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January, 2012Back to Top
Red-State Ballad
by Terry Teachout
More than 16 million people tuned in to the Country Music Association’s 2011 awards show on ABC in November—the fourth most watched program of the week.

Slashing America's Defense: A Suicidal Trajectory
by Max Boot
The U.S. armed forces have spent the past decade fighting two of the largest counterinsurgency campaigns in their history. In Iraq, they have dramatically reduced the threat from al-Qaeda and Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdist Army, and they are now in the process of doing the same to the Taliban and the Haqqani Network in Afghanistan and Pakistan.But just as they are drawing down in both Iraq and Afghanistan, they have met an opposing force that might prove more formidable than any of those terrorist groups.

How the West Was Won
by John Gordon
We live in a Roman world. The Western Roman Empire disappeared 1,500 years ago, and the last remnant of the Eastern Empire winked out 40 years before Columbus stumbled upon the New World.

Lights, Camera, Activism!
by Sonny Bunch
Movies are built on the suspension of disbelief, and you’ll need it to buy the argument Steven Ross is selling in Hollywood Left and Right: How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics.

It's a Mitzvah
by D.G. Myers
Now that most American Jews have settled comfortably into a secular way of life without much fear of religious intolerance (except from other Jews), it’s not entirely clear what cultural function Jewish novels are supposed to perform.

Press Man: The OTM Machine
by Andrew Ferguson
After several decades as an incurable listener to NPR, overcome with admiration and self-loathing by turns, I’ve developed some pretty strong opinions about its on-air personnel.

Look Back at Sanger
by Richard Starr
Margaret Sanger:A Life of Passion By Jean H. Baker Hill & Wang, 368 pagesRecently, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer asked Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain about his accusation that Margaret Sanger’s had launched Planned Parenthood seven decades ago in order “to put these centers in primarily black communities so they could help kill black babies before they came into the world.

Liking Ike
by Andrew Roberts
Eisenhower in War and PeaceBy Jean Edward SmithRandom House,976 pagesAfter Dwight David Eisenhower’s death on March 28, 1969, his grandson David asked his widow, Mamie, whether she had really known her husband.

Half a Prize
by James Delingpole
The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World By Daniel YerginPenguin Press,816 pagesImagine, for a moment, you were reading the most brilliant book ever written about the Apollo moon landings.

Remittance Man
by Joseph Epstein
By his younger son Lenny’s rough count, Samuel Greenspan’s funeral service, at Piser Funeral Home off Skokie Boulevard, is attended by no fewer than 400 people.

Vive la Difference Feminism
by Christine Rosen
Revolutionaries are unreliable recorders of their own legacies. Hindsight usually renders them excessively bitter or boastful, or both. The children whom the revolution hasn’t already devoured are often less doctrinally pure than their ideological parents and thus a source of great annoyance.

The Left's Great Crime
by George Russell
The event that took place in Jonestown, Guyana, on November 18, 1978, is a nightmare blot on the fading annals of the 1970s.

Let There Be Growth, and/or Inflation
by James Pethokoukis
Ezra Klein, an online columnist for the Washington Post, has been a sympathetic chronicler of President Barack Obama’s efforts to combat the Great Recession and its messy aftermath.

Occupy Wall Street and the Jews
by Jonathan Neumann
On the eve of Yom Kippur, Jews across New York City hurriedly finished their pre-fast meals before dashing to synagogue for Kol Nidre services.

Putting the UN in its Place
by Joshua Muravchik
The Palestinian Authority’s drive for full United Nations membership that Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned would be a diplomatic “tsunami” turned out to be a tsunami in a teacup.

The Monastery Joke
by
At the base of Mt. Everest, Sherpas are struck to see a small, elderly woman emerge from the snows. “Hello, I’m Mrs.

Balaam's Asses
by John Podhoretz
In a bizarre reversal of the Biblical tale of Balaam—the Gentile prophet who found himself singing the praises of the Hebrews rather than cursing them as his king had commanded—senior officials and diplomats serving the Obama Administration find words critical of and hostile to Israel spilling from their mouths when every practical impulse surely tells them to hold their tongues.What possible good could it have served Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, in a speech at the Saban Center in December, to place the onus on Israel for opening up talks with Palestinians, Arabs in general, and Turkey—in a setting where many listeners are sympathetic to Israel and believe correctly that the political changes in the Arab world since January have only placed the Jewish state in a more fragile position?Israel needs to “lean forward” for peace, Panetta said, evidently auditioning for a post-administration job hosting a talk show on MSNBC.

Blaming Israel First
by Jonathan Tobin
The Obama administration began the month of December with two startling statements in relation to Israel. First, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta claimed the increasing isolation of the Jewish state, caused by both the growth of Islamism in both Turkey and Egypt and the rejection of negotiations by the Palestinian Authority, is Israel’s fault—rather than the result of its neighbors’ drift toward hatred and extremism.Although he pledged American support for Israel’s security, Panetta stated that passivity on the part of Israel’s government accounted for its solitary condition, and he demanded that it make gestures to appease Ankara and Cairo—even though both the Turkish government and the newly ascendant Muslim Brotherhood have demonstrated their lack of interest in warmer relations with the Jewish state.

Our Readers Weigh In: Are You Optimistic or Pessimistic About America's Future?
by Our Readers
Our Readers Weigh In: Are You Optimistic or Pessimistic About America's FutureTo the Editor:I read with great interest the range of learning, citations, and polished aperçus that made November’s special issue so worthwhile.

February, 2012Back to Top
Condi's Lessons
by Rick Richman
No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington By Condoleezza Rice Crown Publishers, 766 pagesAt 766 pages, Condoleezza Rice’s memoir of her service as national-security adviser and secretary of state is not long as such memoirs go.

Spun Silk
by Arthur Waldron
The Ideal Man: The Tragedy of Jim Thompson and the American Way of War By Joshua Kurlantzick John Wiley & Sons, 264 pagesTwo distinct stories, neither complete, sit uneasily between the covers of Joshua Kurlantzick’s The Ideal Man.

A Portrait of Success
by Sol Stern
Israel: An IntroductionBy Barry RubinYale University Press, 336 pagesOn the occasion of Israel’s 50th anniversary, the British historian Paul Johnson wrote in COMMENTARY that among the 100 newly independent nations born in the years after World War II, Israel was “the only one whose creation can fairly be called a miracle.” Two improbable events occurring in the first half of the 20th century combined to create an opening for the eventual establishment of the Jewish state, according to Johnson.

The War Decade
by Michael Rosen
Confronting Terror: 9/11 and the Future of American National Security Edited by Dean Reuter and John Yoo Encounter, 320 pagesI was on an American Airlines plane this year, on September 11, at 8:46 A.M.—the exact minute 10 years earlier when AA Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

Blame Canada
by Max Boot
Conquered into Liberty: Two Centuries of Battles Along the Great Warpath that Made the American Way of WarBy Eliot A.

The Big Lie Returns
by Ben Cohen
A blurb on a book jacket would seem an unlikely vehicle for the introduction of a new and sinister tactic in the promotion of an ancient prejudice.  But in September 2011, a word of appreciation on the cover of The Wandering Who launched a fresh chapter in the modern history of anti-Semitism.

ObamaCare at the Supreme Court
by Tevi Troy
On March 26, 2012, the Supreme Court will begin hearing five and a half hours of argument on the constitutionality of President Obama’s health-care law.

Charles Dickens and His Women
by Thomas Jeffers
When Virginia Woolf said in 1925 that “there is perhaps no person living who can remember reading David Copperfield for the first time,” she was speaking for a post-Victorian generation for whom Charles Dickens was not merely a national monument—there like the dome of St.

The Producer
by Terry Teachout
In 1973, at the age of 71, an entertainment-industry veteran named John Houseman played a haughty Harvard Law School professor in a movie called The Paper Chase.

Eco's Protocols
by D.G. Myers
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is the most influential anti-Semitic book ever published. Purporting to be the minutes of a top-level secret meeting to map out the Jews’ plans for world domination, it was exposed as a Czarist forgery within a decade and a half of its original 1905 publication in Moscow.

Press Man: Why They Wept for Hitchens
by Andrew Ferguson
One night, nearly 25 years ago, I was talking with Christopher Hitchens at a cocktail party—that this statement could be construed as name-dropping is actually the subject of this column, so please read on—when we were interrupted by the actor Richard Dreyfuss.

The Payroll-Tax Holiday from Hell
by Ira Stoll
Had an American taxpayer fallen into a deep slumber in January 2011 and awakened 11 months later, he might have thought he had been teleported into an alternate universe.

Iran's Gambit in Latin America
by Roger Noriega
In early January, Iran caught the world’s attention by threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz and brandish shore-to-sea cruise missiles in what was to be a 10-day naval exercise.

The Ultra-Orthodox on the Warpath
by Mati Wagner
The short walk from home to school had become a gauntlet of fear for eight-year-old Naama Margolese, a cherub-faced second-grader at a modern Orthodox elementary school located in Beit Shemesh, about 20 minutes west of Jerusalem.

The Worldwide Attack on Christians
by David Aikman
On October 2011, when the so-called Arab Spring took a dark turn in Cairo, Egypt, the social media and smartphone technologies that had aided protesters in their fight for freedom captured new and dangerous developments.

Decline Has Been Chosen
by John Podhoretz
In October 2009, Charles Krauthammer memorably told an audience at the Manhattan Institute that “decline is a choice.” There is, he said, nothing natural about an erosion in the worldwide position and stature of the United States; rather, decline would come about as a result of policy decisions by American leaders: “Nothing is inevitable.

The Herring Joke
by
 For 65 years, every day, Fishbein goes at noon to Ratner’s, the famed dairy restaurant on the Lower East Side a few blocks from his clothing stall on Orchard Street, and has the schmaltz herring and a can of cream soda.

Hamas's Unchanged Heart
by Jonathan Tobin
Hamas’s Unchanged Heart The latest attempt to convince Israelis that worries about their security are unfounded concerns a supposed shift in the worldview of Hamas.

Setting Nazis Free
by Our Readers
To the Editor:Kevin J. Madigan puts forth the charge that the Vatican under Pope Pius XII helped Nazis escape justice in Europe [“How the Catholic Church Sheltered Nazi War Criminals,” December 2011].

Giving Reagan His Due
by Our Readers
To the Editor:The vicious contention over the corpse of Ronald Reagan [“The Liberal Misappropriation of a Conservative President,” October 2011], like that between the left and right over Eric Blair, is offensive and ill directed.

Educating the Revolutionaries
by Our Readers
To the Editor:It remains an open question whether the many revolutions of the Arab Spring will yield truly democratic societies, as Joshua Muravchik states [“Neoconservatives and the Arab Spring,” September 2011].

Nice Conductors Finish Last?
by Our Readers
To the Editor:In “Hard Szell” [November 2011], Terry Teachout generally admires George Szell despite the latter’s abrasive and bullying character.

Radio Jonestown
by Our Readers
To the Editor:I was fascinated by George Russell’s article on Jim Jones [“The Left’s Great Crime,” January], but not for the usual reasons .For months, I had conversations via amateur (“ham”) radio with Jones, but more frequently with Dr.

March, 2012Back to Top
From Our November 2007 Symposium: James Q. Wilson
by James Wilson
I think we are and should be in a war against Islamofascist terrorism; whether we call it World War IV is, to me, immaterial.

Can Iran Be Saved?
by Sohrab Ahmari
After simmering in low-intensity form for more than three decades, tensions between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the international community are reaching their boiling point.

Jews, Money, and 2012
by Jonathan Tobin
In the closing days of 2011, as Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s campaign was floundering in Iowa, a longtime supporter and friend came to the rescue.

The Deceits of Seymour Hersh
by James Kirchick
Last June, the distinguished American journalist Seymour Hersh published an article in the New Yorker entitled “Iran and the Bomb: How Real Is the Nuclear Threat?” His answer: not very.

American Mobility
by
Over the past three decades, the American economy has grown considerably. Accounting for population growth and price changes, GDP has increased by more than 60 percent.

Blessed Unions
by Meir Soloveichik
On June 27, 1787, the American Founding Father Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and a renowned physician, wrote an extraordinary letter to his wife about a Jewish wedding he had just attended in Philadelphia.

The Lost Greatness of Alexander Bickel
by Adam White
When Yale Law School’s Alexander Bickel died in 1974, George Will declared him “the keenest public philosopher of our time”—and rightly so.

Old Age and Other Laughs
by Joseph Epstein
What shall I do with this absurdity—O heart, O troubled heart—this caricature,Decrepit age that has been tied to meAs to a dog’s tail?     –W.B.

The Man That Jazz Forgot
by Terry Teachout
In 1973, Ebony magazine ran a story titled “Whatever Happened to Louis Jordan?” Two decades earlier, the genial singer-saxophonist was one of America’s biggest pop stars.

Incarceration Nation
by Melanie Kirkpatrick
The Orphan Master’s SonBy Adam JohnsonRandom House, 443 pagesIn what has become an annual ritual, South Korea’s Ministry of Unification announced in January the number of North Koreans who escaped to the South during the previous year.

Marriage Vows
by D.G. Myers
After 30 years of marriage, the middle-class couple that is the subject of Stewart O’Nan’s The Odds: A Love Story (Viking, 179 pages) has little to show for the life they have made together.

Why Warraq Is Right
by Joshua Muravchik
In 1988, Salman Rushdie wrote The Satanic Verses, a novel that depicted several iconic figures of Islam in ways taken to be sacrilegious.

Press Man: The Dog Whistle & Other Liberal Tropes
by Andrew Ferguson
Like an idiot, I wrote something complimentary about Michelle Obama not long ago, and when the article was picked up and re-posted on a well-trafficked conservative website, boy, did I catch hell.

The Post-American Child
by John Podhoretz
There’s a new book out about how American parents should emulate the French, because the French are so much more relaxed about their children—let them cry themselves to sleep after only a few weeks, send them into day care without a second thought after a few months, and let them run around without supervision.

Echoes of 1967 with Iran
by Jonathan Tobin
Echoes of 1967 with IranIn the first weeks of 2012, discussions between the United States and Israel about plans to prevent the production of an Iranian nuclear bomb appeared to be going nowhere.

Sugar and Vice
by Naomi Riley
"Get her father involved in her dating life.” When I came upon this recommendation (tip number three for getting daughters safely through adolescence) in Caitlin Flanagan’s book Girl Land, I had to laugh.

Three Mother Jokes
by
For his birthday, Greenbaum receives a blue tie and a red tie from his mother. The next time he goes to visit her, he wears the blue tie.

‘Occupying’ Judaism
by Our Readers
To the Editor:Jonathan Neumann’s article [“Occupy Wall Street and the Jews,” January] can be boiled down to two of the most well-worn Commentary fixations: (1) There is a Jewish left, despite the best efforts of Commentary; and (2) the Jewish left must worry about its anti-Semitic bedfellows, preferably so much that they cease to exist (and certainly more so than the Jewish right).

Israeli Democracy and the Settlers
by Our Readers
To the Editor:Lazar Berman demonstrated the art of book reviewing [“The Unmaking of Gershom Gorenberg,” November 2011] by laying out a whole page of the author’s views objectively and tolerantly before disputing them.Mr.

Avoiding a Lost Decade
by Our Readers
To the Editor:It seems that David M. Smick is advocating opening up our wallets via the House ATM mechanism and continue to borrow money [“How We Can Avoid Becoming Like Japan,” December 2011].

April, 2012Back to Top
China's High-Tech Military Threat
by Bill Gertz
President Barack Obama said during the visit of Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping in February that “we welcome China’s peaceful rise [and] we believe that a strong and prosperous China is one that can help bring stability and prosperity to the region and the world.” Few presidents have made statements so stunningly disingenuous as this.

Reclaiming the Moral Case for Afghanistan
by Jamie Fly
Following the killing of American soldiers and the recent protests sparked by the accidental burning of Korans by coalition forces, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich went so far as to suggest that the United States should abandon Afghanistan unless the Afghans apologize, adding that we should tell them, “figure out how to live your own miserable life.” This is the increasingly frequent refrain of war-weary conservatives who question President Barack Obama’s leadership in the conflict, are tired of the war’s financial and human toll, and doubt that it is possible, in Gingrich’s words, to “fix Afghanistan.”They are worn out and disheartened, in part because Obama and his administration long ago ceased making the moral case for victory in Afghanistan.

A New Global Warming Fraud
by James Delingpole
The New York Times headline on February 16, 2012, read as follows: “Leak Offers Glimpse of Campaign Against Climate Science.” The story appeared to present a shocking indictment of the mores and sinister practices of the so-called climate-denial lobby.

The New Palestinian Strategy
by Jonathan Schanzer
One word went unspoken in an interview President Barack Obama gave to journalist Jeffrey Goldberg in late February. In their 45-minute discussion, devoted exclusively to the subject of Israel, the president did not utter the word Palestinian.

Israel & America: The Eternal Return
by
The relationship between the Untied States and Israel is fracturing. The president and his administration are pressuring the Jewish state to make painful concessions in return for vague agreements short of real peace.

How Highbrows Killed Culture
by Fred Siegel
It is one of the foundational myths of contemporary liberalism: the idea that American culture in the 1950s was not only stifling in its banality but a subtle form of fascism that constituted a danger to the Republic.

The Rav's Bombshell
by Yoram Hazony
Joseph B. Soloveitchik was one of the leading rabbinic figures of the 20th century. As a professor at Yeshiva University from 1941 until his death at the age of 90 in 1993, he earned a virtually unrivaled reputation as a Talmudist—and is said to have ordained 2,000 rabbis.

Realignment & Reality
by Ramesh Ponnuru
The Lost Majority:Why the Future of Government Is Up for Grabs-and Who Will Take It By Sean Trende Palgrave Macmillan, 272 pagesThere is a familiar story about the last century of American politics.

Beinart the Unwise
by Sol Stern
The Crisis of ZionismBy Peter Beinart Times Books, 276 pagesAt the heart of The Crisis of Zionism, the new book by Peter Beinart, is a simple morality play.

The Good News Bears
by David Warren
The World America Made By Robert Kagan Knopf,160 pages“You’re not going to like what comes after America,” wrote Leonard Cohen, with the poet’s gift for extreme condensation.

The Man Behind The Music Man
by Terry Teachout
One of a bare handful of hit Broadway musicals to have been written in its entirety by a single person, The Music Man opened to rave reviews in 1957, beat out West Side Story at the Tony Awards, and ran for 1,375 performances.

Steady as She Goes
by Andrew Roberts
Elizabeth the Queen:The Life of a Modern Monarch By Sally Bedell Smith Random House,688 pagesThe 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne of Britain has produced a predictably large slew of books, most of them pretty worthless scissors-and-paste jobs or photo collections.

Let My People Go
by D.G. Myers
In 1819, Joseph Perl wrote the first Hebrew novel, a vicious satire on Hasidism called Revealer of Secrets. A faithful Jew, Perl did not want to threaten his standing in the community, so he published the book in Vienna under a pseudonym.

Watergate-Gate
by Andrew Ferguson
Lately I’ve been wallowing in Watergate, as people my age often do when they approach their anecdotage. Why, I remember it as if it were yesterday: the sweltering summer of 1973, the motionless air and the hum of cicadas across a suburban lawn, the cool of the shade on the side porch of a friend’s house where an ancient TV buzzed hour after hour with the high drama of the Senate Watergate hearings.

Rush to War?
by John Podhoretz
The discussion of the burgeoning Iranian nuclear program took a peculiar turn last month. There was talk of a “rush to war.” The president himself decided he could use the discussion to his political advantage by attacking his Republican rivals for talking far too loosely about going to war.

Iran’s Undeniable Motives
by Jonathan Tobin
Iran’s Undeniable MotivesWith both the United States and Israel debating how best to forestall the nuclearization of Iran, assessing the motivation of those working on the Iranian project is a way to gauge that country’s progress.

The Scout Joke
by
It is the Battle of the Bulge, and the Nazis are staging a furious counterattack against the advancing American army. With no good intelligence on German positions, General George Patton sends for the Third Army’s greatest scout, Private Irving Feldman.“The future of this war depends on you,” the general says.“You shouldn’t worry,” says Feldman, who stands all of 5'2'' and weighs all of 120 pounds.

A Fashionable Hatred
by Our Readers
To the Editor:Ben Cohen points out that anti-Semitism is becoming salonfähig again [“The Big Lie Returns,” February], but he does not tackle the reason.

Inflating the Problem?
by Our Readers
To the Editor:James Pethokoukis worries that allowing a bit of inflation could easily “get out of hand,” thereby harming economic growth [“Let There Be Growth and/or Inflation,” January].

Money Well Spent
by Our Readers
To the Editor:Max Boot provides a valuable historical context [“Slashing America’s Defense: A Suicidal Trajectory,” January] for the unquestionable folly of reducing American military power below levels needed for credible deterrence or successful warfare.

Helping Hamas on Campus
by Our Readers
To the Editor:Brooke Goldstein and Gabriel Latner’s article on a 2010 USTOGAZA fundraiser at Rutgers University [“Flotilla U,” December 2011] highlights a growing concern: American college campuses are being used to illegally aid U.S.-recognized foreign terrorist groups, and university officials are not interceding.In 2009, the Muslim Student Union at the University of California, Irvine, featured British politician and Israel-basher George Galloway.

Ike & Democracy
by Our Readers
To the Editor:I was delighted to read “Liking Ike” by Andrew Roberts [January]. It is not often that one reads or hears anything except praise for the Eisenhower administration, and Roberts is almost certainly correct that siding with the USSR and Egypt against Israel, Britain, and France in 1956 “may have been Eisenhower’s greatest failure.”While Eisenhower was supporting the Soviet Union in the Middle East, he was doing the same thing with his silence when the Hungarian uprising was crushed.

Giving Dickens His Due
by Our Readers
To the Editor:I enjoyed “Charles Dickens and His Women” by Thomas L. Jeffers [February]. However, some unmentioned females are my favorites.

May, 2012Back to Top
The Jigsaw Puzzle & the Chessboard
by Henry Nau
The case for Barack Obama’s foreign policy is as follows: He inherited a catastrophic world of woe from his predecessor, including two foreign wars, an aggressive al-Qaeda, a deep mistrust of the United States abroad, and a shaken economy at home.

The Failure of Arab Liberals
by Sohrab Ahmari
Lamenting the illiberal fruit of the Arab Spring has become a favorite pastime of the Western commentariat. A year and a half after the movement’s outbreak, pundits from across the political spectrum compete daily for valuable editorial real estate to announce, in so many words, “We told you so.” For the left, Islamist ascendance across post-revolutionary North Africa provides ample evidence of the limits of American influence and the need for a foreign policy even more humble than that espoused by the Obama administration.

Three Days that Shook ObamaCare
by Tevi Troy
For ObamaCare and its namesake, the period from March 26 through 28, 2012, will go down as three very bad days politically—and possibly as three epic days for our nation constitutionally.The multiday argument in front of our nation’s highest court—which usually grants only one hour per case—exhibited various shortcomings and contradictions in the Affordable Care Act of 2010.

The War Obama Wanted
by Alana Goodman
The “war on women”—the alleged right-wing assault on reproductive freedom that erupted in late January—actually began quietly about six months before most Americans ever heard about it.

Class Dismissed
by Jeff Jacoby
When General Grant Expelled the JewsBy Jonathan D. SarnaNextbook/Schocken, 224 pagesIn December 1862, from his military headquarters in Mississippi, Major General Ulysses S.

Ryan's Hope
by James Pethokoukis
It’s probably safe to assume that no elected official in America understands the ins and outs of the labyrinthine U.S.

The Closing of the American Nietzsche
by Charles Stang
American Nietzsche: A History of an Icon and His IdeasBy Jennifer Ratner-RosenhagenUniversity of Chicago Press, 452 pagesAmerican Nietzsche bills itself as a capacious history of the American reception of the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900).

In Tropes They Trust
by Jonathan Neumann
The Tyranny of Clichés:How Liberals Cheat in the War of IdeasBy Jonah GoldbergSentinel, 320 pagesViolence never solved anything. Diversity is strength.

Capital Offense
by Omri Ceren
On March 28, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland got into a testy exchange with Associated Press reporter Matt Lee over her refusal to say that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.

Prudishness Lost
by Peter Lopatin
The Origins of Sex: A History of the First Sexual RevolutionBy Faramerz DabhoiwalaOxford, 496 pagesIt is March 10, 1612. In a courthouse in Westminster, England, an unmarried man and woman, accused of having had sex with each other, are brought before the assembled magistrates.

What the Evangelicals Give the Jews
by Michael Medved
Many Jewish voters this November will find themselves at a crossroads: Will they accept their deep disappointment with Barack Obama and vote for his reelection, or will they overcome their own discomfort with Christian evangelicals and vote for the Republican candidate? The irrepressible argument about the appropriate relationship between the Jewish community and Christian conservatives has returned with a vengeance, forcing a fresh response to a fundamental question: Should Jews view our born-again fellow citizens as natural allies or inevitable adversaries?Unfortunately, the familiar grounds of this debate rely for the most part on inaccurate assumptions and proceed inexorably to illogical conclusions.Advocates of cooperation and coalition-building—call them Collaborationists—cite Christian evangelicals as an indispensable source of support for Israel, without whom U.S.

Eisenhower and the End of Greatness
by Michael J. Lewis
Although the superstar architect Frank Gehry was selected three years ago to design the memorial to Dwight D. Eisenhower in Washington D.C., his quirky schema for a tribute to the 34th president and the supreme commander of allied forces in World War II came to public notice only when David Eisenhower, the subject’s son, resigned late last year from the commission that hired Gehry.

Deviated: A Memoir
by Jesse Kellerman
Aside from a brief stint as a writing tutor during graduate school, I have managed to avoid respectable employment all my adult life.

Beloved by Whom?
by D.G. Myers
Twenty-five years ago this fall the most important American novel since Huckleberry Finn was published. Or, at least Toni Morrison’s Beloved must be considered the most important American novel in over a century if critical and academic attention is the gauge.

The Incredible Shrinking Conductor
by Terry Teachout
In February, the New York Philharmonic announced its 2012–13 season, the orchestra’s fourth under the leadership of Alan Gilbert, whose appointment as music director was the source of much favorable press when it was announced in 2007.

Roth’s Complaint
by William Giraldi
Joseph Roth: A Life in LettersTranslated and edited byMichael HofmannNorton, 549 pagesIt’s been a fatiguing haul for the least known of the three literary Roths.

The Game Change Game
by Andrew Ferguson
Two years after its publication, Game Change, the bestselling account of the 2008 presidential campaign, remains a landmark in political journalism.

Culture Warrior in Chief
by John Podhoretz
The introduction of the term culture war into the political debate is usually ascribed to Patrick J. Buchanan, whose incendiary 1992 opening-night address at the Republican National Convention came to be known as the “culture war speech”—although Buchanan never actually used the term.

The Iran Leakfest
by Jonathan Tobin
The Iran LeakfestLast month, the Department of Defense leaked a study that said an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear sites would lead to hundreds of American deaths.

The Lottery Joke
by
Sy Moscowitz is the best, kindest, most self-sacrificing, and most truly pious Jew anyone has ever met. He helps out at the synagogue, he’s at every hospital bedside, at every shiva.The day Moscowitz turns 60, he is alone in the shul, sweeping, when he looks up at the ceiling and addresses God.

Taking the Jewish Vote for Granted
by Our Readers
To the Editor:Jonathan Tobin’s article “Jews, Money, and 2012” [March] raises the intriguing possibility of the Jewish electorate influencing this year’s presidential election outcome.

Bickel and Judicial Restraint
by Our Readers
To the Editor:When I saw the title of Adam J. White’s essay “The Lost Greatness of Alexander Bickel” [March], I looked forward to reading guides that might correct the fatal problems in our legal system.

Objectivity and the Haredim
by Our Readers
To the Editor:I was most disappointed to find that COMMENTARY now seems to have joined the fashion du jour of demonizing the haredim [“The Ultra-Orthodox on the Warpath,” February].

What About the Urban Poor?
by Our Readers
To the Editor:It would be interesting if Bruce D. Meyer and James X. Sullivan would expand upon their study of the often ignored economic progress of middle- and working-class Americans [“American Mobility,” March] and analyze the subset of the poor that live in the cities.The most intractable problem in public school education in America is the high dropout rate in poor urban areas.

June, 2012Back to Top
Who Will Defend the Defenders?
by Mitchell Silber
In April, the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting was awarded to the Associated Press for a series of articles it published about the New York Police Department’s “clandestine spying program that monitored daily life in Muslim communities.” The AP’s assertions were so extensive that they filled more than 50 separate pieces, the first published in August of last year.

Energy Independence and Its Enemies
by Abby Schachter
“In my 50 years of following the energy business, this is by far the biggest event I’ve seen.” So says John Deutch, the chemist who ran the CIA under Bill Clinton and is now a professor at MIT.

Please Excuse My President
by Peter Wehner
Few things are more difficult in politics than confronting failure and learning from it. It is especially difficult when a leader you have championed, and in whom you have placed your highest hopes, turns out to be less than he seemed.Such is the dilemma facing liberals in the age of Obama.

The Ten Commandments of America's Jews
by Jack Wertheimer
In the past two decades, the vocabulary of American Jewish life has undergone a profound transformation. The evidence is all around us: in books promoting “empowered Judaism,” blogs singing the praises of “Do It Yourself Judaism,” slogans celebrating a “Jewish renewal” or a “Jewish renaissance” in America, and more.

My Friend Matt
by Joseph Epstein
My friend Matthew Shanahan, born in 1917, was 88 when I first met him in 2005. He was one of those handsome bald men, with delicate, rather aristocratic features, high-colored skin with few wrinkles, and bright blue eyes through which he could make out only the dimmest shades of grey or glints of the most glaring light.Matt was blind, the victim of retinitis pigmentosa, which ran in his family.

Nobel Causes
by George Russell
On October 9, 2009, the five obscure Norwegians who choose the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize announced the year’s laureate: President Barack Obama.

Conservatives and the Trayvon Martin Case
by David French
Police officers arriving on the scene of an early-evening shooting on February 26, 2012, in the Florida town of Sanford had no way of knowing they were beginning an investigation that would lead to the most racially charged criminal case since O.J.

The Lonesome Road
by Michael Medved
The Road to Freedom: How to Win the Fight for Free Enterprise By Arthur C. Brooks Basic Books, 224 pagesThe nasty, petty, and seemingly endless campaign for the Republican presidential nomination has featured ferocious sniping between cultural and economic conservatives.

Blue Jeane
by John Bolton
Political Woman: The Big Little Life of Jeane Kirkpatrick By Peter Collier Encounter, 368 pagesJeane Kirkpatrick led a harder life, professionally and personally, than her admirers ever imagined.

Revolutionary Roads
by Joseph Abrams
The Great Inversion and the Future of the American City By Alan Ehrenhalt Knopf, 288 pagesNew York was once the town of the tenement.

Reign of Ignorance
by Stephen Daisley
America-Lite: How Imperial Academia Dismantled Our Culture (and Ushered In the Obamacrats) By David Gelernter Encounter, 185 pagesWhy is the American academy so monolithically left-wing? David Gelernter, himself a tenured professor of computer science at Yale, attempts an answer in his new book America-Lite: How Imperial Academia Dismantled Our Culture (and Ushered In the Obamacrats).

Reverend Right
by Naomi Riley
God’s Right Hand: How Jerry Falwell Made God a Republican and Baptized the American Right By Michael Sean Winters HarperOne, 440 pagesIn the days before the Wisconsin primary, Rick Santorum’s campaign unleashed a robocall campaign instructing listeners not to vote for “Mitt Romney and homosexuality.” The message sounded funny and not just because the former Massachusetts governor doesn’t exactly seem like the great defender of gay sex.

Story of Oy
by Christine Rosen
Fifty Shades of Grey By E L James Vintage, 528 pagesFifty Shades Darker By E L James Vintage, 544 pagesFifty Shades Freed By E L James Vintage, 592 pagesEvery so often, the New York Times Book Review takes a look back at the books that ascended the bestseller lists 10, 15, 20 years earlier.

Go to Hellman
by Terry Teachout
Of the making of books about Lillian Hellman, there is no end. Since her death in 1984, she has been the subject of three full-scale biographies, a book-length memoir by one of her lovers, and a 350-page portrait of her long-term relationship with the mystery novelist and screenwriter Dashiell Hammett.

The People of the Bottle
by Rich Cohen
Jews and Booze: Becoming American in the Age of Prohibition By Marni Davis New York University Press, 272 pagesThe title of Marni Davis’s Jews and Booze turns out to be the only playful thing about the book, the only place Davis lets herself have fun—and a book about drinking should allow for a little fun.

North by Northwest
by D.G. Myers
If anyone from the generation of American writers born after the Second World War has a claim to being a major novelist, it is Richard Ford.

The Media Climate Never Changes
by Andrew Ferguson
One thing liberal, or mainstream, news outlets do better than their conservative counterparts is making what lawyers call “an admission against interest.” You are more likely to find a story damaging to President Obama in a pro-Obama paper such as the New York Times (recent example: “White House Opens Door to Big Donors, and Lobbyists Slip In”) than you will find a story unsettling to the conservative cause in the conservative media.

The Limit
by John Podhoretz
Since same-sex marriage emerged as an issue in the early 1990s, brilliant conservative thinkers have constructed a remarkable series of arguments against it.

Iran Plays the West for Suckers
by Jonathan Tobin
Iran Plays the West for SuckersSome in the media are claiming that America’s tensions with Iran are subsiding since the two countries have attended new international talks about the Islamist regime’s nuclear program.

The Concord Hotel Joke
by
Sid Feldman runs into a friend on Broadway. “Sid, you look terrible!” the friend says. “I just got back from a vacation in the mountains,” Feldman says.“This is how you look after a vacation?” the friend says.

America’s Founding: Marriage or Divorce?
by Our Readers
To the Editor:Meir Soloveichik has written a beautiful account of Benjamin Rush’s witnessing of a Jewish marriage that took place in 1787 [“Blessed Unions,” March].

A Cautious Optimism in Israel
by Our Readers
To the Editor:I wish I could agree more fully with Lazar Berman and Uri Sadot, as many of the parallels they adduce seem accurate [“Israel and America: The Eternal Return,” April].

More than The Music Man
by Our Readers
To the Editor:While Terry Teachout is certainly correct in celebrating the unique qualities of Meredith Willson’s creative one-man Broadway musical miracle, The Music Man [“The Man Behind The Music Man,” April], a few additional aspects of Willson’s musical versatility need to be mentioned.Willson was conservatory-trained (he studied both composition and conducting at the Damrosch Institute).

America and the UN
by Our Readers
To the Editor:Joshua Muravchik has provided the most comprehensive article I’ve read on the ineptitude and corruption of the United Nations [“Putting the UN in its Place,” January].

July, 2012Back to Top
Born on the Fourth of June
by Bret Stephens
On June 4, 1989, parliamentary elections in Poland gave Solidarity 99 out of the 100 seats they were allowed to contest.

Attacking Israel Online
by Ben Cohen
Throughout the greater Middle East, opposition to the concept and existence of a Jewish state is an idée fixe for hundreds of millions of Arab and non-Arab Muslims.

'Scoop' Jackson at One Hundred
by Joshua Muravchik
This year marks the centennial of the birth of Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson, one of the towering figures of American politics in the latter half of the 20th century and the avatar of neoconservatism.

'A Great Compliment Paid the Jews'
by Michael Schwartz
A recent work about the ratification of the U.S. Constitution rescues from oblivion an amazing and moving story about the Jews of post-Revolutionary New York and the solicitude their Gentile neighbors showed them.

Redeeming the St. John Passion
by Robert Marshall
The St. John Passion is Johann Sebastian Bach’s most controversial work. It is, indeed, his only controversial work. The sticking point is the fact that the Gospel according to John specifically and repeatedly identifies those hysterically crying out for the death of Christ as “the Jews.” And Bach has set those moments all too effectively.

The Last Witness
by Joseph Polak
Imagine it: the end of an era. The last person able to testify to all that transpired, to all that befell us, the last person who could affirm that we indeed saw what we saw, is gone.

The Tomb of Hunting and Fishing
by Fernanda Moore
One child was ridiculous—it meant you’d started too late, waited too long, were too attached and involved, too overprotective. You were setting yourself up for a thankless career of intervening when he got picked on at recess, driving him to school because the bus made him nervous, calling the teacher for extra conferences, spending too much money on birthday parties, and hassling other parents to let their children come over because you were worried he was lonely with only you for company.  Two was better, but still a bit precious, and if they happened to fight constantly, there was no extra person around to smooth over differences.

Light Gleams an Instant
by John Clayton
This story begins fifteen years ago.–I’m not looking for sympathy or something, he tells Sheryl over breakfast. I’m being objective.

At Your Last Gasp
by Zachary Watterson
In Venice, in 1998, some kids kicked a ball in front of Tintoretto’s parish church, Chiesa della Madonna dell’Orto, where the 16th-century painter was buried.

Story Hour
by Kelly Cherry
When Larry’s first wife left him, he wept a bit and went to bed but then he had to get back to work.

A Fool for a Client
by Fred Siegel
Spoiled Rotten: How the Politics of Patronage Corrupted the Once Noble Democratic Party and Now Threatens the American RepublicBy Jay CostBroadside Books, 368 pagesJay Cost’s Spoiled Rotten tells the story of the Democratic Party’s transformation over the past 100 years—from an alliance of local Catholic political machines such as Tammany Hall and Dixiecrat racialists to today’s assemblage of bureaucrats, environmentalists, feminists, African Americans, public-sector unionists, and rent-seeking corporations.

‘I Can Say No!’
by Seth Mandel
Roads to the Temple: Truth, Memory, Ideas, and Ideals in the Making of the Russian Revolution, 1987–1991By Leon AronYale University Press, 496 pagesTwo aspects of the fall of the Soviet Union mark it for distinction among major revolutions: its speed and its bloodlessness.

Made in America
by John Gordon
Freedom’s Forge:How American Business Produced Victory in World War IIBy Arthur HermanRandom House, 432 pagesJoseph Stalin was not exactly a man overflowing with compliments.

The Man Who Knew
by Andrew Roberts
Notes on a Century: Reflections of a Middle East HistorianBy Bernard LewisViking, 388 pages“Osama bin Laden made me famous,” claims Bernard Lewis, the Princeton historian whose book What Went Wrong? The Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East became an instant bestseller after 9/11.

Making Nothing out of Something
by Joshua Gelernter
A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than NothingBy Lawrence M. KraussFree Press, 224 pagesTo the lay observer, questions raised by the mere existence of the universe can be overwhelming to the point of incomprehensibility.

John Irving’s Gender Splendor
by D.G. Myers
In One Person By John Irving Simon & Schuster, 425 pagesJohn Irving is America’s best-known novelist of human eccentricity. After three minor artistic successes and major commercial failures, he shocked the publishing world in 1978 with The World According to Garp.

I Am My Own Playwright
by Terry Teachout
The one-person play is now so familiar a genre for theatergoers that many would be surprised to learn it is among the youngest of all theatrical forms—little more than a half-century old.

Free Food
by Richard Perle
An Economist Gets Lunch:New Rules for Everyday FoodiesBy Tyler CowenDutton, 304 pagesAnyone writing engagingly on a nonacademic subject who cites the political scientist Thomas Schelling and the Chicago School of Economics as important influences on his own thinking is up to something unusual.

Getting Out
by Tova Mirvis
Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic RootsBy Deborah FeldmanSimon & Schuster, 272 pagesIn her bestselling memoir, Unorthodox, Deborah Feldman recounts the story of her apostasy from the Satmar community of Hasidic Jews in which she was raised.

Unkind Mankind on Screen
by Stephen Daisley
“There is a greater good, and for that you must be sacrificed,” explains the Director (played by Sigourney Weaver), the figurehead of a mysterious organization with the cheery corporate goal of staving off the end times.

Most Hyperbolic Campaign Ever!
by Andrew Ferguson
The coming presidential election is—surely I don’t have to tell you—the Most Important Election in Our Lifetimes. (Or is it in My Adult Lifetime, or perhaps in the Past Two Centuries?) One reason for this is that our economy at the moment is the Worst Economy Since the Great Depression, and no wonder, because it followed what our president calls the Worst Financial Crisis in Our History.Which has led to the country being As Divided as It’s Ever Been. Don’t anybody mention the Civil War.

New Voices
by John Podhoretz
This double issue centers on our third collection of Summer Fiction, complete with a cover intended to evoke that hot-weather perennial, the picnic blanket.

‘Full Annihilation of the Zionist Regime’
by Jonathan Tobin
‘Full Annihilation of the Zionist Regime’One of the key talking points for those attempting to rationalize Iran’s nuclear program has been to deny that the Islamist regime has any intention of attacking Israel.

The Cold War Joke
by
At the height of the Cold War, the CIA gets wind of a Soviet spy ring operating out of New York City.

Rethinking China
by Our Readers
To the Editor:Bill Gertz paints a compelling picture of the threat from China [“China’s High-Tech Military Threat, and What We’re Doing About It,” April].

The Crisis of Beinart
by Our Readers
To the Editor:In his review of Peter Beinart’s The Crisis of Zionism, Sol Stern seems to have missed entirely the most important part of the book [“Beinart the Unwise,” April 2012].

Culture Killers
by Our Readers
To the Editor:Not to substitute chiasmus for logic, but wouldn’t it have been more accurate for Fred Siegel’s piece, “How Highbrows Killed Culture” [April], to be entitled “How Culture Killed the Highbrows”? Dwight Macdonald nearly said as much when he wished that the New Left would read a little.

September, 2012Back to Top
The American Moment
by John Podhoretz
A thought experiment: A child is born somewhere, anywhere, on the earth in the past decade. The family of that child wishes or needs to leave its home—to escape tyranny, war, the possibility of war, or simply to find a better life.

How America Got Rich
by Arthur Herman
If you want to understand how the United States became the most prosperous society in the world, start with the ballpoint pen.  László Bíró, a Hungarian who had fled the Nazis and gone to Argentina, invented the first working solid-ink pen.

Obama's Big Experiment
by James Pethokoukis
FDR had the New Deal, LBJ the Great Society. But the economic adventurism of Barack Obama lacks a catchy nickname, and it deserves one, because it is more innovative and path-breaking than most conservatives and many on the left think.

The ObamaCare Debacle Deepens
by Tevi Troy
In late June, the Supreme Court ruled that despite some significant constitutional flaws, the Obama health-care law would remain the law of the land—owing to the reported decision of Chief Justice John Roberts to change his vote and side with the court’s four liberals on the key issue of forcing every adult American who has a high-enough income to buy health insurance.Quite simply, the Roberts opinion took a bad bill and made it worse.

The Politics of Incivility
by Tod Lindberg
“Bush Lied, People Died,” said the post-Iraq bumper sticker. “You lie!” shouted Rep. Joe Wilson at President Obama during a 2009 speech to a joint session of Congress.

Caro's Syrup
by Philip Terzian
Undoubtedly, Lyndon Johnson was an important president. He came to office under melodramatic circumstances, one of only four men to succeed a murdered predecessor.

When the Radical American Left Loved Israel
by Ronald Radosh
On a miserably rainy day in March 1948, 10,000 Jewish Communists and their supporters marched from 7th Avenue and 29th Street to Union Square in Manhattan.

First New York's Jews, Then America's?
by Jack Wertheimer
“The New York Jew” is an enduring American archetype that comes in many guises: as the secular cosmopolitan with decidedly left-wing political tastes, as the slick manipulator of markets against whom anti-Semitic populists vent their rage, as the lovable embodiment of a self-deprecatory sense of humor and a world-weary sensibility.

A Face Only a Nation Could Love
by Joseph Epstein
But, gee, to depend on somebody to tell you the absolute truth every night and give you The Word every night, that’s a bad thing, a serious problem in a democracy.     – Walter CronkiteHere’s a little secret: Walter Cronkite, during his life billed as the most trusted man in the nation, the conscience of his country, the sagacious old uncle to us all, wasn’t very smart, and not especially wise either.

When Is Religion Bad Religion?
by Wilfred McClay
In the wake of the murderous 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, one began to hear a great deal of talk about the appropriate role of religion in modern life.

An Exchange on 'The Rav's Bombshell'
by
From the April issue of our publication, Yoram Hazony’s article ‘The Rav’s Bombshell’ has occasioned impassioned debate around the world, with a flood of responses coming into our offices by email, through our website, and, yes, even in envelopes with stamps on them.

Mission: Competition
by William Voegeli
A Capitalism for the People: Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity By Luigi Zingales Basic Books, 304 pagesFor most of the 20th century, the chief danger to capitalism came from its opponents, who advocated replacing private enterprise with socialized ownership of the means of production.

Humanitarianism vs. Justice
by Max Boot
Lincoln’s Code:The Laws of War in American HistoryBy John Fabian WittFree Press, 512 pagesTo hear President George W. Bush’s critics tell it, the steps the United States government took to fight terrorism after 9/11—from the holding of detainees at Guantánamo Bay to the Patriot Act—amounted to an unprecedented assault on civil liberties that was at odds with America’s long, noble tradition of upholding the rule of law even in wartime.

This Land Is Whose Land?
by Robert Zubrin
How to Think Seriously About the Planet: The Case for an Environmental Conservatism By Roger Scruton Oxford University Press, 464 pagesIn How to Think Seriously About the Planet, the British philosopher Roger Scruton makes the case for “environmental conservatism.” According to Scruton, true conservatives must be environmentalists, and environmentalists should be conservatives.

Chabon 3.0
by D.G. Myers
Telegraph Avenue: A Novel By Michael Chabon Harper, 480 pagesUntil his latest novel—his fifth in 24 years—Michael Chabon’s career had separated neatly into two stages.

Have Much, Want Much
by Algis Valiunas
Satisfaction Not Guaranteed:Dilemmas of Progress in Modern SocietyBy Peter N. StearnsNew York University Press, 279 pagesAs citizens of a country whose founders enshrined the pursuit of happiness in its Declaration of Independence, Americans unceasingly and unsurprisingly ask themselves, Am I happy? Matters of money, health, job satisfaction, romantic love, family, and friendship are the principal concerns of both private and public life in our modern republic.

I Quip, Therefore I Am
by Fernanda Moore
The Long and Short of It: From Aphorism to Novel By Gary Saul Morson Stanford University Press, 296 pages“World literature is a great symposium, and we are invited to the banquet,” Gary Saul Morson writes in the introduction to his new book, The Long and Short of It: From Aphorism to Novel.

New Sheriffs of the Old West
by Stephen Daisley
The Western and the superhero movie—the two most American genres in cinema—come from the same literary tradition: the great American mythos.

Banana Sam
by Evan Sparks
The Fish That Ate the Whale:The Life and Times of America’s Banana KingBy Rich CohenFarrar, Straus, Giroux, 288 pagesThe banana tycoon Samuel Zemurray is an attractive and difficult subject for biography.

Press Man: Johnny Deadline vs. the Dreaded PowerPoint
by Andrew Ferguson
Newspapers suffer from a terrible case of multiple personality disorder if they’re any good. From page to page you never know whose voice you’ll hear, but you won’t mistake it when you do.

Two 'Old Man with a Young Woman' Jokes
by
 ITwo men are sitting in the Phoenix airport, deep in conversation as they pore over a legal document. “Are you busy?” says an old man who sits down next to them.“Sir,” one of them says, “I’m sorry, but we...”“So listen.

The Rising Tide of Jew-Hatred
by Jonathan Tobin
The Rising Tide of Jew-HatredThe 2011 U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report was released at the end of July, and the results relating to Jews worldwide were, as expected, appalling.

Whose Religious Freedom?
by Our Readers
To the Editor:In her article “The War Obama Wanted” [May], Alana Goodman does not identify correctly whose religious liberties are at stake with regard to the rule requiring employers to cover birth control under their health-insurance plans.

Partners, Not Hegemons
by Our Readers
To the Editor:Michael Medved’s article “What the Evangelicals Give the Jews” [May] is something of a milestone on the rocky road of relations between Jews and Christians.

Recognizing Greatness
by Our Readers
To the Editor:Michael J. Lewis ably identifies the misconception inspiring the Eisenhower Memorial design and its failure to convey “greatness” [“Eisenhower and the End of Greatness,” May].

Same-Sex Marriage and Science
by Our Readers
To the Editor:After reading John Podhoretz’s editorial about same-sex marriage, I remain baffled by one aspect of how conservatives deal with this issue [“The Limit,” June].

October, 2012Back to Top
The Coming Global Disorder
by Bret Stephens
Woody Island is a speck of land in the middle of the South China Sea, not quite a square mile in size.

Iran, Ever Closer
by Jonathan Tobin
Iran, Ever CloserA new report from the International Atomic Energy Agency suggests that Iran has made good use of the time bought by dead-end diplomacy to get closer to its goal.

The Assassins Joke
by
Plotkin and Teitelbaum can’t get a break. They open a dry-cleaning business and no one drops off clothing. They open a deli and the slicer breaks.

Dictators Go, Monarchs Stay
by Elliott Abrams
Some months after the invasion of Iraq and the toppling of Saddam Hussein, I sat at lunch with the aging Hosni Mubarak.

America on Defense
by Victor Davis Hanson
In his fifth Philippic—an invective aimed at rival Marc Antony in January 43 b.c.e.—the Roman statesman Cicero famously lamented the growing size of the subversive Antony’s war chest.

How Iran Plays the U.S.
by Sohrab Ahmari
Every year since taking office, Barack Obama has transmitted a video message of goodwill to Iran over YouTube, hoping his earnestness, eloquence, and quotations from ancient Persian verse will win over the country’s clerical rulers.

Whitewashing Islamists
by Michael Rubin
On July 14, 2012, as crowds in Paris celebrated Bastille Day, the annual commemoration of the French revolution, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was marking another revolution, one whose import ultimately might be as great.

The Global Popularity Fetish
by James Kirchick
In the spring of 2008, during the waning months of the Bush years, I was among a group of journalists, think tankers, and former government officials who met in a swank restaurant abutting the Potomac in Georgetown, on the dime of a well-endowed Washington think tank, for a discussion about America’s “standing” in the world.

Bork Won
by Adam White
The “campaign against him”—against Robert Bork, nominated for the Supreme Court—“did not resemble an argument so much as a lynching.” Even the Washington Post, though editorializing against Bork’s confirmation in October 1987, could not condone the unprecedented personal and political assault against the nominee.

Affirmative Action and the Mockery of Jewish Tradition
by Jeremy Rozansky
Jewish institutions can and should defend Jewish interests. But Jewish institutions can also seek out universal justice. For Jews, parochialism on the one hand and love for the stranger on the other are equally essential to a good and holy life.

Bad Promise
by John Gordon
Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United StatesBy Michael LindHarper, 592 pagesThere are few stories in economic history more astonishing than the rise of the American economy.

Been There, Flubbed That
by Michael Rosen
To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the ‘Arab Spring’By Ruthie BlumRVP Press, 201 pagesPundits have rehearsed the similarities between Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama so often that it’s hard to imagine one saying something new and interesting on the matter.

Dreams of Their Fathers
by Noah Rothman
To Promote the General Welfare: The Case for Big GovernmentEdited by Steven ConnOxford University Press, 256 pagesConservatives often complain that liberal politicians obscure their true agendas when campaigning only to unleash their redistributive legislative visions once safely in office.

Taking a Second Look at Neil Simon
by Terry Teachout
In 1991, Neil Simon won a Pulitzer Prize for Lost in Yonkers, his 20th comedy to open on Broadway since 1961 and his 14th to run there for more than a year.

Take Your Medicine
by D.G. Myers
The Round HouseBy Louise ErdrichHarper, 336 pagesThe ghost of the Indian haunts the American imagination, writes D.H. Lawrence in Studies in Classic American Literature.

The Obama-Era Movie
by Stephen Daisley
The cult of youth that arrived in the early 1950s with overhyped pop art such as The Catcher in the Rye and Rebel without a Cause has so successfully embedded itself in American life that even the most cutting attacks on its roots have failed to shift it.

Is That a Fact-Check?
by Andrew Ferguson
If Werner Heisenberg hadn’t been such a crackerjack physicist—also, if he weren’t dead—he might make a fine “public editor” for the New York Times, or maybe an “ombudsman” for the Washington Post.

America’s Universalist Jews
by Our Readers
To the Editor:There is much worthy of discussion in Jack Wertheimer’s essay [“The Ten Commandments of America’s Jews,” June], but I was struck most by the following portion of his closing paragraph: “Perhaps the time has come to take a fresh look at the original Ten Commandments, which open with a different I: the voice of a commanding God reminding a specific people of its particular historical experience and proceeding to issue judgmental commands and injunctions.”Perhaps, but probably not.

George Zimmerman and Justice
by Our Readers
To the Editor:In “Conservatives and the Trayvon Martin Case” [June], David French attacks a straw-man argument when he writes:Contra John Lott, citizens do not have a blanket right to “investigate a strange person in [their] neighborhood.” No such broad right exists in the Constitution, relevant statutes, or common law.Zimmerman’s alleged right to investigate is certainly limited by Martin’s right to walk in public places free from threats or threatening behavior.Mr.

Scoop Jackson’s Neoconservatism
by Our Readers
To the Editor:It was satisfying and even thrilling to read Joshua Muravchik’s accolade to Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson [“Scoop Jackson at One Hundred,” July/August].

November, 2012Back to Top
Maureen Dowd’s Repellent Slime
by Jonathan Tobin
Maureen Dowd’s Repellent Slime The debate about Israel’s demand for “red lines” relating to the Iranian nuclear threat was revelatory: It showed that many of those who criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s appeals care less about the danger Iran poses and more about the possibility of an Israeli response.

The Turn Away From Europe
by Josef Joffe
It almost goes unnoticed that the United States is closing a long chapter in its Atlantic history. For 70 years, since the landing in Normandy, America was literally a power-in-Europe, with a vast military presence stretching from Naples to Narvik and from Portugal to Germany.

Europe’s Assault on Jewish Ritual
by Ben Cohen
On july 21, 600 German doctors appended their signatures to a letter in the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper calling for the practice of circumcision to be outlawed.

Incident at Jamaica Bay
by Peter Lopatin
 The sunset Nathan Lipinsky watched from the roof of the parking garage—of a color as brazen as splashed paint—suffused the fading Indian summer clouds and fell with tender touch on Brooklyn’s recumbent city blocks.

False Friends
by Michael Moynihan
During the 1896 trial of the French Jewish army officer Alfred Dreyfus, the novelist Émile Zola expressed puzzlement that such intense bigotry could exist among the enlightened people of France: “Anti-Semites among our young men? They do exist then, do they?” He continued: “One hundred years after the ‘Declaration of the Rights of Man,’ one hundred years after that supreme act of tolerance and emancipation, we are reverting to wars of religion, to the most obnoxious and inane type of fanaticism!” Theodor Herzl was similarly stunned to see anti-Jewish mobs in “republican, modern, civilized France, 100 years after the Declaration of the Rights of Man.” Zola and Herzl were hopeful that the problem of anti-Semitism among the “civilized” could be eradicated if treated with heavy doses of reason.

The UN’s Internet Grab
by Arthur Herman
Leo Tolstoy once said, “Imagine Genghis Khan with a telephone.” Imagine Genghis Khan, or a gaggle of Genghis Khans, running the Internet, and you have a sense of the ideas that will be percolating in Dubai at the World Conference on International Telecommunications in December.  Delegates from 120 countries will gather under the auspices of the United Nations to consider a plan to take administrative control of the Internet away from the United States and hand it over to an international body run by the UN.  In short, governance of cyberspace will pass from the country that has kept it free and accessible since its creation—the United States—to the same organization that gave us the financial scandals at UNESCO, voted to designate Zionism as racism, and seated China, Syria, and Muammur Qaddafi’s Libya on its Commission on Human Rights.  “The Internet stands at a crossroads,” is how Vint Cerf, one of the Web’s founders, put it in a May New York Times opinion piece.

Obama and Terror: A Four-Year Scandal
by Michael Mukasey
From the outset, the Obama administration’s handling of the most sensitive secrets of the war on terror has been worrisome.

The End of Nothing
by Fernanda Moore
The End of Men:And the Rise of WomenBy Hanna RosinRiverhead, 320 pages Hanna Rosin’s The End of Men: And the Rise of Women, based on a much-ballyhooed article she wrote for the Atlantic two years ago, purports to describe an “unprecedented moment” in which “women are no longer merely gaining on men; they have pulled decisively ahead by almost every measure.” (Note that “almost.” Though the pay gap persists, “women overall are doing better than guys, even if one woman makes less than the man sitting next to her,” Rosin told Glamour.) The book has been widely discussed in the press and online; Rosin has been lauded both for her “thorough research and engaging writing” (Minneapolis Star Tribune), and for the book’s “substance and scholarship” (the Wall Street Journal).

Extremely Political Science
by Robert Herritt
Science Left Behind: Feel-Good Fallacies and the Rise of the Anti-Scientific LeftBy Alex B. Berezow and Hank CampbellPublic Affairs, 320 pages By now it’s clear that Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin hasn’t paged through a copy of Gray’s Anatomy in some time.

Micro-Victories
by Matthew Continetti
The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning CampaignsBy Sasha IssenbergCrown, 368 pages Matthew Dowd was in Austin when he had a revelation.

The New Arabists
by David Schenker
Syria: The Fall of the House of AssadBy David W. LeschYale University Press, 288 pages In 2000, not long after Syrian dictator Hafez al-Assad died and was succeeded by his son Bashar, analogies between the Assads and the Corleone family of The Godfather started to make the rounds.

The Hart of the Matter
by Algis Valiunas
America has never produced a Schubert or a Schumann, but we do have the Great American Songbook, which has been called our classical music.

Reviving Sidney Bechet
by Terry Teachout
The musical score for Woody Allen’s unexpected 2011 hit, Midnight in Paris, features songs intended, like the film itself, to evoke the spirit of the City of Lights in the 1920s.

A Fitting Finale
by D.G. Myers
Dear Life: StoriesBy Alice MunroAlfred A. Knopf, 336 pages Alice munro has been called “our Chekhov” so often that no one stops to ask what the title means anymore.

The Right Wolfe
by Andrew Ferguson
I was pulled up short the other day while reading an interview with Charles Portis, author of True Grit and other (equally splendid) novels.

Zionism's Critics Frozen in Time
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In his article "Attacking Israel Online" [July/August], Ben Cohen makes reference to the American Council for Judaism, which he accuses of being guilty of the same "willful myopia" that characterizes the online critics of Zionism and Israeli policy whom he takes to task.

God, the Holocaust, and Divine Memory
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I read with aroused interest Rabbi Joseph Polak’s “The Last Witness” [July/August]. What got my attention was Polak’s imagining briefly the unanswerable question in relation to the Holocaust.

Chabon’s Progress
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In his review of Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue [“Chabon 3.0,” September], D.G. Myers writes: “Except for John Williams’s lovely and largely unknown Stoner, now nearly a half-century old, there may not be another American novel about fatherhood.” Myers might recall novels by William Faulkner, several of them towering statements about relations between fathers and sons (Absalom, Absalom!

December, 2012Back to Top
The Month That Was—November 2012
by John Podhoretz
David Petraeus might be looking back fondly on the relative peace and quiet of Fajullah. -- Nov 13 Petraeus’s original draft of his resignation letter read: “I must resign because ALL OF THESE PEOPLE ARE CRAZY PLEASE SEND HELP”  -- Nov 12 I could tweet a shirtless photo of myself but if I did I could be arrested for torture under the terms of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The Way Forward
by John Podhoretz
It is a mark of how entirely bereft of ideas the 2012 contest was that the post-election analysis has come to center not on what Barack Obama will do in his second term—which is really the only thing that matters now—but rather on the condition and fate of the Republican Party.

Hispanic Panic
by Linda Chavez
Turning conservative opinion around on the contentious issue of immigration will not be easy. But without such a shift, conservative candidates will find it difficult to win national and statewide elections as they face an electorate that includes a rapidly expanding share of Hispanic voters. Hispanics are the fastest growing demographic group in the United States.

Break Up the Banks
by James Pethokoukis
Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney by a large enough margin—three percentage points and more than three million votes—that it’s hard to say changing any one thing about the failed Republican presidential campaign would have made a material difference.

The GOP’s Broken Machine
by Benjamin Domenech
It was just past dawn on Election Day, and already the whale was dead in the water. Project Orca, the not-so-secret high-tech weapon of Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign, was drowning in the deluge of thousands of attempted log-ins from volunteers across the country.

Was Promoting Democracy a Mistake?
by John Agresto
As sectarian violence in the Middle East increases, as Iraq falls further into the orbit of Iran, as Afghanistan seems poised to hand over its corrupt democracy to terrorists and Taliban murderers, and as American interests and lives are sacrificed to the depredations of the so-called Arab Spring, it might be worthwhile to take stock of what these unfolding debacles mean for neoconservatives and our attachment to democracy’s expansion. We should begin with Iraq, where our most recent foray into democratic nation-building began. I was, from the start of the campaign to liberate Iraq from Saddam Hussein, both a supporter of our efforts there and an actor on the ground.

Escaping from the North Korean Stalemate
by Jay Lefkowitz
On January 2, 2005, Shin In Geun, as he was then known, became the first person to escape from the North Korean political prison camp into which he had been born.

Sandy in Her Tub
by Joseph Epstein
Sandy Reuben is having a good soak before going out that evening for dinner at her parents’, when Jeffrey, her husband, knocks, enters, and sits on the edge of the tub.

Abrahamism
by Hillel Fradkin
Inheriting Abraham:The Legacy of the Patriarch in Judaism, Christianity, and IslamBy Jon D. LevensonPrinceton, 244 pages I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.

The Thing with Feathers
by Andrew Roberts
Still the Best Hope:Why the World Needs American Values to TriumphBy Dennis PragerBroadside Books, 448 pages If the sneering contempt with which conservative radio talk-show hosts—those supposed monsters of illiterate shock-jockery—were truly deserved, the sneerers would surely be brought up short by Dennis Prager’s polemic citing works such as Marx’s Critique of Hegel’s ‘Philosophy of Right,’ Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind, John Adams’s letters to Benjamin Rush, Joseph Telushkin’s A Code of Jewish Ethics, and Bernard Lewis’s The Political Language of Islam.

A Post-Mortem on Post-Mortems
by Andrew Ferguson
With 95 percent of gasbags reporting, an unofficial tally shows that there are 7,936,682 lessons that we must learn from Mitt Romney’s defeat.

Israel, the Will and Promise
by Stephen Daisley
Israel: The Will to PrevailBy Danny DanonPalgrave Macmillan, 240 pages The Promise of Israel:Why Its Seemingly Greatest Weakness Is Actually Its Greatest StrengthBy Daniel GordisWiley, 256 pages If you do not recognize Danny Danon’s name, you would probably recognize his face.

Makers and Takers
by Jeremy Rozansky
A Nation of Takers:America’s Entitlement EpidemicBy Nicholas EberstadtTempleton Press, 144 pages Nicholas Eberstadt has written an important, short book that crisply demonstrates how the welfare state has expanded and reveals the precipice on which enduring ideas of republican governance now teeter as a consequence.

Tantra Tantrum
by Christine Rosen
Vagina: A New BiographyBy Naomi WolfEcco, 400 pages For decades, the clichéd image of the Western male’s midlife crisis has been an aging, randy man roaring around town in a red sports car with his comely young secretary beside him.

Meddling with Mettle
by Naomi Riley
How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of CharacterBy Paul ToughHoughton Mifflin Harcourt, 256 pages Less than a week before the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Fisher v.

The Devil & Mr. Burton
by Terry Teachout
The Richard Burton DiariesEdited by Chris WilliamsYale University Press, 693 pages The cable channel Lifetime recently aired a made-for-TV movie called Liz & Dick about the stormy marriage of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

America Talks, the Centrifuges Spin
by Jonathan Tobin
America Talks, the Centrifuges Spin During the presidential debate devoted to foreign policy in October, President Obama denied a New York Times story alleging that the United States planned to conduct bilateral nuclear negotiations with Iran after the election.

Tax Cuts and the American Economic Boom
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In his article “How America Got Rich” [September], Arthur Herman mischaracterizes the United States as it was both before and after World War II.

It’s All About the First Freedom
by Our Readers
To the Editor: It is said that you can learn a lot from how a question is asked. In his thoughtful article, “When Is Religion Bad Religion?” [September], Wilfred M.

The Future of American Jewry
by Our Readers
To the Editor: America’s Jewish community is waning. It is neither growing, nor is it static; it is becoming measurably smaller and less Jewish.




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