Harvard (and more). It was heaven that they burned: Who is Rigoberta Menchu? Moral panics and rumors: When the world turns its mean side to the public, rumors amplified in the Internet/cable news age often slip past our critical thinking skills. From Obit magazine, Judy Bachrach on American Apparel, the last shred of decency. You hear that, Newport? Even as powerful an avatar of the good life as Martha Stewart isn’t enough to fill out Richard Saul Wurman’s idea of a decent week’s lunch card. Pseudo-profundity is the art of sounding profound while talking tosh; unlike the art of actually being profound, the art of sounding profound is not particularly difficult to master. It turns out there is accounting for taste: New research finds people’s taste in entertainment remains remarkably consistent, regardless of whether they’re reading, watching or listening. Hell, it turns out, isn’t other people; hell is other people reviewing on An article on 6 insane foreign memes that put Lolcats to shame. From dark to cerebral, what kind of media consumer are you?

A new issue of Relay is out. Peter Beilharz (La Trobe): Writing the History of Twentieth Century Communism. Onur Ulas Ince (Cornell): "Progress" Revisited: A Historical Materialist Reappraisal. Eddy Laing on why historical materialism matters. An article on Karl Marx’s theory of commodity fetishism. Marcello Musto on the dissemination and reception of the Grundrisse, a contribution to the history of Marxism. A review of Lenin's Political Thought by Neil Harding. Pravda and other words for truth: Medeine Tribinevicius on V.I. Lenin’s long journey from revolutionary hero to icon of kitsch. An excerpt from Capitalism and Class Consciousness: The Ideas of Georg Lukacs by Chris Nineham. From New Left Review, Perry Anderson on Two Revolutions: How to explain the opposed outcomes for communism in Russia and China, after 1989? From Khukuri, John Steele on Marxism, politics, and evil: A critical engagement with Bill Martin's Ethical Marxism (and part 2 and part 3). From the Platypus Review, is Marx back? An interview with Leo Panitch; Chris Cutrone on a critique of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA’s “New Synthesis”; and a forum on Imperialism: What is it, why should we be against it? From US Marxists-Humanists, Kevin Anderson on overcoming some current challenges to dialectical thought. Rehabilitating utopia and saving the future: If socialism was to democratically realise the wishes of the common working people, why should they be restrained in their wishes? From Canadian Dimension, James Petras on trends to barbarism and prospects for socialism. From the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, here are ten reasons to reject socialism.