Commentary Magazine


Welcome to the Archive

More than a half-century of opinion and ideas. Still timeless.

View : All Months | Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec
January, 1995Back to Top
Learning Math
by Our Readers
To the Editor: David Guaspari, in his review of Overcoming Math Anxiety by Sheila Tobias [Books in Review, October 1994], is of course right to note that Tobias errs in describing Plato's Republic as “Socrates' best-known treatise on government” and in identifying it as his Dialogue, but he goes overboard in characterizing this error as “a serious cultural failing” and a “howler.” Unless, that is, he is prepared to make the same criticism of Allan Bloom's analysis.

Terrorism
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Martin Kramer's contention [“The Jihad Against the Jews,” October 1994] that the greatest threat to Jews today comes from Islamic fundamentalists is well-argued and persuasive.

Leonard Bernstein
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In “How Good Was Leonard Bernstein?” [October 1994], Terry Teachout relates that Harold Schonberg, the former music critic of the New York Times, once said that Leonard Bernstein “could have been the American Offenbach,” and he proceeds to conjecture that “this must have enraged a man whose greatest desire in later life was to write an opera about the Holocaust.” Not necessarily.

On Jerusalem
by Our Readers
To the Editor: David Bar-Illan [“Next Year in (a Divided?) Jerusalem,” September 1994] attacks me and my views on the future of Jerusalem based on an article of mine that appeared the Washington Post.

The ADL Report
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Midge Decter [“The ADL vs. the ‘Religious Right,’” September 1994] argues that the Anti-Defamation League (which she refers to as “an established and highly respected organization dedicated to the protection and security of the American Jewish community”) in its recent report on the religious Right has indulged in religious bigotry and liberal broadsides against this movement.

“What to Do About Crime”
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Having labored more than 30 years for strict gun control . . . (I helped organize the National Council for a Responsible Firearms Policy and was its executive director from 1968 to its dissolution in 1989), .

Crime; the ADL; Jerusalem; Leonard Bernstein; etc.
by Our Readers
"What To Do About Crime" TO THE EDITOR OF COMMENTARY: Having labored more than 30 years for strict gun control .

God and the Americans
by Paul Johnson
1. The City Upon a Hill No other country in history enables us to examine more closely the interaction among religious belief, culture, and public life than the United States of America.

Comes the Counterrevolution
by Norman Podhoretz
It took a few days to sink in, but within a week or so after the elections of 1994, there was general agreement that the astounding Republican sweep and the correlative Democratic disaster represented something deeper than a mere swing of the political pendulum. Of course some Democrats tried to rationalize, explain away, or even deny the dimensions of their defeat.

From Schnitzler to Kushner
by Edward Norden
The good-looking young men cruising the aisles were putting on a show of their own. “Questionnaires!” they sang as they handed out pink forms to everybody.

Alexandria on My Mind
by Andre Aciman
People in the street in Alexandria called her al-tarsha, the deaf woman. Among the Arabs in the marketplace, everyone and everything in her household was known in relation to her: the deaf woman's father, the deaf woman's house, maid, bicycle, car, husband.

In the Classroom
by Mark Gerson
Dear Commentary: I am having a wonderful time teaching at St. Luke's, a Catholic high school in Jersey City.1 I teach American history to the sophomores—five classes in all.

A Feminist Seder
by Wendy Shalit
Of all the storybook characters who people my earliest memories, I remain fondest of that rotten bunch of children from the Mrs.

The Bell Curve, by Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray
by Chester Finn,
For Whom It Tolls The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life. by Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray. Free Press.

The Southern Tradition, by Eugene D. Genovese
by Peter Berger
Beyond the Confederacy The Southern Tradition: The Achievement and Limitations of an American Conservatism. by Eugene D. Genovese. Harvard. 138 pp. $22.50. Eugene D.

This Year in Jerusalem, by Mordechai Richler
by Edward Alexander
Bad Trip This Year in Jerusalem. by Mordechai Richler. Knopf. 292 pp. $23.00. Mordechai Richler first came to prominence by virtue of two novels set among the Jews of Montreal.

Winchell, by Neal Gabler
by Daniel Silver
The Memory Hole Winchell: Gossip, Power, and the Culture of Celebrity. by Neal Gabler. Knopf. 681 pp. $30.00. Surely for anyone born after World War II, the staccato-toned voice of the narrator of the television series The Untouchables is more familiar than the name of the man behind the voice: Walter Winchell. Considering that Winchell was perhaps the most powerful gossip columnist of all time, and that in the 1930's and 40's he was an immensely influential political pundit, whose columns could be found in hundreds of newspapers across the country and whose voice was heard by over twenty million listeners on the radio every Sunday night, his disappearance from public memory has been astonishingly complete.

A History of Women: Volume V, edited by Francoise Thebaud
by Nancy Yos
Herstory A History of Women in the West, Volume V: Toward a Cultural Identity in the Twentieth Century. by Françoise Thébaud. Harvard. 597 pp.

The Dream That Failed, by Walter Laqueur
by Gabriel Schoenfeld
Missing the Boat The Dream That Failed: Reflections on the Soviet Union. by Walter Laqueur. Oxford. 231 pp. $25.00. In the summer 1989 issue of a leading scholarly journal, A.

February, 1995Back to Top
Jewish Continuity
by Our Readers
To the Editor: The article by Jonathan D. Sarna [“The Secret of Jewish Continuity,” October 1994] is disturbing because it encourages optimism and complacency at a time when there is no clear justification for either.

Crime in America
by Our Readers
To the Editor: James Q. Wilson's “What To Do About Crime” [September 1994] is a thought-provoking article by one of America's great intellects.

Free Speech
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I subscribe to Justice Black's absolutist views of the First Amendment, and I am also an admirer of John O.

Church and State
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Jeremy Rabkin [“The Curious Case of Kiryas Joel,” November 1994] says quite a bit about Kiryas Joel, but not nearly enough.

The Schools
by Our Readers
To the Editor: While Chester E. Finn, Jr. [“What To Do About Education: The Schools,” October 1994] makes some valid points, his analysis is also incomplete and subject to the terminological vagueness that characterizes the education debate.

The Universities
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Gertrude Himmelfarb [“What To Do About Education: The Universities,” October 1994] describes two “reformations” of higher education: its post-World War II expansion, both in size and in multiplicity of functions, and its post-60's descent into trivia, obscurantism, and ersatz radicalism.

The universities; the schools; church and state; crime; etc.
by Our Readers
The Universities TO THE EDITOR OF COMMENTARY: Gertrude Himmelfarb ["What To Do About Education: The Uni- versities," October 1994] describes two "reformations" of higher edu- cation: its post-World War II expansion, both in size and in mul- tiplicity of functions, and its post- 60's descent into trivia, obscur- antism, and ersatz radicalism.

What To Do About the First Amendment
by Robert Bork
THE text of the First Amendment is quite simple: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridg- ing the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of griev- ances." These are not words that would lead the uninitiated to suspect that the law, both with re- gard to religion and with regard to speech, could be what the Supreme Court has made of it in the past few decades.

If This Be Peace ...
by David Bar-Illan
In the euphoria following the Rabin-Arafat handshake on the White House lawn, opponents of the agreement negotiated in Oslo with the PLO compared Israel to the proverbial man jumping off the Empire State Building.

Clintonism Abroad
by Joshua Muravchik
In the weeks just before the November 1994 elections, public-opinion polls registered a slight rebound by the Democrats, although it turned out to be fleeting.

Are Human Rights Still Universal?
by George Weigel
Five years after the Revolution of 1989, the idea that certain basic and inalienable human rights constitute the moral and political patrimony of all human beings—a claim presumably vindicated by the Communist crack-up and by the democratic transitions in East Central Europe, Latin America, and parts of East Asia—is once again under attack.

The Problem of Shostakovich
by Terry Teachout
Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-75) is now generally regarded as one of the great composers of our time, but his reputation, at least in the West, was not always so high.

Moe
by Joseph Epstein
“Dinosaurs,” Lou Levin said, “let's face it, we're a pack of goddamn dinosaurs.” “What's that supposed to mean?” Irv Brodsky asked. “It means,” said Levin, “that guys like us are destined no longer to appear on the face of the earth.

Washington Meets the New
by Charles Horner
In the wake of the Republican landslide, the liberal doyens of the Washington establishment, never much for gallows humor, find themselves able to laugh only weakly these days whenever the “denial-of-death” metaphor predictably appears in one or another piece of political commentary.

Between Friends: The Correspondence of Hannah Arendt and Mary McCarthy, edited by Carol Brightman
by Midge Decter
The Company they Kept Between Friends: The Correspondence of Hannah Arendt and Mary McCarthy. by Carol Brightman. Harcourt, Brace. 392 pp. $34.95. The two women first met in 1944, when Mary McCarthy was married to the famous literary critic Edmund Wilson, her second and soon-to-be-ex-husband, and Hannah Arendt was, as they say, only three years off the boat from Nazi Europe.

Strange Justice, by Jane Mayer and Jill Abramson
by Tod Lindberg
Sex, Lies, and . . . Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas. by Jane Mayer and Jill Abramson. Houghton Mifflin. 406 pp.

The Sacred Chain, by Norman F. Cantor
by Hillel Halkin
Deconstructing the Jews The Sacred Chain: The History of the Jews. by Norman F. Cantor. HarperCollins. 472 pp. $35.00. If there is a case for scholars sticking to their specialties, this book makes it well.

Vamps & Tramps, by Camille Paglia
by Elizabeth Kristol
Pagan Envy Vamps & Tramps: New Essays. by Camille Paglia. Vintage Books. 572 pp. $15.00 (paper). Camille Paglia, the self-appointed enfant terrible of the academy, feminism, and the art world, is the author of Sexual Personae, a 700-page scholarly work which in 1990 became a surprise best-seller.

Masters of the Dream, by Alan L. Keyes
by Arch Puddington
Dissident Masters of the Dream: The Strength and Betrayal of Black America. by Alan L. Keyes. Morrow. 224 pp. $23.00. A full quarter-century after the heyday of the civil-rights era, blacks remain the most reliably liberal voting bloc in American politics.

March, 1995Back to Top
Batter Up
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I applaud George Weigel [“Politically-Correct Baseball,” November 1994] for brilliantly skewering the political correctness that undermines Ken Burns's television documentary Baseball, although it is amusing to note that Burns's musical score contributes some remarkably crude ethnic stereotyping of its own: John McGraw makes his appearance to the subtle strains of “Danny Boy”; Connie Mack is accompanied by “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling”; the arrival of a Negro Leaguer is inevitably signaled by a Mississippi Delta slide guitar; and Roberto Clemente gets”Oye Como.

Countercultures
by Our Readers
To the Editor: “And what about our own orthodoxy, the secular, humanist, rationalist orthodoxy against which all the countercultures of the past two centuries—from romanticism through modernism to postmodernism—have rebelled?” asks Irving Kristol [“Countercultures,” December 1994].

Welfare
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In “What To Do About Welfare” [December 1994], Charles Murray alludes to one of the road blocks in the way of welfare reform, but he does not elaborate upon it: more tax dollars are used to pay for the administration of welfare programs than are distributed to welfare recipients.

The Cold War
by Our Readers
To the Editor: While I agree with many of Joshua Muravchik's points [“How the Cold War Really Ended,” November 1994], I feel strongly that he is wrong about the state of the Soviet Union at the time Gorbachev took power.

Charlie and Mark
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Joseph Epstein's recollections of the quiz-show scandal [“Redford's Van Doren & Mine,” December 1994] triggered a memory of my own. Back at the dawn of TV history—1957—I was an instructor in the Columbia University English department.

The Peace Process: II
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Hillel Halkin [“Israel Against Itself,” November 1994] should be applauded for his candid and trenchant analysis of the malaise afflicting Israeli society.

The Peace Process: I
by Our Readers
To the Editor: While there are reasons to support a “gloomy view” of the Arab-Israeli peace process, Norman Podhoretz [“The Peace Process So Far,” December 1994] relies on exaggerations and misinterpretations to defend his position. In the 1992 Israeli election that brought the Rabin government to power, Mr.

The peace process; the Van Dorens; the cold war; baseball; etc.
by Our Readers
The Peace Process: I TO THE EDITOR OF COMMENTARY: While there are reasons to sup- port a "gloomy view" of the Arab- Israeli peace process, Norman Podhoretz ["The Peace Process So Far," December 1994] relies on exaggerations and misinterpreta- tions to defend his position.

What To Do About the Children
by William Bennett
At the dawn of the 20th century there was every reason to believe that ours would be (in the title of a best-selling book at the time) “the century of the child.” From the early part of the 1900's through the 1950's, despite ups and downs, despite Depression and war, things got better in almost every area touching the welfare of American children: economic security improved, material earnings increased, medicine progressed, family structure was stable, children occupied a valued place in society, and our civic institutions were strong and resilient.

What To Do About Immigration
by Linda Chavez
Despite overwhelming opposition from the media, from leaders of the religious and civil-rights communities, from the education establishment, and even from prominent conservatives like Jack Kemp and William J.

What To Do About the CIA
by Richard Pipes
For the second time since it came into being in 1947, the Central Intelligence Agency is fighting for its life.

Land for Cash?
by Dore Gold
Twenty years ago, during his first term in office, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin struck what was probably the greatest bargain for Israel in the history of the Arab-Israeli peace process.

Juries on Trial
by Richard Posner
In recent years, a series of highly publicized criminal trials in which obviously guilty defendants were acquitted by juries (or convicted only of much lesser offenses than they had actually committed) has made the American jury a controversial institution.

An Amateur Jew
by Herb Greer
I first heard of actual Jews as a child, at a cocktail party in Santa Fe, New Mexico just before World War II.

Black Kids and Basketball
by Mark Gerson
As the columnist George Will said of the literature of the airplane, the most striking thing about the literature of basketball is that there is so little of it.

Victim Art
by Terry Teachout
The critic Paul Elmer More once described John Dos Passos's novel Manhattan Transfer as “an explosion in a cesspool.” Much the same thing could be said of “Discussing the Undiscussable,” an essay by the New Yorker's dance critic Arlene Croce which was published in that magazine's December 26 issue.

On the Origins of War, by Donald Kagan
by Aaron Friedberg
Ancient Wisdom, Modern War On the Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace. by Donald Kagan. Doubleday. 606 pp. $30.00. Pity the poor statesman who turns for help to the world of ideas. Closest to him in terms of physical proximity and overall outlook is a dense thicket of “policy intellectuals” centered in Washington, D.C.

Race and Culture, by Thomas Sowell
by Josef Joffe
Nature, Nurture, Culture Race and Culture: A World View. by Thomas Sowell. Basic Books. 331 pp. $25.00. As long as mainstream publishers like Basic Books bring out works like Race and Culture, all is not lost—though one can just imagine teeth gnashing and blue pencil poised to strike as an editor's sensitized eyes settled on terms like “Negroes” or “more advanced societies.” Thomas Sowell's work is a relentless, 331-page attack against the wisdom of the day, which comes under the frazzled labels of “multiculturalism,” “PC,” and “affirmative action”; but the argument takes place on a breathtaking intellectual level that ought to command the respect even of those who violently disagree with him. This is an “old-fashioned” book, one that has become rare in academia, which tends to produce ever longer answers to ever smaller questions.

The Holocaust in Historical Context, by Steven T. Katz
by Jerry Muller
Genocides? The Holocaust in Historical Context: Volume I: The Holocaust and Mass Death before the Modern Age. by Steven T. Katz. Oxford. 702 pp.

More Precious than Peace, by Peter W. Rodman
by Steven David
Victor and Vanquished More Precious than Peace: The Cold War and the Struggle for the Third World. by Peter W. Rodman. Scribners. 654 pp.

Naturalist, by Edward O. Wilson
by Jonathan Rosen
Lord of the Ants Naturalist. by Edward O. Wilson. Island Press. 380 pp. $24.95. “Go to the ant, thou sluggard,” counsels the book of Proverbs, “consider her ways and be wise.” Edward O.

April, 1995Back to Top
The Peace Process
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In replying last month to the letters on his “The Peace Process So Far” [December 1994], Norman Podhoretz once again expressed the fear that this process would lead not to peace but to another war.

Teaching
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I want to applaud Mark Gerson “In the Classroom” [January]—both as a writer and as a teacher. As a father of two young boys, I am delighted that young men of Mr.

“The Bell Curve”
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Chester E. Finn, Jr. in his review of The Bell Curve [Books in Review, January] has done much to counterbalance the avalanche of opprobrium heaped upon the authors of the book, Charles Murray and Richard J.

National Defense
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Eliot A. Cohen's thoughtful analysis of the future of national defense [“What To Do About National Defense,” November 1994] left out what may be one of our central concerns.

Counterrevolution
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Norman Podhoretz, in his “Comes the Counterrevolution” [January], is correct to include “making appointments on the basis of race and gender” as part of Clinton's first mistake.

Religion in America
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Paul Johnson's article, “God and the Americans” [January], has renewed my concern that we are demonizing Protestant and Catholic fundamentalists. Years ago in my autobiography, The Day Is Short, I wrote of my anguish as a child in a rural South Georgia school system which “was properly designated public if by that one meant tax-supported, but in all other respects [was] a white Protestant institution which began each day with a prayer.” Nevertheless, I retain memories of the fine character and beneficences of so many devout evangelicals and fundamentalists in my native town. Mr.

Religion in America; counterrevolution; defense; the peace process; etc.
by Our Readers
Religion in America TO THE EDITOR OF COMMENTARY: Paul Johnson's article, "God and the Americans" [January], has renewed my concern that we are demonizing Protestant and Catho- lic fundamentalists.

What To Do About the Arts
by Joseph Epstein
Arts that lack a particular distinction or nobility of style are often said to be styleless, and the culture is judged to be weak or decadent. —Meyer Schapiro “Art for everyone”: anyone regarding that as possible is unaware how “everyone” is constituted and how art is constituted.

Bosnia: Is It Too Late?
by Eugene Rostow
Bosnia: Is it too Late? Yes: Patrick Glynn No: Eugene V. Rostow Patrick Glynn: Almost no one doubts today that Bosnia has been a moral failure, for America and for the West.

An Unsung Jewish Prophet
by Edward Norden
For most of their long history, especially in the century of Hitler and Stalin, Jews have faced their greatest threat in anti-Semitism.

What My Father Knew
by Ruth Wisse
On the morning of June 22, 1940 my mother, my elder brother, and I fled the Romanian city of Czernowitz to join my father in Bucharest.

Holy Minimalism
by Terry Teachout
The entry for Philip Glass in the sixth edition of The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, published in 1980, is 24 lines long.

Agents of Influence
by David Pryce-Jones
Soviet archives, confessions, and memoirs are establishing as never before the extent of Soviet interference in the internal affairs of other countries—which turns out to have been far deeper than even the most vigilant observers ever supposed.

She Lost It at the Movies
by Daniel Silver
An odd disjunction today affects our experience of the movies. On the one hand, never have films been so accomplished, so technically glossy.

Fatherless America, by David Blankenhorn
by Chester Finn,
Where's Dad? Fatherless America: Confronting Our Most Urgent Social Problem. by David Blankenhorn. Basic Books. 352 pp. $23.00. With about half of all marriages in the U.S.

Jews and the New American Scene, by Seymour Martin Lipset and Earl Raab
by David Singer
Tribal Dilemma Jews and the New American Scene. by Seymour Martin Lipset and Earl Raab. Harvard. 234 pp. $22.95. In the early 1980's, the sociologist Charles Silberman published A Certain People, a book that depicted the American Jewish experience as an unqualified success and the American Jewish future as a golden prospect.

Shadows of the Mind, by Roger Penrose
by Adam Schulman
Thinking Machine Shadows of the Mind: A Search for the Missing Science of Consciousness. by Roger Penrose. Oxford. 457 pp. $25.00. Roger Penrose, the distinguished mathematical physicist, has again entered the lists to rid the world of a terrible dragon.

Rogue States and Nuclear Outlaws, by Michael Klare
by Peter Rodman
Big Carrot, Small Stick Rogue States and Nuclear Outlaws: America's Search for a New Foreign Policy. by Michael Klare. Hill & Wang. 291 pp.

Democracy on Trial, by Jean Bethke Elshtain
by Adam Wolfson
A New Covenant? Democracy on Trial. by Jean Bethke Elshtain. Basic Books. 153 pp. $20.00. Jean Bethke Elshtain, the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Ethics at the University of Chicago, is a self-described “feminist political theorist” and the author of several academic works on how Plato, Machiavelli, Hegel, and the like illuminate the condition of modern women.

May, 1995Back to Top
Samuel Lipman
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I must be speaking for many when I lament the death last December of Samuel Lipman. He was conducting piano classes and performing, sometimes together with his wife, Jeanine Dowis, in Aspen, Colorado when I first met him during the 1960's. While Mr.

“Moe”
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I thoroughly enjoyed “Moe” [February], Joseph Epstein's tender tale describing the disillusionment of an older man who suffers estrangement from his son and the death of his wife. Moe Bernstein eventually finds renewal as he establishes a bond with his grandson while teaching him about trying harder, being tougher, and learning how to survive. I felt a nostalgic twinge also at the mention of the Horwich Jewish Community Center, Devon Avenue, Lincolnwood, Glencoe, Highland Park, West Rogers Park, and St.

Human Rights
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Permit me to provide another example of the issues George Weigel dealt with in “Are Human Rights Still Universal?” [February]. Every now and then a report from India in the Western media recalls the continuing discrimination, suffering, and humiliation of the untouchables.

“A Feminist Seder”
by Our Readers
To the Editor: . . . Wendy Shalit [“A Feminist Seder,” January] went to the seder in the spirit of a heckler, and her behavior there was rude.

The First Amendment
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In his attack on the Supreme Court's First Amendment jurisprudence [“What To Do About the First Amendment,” February], one must admire Robert H.

American Troops on the Golan
by Our Readers
To the Editor: The Center for Security Policy report, “U.S. Forces on the Golan Heights?” [December 1994], raises a number of important points concerning Golan peacekeeping.

U.S. troops on the Golan; the First Amendment; a feminist seder; Samuel Lipman; etc.
by Our Readers
American Troops on the Golan TO THE EDITOR OF COMMENTARY: The Center for Security Policy report, "U.S. Forces on the Golan Heights?" [December 1994], raises a number of important points con- cerning Golan peacekeeping.

“The Bell Curve” and Its Critics
by Charles Murray
In November 1989, Richard Herrnstein and I agreed to collaborate on a book that, five years later, became The Bell Curve.

A Jewish Contract With America
by Jack Wertheimer
Normally, when the representative organizations of a small minority emphatically back public policies that are just as emphatically rejected by the majority of American voters, one might expect at least a modicum of internal soul-searching about the wisdom of the minority's positions—particularly when those positions are only tangentially related to the group's actual interests.

Whose History? Whose Standards?
by Walter McDougall
The National Standards Project, conceived under George Bush, born and reared by Bill Clinton's Goals 2000: Educate America Act, and nursed with $2.2 million from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Department of Education, took sick the moment November's election returns were in.

Putting Children Last
by Mary Eberstadt
Over the last several years, something like a national consensus has come to form around the proposition that large numbers of children—particularly young children—live in circumstances tantamount to crisis.

The Crime and Punishment Festival
by Mark Lasswell
The newest arrival at the trauma unit of Chicago's Cook County Hospital managed to reply lucidly to the first few urgent questions posed to her after paramedics wheeled her in one night last July.

Mark Twain and the Jews
by Cynthia Ozick
I am looking at a facsimile of The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg and Other Stories and Essays, dated 1900. The print is large and clear, the margins generous.

What's Left of Liberalism
by David Brooks
I have on my shelf a book that bears the subtitle, “The Failure of American Liberalism.” A collection of essays and documents aimed at redefining and rescuing a creed, this book, whose main title is The Great Society Reader, was published in 1967. American liberals, then, have been recovering from the Failure of American Liberalism for quite some time now.

The De-Moralization of Society, by Gertrude Himmelfarb
by Peter Berger
The 19th Century & After The De-Moralization of Society: From Victorian Virtues to Modern Values. By Gertrude Himmelfarb. Knopf. 314 pp. $24.00. Gertrude Himmelfarb is probably the most distinguished American historian working on 19th-century England.

Broken Covenant, by Moshe Arens
by Joseph Shattan
Back-Door Diplomacy Broken Covenant: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis Between the U.S. and Israel. by Moshe Arens. Simon & Schuster. 320 pp.

Alien Nation, by Peter Brimelow
by Peter Skerry
Closing the Door Alien Nation: Common Sense About America's Immigration Disaster. by Peter Brimelow. Random House. 327 pp. $24.00. A few years ago I was present when a University of California vice president browbeat an unsuspecting undergraduate into silence.

Remembering My Good Friends, by George Weidenfeld
by John Gross
Peer of the Realm Remembering My Good Friends. by George Weidenfeld. HarperCollins. 483 pp. $30.00. To the world at large, George Weidenfeld is best known as a publisher, the co-founder and head of a famous London-based firm.

The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy, by Christopher Lasch
by Wilfred McClay
Valedictory The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy. by Christopher Lasch. Norton. 256 pp. $22.00. The historian Christopher Lasch, who died of cancer in February of last year, was a rare commodity, a cultural analyst and critic whose work actually grew steadily more interesting, and more independent of conventional ideological constraints, as he grew older.

June, 1995Back to Top
“Juries on Trial”
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Richard A. Posner's views [“Juries on Trial,” March] on the role of trial by jury and how juries should be handled by trial judges are, I believe, consistent with the experiences of most federal judges.

Imaginary & Other Jews
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Although I have not read the story by Paul Goodman described in Herb Greer's fine and thoughtful article, “An Amateur Jew” [March], its theme is strikingly similar to that of John Berryman's “The Imaginary Jew,” a story based on an unpleasant experience Berryman once had in Union Square, in which he was mistaken for and persecuted as a Jew by a right-wing lout. One difference between the story Mr.

“Victim Art”
by Our Readers
To the Editor: After reading Terry Teachout's endorsement of Arlene Croce's (in)famous article in the New Yorker [“Victim Art,” March], several questions which had been nagging me finally crystallized: Is there a distinction between “victim art” and documentaries of victims? What is “art for art's sake”? What is meant by “political art”? The first question is of primary importance because Still/Here, the Bill T.

Personal & Political
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I suppose that, sooner or later, I was bound to get a review of Democracy on Trial written by a critic who remains smitten with the 1960's.

Clinton's Foreign Policy
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Joshua Muravchik [“Clintonism Abroad,” February] deplores President Clinton's irresolution in matters of foreign policy, citing Bosnia, China, and North Korea as cases in point.

The Peace Process
by Our Readers
To the Editor: David Bar-Illan, in his incisive analysis of the peace process [“If This Be Peace . . . ,” February], correctly states that it is “naive to suppose that the Arab-Israeli conflict can be reduced to economic terms.”.

The Children
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In “What To Do About the Children” [March], William J. Bennett has, I think, given as trenchant an account as it is possible to give of the moral quagmire engulfing American society.

Immigration
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Linda Chavez [“What To Do About Immigration,” March] is never less than sensible, but . . . I feel she has not yet fully assimilated the new critique of immigration, despite her kind reference to my book, Alien Nation: Common Sense About America's Immigration Disaster.1 For example, Miss Chavez repeats the standard immigration enthusiast's excuse that today's record immigration should be compared to total U.S.

Immigration; the children; the peace process; etc.
by Our Readers
Immigration TO THE EDITOR OF COMMENTARY: Linda Chavez ["What To Do About Immigration," March] is never less than sensible, but ...

Editing Commentary: A Valedictory
by Norman Podhoretz
I can hardly remember a time when COMMENTARY was not a part of my life. I began reading it when I was in college in the late 1940's, shortly after it was founded under the editorship of Elliot E.

What To Do About Affirmative Action
by Arch Puddington
The thinking behind the policy of racial preference which has been followed in America over the past quarter-century under the name of “affirmative action”1 is best summed up by former Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun's famous dictum that, “In order to get beyond racism, we must first take race into account.” The Orwellian quality of Blackmun's admonition is obvious.

What To Do About Health Care
by David Frum
In the 1970's, an East German defector to the West was assigned the task of helping other escapees adjust to life in a free country.

The Americanization of the Holocaust
by Alvin Rosenfeld
Although it is far from clear that he actually coined it, the writer Elie Wiesel had a prominent role in popularizing “Holocaust” as the term of choice to designate the Nazi assault against the Jews.

Colin Powell's War
by Donald Kagan
It is only four years since the sensational victory of the United States and its allies that drove the Iraqi army out of Kuwait in a helter-skelter flight for survival after just 100 hours of fighting.

What Moderate Feminists?
by Carol Iannone
To judge by a spate of recent books and articles, there is a new willingness even among self-proclaimed feminists to speak frankly about the errors and excesses of their movement.

Claude Lanzmann and the IDF
by Hillel Halkin
Tsahal, the French director Claude Lanzmann's five-hour movie about the Israeli army that recently closed after a brief run in New York and Israel, is a disappointment, although not necessarily—as most of its Israeli critics seemed to think—because it is too appreciative of its subject. Both cinematically and thematically, Tsahal (the Hebrew name for Israel's army, an acronym formed from Tsva Haganah Leyisrael, the Israel Defense Force or IDF) is a sequel to Lanzmann's ten-hour Shoah (1985), an extraordinary documentary about the Holocaust.

In Retrospect, by Robert S. McNamara
by Gabriel Schoenfeld
Sorry about That In retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam. by Robert S. McNamara with Brian Vandemark. Times Books/Random House. 414 pp.

Emblems of Mind, by Edward Rothstein
by Terry Teachout
In Harmony Emblems of Mind: The Inner Life of Music and Mathematics. by Edward Roth-Stein. Times Books. 263 pp. $25.00. Music is the most radically elusive of the arts.

A Radical Jew, by Daniel Boyarin
by Jay Harris
The Circumcised Heart A Radical Jew: Paul and the Politics of Identity. by Daniel Boyarin. University of California Press. 366 pp. $35.00. A Radical Jew is billed as an encounter, on the part of “a practicing Jew, Talmudist, [and] cultural critic,” with “some of the most remarkable texts of Western literature, the Letters of Paul.” Daniel Boyarin, a professor at Berkeley, here attempts not only to explain the conversion of the leading apostle of the early Christian community but to show how the struggles of this erstwhile Jew of the 1st century have much to teach us about our own contemporary quandaries. The key to Paul's thought, Boyarin writes, is to be found in an early baptismal formula cited in his Letter to the Galatians (3:28).

The Secret World of American Communism, by Harvey Klehr, John Earl Haynes, and Fridrikh Igorevich Firsov
by Mark Falcoff
Out of the Archives The Secret World Of American Communism. by Harvey Klehr, John Earl Haynes, and Fridrikh Igorevich Firsov. Yale. 384 pp.

The Failure of Political Islam, by Olivier Roy
by Daniel Pipes
The Good Ayatollahs The Failure of Political Islam. by Olivier Roy. Translated by Carol Volk. Harvard. 238 pp. $22.95. For decades, “the Middle East conflict” has referred to the Arab-Israeli confrontation.

July, 1995Back to Top
Author's Note
by
To the Editor: In my article, “What Moderate Feminists?” [June], I inadvertently failed to credit Nicholas Davidson, author of The Failure of Feminism, to whose work I was indebted at several points. Carol Iannone New York City

Israel and the Golan
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In the May letters columns, the authors of the Center for Security Policy report, “U.S. Forces on the Golan Heights?” [December 1994], give a conclusive reply to their critic, Michael Eisenstadt of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Camille Paglia
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In her review of Camille Paglia's new collection of essays, Vamps & Tramps, Elizabeth Kristol [Books in Review, February] hits most of the main points.

“Mark Twain and the Jews”
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Cynthia Ozick [“Mark Twain and the Jews,” May] is certainly correct that Mark Twain's writing on the Jews, even at its most philo-Semitic, was based on the anti-Semitic canards of his day.

Pauline Kael
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I wish to respond to Daniel J. Silver's article on Pauline Kael [“She Lost It at the Movies,” April].

Fatherhood
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I am grateful to Chester E. Finn, Jr. for his generous and insightful review of my book, Fatherless America: Confronting Our Most Urgent Social Problem [Books in Review, April].

The Arts
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In “What To Do About the Arts” [April], Joseph Epstein covers a wide range of topics. . .

Liberalism
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Whatever the merits of David Brooks's analysis of a crisis in “liberalism” [“What's Left of Liberalism,” May], his description of the New Republic is, in all respects, ludicrous.

Immigration, Cont'd.
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In “What To Do About Immigration” [March], Linda Chavez writes that Peter Brimelow and I “believe that national identity must be defined in explicitly racial and ethnic terms.” Mr.

Immigration; liberalism; fatherhood; the arts; etc.
by Our Readers
Immigration, Cont'd. TO THE EDITOR OF COMMENTARY: In "What To Do About Immi- gration" [March], Linda Chavez writes that Peter Brimelow and I "believe that national identity must be defined in explicitly racial and ethnic terms." Mr.

A Retreat From Power?
by Robert Kagan
In an article that appeared in these pages seven years ago, Owen Harries, the editor of the quarterly National Interest, predicted that if the United States were to decline over the coming decades, it would not be as a result of overtaxed capabilities, or what was then being called “imperial overstretch.” It would be because “the American people and their leaders [had] decided that they want other things more than they want to remain the leading power in the world.”1 Seven years and one collapsed Soviet empire later, Harries's warning has proved both prophetic and ironic.

Sex Among the Americans
by Joseph Adelson
I teach a seminar for first-year undergraduates on the troubles of adolescence. During a discussion of teenage illegitimacy not too long ago, I mentioned in passing a surprising datum I had just come across: the average American woman, during her lifetime, has two sex partners.

Computers & Their Discontents
by Daniel Silver
If we measure the success of a revolution by the frequency with which the term itself is invoked, then the revolution in information technology must be the most successful in history.

The Engagement
by Pearl Abraham
“What kind of man do you want me to look for?” Ma asks when we're walking. “You'll have to rely on me to find the right one; your father has no idea.” This is her favorite subject these days. “Not a man like Father,” I tell her.

The Spirit of Liberty and the Spirit of Religion
by Adam Wolfson
That the American people are a religious people is plain. But it is just as plain that they do not want clerics dictating their politics or politicians dictating their religion to them.

Hallucinations of Peace
by Fiamma Nirenstein
Despite its notoriously defective electoral system, Israel is a country with an authentic government and a real opposition, a country where the major parties regularly contend to form governments; where the judiciary performs its duties without the slightest hesitation, rendering decisions that regularly overturn government policy and state laws; where the press is free to attack, criticize, and tear down.

The Ghosts of Vietnam
by Charles Horner
In the last ten years, Vietnam has come awkwardly back into ordinary international life, obliged by the profound changes that have taken place in the world to shed its pose of defiant isolation. Before 1945, Vietnam had all the allure of an emerging modern culture, with something cosmopolitan and something French added to its far older East and South Asian traditions.

“Harvey Milk,” Etc.
by Terry Teachout
Harvey Milk, an opera by Stewart Wallace and Michael Korie about the life and violent death of America's first openly gay elected public official, premiered in Houston earlier this year and made its debut at the New York City Opera in April.

God: A Biography, by Jack Miles
by Paul Johnson
Reading the Mystery God: A Biography. by Jack Miles. Knopf. 446 pp. $27.50. No summary of mine can do justice to the richness of this book.

The Death of Common Sense, by Philip K. Howard
by Marc Arkin
Wrongs from Rights The Death of Common Sense: How Law is Suffocating America. by Philip K. Howard. Random House. 202 pp. $18.00. Until recently, the federal government purchased hammers according to a 33-page specification sheet; its Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) required that bricks be labeled a hazardous substance in the workplace.

With My Own Eyes, by Jacob Katz
by David Berger
Odyssey With My Own Eyes: The Autobiography of a Historian. by Jacob Katz. Translated by Ann Brenner and Zipora Brody. Brandeis University Press/ University Press of New England.

Newton's Optical Writings, by Dennis L. Sepper
by David Guaspari
The Vision Thing Newton's Optical Writings. by Dennis L. Sepper. Rutgers. 217 pp. $42.00. Can there be more than antiquarian interest in scientific works that have long been superseded? To judge by their actions, most contemporary scientists would answer no.

The Next American Nation, by Michael Lind
by George Weigel
About-Face The Next American Nation: The New Nationalism and the Fourth American Revolution. by Michael Lind. Free Press. 415 pp. $22.95. This past winter, Michael Lind, erstwhile research assistant to William F.

August, 1995Back to Top
A Tale of Two Scholars
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Cynthia Ozick's often enlightening article . . . , “Mark Twain and the Jews” [May], might have been less superficial and more factually accurate had she read my recent book, “Our Famous Guest”: Mark Twain in Vienna (University of Georgia Press, 1992), or even if she had perused my entries on the subject in The Mark Twain Encyclopedia (J.R.

History Standards
by Our Readers
To the Editor: As one of the two faculty members responsible for overseeing the development of the Standards for Era 3 of the National World History Standards, I read with great interest Walter A.

Community Relations
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Jack Wertheimer [“A Jewish Contract With America,” May] is distressed by the continuing commitment of Jewish communal agencies to the separation of church and state.

Community relations; history standards; Mark Twain.
by Our Readers
Community Relations TO THE EDITOR OF COMMENTARY: Jack Wertheimer ["A Jewish Contract With America," May] is distressed by the continuing com- mitment of Jewish communal agencies to the separation of church and state.

IQ, Race, and Heredity
by And Critics
To the Editor: In “ ‘The Bell Curve’ and Its Critics” [May], Charles Murray does your readers a disservice by using the same standards of evidence and scholarship that he adopted in the book he wrote with the late Richard J.

In the Matter of Pat Robertson
by Norman Podhoretz
Is Pat Robertson guilty of the charge of anti-Semitism that has lately been hurled at him? It is an important question, with much more riding on it than Robertson's personal reputation alone.

A Ladies' Room of One's Own
by Wendy Shalit
I am sometimes puzzled by all the talk in universities these days about the “loss of the canon.” My own liberal-arts college, at any rate, most certainly has not lost its.

Where Is the Peace Process Going?
by Dore Gold
Still another moment of transition is occurring in Israel as the government of Yitzhak Rabin moves toward implementing the next phase of the agreement it struck in September 1993 with the PLO in Oslo.

The Third Mrs. Kessler
by Joseph Epstein
Her eyes—leaning closer to the magnifying mirror, Elaine could read the future in her eyes. Not so long ago one of her best features, they now seemed less brown, less deep, less alive with the hope and promise they once held.

Arguing for Free Trade
by Paul Johnson
There are two scenarios for world trade in the 21st century, an optimistic and a pessimistic one. The optimistic scenario is the one which, almost unthinkingly, most of us subscribe to. It goes as follows.

Two Cheers for Kurt Masur
by Terry Teachout
When the German conductor Kurt Masur was appointed music director of the New York Philharmonic in the fall of 1991, he inherited an orchestra in disarray.

A Moment on the Earth, by Gregg Easterbrook
by Jeffrey Marsh
Down from Eden A Moment on the Earth: The Coming Age of Environmental Optimism. by Gregg Easter-Brook. Viking. 745 pp. $27.95. Beginning with the publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring almost 35 years ago, a parade of books on the environment has marched up and down the best-seller lists, virtually every one arguing that without radical change in the practices and values of Western civilization, humanity will be doomed.

The Age of Extremes, by Eric Hobsbawm
by Walter McDougall
Our Dialectical Century The Age of Extremes: A History of the World, 1914-1991. by Eric Hobsbawm. Pantheon. 640 pp. $35.00. A “powerful interpretation, .

A Chosen Few, by Mark Kurlansky
by David Singer
Staying On A Chosen Few: The Resurrection of European Jewry. by Mark Kurlansky. Addison-Wesley. 410 pp. $24.00. Before World War II, Europe was the cradle of Jewish life; today, Israel and the United States have become the two largest constellations in the Jewish universe.

Odd Angles of Heaven, edited by David Craig and Janet McCann
by J. Bottum
Poets at Prayer Odd Angles of Heaven: Contemporary Poetry by People of Faith. by David Craig and Janet McCann. Harold Shaw. 311 pp.

The Rise of Neoconservatism, by John Ehrman; Cold War Illusions, by Dana H. Allin
by Arch Puddington
Revisionism Revised The Rise of Neoconservatism: Intellectuals and Foreign Affairs, 1945-1994. by John Ehrman. Yale. 241 pp. $27.50. Cold War Illusions: America, Europe, and Soviet Power, 1969-1989. by Dana H.

September, 1995Back to Top
The First Amendment
by Our Readers
To the Editor: The correspondence columns in the May issue featured an exchange on Robert H. Bork's article, “What To Do About the First Amendment” [February].

The Holocaust
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I read Alvin H. Rosenfeld's article, “The Americanization of the Holocaust” [June], with great interest and with my usual high expectations of fine scholarship.

Affirmative Action
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Arch Puddington's article, “What To Do About Affirmative Action” [June], rightly says that any reform of affirmative-action programs must rule out racial preference altogether.

Affirmative action; the Holocaust; the First Amendment.
by Our Readers
Affirmative Action TO The Editor of COMMENTARY: Arch Puddington's article, "What To Do About Affirmative Action" June], rightly says that any reform of affirmative-action programs must rule out racial preference al- together.

Why America Dropped the Bomb
by Donald Kagan
The 50th anniversary of the use of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki has produced a wholly predictable debate over the necessity and morality of that decision.

The Lost Transport
by Joseph Polak
April 1945: about a week before liberation, the command of Bergen-Belsen decided to transfer the entire section of the camp known as the Sternlager to Theresienstadt.

A More Perfect Union?
by Wilfred McClay
The political insurgency that has transformed the face of American politics in the past year bears witness to the power of ideas.

Egypt Against Israel
by David Bar-Illan
The existence of Israel's nuclear arsenal has never been acknowledged by the Israeli government, yet it is an open secret and, as such, has proved a most effective weapon.

Philip Johnson's Brilliant Career
by Hilton Kramer
His wit all see-saw, between that and this, Now high, now low, now master up, now miss. And he himself one vile antithesis. —Alexander Pope “Epistle to Dr.

Academic Advocates
by Gertrude Himmelfarb
Recent discussions of academic freedom have focused on one particularly egregious case of professorial racism and anti-Semitism. In class and in public lectures, Professor Leonard Jeffries, then the chairman of the black-studies program at the City College of New York, expounded his theories of the genetic supremacy of blacks and of the responsibility of Jews for the slave trade.

The Color of Jazz
by Terry Teachout
GRP records, which owns the catalogue of Decca, a prominent record label of the 30's and 40's, recently released a two-CD set of jazz performances originally recorded by the older company.

The Origin of Satan, by Elaine Pagels
by Jon Levenson
The Devil in the Details The Origin of Satan. by Elaine Pagels. Random House. 214 pp. $23.00. At a time when books about angels make the best-seller lists, it is refreshing to have one about the devil—if only to remind us that religion is not all sweetness and light; it also has a dark side, which in turn mirrors the dark side of life and of the human heart. “Certainly [the New Testament gospels] are about love,” Elaine Pagels remembers telling a friend infected with the popular sentimental view of religion, “but since the story they have to tell involves betrayal and killing, they also include elements of hostility which evoke demonic images.” It is the most demonic figure in Christianity, the figure of Satan himself, that Pagels, a professor of religion at Princeton University, explores in her new book. But who is Satan? In the Hebrew Bible, Pagels acknowledges, “Satan” refers only to someone in an adversarial posture and not to a fallen angel.

1939: The Lost World of the Fair, by David Gelernter
by Christopher Caldwell
The Futurama is Now 1939: The Lost World of the Fair. by David Gelernter. Free Press. 418 pp. $23.00. David Gelernter is a polymath: a professor at Yale who specializes in the theory of artificial intelligence, a software designer, a painter, a classical composer, an author.

Security and Sacrifice, by Elliott Abrams
by Seth Cropsey
America and the World Security and Sacrifice: Isolation, Intervention, and American Foreign Policy. by Elliott Abrams. Hudson Institute. 150 pp. $12.95. The end of the cold war has ushered in a period of considerable uncertainty about the means and, particularly, the ends of U.S.

The Wonders of America, by Jenna Weissman Joselit
by David Klinghoffer
Kitchen Faith The Wonders of America: Reinventing Jewish Culture, 1880-1950. by Jenna Weissman Joselit. Hill & Wang. 349 pp. $23.00. In this fascinating book about the folk customs of middle-class American Jews, Jenna Weissman Joselit, a professor of religion at Princeton, explains how many commonly observable phenomena—of the sort one may never have bothered to think about—actually came to be. Why, for instance, do suburban synagogues invariably contain gift shops, usually located in the same spot to one side of the lobby, stuffed with tacky items and run by the ladies of the “Sisterhood”? Joselit traces their origins to the late 1940's, when Jews began migrating in large numbers from the downtown areas of cities, leaving behind the centrally located stores that specialized in Jewish ritual objects.

Simple Rules for a Complex World, by Richard A. Epstein
by Daniel Silver
The Birth of Common Sense? Simple Rules for a Complex World. by Richard A. Epstein. Harvard. 361 pp. $35.00. There is no dearth these days of books and articles decrying the overwhelming complexity of our legal system, and if the success of Philip K.

October, 1995Back to Top
Samuel Lipman
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I would like to draw readers' attention to the release of Jan De-Gaetani in Concert, Volume Three (Bridge BCD-9048), a compact disc which contains a previously unissued performance of Dmitri Shostakovich's 1948 song cycle, “From Jewish Folk Poetry,” op.

McNamara & Vietnam
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Gabriel Schoenfeld's review of Robert S. McNamara's In Retrospect [Books in Review, June] deserves praise and an expression of gratitude from those of us who saw in most reviews of the book yet another extension of “received opinion” on the Vietnam war. Mr.

Sex in America
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In “Sex Among the Americans” [June], Joseph Adelson claims that sociologists who interviewed a sample of Americans about their sex lives used “several methods of checking the veracity of [their] responses.

Women's Studies
by Our Readers
To the Editor: We must disagree with Carol Iannone's article, “What Moderate Feminists?” [June], on two grounds. First of all, she suggests that our book, Professing Feminism: Cautionary Tales from the Strange World of Women's Studies, assumes that there was a golden age of feminism that then turned to lead.

Health Care
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In “What To Do About Health Care” [June], David Frum discusses a major question facing Americans today: whether to accept the Clinton approach to health care (or some variant thereof involving the government) or leave it to the private sector.

Foreign Policy
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Robert Kagan's superb article [“A Retreat from Power?,” July] is a wake-up call for Republicans. The GOP has a well-earned reputation for competence in the national-security field and should not squander it.

Valedictory
by
We received an extraordinary number of letters—from COMMENTARY readers, writers, colleagues, supporters, and friends—in response to Norman Podhoretz's retirement and to his article, “Editing Commentary: A Valedictory” (June).

Valedictory; foreign policy; health care; women's studies; etc.
by Our Readers
Valedictory We received an extraordinary num- ber of letters-from COMMENTARY readers, writers, colleagues, sup- porters, and friends-in response to Norman Podhoretz 's retirement and to his article, "Editing Com- mentary: A Valedictory" (June).

Deterring China
by Arthur Waldron
Over the course of this summer, American-Chinese relations passed, not for the first time, from (relative) calm to crisis to (relative) calm again.

Will Affirmative Action Survive?
by Arch Puddington
Only a few months ago, it seemed to critics and supporters alike that federally mandated programs of race and gender preference were, if not doomed to total elimination, then in serious jeopardy. Conservative Republicans, emboldened by their 1994 congressional landslide, had effectively ended a longstanding, bipartisan consensus that had prevented any full discussion of affirmative action at the level of national politics.

My Life Without Leonard Cohen
by Ruth Wisse
I met Leonard Cohen in 1954 when I was a student in “Great Writings of European literature,” the only undergraduate course at McGill University that satisfied my idea of the intellectual life.

Capitalism for Humans
by George Weigel
Democrats are made, not born; and so are democratic capitalists. Children, who are born tyrants and who quickly display a propensity for forming neighborhood and schoolyard aristocracies, must be trained in the arts of civility and the ethos of democratic equality.

The Jewish Voice
by Robert Alter
It has been frequently observed, by both philo-Semites and anti-Semites, that the numbers of Jews participating in the various fields of intellectual life are out of all proportion to the numbers of Jews in the general population.

Charity Begins at School
by Chester Finn,
In 1989, with much fanfare, President Bush convened the nation's governors in Charlottesville, Virginia for a summit meeting on our educational woes.

The Vulgar Virtuoso
by Terry Teachout
Leopold Stokowski (1882-1977) has a permanent and distinguished place in the history of 20th-century music. During his quarter-century tenure as music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra (1912-38), he turned a provincial ensemble into one of the first modern virtuoso orchestras.

Dark Sun, by Richard Rhodes
by Walter McDougall
Race for the “Super” Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb. by Richard Rhodes. Simon & Schuster. 731 pp. $32.50. In the fall of 1949, the President's general advisory committee on atomic energy held hearings on whether and how the United States ought to try for the hydrogen “super” bomb: a thermonuclear warhead based on atomic fusion and theoretically capable of releasing a thousand times more energy than the fission bombs used in August 1945 at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The Origins of the Inquisition in Fifteenth-Century Spain, by B. Netanyahu
by David Berger
Old & New Christians The Origins of the Inquisition in Fifteenth-Century Spain. by B. Netanyahu. Random House. 1,384 pp. $50.00. In 1391, the prosperous, confident, acculturated Jewish community in Christian Spain was rocked by a series of pogroms; thus was inaugurated a century of travails that culminated in the expulsion of 1492.

Edmund Wilson, by Jeffrey Meyers
by John Gross
A Literary Life Edmund Wilson: A Biography. by Jeffrey Meyers. Houghton-Mifflin. 554 pp. $35.00. Edmund Wilson (1895-1972) was a central figure in the literary life of his time.

Science and the Founding Fathers, by I. Bernard Cohen
by Adam Schulman
Nature's Laws? Science and the Founding Fathers: Science in the Political Thought of Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, and Madison. by I. Bernard Cohen. Norton.

Barry Goldwater, by Robert Alan Goldberg
by Richard Brookhiser
Rebel with a Cause Barry Goldwater. by Robert Alan Goldberg. Yale. 451 pp. $27.50. As we learn from this balanced and earnest biography by a professor of history at the University of Utah, Barry Morris Goldwater was born in not too modest circumstances in Phoenix, Arizona Territory, in 1909.

November, 1995Back to Top
Irving Kristol: The National Prospect
by Irving Kristol
NOVEMBER 1995 The National Prospect A Symposium   To commemorate COMMENTARY's 50th anniversary, the editors addressed the following statement and questions to Irving Kristol:     In the eyes of many observers, the United States, which in 1945 entered upon the postwar era confident in its democratic purposes and serene in the possession of a common culture, is now, fifty years later, moving toward balkanization or even breakdown.

Williams College; Kurt Masur; Counting the Jews; Immigration; etc.
by Our Readers
PC at Williams TO THE EDITOR: I was both impressed and saddened by Wendy Shalit's article ["A Ladies' Room of One's Own," August].

The National Prospect
by Nathan Glazer
A Symposium To commemorate Commentary's fiftieth anniversary, the editors addressed the following statement and questions to a group of American intellectuals: In the eyes of many observers, the United States, which in 1945 entered upon the postwar era confident in its democratic purposes and serene in the possession of a common culture, is now, fifty years later, moving toward balkanization or even breakdown.

The Song of Songs: A New Translation by Ariel and Chana Bloch
by Hillel Halkin
Kisses Sweeter than Wine The Song of Songs: A New Translation by Ariel and Chana Bloch Random House. 257 pp. $27.50 “Kiss me, make me drunk with your kisses!” So begins Ariel and Chana Bloch's new translation of the Song of Songs, or the Song of Solomon as this biblical love poem is sometimes called.

Excellent Cadavers by Alexander Stille; Comrade Criminal by Stephen Handelman
by Angelo Codevilla
The Black & the Red Excellent Cadavers: The Mafia and the Death of the First Italian Republic by Alexander Stille Pantheon. 467 pp.

Zola: A Life by Frederick Brown
by Christopher Caldwell
“J'Accuse” Zola: A Life by Frederick Brown Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 888 pp. $37.50 Anatole France gave the eulogy at Emile Zola's graveside in 1902.

The Romantic Generation by Charles Rosen
by Elliott Zuckerman
Hovering Allusions The Romantic Generation by Charles Rosen Harvard. 736 pp. $39.95 It is hard to characterize generations, in part because it is not clear when they begin and end.

Men in Black by Scott Spencer; Independence Day by Richard Ford
by D.G. Myers
Midlife Crises Men in Black by Scott Spencer Knopf. 321 pp. $23.00 Independence Day by Richard Ford Knopf. 451 pp. $24.00 At one time, the American novel was (in Saul Bellow's phrase) “an indispensable source of illumination of the present, of reflective power.” For writers like Bellow, Ralph Ellison, Wright Morris, Flannery O'Connor, John Updike, Walker Percy, and others, the novel provided, through plot, dialogue, and character, a way to think about the conditions of American life. Scott Spencer and Richard Ford are two novelists who, entering mid-career, come about as close as anyone to claiming this particular mantle: at least in today's literary culture, the two are rare for writing fiction that unashamedly offers a moral commentary upon the American present.

The Defeat of the Mind by Alain Finkielkraut
by Thomas Pavel
The Global Malady The Defeat of the Mind by Alain Finkielkraut Translated by Judith Friedlander Columbia University Press. 176 pp. $22.95 The French essay—the gift of a culture that values wit and paradox as much as argument and proof—is a genre adept at addressing any imaginable subject in succinct, elegant language.

December, 1995Back to Top
The New Federalism
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Although I found Wilfred M. McClay's article on federalism [“A More Perfect Union?,” September] both fascinating and largely on point, I also found a suggestion of his quite troubling.

Dropping the Bomb
by Our Readers
To the Editor: As a historian who has great respect for the conservative tradition (and who dedicated his first book to the memory of Henry L.

Dropping the bomb; the new federalism
by Our Readers
Dropping the Bomb TO THE EDITOR: As a historian who has great respect for the con- servative tradition (and who dedicated his first book to the memory of Henry L.

Speaking of Race
by Arch Puddington
In the aftermath of the O.J. Simpson verdict and the mass rally of black men in Washington, D.C.—the so-called Million Man March—many Americans have voiced fears that we have entered a crisis-level breakdown in race relations.

Facing Up to Black Anti-Semitism
by Joshua Muravchik
As the controversy surrounding the role of Louis Farrakhan in the Million Man March underscored once again, the greatest story of unrequited love in American political life may be the relationship between blacks and Jews. When the civil-rights revolution broke out in the late 1950's and early 60's, the front-line troops in the Montgomery bus boycott and then in the lunch-counter sit-ins were all blacks, but among the whites who soon rallied to the cause, a large share—a disproportionate share—were Jews.

Can Giuliani Save New York?
by Irwin Stelzer
“Now we have a mayor of New York,” exclaimed the political reformer Samuel Seabury when Fiorello LaGuardia took over City Hall in 1934.

Israel-With Grandchildren
by Norman Podhoretz
The following was obviously written before the black day on which Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated. It is no secret that I have been highly critical of the peace process over which Rabin was presiding, and it should come as no surprise that this caused a personal rupture between us.

The Man Who Wrote Too Much
by Joseph Epstein
Milan Kundera, the Czech novelist, has spoken of fiction as a great European invention for the discovery of truth. But what kinds of truth can fiction be said to discover? And how does it go about making such discoveries? These large, not to say bulky, questions are at the heart of Robert Musil's The Man Without Qualities, a vast work whose first sections began to appear in Germany in the early 1930's and which has now been newly translated into English in a handsome edition mat includes many of the author's notes.1 The Man Without Qualities has frequently been linked with Ulysses and Remembrance of Things Past as one of the great masterworks of modern literature.

Grownups and “Kids”
by Jonah Goldberg
Among the few things Americans seem to agree on these days is that our children are in trouble; the causes and cures may be debated, but the diagnosis has reached a point of consensus.

Words, Music, Opera
by Terry Teachout
Opera buffs have conducted a spirited debate over the merits of the Metropolitan Opera's new “Met Titles” system, introduced in October, in which line-by-line English translations of libretti are flashed on computer-controlled screens mounted on the backs of seats.

Sabbath's Theater by Philip Roth
by Ruth Wisse
Sex, Love & Death Sabbath's Theater by Philip Roth Houghton Mifflin. 451 pp. $24.95 Isn't it tiresome in 1994, this role of rebel-hero? What an odd time to be thinking of sex as rebellion.

The Tyranny of Numbers by Nicholas Eberstadt
by Kenneth Silber
The Numbers Racket The Tyranny of Numbers: Mismeasurement and Misrule by Nicholas Eberstadt AEI Press. 305 pp. $24.95 In the late 1980's, visitors to the Soviet Union noticed that milk was no longer reliably available in ordinary grocery stores.

In Search of Churchill by Martin Gilbert
by James Muller
Genius & Plod In Search of Churchill: A Historian's Journey by Martin Gilbert Wiley. 338 pp. $30.00 In the summer of 1915, having been sacked as First Lord of the Admiralty during the troubled Dardanelles campaign, Winston Churchill made preparations to go to the battlefield on his government's behalf.

In Confidence by Anatoly Dobrynin
by Gabriel Schoenfeld
Genius & Plod In Search of Churchill: A Historian's Journey by Martin Gilbert Wiley. 338 pp. $30.00 In the summer of 1915, having been sacked as First Lord of the Admiralty during the troubled Dardanelles campaign, Winston Churchill made preparations to go to the battlefield on his government's behalf.




Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.