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January, 2007Back to Top
Jews, Muslims, and the Democrats
by Gabriel Schoenfeld
The 2006 midterm elections confirmed once again a truism of American politics: American Jews remain overwhelmingly devoted to the Democratic party.

Is Conservatism Finished?
by Wilfred McClay
Even before November’s midterm elections and the Republican party’s loss of its congressional majorities, there was widespread talk of the exhaustion, even death, of conservatism in America.

The Redeker Affair
by Christian Delacampagne
This past September, Robert Redeker, a French high-school philosophy teacher at Saint-Orens-de-Gameville (a small city near Toulouse) and the author of several scholarly books, published an op-ed article in the newspaper Le Figaro.

Body and Soul
by Michael J. Lewis
These early artists considered the human body . . . a poor vehicle for the expression of energy, compared to the muscle-rippling bull and the streamlined antelope.

The Kabbalist of Madison Avenue
by Alan Leonard
Jerome Wahl, forty-four, executive creative director of Harrow Varnish Blum Advertising, Inc., had a thatch of grayish brown hair, three emergent lines in his forehead, and a face that bespoke Manhattan except when it bespoke Brooklyn.

Borat!
by Joshua Muravchik
Four or five years ago, a talk-show producer in London phoned me about a program he was working on for the British equivalent of MTV.

Why Hollywood Cannot Make Art
by Terry Teachout
Hollywood rarely makes artistically serious movies, save by inadvertence. An exception was the 1970’s, when Hollywood was indeed a font of popular films that aspired to, and on occasion attained, the status of something not unlike high art.

Power, Faith, and Fantasy by Michael B. Oren
by Hillel Halkin
To the Shores of Tripoli Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present by Michael B. Oren Norton.

Tempting Faith by David Kuo
by Leslie Lenkowsky
Devil’s Bargain? Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction by David Kuo Free Press. 286 pp. $25.00 On the eve of this past November’s elections, David Kuo, a former aide to President George W.

Moscow 1941 by Rodric Braithwaite
by Edward Luttwak
Russian Winter Moscow 1941: A City and Its People at War by Rodric Braithwaite Knopf. 416 pp. $30.00 Why did the peoples of Stalin’s Soviet Union resist the German invasion in 1941? Nobody need ask why they resisted the 1942 offensive that almost reached the Caspian Sea.

A Match Made in Heaven by Zev Chafets
by Jonathan Cohen
Good News A Match Made in Heaven: American Jews, Christian Zionists, and One Man’s Exploration of the Weird and Wonderful Judeo-Evangelical Alliance by Zev Chafets HarperCollins.

Johnny U by Tom Callahan
by George Weigel
Calling the Signals Johnny U: The Life and Times of John Unitas by Tom Callahan Crown. 292 pp. $24.95 The National Football League (NFL) is the most successful professional sports operation in history, a money-making machine that seems never to sleep.

Sick: The Untold Story of America's Health-Care Crisis and the People Who Pay the Price
by Yuval Levin
Diagnosis & Cure Sick: The Untold Story of America’s Health-Care Crisis and the People Who Pay the Price by Jonathan Cohn HarperCollins. 292 pp.

The Lebanon War & Arab Opinion
by Our Readers
To the Editor: It is with great concern that I refer to a piece [about the summer 2006 war between Israel and Hizballah] entitled “The Arab Temptation,” by Joshua Muravchik, which appears in the October 2006 issue of Commentary.

Israel After Lebanon
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Hillel Halkin hits so many nails squarely on the head in “Israel’s New Reality” [October 2006] that I regret to note that he repeats the important mistake he made in writing about Israel’s disengagement from Gaza [“Israel After Disengagement,” October 2005].

China in the World
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I am a big fan of Joshua Kurlantzick, and I cite his work several times in my new book, The Coming China Wars.

February, 2007Back to Top
Our Worst Ex-President
by Joshua Muravchik
More than a quarter-century after completing his term of office, James Earl Carter is still to be found in the thick of debates about national policies on a range of issues: nuclear arms, Iraq, North Korea, and, especially, the conflict between Israel and the Arabs.

Health Care in Three Acts
by Eric Cohen
Americans say they are very worried about health care: on generic lists of voter concerns, health issues regularly rank just behind terrorism and the Iraq war.

Why Journalists Are Not Above the Law
by Gabriel Schoenfeld
To hear some tell it, the fundamental freedom of the press promised by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is in peril today as perhaps never before.

Realists to the Rescue?
by Bret Stephens
“Reality therapy,” declared Time magazine’s Michael Duffy with satisfaction. “A chance to think anew,” added Newsweek’s Jon Meacham. These and similarly warm words of welcome from organs of respectable opinion greeted the December arrival of the long-awaited report of the Iraq Study Group (ISG), with its 79 prescriptions for U.S.

Is Israel the Problem?
by Amir Taheri
Fifteen years ago, after the first defeat of Saddam Hussein and the liberation of Kuwait, President George H.W. Bush and his Secretary of State James Baker faced the question of how best to exploit the American victory as a means of stabilizing the Middle East.

The First Hebrew City
by Hillel Halkin
Tel Aviv, the “first Hebrew city,” as it was once the fashion to call it, will soon turn one hundred—and, like the United States at that age, its frontier is shutting down. Until now, the city has kept running forward.

Dangerous Nation by Robert Kagan
by Arthur Waldron
Liberators & Occupiers Dangerous Nation by Robert Kagan Knopf. 527 pp. $30.00 The history of America’s role in the world is usually told in two stages.

The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud
by Carol Iannone
Entitlement Crisis The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud Knopf. 431 pp. $25.00 Claire Messud was born in the United States in 1966 of a Canadian mother and an Algerian French father, grew up in Canada and Australia, and was educated here (Yale) and in England (Cambridge).

Dean Acheson by Robert L. Beisner
by Mark Falcoff
Balancing Act Dean Acheson: A Life in the Cold War by Robert L. Beisner Oxford. 800 pp. $35.00 In today’s troubled and conflicted Washington, it is not uncommon to hear expressions of nostalgia for the supposedly good old days of the cold war.

Resurrection and the Restoration of Israel by Jon D. Levenson
by David Berger
“Who Revives the Dead” Resurrection and the Restoration of Israel: The Ultimate Victory of the God of Life by Jon D.

American Islam by Paul M. Barrett
by Paul Marshall
Among the Believers American Islam: The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion by Paul M. Barrett Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Hitchcock's Music Man
by Terry Teachout
Throughout their history, movies have been accompanied by music, and ever since 1908, when Camille Saint-Saëns wrote the score for L’Assassinat du duc de Guise, composers of distinction have had a hand in creating it.

The "Israel Lobby"
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Gabriel Schoenfeld [“Dual Loyalty and the ‘Israel Lobby,’” November 2006] is right; Zionists should not be accused of “dual loyalty.” Zionists, by definition, have loyalty to Zion (Israel).

Iran
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In their respective articles in the November 2006 Commentary, under the collective title “Getting Serious About Iran,” both Arthur Herman [“A Military Option”] and Amir Taheri [“For Regime Change”] provide a cornucopia of information about the history of the Islamic Republic and its hostility toward the United States.

March, 2007Back to Top
Is Turkey Lost?
by Michel Gurfinkiel
Until very recently, Turkey was everything an American would want a place in the Middle East or East Asia to be: an ally of the United States; a member of NATO; a quasi-democracy, enlivened by occasional military coups aimed not at disposing of but rather at reinforcing democratic rule; a country with a booming (if chaotic) economy and a vibrant civil society; and, last but not least, a country both Muslim and modern, enjoying a secular constitution and confident enough to maintain a friendly relationship with Israel. These considerable achievements were compensated in kind.

Rembrandt & the Artist's Touch
by Steven Munson
At a recent concert in Washington, D.C., I had the pleasure of hearing a young pianist from Tbilisi, Georgia, named Dudana Mazmanishvili.

The Politics of Middle-Class Anxiety
by Amity Shlaes
The millions of today want, and have a right to, the same security their forefathers sought—the assurance that with health and the willingness to work they will find a place for themselves in the social and economic system of the time. —President Franklin D.

Israel: The Waiting Game
by Hillel Halkin
Israel has entered a waiting period—and waiting is never easy. It involves the admission, potentially frustrating and even demoralizing, that one’s ability to change things for the better is highly limited. The country has been through times of perceived passivity before, especially in the decade between 1983 and 1992 following the resignation of Prime Minister Menachem Begin.

Gifts of the "Robber Barons"
by James Nuechterlein
Even those who consider American history one long triumphal march tend to pass quickly over the decades of industrial expansion and consolidation between the Civil War and the early years of the 20th century.

All That Jazz
by Terry Teachout
Rare are the writers willing to undertake large-scale histories aimed at a general audience. Yet when such books are engagingly and accessibly written, sufficiently comprehensive, and animated by a strongly personal point of view—as are H.G.

The Castle in the Forest by Norman Mailer
by John Gross
Young Adolf The Castle in the Forest: A Novel by Norman Mailer Random House. 496 pp. $27.95. A novel about Hitler is a prospect that many readers will shrink from.

Dangerous Knowledge by Robert Irwin
by Martin Kramer
Enough Said Dangerous Knowledge: Orientalism and its Discontents by Robert Irwin Overlook. 410 pp. $35.00 The British historian Robert Irwin is the sort of scholar who, in times past, would have been proud to call himself an Orientalist. The traditional Orientalist was someone who mastered difficult languages like Arabic and Persian and then spent years bent over manuscripts in heroic efforts of decipherment and interpretation.

Marriage and Caste in America
by Kay S. Hymowitz

by Lisa Schiffren
Life Script Marriage and Caste in America: Separate and Unequal Families in a Post-Marital Age by Kay Hymowitz Ivan R. Dee. 179 pp. $22.50. The U.S.

The Best Intentions by James Traub
by Jonathan Kay
Organization Man The Best Intentions: Kofi Annan and the UN in the Era of American World Power by James Traub Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.

The War of the World by Niall Ferguson
by Edward Luttwak
Variables of Violence The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West by Niall Ferguson Penguin. 880 p.

Of (Religious) Fences and Neighbors
by Meir Soloveichik
In 2003, the Pontifical Biblical Commission, headed by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, issued a document entitled “The Jewish People and the Holy Scriptures in the Christian Bible.” In it, the Church asserted its recognition that Jews and Christians wait together for an ultimate redemption even as the Church, for its part, understands that the redeemer has been here before.Responding to the commission’s work, Rabbi James Rudin, the senior interreligious adviser of the American Jewish Committee, argued that it was not enough for the Vatican to recognize that Jews wait for the messiah.

Russia's Turn
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In “What Does Putin Want” [December 2006], Leon Aron once again proves himself one of our most cogent observers of Russia.

Spinoza
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Rebecca Goldstein’s Betraying Spinoza is a brilliant book, though one would never know it by reading Alan Nadler’s discussion of it in “Romancing Spinoza” [December 2006].

China and Democracy
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Gordon G. Chang’s article misunderstands China in a way that is typical of Westerners who look at the country through a certain ideological lens [“China in Revolt,” December 2006].

To Be Human
by Our Readers
To the Editor: With typical lucidity, Eric Cohen demonstrates how and why it is that modern science and some of its faith-oriented critics find it so hard to understand human things in human terms [“The Human Difference,” December 2006].

Divadom
by Our Readers
To the Editor: It was for the most part a pleasure to read Algis Valiunas’s tribute to two of the music world’s finest singers, both of whom passed away last year [“Diva & Anti-Diva,” December 2006].

History Test
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I am most thankful for Michael J. Lewis’s generous review [December 2006] of my book, America: The Last Best Hope.

April, 2007Back to Top
Jewish Genius
by Charles Murray
Since its first issue in 1945, COMMENTARY has published hundreds of articles about Jews and Judaism. As one would expect, they cover just about every important aspect of the topic.

How to Win in Iraq—and How to Lose
by Arthur Herman
It is best if an enemy nation comes and surrenders of its own accord. —Du You (735-812) To the student of counterinsurgency warfare, the war in Iraq has reached a critical but dismally familiar stage. On the one hand, events in that country have taken a more hopeful direction in recent months.

Missing Milton Himmelfarb
by David Berger
Shall I succumb to a cliché by declaring that the death of the writer and critic Milton Himmelfarb last year at the age of eighty-seven signals the passing of an era? Though the temptation is powerful, it may well be that a man who was in critical respects sui generis cannot be said to have represented much more than himself. Himmelfarb, who for many years was director of research at the American Jewish Committee and edited its American Jewish Year Book, while also serving as a prolific contributor to COMMENTARY, embodied a highly unusual constellation of intellectual characteristics.

Europe's Persecuted Muslims?
by Efraim Karsh
In February, several young men in Birmingham, England were arrested for their alleged role in a plot to kidnap a fellow Muslim serving in the British army, behead him, and record the execution for broadcast on the Internet in the fashion of jihadists in the Middle East.

Utopians on Stage
by Terry Teachout
On Broadway, the biggest success of the current season—as well as the biggest surprise—has been the American premiere of The Coast of Utopia, Tom Stoppard’s trilogy of plays about the 19th-century writers who laid the groundwork for the Russian Revolution.1 Voyage, Shipwreck, and Salvage are lengthy, talky, and, for viewers unfamiliar with 19th-century radical politics, occasionally hard to follow.

Honor by James Bowman
by David Billet
Saving Face Honor: A History by James Bowman Encounter. 265 pp. $25.95 Honor has not enjoyed a great press in recent years. Reports from the Middle East tell of “honor killings” of women, usually at the hands of male relatives, for some sexual transgression or other.

Science, Religion, and the Human Future
by Leon Kass
Western civilization would not be Western civilization were it not for biblical religion, which reveres and trusts in the one God, Who has made known what He wants of human beings through what is called His revelation—that is, through Scripture.

The Future of Marriage
by David Blankenhorn

by Jonathan Kay
State of the Union The Future of Marriage by David Blankenhorn Encounter. 260 pages. $25.95 Just a generation ago, the idea of same-sex couples entering state-recognized marriages seemed inconceivable.

An Art Teacher's Art Teacher
by Michael J. Lewis
Last November, a few days be fore his ninety-ninth birthday, my colleague and friend Lane Faison died in his Williamstown, Massachusetts apartment.

House of Meetings by Martin Amis
by Sam Munson
His Gulag House of Meetings by Martin Amis Knopf. 242 pp. $23.00 Martin Amis’s new novel may be the first serious literary treatment by a non-Russian of what Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, in The Gulag Archipelago, called Russia’s “sewage-disposal system”: the prison camps that flourished in the Soviet Union from almost immediately after the October Revolution until well into the 1960’s.

Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
by David Pryce-Jones
Liberated Woman Infidel Ayaan Hirsi Ali Free Press. 368 pp. $26.00 Autobiography is one of the glories of Western literature. Through self-examination and confession (in the manner of Augustine of Hippo or Rousseau), the individual is able to explain how he came to be himself and (in the manner of André Malraux or Arthur Koestler, to select just two from innumerable examples) to record his own moral, intellectual, and political course against the background of his times.

The President, the Pope, and the Prime Minister by John O'Sullivan

Ronald Reagan by John Patrick Diggins

by Dan Seligman
Warriors The President, the Pope, and the Prime Minister: Three Who Changed the World by John O'Sullivan Regnery. 360 pp. $27.95 Ronald Reagan: Fate, Freedom, and the Making of History by John Patrick Diggins Norton.

Emma Lazarus by Esther Schor
by Michael Weingrad
The Lady & the Poet Emma Lazarus by Esther Schor Nextbook/Schocken. 368 pp. $21.95 In a Hebrew poem published in 1913, the poet Shimon Ginzburg described his fearful state of mind as a young immigrant arriving in America.

Israel and the Democrats
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In his essay, “Jews, Muslims, and the Democrats” [January], Gabriel Schoenfeld starts with a series of ideologically rigid conclusions, which he then defends by cherry-picking facts, inflating their importance, adding half-truths, and scrupulously avoiding evidence that contradicts his thesis. Essentially, Mr.

The Conservative Cause
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In “Is Conservatism Finished?” [January], Wilfred M. McClay, a Bush appointee to the National Council on the Humanities, attempts to discount the information in my book, Conservatives Betrayed: How George W.

Criticizing Islam
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Christian Delacampagne has much to say about the reaction in France to an article by Robert Redeker about Islam, but he passes over the content of Redeker’s article without comment [“The Redeker Affair,” January].

No Laughing Matter?
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Joshua Muravchik’s examination of Borat ignores what should be an important element of any discussion of the film: the reality of life and politics in Kazakhstan [“Borat!,” January].

Disney & Welles
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Terry Teachout understandably prefers the films of Jean Renoir and Ingmar Bergman to those of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg [“Why Hollywood Cannot Make Art,” January].

Pro Football
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I appreciated George Weigel’s tribute to the great Johnny Unitas in his review of Tom Callahan’s Johnny U [January].

May, 2007Back to Top
Can France Be Saved?
by Michel Gurfinkiel
French elections can be as entertaining as Russian roulette. Twelve years ago, in early 1995, it was taken for granted that Edouard Balladur, a conservative prime minister, would succeed the outgoing socialist president François Mitterrand without further ado.

Lessons of the Libby Affair
by Brian Carney
By the time he was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice on March 6 of this year, it had long been clear to opponents of the Bush administration that the trial of I.

Where the War on Terror Is Succeeding
by Joshua Kurlantzick
In October 2002, Islamic radicals set off two powerful bombs on the Indonesian island of Bali. Detonated in the heart of the tourist district, they obliterated several bars and nightclubs, killing over 200 people—visiting Australians, Americans, and other foreign nationals, as well as Indonesians—and wounding still more.

Fixing Immigration
by Yuval Levin
The immigration debate has been the subject of a prime-time address by President Bush, sparked demonstrations in the streets of several major cities, and last year played a key role in a number of congressional races.

Bloody Jews?
by Hillel Halkin
Within the last year, three serious Jewish historians have published books on religiously motivated violence in historical Jewish communities, a subject rarely written about in the past.

How the Mind Works
by Kevin Shapiro
About eleven years ago I happened to sit down for breakfast with Marvin Minsky and his wife, the pediatrician Gloria Rudisch.

The Great Schnabel
by Terry Teachout
The pianist Artur Schnabel was among the first great classical instrumentalists whose career was transformed by the invention of sound recording.

Milton Friedman by Lanny Ebenstein
by James Nuechterlein
Counterrevolutionary Milton Friedman: A Biography by Lanny Ebenstein Palgrave Macmillan. 286 pp. $27.95 The career of Milton Friedman, who died last November at ninety-four, provides a revealing insight into the course of American politics in the second half of the 20th century.

From a Cause to a Style by Nathan Glazer
by Michael J. Lewis
Urban Outfitters From a Cause to a Style: Modernist Architecture’s Encounter with the American City by Nathan Glazer Princeton. 320 pp. $24.95 Architecture is the one art that is always performed in public; we cannot dodge it in the way we can dodge books, paintings, or light opera.

Medical Apartheid by Harriet A. Washington
by Sally Satel
Health Gulf Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present by Harriet A.

A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900
by Arthur Waldron
Grand Alliance A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900 by Andrew Roberts HarperCollins. 752 pp. $35.00. In his new book, the British historian Andrew Roberts, whose well-regarded works include Eminent Churchillians (1994) and biographical treatments of Lords Halifax and Salisbury, carries into the 20th century and extends into the 21st the narrative concluded at the end of the 19th century by Winston Churchill in his four-volume The English Speaking Peoples (1956-58). Under this rubric, Churchill encompassed the peoples of the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and of course the United States.

Freedom's Power by Paul Starr
by Wilfred McClay
The Right Left? Freedom's Power: The True Force of Liberalism by Paul Starr Basic. 304 pp. $26.00 What chiefly ails American liberalism today—or so we are told—is lack of a vision.

Jimmy Carter
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Joshua Muravchik criticizes Jimmy Carter’s views about the Middle East, but the fact is that no one has worked harder than Carter to bring the two sides together in the conflict between Israel and the Arabs [“Our Worst Ex-President,” February].

Press Freedoms
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Gabriel Schoenfeld’s argument that Congress should not create a legal privilege under which journalists could shield their sources seriously misconceives the issue [“Why Journalists Are Not Above the Law,” February]. At the core of Mr.

Realism
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Bret Stephens gives an extremely partial account of one of the arguments made by John Hulsman and myself in our book Ethical Realism: A Vision for America’s Role in the World [“Realists to the Rescue?,” February].

Health Care
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Eric Cohen and Yuval Levin do a fine job of laying out the complexities of our health-care system and the dilemmas that make reform a difficult task [“Health Care in Three Acts,” February].

Soviet Nostalgia?
by Our Readers
To the Editor: The disgraceful cold-war practice among American students of Russia of slandering intellectual opponents is, it seems, not yet a thing of the past.

June, 2007Back to Top
The Case for Bombing Iran
by Norman Podhoretz
Although many persist in denying it, I continue to believe that what September 11, 2001 did was to plunge us headlong into nothing less than another world war.

How China and Russia Threaten the World
by Gordon G. Chang
While Iraq continues to dominate the news in America and to haunt the Bush administration, events of potentially greater significance are occurring elsewhere.

If Israel Ceased to Exist
by Hillel Halkin
Can Israel, as the prime minister of Iran has bluntly put it, be wiped from the map? Of course it can be.

My Saudi Sojourn
by Joshua Muravchik
The application for a visa to Saudi Arabia asked for my religion. In inviting me to give some lectures and interviews, the American embassy in Riyadh had already suggested I answer “non-Muslim”—its standard advice to American visitors, I was told.

Gladrags & Kicks
by Joseph Epstein
The Rubins, Ben and Lois, were our neighbors on Washtenaw Avenue in West Rogers Park. We lived on the same floor in a yellow-brick six-flat on a street made dark by elm trees whose branches met in the center of the road and cut off most of the light even on sunny days, which in the Chicago of that time—the middle 1970’s—for some reason did not seem plentiful.

An Unheralded Zionist
by Ruth Wisse
By Israeli standards, my friend Gerhard Mandel lived a fairly typical life. Born in Vienna in 1929, he was brought to Palestine in 1938 as part of a rescue operation for Jewish children from Nazi-occupied Europe.

Lincoln Kirstein's Achievement
by Terry Teachout
Eleven years after his death, Lincoln Kirstein, the co-founder of the New York City Ballet (NYCB), is largely forgotten. Even during his lifetime, he was little known outside a smallish circle of art-conscious Americans.

God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens
by Sam Schulman
Divine Comedy God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens Twelve. 320 pp. $24.99 Militant atheism has a long and not notably successful history—punctuated, however, by boomlets that tend to occur after terrible and seemingly inexplicable human disasters.

Why I Turned Right by Mary Eberstadt
by Wilfred McClay
Rebel Yell Why I Turned Right: Leading Baby Boom Conservatives Chronicle Their Political Journeys Edited by Mary Eberstadt Threshold. 304 pp. $23.00 “There is properly no history,” said Emerson, “only biography.” A vast overstatement, but one with a nugget of truth in it, especially when it comes to the world of ideas.

Nation of Secrets by Ted Gup
by Dan Seligman
Hush Hush Nation of Secrets: The Threat to Democracy and the American Way of Life by Ted Gup Doubleday. 336 pp. $24.95 The head of the National Clandestine Service, a branch of the CIA that coordinates the agency’s human-intelligence work, is a man named Jose.

The Thumpin' by Naftali Bendavid
by Dan DiSalvo
Party Animal The Thumpin’: How Rahm Emanuel and the Democrats Learned to Be Ruthless and Ended the Republican Revolution by Naftali Bendavid Doubleday.

In the Footsteps of the Prophet
by Tariq Ramadan

by David Warren
A Kinder, Gentler Islam? In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons from the Life of Muhammad by Tariq Ramadan Oxford. 256 pp.

Israel's Future
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Hillel Halkin argues that Israel should not do anything rash vis-à-vis its Palestinian problem but rather “must sit tight and hope that .

The Odds on Turkey
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Michel Gurfinkiel’s article, “Is Turkey Lost?” [March], is an excellent primer on contemporary Turkish politics and its antecedents, but he makes a few dubious assertions and errors, and omits some important points. Mr.

Faith & Interfaith
by Our Readers
To the Editor: As an Orthodox Jew professionally involved in interfaith dialogue, I have struggled with several of the problems that Meir Soloveichik raises about religious pluralism [“Of (Religious) Fences and Neighbors,” March].

Whom Did the Robber Barons Rob?
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I enjoyed James Nuechterlein’s sympathetic and insightful reaction to the new biographies of Andrew Carnegie and Andrew Mellon [“Gifts of the ‘Robber Barons,’” March].

Optics & Old Masters
by Our Readers
To the Editor: As one of the first independent scientists invited to evaluate the artist David Hockney’s controversial theory that early Renaissance masters used optical devices in the course of painting to project images and then trace them, I was heartened to read Steven C.

Jazz Notes
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I have read Terry Teachout’s extended review of my revised New History of Jazz with interest [“All That Jazz,” March].

July, 2007Back to Top
Jerusalem: The Scandal of Particularity
by Norman Podhoretz
At a ceremony in Jerusalem on May 24, Norman Podhoretz received the Guardian of Zion Award from the Ingeborg Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University.

The CIA Follies (Cont'd.)
by Gabriel Schoenfeld
Picture a large and very important federal agency. It happens to conduct highly specialized work that requires close and attentive management.

Islam's Divide—and Us
by Gal Luft
The attacks of 9/11 generated a tide of commentary on the origins and aims of anti-Western jihadism. Lately, however, events have shifted attention to another, more long-standing feature of the Muslim world, raising the question of whether Islamic militancy against the West is now of lesser geopolitical significance than a stark, increasingly salient divide within Islam itself.

Hebrew Poets in Old Spain
by Hillel Halkin
The 10th century of the Common Era was not an outwardly dramatic one in the annals of Judaism. Momentous events did not take place in it; new spiritual movements did not arise; few significant additions were made to the Jewish canon.

Fire from the Sky
by Algis Valiunas
In war, as in famine and pestilence, one finds the earthly basis for visions of hell. Wartime agony is immemorial, but the 20th century brought the military arts of inflicting suffering and death to diabolical perfection.

Europe's "Terrible Transformation"
by David Pryce-Jones
The old balance of power between the United States and the Soviet Union is no more, and tensions hitherto latent but contained have rushed into the global political vacuum.

Our Creed and Our Character
by Terry Teachout
“What then is the American, this new man?” Hector St. Jean de Crèvecoeur asked in 1782. The question must sound quaint to multiculturally conscious ears, just as it has become unfashionable to speak of the existence of an American “national character.” In the postmodern United States, there is no one way of being “American”: we are all hyphenated now, known by our differences rather than by our commonalities. Yet despite the apparent determination of our elite classes to transcend all surviving remnants of collective nationality, the rest of the world stubbornly continues to insist on seeing us as American—and on disliking much of what it sees.

At Home with "The Sopranos"
by Benjamin Plotinsky
By the time you read this, hundreds of TV reviewers around the English-speaking world will have written that The Sopranos did—or did not—go out on a high note.

The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon
by Ruth Wisse
Slap Shtick The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon HarperCollins. 432 pp. $26.95 Protracted hostility tends to tarnish the culture of any group that it assaults.

George Kennan by John Lukacs
by Richard Pipes
The Opposing Self George Kennan: A Study of Character by John Lukacs Yale. 207 pp. $26.00 The author of this study, a Hungarian survivor of the Holocaust, is a prolific writer who has produced over two dozen books, most of them devoted to 20th-century history.

The Last Days of Europe by Walter Laqueur
by Mark Falcoff
Disunion The Last Days of Europe: Epitaph for an Old Continent by Walter Laqueur St. Martin’s. 256 pp. $25.95 It seems like only yesterday—in fact, it was only yesterday—that we were being instructed by observers of Europe like Jeremy Rifkin, Tony Judt, T.R.

Louis I. Kahn by Carter Wiseman
by Michael J. Lewis
The Gregarious Loner Louis I. Kahn: Beyond Time and Style: A Life in Architecture by Carter Wiseman Norton. 284 pp. $60.00 One does not expect a film about an architect to have broad appeal, and so there was little surprise when Sketches of Frank Gehry, Sydney Pollack’s fawning 2005 documentary, quickly dropped from sight.

Sick by Jonathan Cohn
by Yuval Levin
Diagnosis & Cure Sick: The Untold Story of America’s Health-Care Crisis and the People Who Pay the Price by Jonathan Cohn HarperCollins. 292 pp.

Why the Jews?
by Our Readers
To the Editor: The survival of Judaism despite millennia of oppression continues to confound both the friends and the enemies of the Jews, as well as many Jews themselves, though for different reasons.

Iraq
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Arthur Herman makes an interesting case for staying in Iraq in order to “win,” but I remain skeptical for a number of reasons [“How to Win in Iraq—and How to Lose,” April].

Scientism
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Leon R. Kass’s talent for moralistic invective is apparently not matched by a commitment to scholarly due diligence [“Science, Religion, and the Human Future,” April].

France's Jews
by Our Readers
To the Editor: According to Efraim Karsh and Rory Miller, anti-Semitism has increased significantly in France in recent years [“Europe’s Persecuted Muslims?,” April].

In Memoriam
by Our Readers
To the Editor: It was wonderful to read David Berger’s tribute to Milton Himmelfarb and his contributions to the world of ideas [“Missing Milton Himmelfarb,” April].

September, 2007Back to Top
How Not to Get Out of Iraq
by Max Boot
The current build-up of American forces in Iraq—universally known as the “surge”—was unveiled by President Bush on January 10. The earliest units shipped out in the middle of February, and the full complement of roughly 160,000 troops arrived only in June.

New Orleans—An Autopsy
by Ben Toledano
Reports of the death of New Orleans as a major American city have not been greatly exaggerated; they have only been greatly delayed.

Can Europe Compete?
by Carl Schramm
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, the agreement that created the European Economic Community, the precursor to today’s European Union.

The Perplexities of Conservative Judaism
by Jack Wertheimer
Conservative Judaism, a movement situated at the center of the religious spectrum between Orthodoxy and the various versions of liberal Judaism, was in the news this past winter when its committee on Jewish law ruled on the status of homosexuality.

Crying Poverty
by Lawrence Mead
With the Democratic party now on the march in American politics, the issue of poverty has made a comeback. One of the first acts of the new majority on Capitol Hill was to raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour in order to help the “working poor,” and a “living wage” movement is making headway at the grass roots, pressuring states and localities to pay even more to low-skilled workers.

Freedom Fetishists
by Kay Hymowitz
More than perhaps any other American political group, libertarians have suffered the blows of caricature. For many people, the term evokes an image of a scraggly misfit living in the woods with his gun collection, a few marijuana plants, some dog-eared Ayn Rand titles, and a battered pick-up truck plastered with bumper stickers reading “Taxes = Theft” and “FDR Was A Pinko.” The stereotype is not entirely unfair.

A Wicked Son
by Hillel Halkin
L’affaire Burg, as it might be called because of its French connection, may be a tempest in a teapot, but it is the kind of teapot that whistles.

The Assault on Reason by Al Gore
by Gary Rosen
Mr. Personality The Assault on Reason by Al Gore Penguin Press. 308 pp. $25.95 Part of the fascination of watching Al Gore run for President seven years ago lay in his obvious struggle to convey some sort of authentic emotion.

Jews and Power by Ruth R. Wisse
by Bret Stephens
Against Weakness Jews and Power by Ruth R. Wisse Nextbook/Schocken. 240 pp. $19.95 In her prologue to Jews and Power, Ruth R. Wisse, a professor of Yiddish and comparative literature at Harvard University and a longtime contributor to these pages, recounts an incident from the fall of 1939.

The Forgotten Man by Amity Shlaes
by James Piereson
Meddling Through The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression by Amity Shlaes HarperCollins. 433 pp. $26.99 The Great Depression of the 1930’s tested America’s political institutions like no other event in our history except the Civil War.

The Power of the Vote by Douglas E. Schoen
by Dan DiSalvo
The Pollster The Power of the Vote: Electing Presidents, Overthrowing Dictators, and Promoting Democracy Around the World by Douglas E. Schoen Morrow.

Off the Record by Norman Pearlstine
by Dan Seligman
In Confidence Off the Record: The Press, the Government, and the War over Anonymous Sources by Norman Pearlstine Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 282 pp.

Land of Lincoln by Andrew Ferguson
by Michael J. Lewis
Heritage Trail Land of Lincoln: Adventures in Abe’s America by Andrew Ferguson Atlantic Monthly. 279 pp. $24.00 The tercentenary of Benjamin Franklin’s birth in 2006 was commemorated jointly by the United States and France.

Selling Classical Music
by Terry Teachout
The decision of the New York Philharmonic to hire Alan Gilbert as its next music director has been the talk of the classical-music world ever since the sudden announcement in July of his appointment to succeed Lorin Maazel in 2009.

Into the Mind
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Kevin Shapiro’s extended review of my book, The Emotion Machine, was excellent in most respects, but he apparently misunderstood the aim of the book’s form [“How the Mind Works,” May].

France Now
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I cannot agree with Michel Gurfinkiel’s description of the present situation in France [“Can France Be Saved?,” May].

Violent Jews
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I am honored that Hillel Halkin has twice written about my book, Reckless Rites: Purim and the Legacy of Jewish Violence, in the pages of Commentary, and has even, on further reflection, called it “well researched.” I cannot, alas, say the same about his essay, “Bloody Jews?” [May].

Asian Islamism
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I wish that I could share Joshua Kurlantzick’s sanguine view of the campaign against Islamists in Southeast Asia, but developments in the region make it impossible for me to do so [“Where the War on Terror is Succeeding,” May]. Mr.

Immigration
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I was delighted to see Yuval Levin engage the issue of immigration, particularly its most basic element—the shape of our policy for legal immigration—rather than the conceptually simpler matter of enforcement [“Fixing Immigration,” May].

October, 2007Back to Top
The Past, Present, and Future of Neoconservatism
by Joshua Muravchik
Have America’s troubles in Iraq sounded the death knell of neoconservatism, the political ideology that is said to be behind our presence there? Over the past year, there has been no shortage of voices saying so, many with undisguised glee.

Bowling with Others
by James Wilson
In his celebrated book, Bowling Alone (2000), the political scientist Robert D. Putnam argued that America, and perhaps the Western world as a whole, has become increasingly disconnected from family, friends, and neighbors.

Of Priests, Rabbis, and Wives
by Meir Soloveichik
For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake.

Are We Ready for China?
by Aaron Friedberg
Though our leaders are loath to admit it, the United States is almost two decades into what is likely to prove a protracted geopolitical rivalry with the People’s Republic of China.

Rooting for the Indians—A Memoir
by Hillel Halkin
Shortly before my ninth birthday, in the spring of 1948, as the British were preparing to leave Palestine and let the Jews and Arabs fight it out between themselves, I became a Cleveland Indians fan.

In the Tents of Kabul
by Rosanne Klass
When I first went to Afghanistan in the 1950’s, I knew nothing about the place, and certainly had no idea that I was beginning a lifelong involvement.

Beyond the Musical Avant-Garde
by Terry Teachout
What really happened to classical music in the 20th century? The survey histories of modern music that were published in the 1960’s mostly took for granted the historical inevitability and ultimate triumph of atonality and the postwar avant-garde.

Girls Gone Mild by Wendy Shalit
by Sam Schulman
A Modest Proposal Girls Gone Mild: Young Women Reclaim Self-Respect and Find It’s Not Bad to Be Good by Wendy Shalit Random House.

Arsenals of Folly by Richard Rhodes
by Gabriel Schoenfeld
Two Apes on a Treadmill? Arsenals of Folly: The Making of the Nuclear Arms Race by Richard Rhodes Knopf. 400 pp. $28.95 What was the nuclear arms race between the U.S.

Mere Anarchy by Woody Allen
by Benjamin Plotinsky
Stick Figure Mere Anarchy by Woody Allen Random House. 160 pp. $21.95 Thirty years ago, my parents bought tickets to Woody Allen’s brand-new movie Annie Hall, thinking that it might serve to distract my mother from her advanced pregnancy with me.

Ralph Ellison by Arnold Rampersad
by Algis Valiunas
Novel & Novelist Ralph Ellison by Arnold Rampersad Knopf. 657 pp. $35.00. There are no second acts in American lives, the meteoric F. Scott Fitzgerald observed, lamenting his own fleeting glory and prolonged desuetude.

The Argument by Matt Bai
by Dan DiSalvo
Off Base The Argument: Billionaires, Bloggers, and the Battle to Remake Democratic Politics by Matt Bai Penguin. 336 pp. $25.95 The first six years of the new century were dark times for Democrats.

Confronting Iran
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In “The Case for Bombing Iran” [June], Norman Podhoretz continues to liken the challenge posed today by “Islamofascism” to last century’s ideological conflicts with the Nazis and Soviets.

Zionism
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Reading Hillel Halkin’s dark thoughts about Zionism and Israel, I kept wondering if I was truly living in the same country as he [“If Israel Ceased to Exist,” June].

Among the Saudis
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I was pleased to meet Joshua Muravchik in Saudi Arabia, and I read the memoir of his trip with great interest [“My Saudi Sojourn,” May].

November, 2007Back to Top
What Kind of War Are We Fighting, and Can We Win It?
by
To mark the publication of Norman Podhoretz’s World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism (Doubleday), the editors of COMMENTARY addressed the following questions to a group of leading thinkers: 1.

The Eliot Spitzer Show
by Ira Stoll
When Eliot Spitzer took office as governor of New York on January 1 of this year, even the festivities were designed to convey the vigor and ambition of the new administration.

Faith in the Flesh
by R. R. Reno
That Saturday morning in January, I watch as the winter sun angles through the window to break upon my daughter’s hair, pulled back in a tight, neat bun.

China Games
by Arch Puddington
The “Genocide Olympics” is what Mia Farrow has called the games scheduled to open next summer in Beijing. The actress has been protesting China’s role in facilitating the slaughter in Darfur, but her efforts have not exactly generated a groundswell of support (unless one counts a single tough letter to the Chinese leaders from the director Steven Spielberg, who was perhaps making amends for the embarrassment of having previously agreed to help choreograph the opening ceremonies of the games).

Refighting the Wars of Religion
by George Weigel
Since the rise of the religious New Right two generations ago, the religion-and-politics battle in America has been fought on many fronts.

Hopper's Appeal
by Steven Munson
More than the usual array of celebratory and publicity-oriented activities has attended Edward Hopper, a major retrospective of the painter’s work now on view until January 21 at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.1 A documentary film narrated by the actor (and collector) Steve Martin is being shown at all three of the exhibition’s venues as well as on PBS.

The Amateur as Critic
by Terry Teachout
Of all the changes that have taken place in English-language newspapers during the past quarter-century, perhaps the most far-reaching has been the inexorable decline in the scope and seriousness of their arts coverage.

The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy
by John J. Mearsheimer
and Stephen M. Walt

by Bret Stephens
Academic Protocols The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 496 pp.

Giving by Bill Clinton
by Leslie Lenkowsky
Campaign Mode Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World By Bill Clinton Knopf, 240 pp., $24.95 Unless he returns as a presidential spouse, and perhaps even if he does, Bill Clinton seems intent on making his own post-White House career known for its efforts to encourage charitable giving.

The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit
by Lucette Lagnado

by Hillel Halkin
Exile The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit: My Family’s Exodus from Old Cairo to the New World by Lucette Lagnado Ecco. 352 pp.

Christopher's Ghosts by Charles MCarry
by Brian Carney
A Different Kind of Spy  Christopher’s Ghosts by Charles McCarry Overlook. 272 pp. $25.00 For nearly 40 years, the spy novelist Charles McCarry has been writing frighteningly prescient books.

The Squandering of America
by Robert Kuttner

by Daniel Seligman
Political Economy The Squandering of America: How the Failure of our Politics Undermines Our Prosperity by Robert Kuttner Knopf. 352 pp. $26.95 Robert Kuttner is a non-mainstream economist with deep, deep doubts about free markets, free trade, unregulated industries, and nonunion workers.

Exit Ghost by Philip Roth
by Carol Iannone
Advance and Retreat Exit Ghost by Philip Roth Houghton Mifflin. 304 pp. $26.00 "An aged man is but a paltry thing,/A tattered coat upon a stick,” wrote William Butler Yeats in “Sailing to Byzantium.” Unless, Yeats added, “Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing/For every tatter in its mortal dress.” Philip Roth used another phrase in Yeats’s great poem as the title of his novel The Dying Animal (2001).

The Bombs of World War II
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In “Fire from the Sky” [July-August], Algis Valiunas offers a moral defense of the Allied air campaign in World War II—a presumptuous task, given the annihilation of civilian populations that was wrought by mass-destruction bombing.

Jerusalem
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Norman Podhoretz argues that the Jews are a “chosen people,” adducing the fact that they have survived throughout history and excelled in manifold ways.

Intelligence
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I commend Gabriel Schoenfeld for “The CIA Follies (Cont’d.)” [July-August], an insightful critique of the organization in which I spent seventeen years as a political-military analyst. Mr.

Americanism
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In discussing what an American creed might consist of, Terry Teachout sets up a false dichotomy [“Our Creed and Our Character,” July-August].


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December, 2007Back to Top
Crime, Drugs, Welfare—and Other Good News
by
Fifteen years ago, a deep pessimism seemed to be stalking the American landscape. It arose from diverse quarters, took different forms, and cited a congeries of different symptoms—military, economic, social, cultural, and spiritual—in support of its dark diagnosis.

My Short March Through China
by Gary Rosen
Of the ways one might choose to visit China for the first time, traveling with a delegation of American journalists, as I did in September, is not ideal.

Many Seconds Into the Future—A Story
by John Clayton
Almost every day now, Daniel Hirsch looks up from his desk in the Boston office where he practices law or stands on clear fall days on the back deck of his house in Newton, a cup of coffee in his hand, and sends his spirit 200 years into the future.

What the Settlements Have Achieved
by Hillel Halkin
Of all the criticisms that have been leveled at Israel over the Palestinian question, the harshest may be those made of Jewish settlement in the occupied territories, particularly the West Bank.

Who Owns the Vietnam War?
by Arthur Herman
In late August, an American President spoke forthrightly for the first time about what happened when the United States abandoned its commitments to two sovereign nations in Indochina, South Vietnam and Cambodia, and allowed them to be overrun by Communist forces.

Defending Human Dignity
by Leon Kass
In contrast to continental Europe, human dignity has never been a powerful idea in American public discourse. We tend instead to be devoted to the language of rights and the pursuit of equality.

The Cult of the Difficult
by Terry Teachout
The history of Western art in the 20th century is a tempestuous chronicle of rebellion, transformation, re-evaluation, and renewal. For those of us who lived through its latter half, it hardly seems possible that the story is now over—that modernism, to put it another way, is a thing of the past.

My Grandfather's Son by Clarence Thomas
by Andrew Ferguson
Justice at Last My Grandfather’s Son: A Memoir by Clarence Thomas Harper. 304 pp. $26.95 “I’d always been one to close my shutters to the world,” writes Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in his moving new memoir.

Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks
by Kevin Shapiro
Mystic Chords Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain by Oliver Sacks Knopf. 400 pp. $26.00 A general surgeon once remarked to me that neurologists do not cure disease—they admire it.

How to Read the Bible by James L. Kugel
by Abraham Socher
Book Sense How to Read the Bible: A Guide to Scripture, Then and Now by James L. Kugel Free Press. 848 pp. $35.00 James Kugel has had an interesting career.

The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein
by Jonathan Kay
A Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein Metropolitan. 558 pages. $28.00 Just a month before Naomi Klein published No Logo in January 2000, the anti-globalization movement held its giant coming-out fracas at the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle.

The First Day of the Blitz by Peter Stansky
by Gabriel Schoenfeld
Rain of Terror The First Day of the Blitz: September 7, 1940 by Peter Stansky Yale. 224 pp. $24.00 How well do democracies bear up under the strain of terror? The question has been posed time and again.

Iraq
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Max Boot criticizes our report, “Phased Transition: A Responsible Way Forward and Out of Iraq”—which calls for a reduced force of American combat troops and an increase in troops advising the Iraqi security forces—on two counts, one general, one specific [“How Not to Get Out of Iraq,” September].

Conservative Judaism
by Our Readers
To the Editor: As Jack Wertheimer sees it, Conservative Judaism is in a muddled state, and nowhere is this more evident than in the “different and frankly contradictory rulings” recently issued by the movement’s committee on Jewish law and standards concerning the fraught topic of homosexuality [“The Perplexities of Conservative Judaism,” September].

Libertarianism
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In her discussion of my Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement and Brink Lindsey’s The Age of Abundance, Kay S.

New Orleans
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In “New Orleans—An Autopsy” [September], Ben C. Toledano proves himself an excellent diagnostician of civic disease. There can be no doubt that a combination of corruption, a stultifying class system (among whites and blacks alike), and the lack of a merit-based economy were ravaging New Orleans long before Hurricane Katrina hit.




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