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January, 2003Back to Top
Stealing Words
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I dispute Thomas L. Jeffers's characterization of Hannah Crafts's novel, The Bondwoman's Narrative, as an instance of plagiarism [“Plagiarism High and Low,” October 2002].

Iraq, etc.
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Although Norman Podhoretz makes a compelling case for what he calls the Bush Doctrine [“In Praise of the Bush Doctrine,” September 2002], there are several issues that the President has so far failed to address as the administration gears up to extend the war against terrorism into Iraq.

Continents Apart
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Victor Davis Hanson's article is frightening, not in its well-reasoned argument that America and Europe are less than ideal partners, but in its blind and unquestioning insistence that the United States must be right [“Goodbye to Europe?,” October 2002].

Civic Religion
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Adam Wolfson does not consider the possibility that both recent court decisions on the relationship of the state to religion are correct [“One Nation Under God?,” October 2002].

A Resurgent Hatred
by Our Readers
To the Editor: The invaluable Ruth R. Wisse has produced another invaluable essay in “On Ignoring Anti-Semitism” [October 2002]. But, with the deepest respect, I question her focus on artifacts like an article by Leon Wieseltier in the New Republic and on attitudes of liberal academics like Tony Judt and liberal media like the New York Times.

An Emerging Republican Majority?
by Daniel Casse
By the time Al Gore conceded the presidency to George W. Bush in December 2000, there was widespread agreement that the razor-close election they had just fought, and the fractious litigation that followed it, had exposed a disturbingly deep fissure in our national politics.

Israel's Last Line of Defense
by Fiamma Nirenstein
Almost every other day in Israel, it seems, an ordinary waiter, store guard, or bus driver, a twenty-year-old soldier on leave or a fifty-year-old businessman, will seize a terrorist by the arms and, while his explosive belt is still ticking, push him away from the scene, simultaneously shielding bystanders with his own body.

Who's Afraid of Leon Kass?
by Gary Rosen
In the summer of 2001, as the Bush administration prepared to announce its much-anticipated decision on federal funding for stem-cell research, the White House began to leak word that the President was marching himself through a crash course on the complexities of the subject.

Telecom Undone-A Cautionary Tale
by Peter Huber
Seldom has a chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) been heard to anticipate the demise of the most important sector of the industry he regulates.

Watching Christopher Hitchens
by Mark Falcoff
It is a good two decades since the journalist Christopher Hitchens first burst upon the awareness of the American media and intellectual class.

Jews and Photography
by William Meyers
Jews have played an indispensable role in the history of American photography, at least as important a role as blacks in the development of jazz.

Jazz as Modern Art
by Terry Teachout
Is jazz “modern,” in the way we think of Arnold Schoenberg's song cycle Pierrot lunaire (1912), or Pablo Picasso's Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907), as quintessentially modern? To the limited extent that this question has been given serious critical consideration, the answer has tended to be yes.

The Demon in the Freezer by Richard Preston
by Kevin Shapiro
The Demon in the Freezer: A True Story by Richard Preston Random House. 240 pp. $24.95 Take to you handfuls of soot of the furnace, and let Moses throw it heavenward in the sight of Pharaoh; and it shall become fine dust over all the land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking forth with blains upon man and upon beast, throughout the land of Egypt.

The Good, the Bad & the Difference by Randy Cohen
by Dan Seligman
The Good, the Bad & the Difference: How to Tell Right from Wrong in Everyday Situations by Randy Cohen Doubleday. 277 pp.

Essential Essays on Judaism by Eliezer Berkovits, ed. by David Hazony
by Benjamin Balint
Essential Essays on Judaism by Eliezer Berkovits edited by David Hazony Shalem Press. 393 pp. $22.95 In the first months of 1939, a thirty-year-old Romanian-born rabbi, soon to gain prominence as a scholar and theologian, arrived in London with his young family.

Democracy by Decree by Ross Sandler and David Schoenbrod
by Jonathan Kay
Democracy by Decree: What Happens When Courts Run Government by Ross Sandler and David Schoenbrod Yale. 274 pp. $30.00 Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 U.S.

After Shakespeare ed. By John Gross
by Thomas Jeffers
After Shakespeare: An Anthology edited by John Gross Oxford. 360 pp. $35.00 In Jane Austen's Mansfield Park (1814), the charming and unreformable Henry Crawford says: Shakespeare one gets acquainted with without knowing how.

February, 2003Back to Top
Tough on Cuba
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Though I am pleased to learn that Mark Falcoff found my book, Cuba Confidential: Love and Vengeance in Miami and Havana, edifying [Books in Review, October 2002], a few points of clarification are in order.

The Blame for Slavery
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Algis Valiunas's article on Thomas Jefferson and financial reparations for blacks is balanced, informative, and very nearly says everything that needs to be said on the subject [“Paying for Jefferson's Sins,” November 2002].

by Our Readers
To the Editor: Gary Rosen's dismissive review of Ann Coulter's brilliant book Slander is misguided at best [Books in Review, November 2002].

Russia Today
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Leon Aron's simple but critical insight is that Russia's collapse amounted to a revolution, the replacement of old institutions by a new social and political order [“Russia's Revolution,” November 2002].

by Our Readers
To the Editor: Daniel Pipes includes us in a group of university professors who “deny that jihad has any military meaning whatsoever” [“Jihad and the Professors,” November 2002].

God in History
by Our Readers
To the Editor: David Gelernter has demonstrated great insight and understanding in his multipart study of Judaism. But in his latest installment [“Judaism Beyond Words: Part 3,” November 2002] he goes beyond the pale of traditional Judaism when he claims that God “has no power to intervene in history,” and “God's withdrawal from Israel's history is a theological and historical fact.” Where is God to be found, according to Mr.

Does Israel Need a Plan?
by Daniel Pipes
The year 2002 will be remembered as a low point in the long conflict between Palestinians and Israelis, when diplomacy came to a standstill, emotions boiled over, blood ran in the streets, and the prospects of all-out war drew closer.

The Catholic Crisis
by Daniel Johnson
Not since Protestants routinely identified the pope with the Antichrist has the Roman Catholic Church been so demonized as it is today, when epithets like “criminal conspiracy” seem to trip lightly from the most respectable lips.

Lahore; or, the Islamic Gale
by David Warren
By some cosmic accident, I spent the most impressionable years of my early childhood in the city of Lahore, in what was then West Pakistan.

Goodbye, Mr. Chipstein
by Joseph Epstein
My interest in university teaching was initially aroused by the leisure it promised. “Every century has its cushy profession,” the English poet Philip Larkin said.

The Contract
by John Clayton
My wife thinks I'm depressed. Certainly I'm depressed. Why shouldn't I be? But when she complains about my study of the holy books, she doesn't know.

Beethoven's Message
by Terry Teachout
Reference books usually steer clear of overstatement, but the article on Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) in the second edition of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians opens with a sentence that would seem fulsome were it not also self-evidently true: For the respect his works have commanded of musicians, and the popularity they have enjoyed among wider audiences, he is probably the most admired composer in the history of Western music. Beethoven's audience is so all-encompassing as to include those whose familiarity with his work is limited at best.

Made in Texas by Michael Lind
by Gary Rosen
Made in Texas: George W. Bush and the Southern Takeover of American Politics by Michael Lind Basic. 201 pp. $24.00 Good Republican soldier that he is, Trent Lott finally fell on his sword, but the Lott affair itself will not be dispatched so neatly.

Cultures of the Jews ed. by David Biale
by David Roskies
Cultures of the Jews: A New History Edited by David Biale Schocken. 1,196 pp. $45.00 Relatively Speaking, Jews are johnnies-come-lately to the writing of history.

Feltrinelli by Carlo Feltrinelli
by Mark Falcoff
Feltrinelli by Carlo Feltrinelli translated by Alistair McEwan Harcourt. 344 pp. $30.00 “A story of riches, revolution, and violent death”—so reads the subtitle on the cover of what purports to be a biography of the late Italian publisher and political radical Giangiacomo Feltrinelli.

To Begin the World Anew by Bernard Bailyn
by Adam Schulman
To Begin the World Anew: The Genius and Ambiguities of the American Founders by Bernard Bailyn Knopf. 208 pp. $26.00 The publication in 1967 of Bernard Bailyn's The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution was a seminal event in American historiography.

Risk and Reason by Cass R. Sunstein
by Dan Seligman
Risk and Reason: Safety, Law, and the Environment by Cass R. Sunstein Cambridge. 342 pp. $30.00 The modern environmental movement, which came of age in the 1960's, has been dominated by activists and alarmists, and their basic method has never changed: overstate threats and downplay the costs and difficulties of dealing with them.

Bush at War by Bob Woodward
by Frederick Kagan
Bush at War by Bob Woodward Simon & Schuster. 400 pp. $28.00 The terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 led to a myriad of changes large and small in our daily lives, to a wholesale reevaluation of our national security strategy, and to a war in Afghanistan and now, very likely, in Iraq and possibly elsewhere.

March, 2003Back to Top
Lingua Franca Iudaica
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Hillel Halkin, a self-described old enemy of Yiddish turned Yiddish translator, advocates the homogenization of Jewish life through language [“The Great Jewish Language War,” December 2002].

Bad News
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In a letter responding to Ruth R. Wisse's “On Ignoring Anti-Semitism,” J.P. Hannon claims that “contrary to researchers like David S.

by Our Readers
To the Editor: Victor Davis Hanson provides a thoughtful analysis of the role of affluence, security, and privilege in fomenting anti-Americanism in the U.S.

Darwinism Versus Intelligent Design
by And Critics
Paul R. Gross: Congratulations are in order. In his latest COMMENTARY essay on “Darwinism”—as it is often called by those who do not know much evolutionary biology—David Berlinski seems to have reversed himself [“Has Darwin Met His Match?,” December 2002].

Facing Up to North Korea
by Joshua Muravchik
Early last October, North Korea admitted that it had been secretly continuing to develop nuclear weapons despite a 1994 agreement with the U.S.

Did We Fail in Afghanistan?
by Frederick Kagan
President Bush and his advisers have repeatedly stated that our goal in Iraq is to remove a vicious regime from power and replace it with a stable democratic government pursuing a responsible foreign policy.

The Pakistani Time Bomb
by Alex Alexiev
In late November of last year, a Pakistani Muslim cleric, eulogizing the murderer of two CIA employees in Virginia, elicited the enthusiastic and resounding assent of his audience by calling upon Allah to “destroy and completely annihilate America.” Anti-American rants have become a daily ritual in the world of radical Islam, and this one could have been dismissed as so much hot air but for a singular fact: the cleric and his audience made up the newly elected parliament of Pakistan's key North West Frontier Province (NWFP). Indeed, an alliance of Islamist parties is now in power in NWFP, and, together with its coalition partner in the neighboring province of Baluchistan, it is dead serious about installing an Islamic order not only there but eventually in all of Pakistan.

Judaism Beyond Words: Part 4
by David Gelernter
Introduction Following is the fourth in a series of essays on the “theme-images” of Judaism; there will be a summarizing and concluding article to come. By “theme-image” I mean a theme that is not an idea or phrase but is rather essentially visual—as in music the themes are musical, in painting (mainly) pictorial; in literature, they might be ideas, words, or images.

Up from Hip-Hop
by John McWhorter
Last September, America's most popular movie was, briefly, an amusing if rather ordinary film called Barbershop. What made the movie notorious were a few lines of dialogue.

The Cohabitation Blues
by Kay Hymowitz
This past fall, the American Law Institute, an influential organization of lawyers, judges, and legal academics, published a huge, decade-in-the-making tome titled Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution.1 The report's heft reflects its aspiration, which is to bring up to date an entire body of law that has changed little since Richard Nixon was in the White House.

Selling Dvorak Short
by Terry Teachout
What makes a composer great? The quality of his music is the obvious answer—and the right one. But few listeners (and surprisingly few critics) are self-confident enough to vouch for a composer solely on the basis of their own unsupported evaluation of his art.

The Right Man by David Frum
by James Wilson
The Right Man: The Surprise Presidency of George W. Bush by David Frum Random House. 303 pp. $25.95Character IS destiny, according to the aphorism made famous by George Eliot in The Mill on the Floss; to judge from her own treatment of this claim, Eliot did not much approve of it.

Longitudes and Attitudes by Thomas L. Friedman
by MichaelA. Ledeen
Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11 by Thomas L. Friedman Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 224 pp. $26.00 Thomas L. Friedman, who writes the prestigious foreign-affairs column for the New York Times, is a lucky man.

The Discovery of God by David Klinghoffer
by Noah Millman
The Discovery of God: Abraham and the Birth of Monotheism by David Klinghoffer Doubleday. 304 pp. $26.00 David Klinghoffer may hold the world's record for conversions to Judaism.

Natasha's Dance by Orlando Figes; How Russia Shaped the Modern World by Steven G. Marks
by Steven Miner
Natasha's Dance: A Cultural History of Russia by Orlando Figes Metropolitan Books. 729 pp. $35.00 How Russia Shaped the Modern World: From Art to Anti-Semitism, Ballet to Bolshevism by Steven G.

April, 2003Back to Top
Wire Wars
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Peter W. Huber's article, “Telecom Undone—A Cautionary Tale” [January], is a specimen of a genre that is growing like kudzu and is just about as useful: namely, the factually-deceptive diatribe against all the policies of the 1990's that produced a growing economy characterized by innovation, competition, new jobs, and confidence in the viability of the American Dream. The new negativists, of whom Mr.

Left to Right
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Mark Falcoff's rather generous review of my work is too kind in one respect, misinformed in another, and misleading in still another [“Watching Christopher Hitchens,” January]. I cannot claim credit for coining the now-current term “Islamofascism,” though I did write in September 2001 that American society had just been assaulted by “fascism with an Islamic face.” I slightly prefer the nuance of the latter. As for the preposterous, vulgar remark maliciously attributed to me by my younger brother, Peter, to the effect that I would not mind seeing the Red Army watering its horses in the Thames, I never made it.

by Our Readers
To the Editor: Gary Rosen focuses on the political opposition to Leon Kass, but the real issue is Kass's arguments themselves, not how they have been spun [“Who's Afraid of Leon Kass?,” January].

The Folly of Containment
by Robert Lieber
No matter what finally happens in our confrontation with Iraq, the use of force against Saddam Hussein is a subject that is bound to be debated for years to come.

Making Iraq Safe for Democracy
by Efraim Karsh
In 1991, fears about the disintegration of Iraq were a prime impulse behind the decision to bring the first Gulf war to an end before Saddam Hussein was deposed.

A Scientific Scandal
by David Berlinski
In science, as in life, it is always an excellent idea to cut the cards after the deck has been shuffled.

'Boiling a Kid': Reflections on a New Bible Commentary
by Hillel Halkin
“It is a tree of life to those who lay hold of it,” the book of Proverbs says—not of the Torah but of the vaguer concept of “Wisdom.” Most Jews who know this verse are more familiar with it from the synagogue, where it is recited—sung, in many congregations—as part of the prayer that accompanies the return of the Torah scroll to its ark after the weekly reading from the Pentateuch. Etz Hayim, “Tree of Life,” is therefore an apt name for the new commentary on the Pentateuch, or Five Books of Moses, that was published over a year ago by the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and its Rabbinical Assembly1 Prepared by a committee of eminent Conservative rabbis and scholars, it appears in a handsome oversize volume together with the biblical text in Hebrew and English—the latter in the 1985 translation of the Jewish Publication Society (JPS). Etz Hayim is a more important book than the term “biblical commentary” might indicate.

At Home in Jerusalem
by Ruth Wisse
One of the main thrills of visiting Israel these days is the opportunity to experience the country for oneself. The Jewish state may be the most scrutinized place on the globe, but lately it has also been among the most misrepresented.

Woolf, Women, and "The Hours"
by Carol Iannone
The quintessentially modernist fiction of Virginia Woolf has never seemed especially suitable for translation into film. What is a director to do with all of her intermingling interior monologues, complete with flashbacks and reflections that wander hither and yon? One of Woolf's most successful novels, Mrs.

Postcard from the "New Europe"
by Joshua Muravchik
The tower at the eastern end of Charles Bridge, 138 steps high by a narrow winding staircase, opens onto a tight walkway that affords a panoramic view of Prague: to the west, the Prague castle, dating to the 10th century; to the east, the spires of the old town square, going back as far as the 14th century.

A la Francaise
by Terry Teachout
These are hard times for Francophiles, even those who draw a bright line between the splendor of French art and the squalor of French politics.

Interesting Times by Eric Hobsbawm
by Richard Pipes
Interesting Times: A Twentieth-Century Life by Eric Hobsbawm Penguin. 464 pp. £25.00 Anyone who has been a lifelong Communist has a great deal to answer for: at least for the implicit endorsement of Lenin's “Red Terror,” which initiated the 20th century's mass murder of civilians; the man-made famine of 1932-33 that killed between 7 and 9 million Ukrainians; Stalin's massacres (“purges”) of 1937-38; the Gulag empire; the Stalin-Hitler pact of 1939, which unleashed World War II; Mao's “Great Leap Forward” and “Cultural Revolution,” which caused tens of millions of deaths; and Pol Pot's systematic slaughter of one-quarter of Cambodia's population.

The Spooky Art by Norman Mailer
by Thomas Jeffers
The Spooky Art: Some Thoughts on Writing by Norman Mailer Random House. 330 pp. $24.95 Norman Mailer at eighty: Aquarius in winter. Aquarius is what Mailer used to call himself in the 1960's.

Taking Liberties by Aryeh Neier
by Jacob Heilbrunn
Taking Liberties: Four Decades in the Struggle for Rights by Aryeh Neier Public Affairs. 406 pp. $30.00 A relatively recent addition to the American scene is the panoply of organizations whose sole declared purpose is to promote human rights around the world.

Are Cops Racist? by Heather Mac Donald
by Jonathan Kay
Are Cops Racist? How the War Against the Police Harms Black Americans by Heather Mac Donald Ivan R. Dee. 192 pp. $22.50 In the days of increasingly violent protest leading up to the race riots that shook Cincinnati in April 2001, the cry of local activists was “fifteen black men!” The slogan referred to the number of African-Americans killed in the previous six years by Cincinnati's police force.

The Number by Alex Berenson
by Dan Seligman
The Number: How the Drive for Quarterly Earnings Corrupted Wall Street and Corporate America by Alex Berenson Random House. 274 pp. $24.95 The assumption underlying this book is that numerous investors are still trying to figure out what hit them.

May, 2003Back to Top
Jewish History
by Our Readers
To the Editor: David G. Roskies is entitled to his highly traditional view of what constitutes historical writing, but that is no warrant for misrepresenting what is actually said in Cultures of the Jews: A New History [Books in Review, February].

Church Scandals
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Daniel Johnson sees the current problems of the Catholic Church too superficially [“The Catholic Crisis,” February]. They do not, as he supposes, spring from the tension between George Weigel-type conservative Catholics and Garry Wills-type liberal Catholics.

Beyond the Intifada
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Daniel Pipes argues that a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will come about only when the Palestinians, having been beaten to a pulp, finally surrender to whatever it is that Israel is willing to give them [“Does Israel Need a Plan?,” February].

Church scandals; beyond the intifada; Jewish history.
by Our Readers
Church Scandals TO THE EDITOR: Daniel Johnson sees the current problems of the Catholic Church too su- perficially ["The Catholic Crisis," February].

The U.S. and Israel: The Road Ahead
by Abraham Sofaer

Why Our Troops Should Stay in "Old Europe"
by Frederick Kagan
Why should we continue to maintain an expensive, permanent military presence in Europe? This question, raised over a decade ago when the Soviet Union passed from the scene, arose with fresh urgency this year as our European allies, in particular France and Germany, vigorously obstructed our efforts to obtain international support for action in Iraq.

The Rabbi Crisis
by Jack Wertheimer
In Bowling Alone, his famous study of American society in the age of atomization, Robert Putnam writes that “communities in which people worship together are arguably the single most important repository of social capital in America.” Who would disagree? Not only do the tens of thousands of churches, synagogues, and other houses of worship dotting the landscape from coast to coast form the bedrock of American religion, but faith-based communities foster a spirit of altruism and civic engagement that disproportionately benefits society at large.

Into the Void with Daniel Libeskind
by Michael J. Lewis
For the past year and a half, the desolate chasm where the World Trade Center stood has been the world's most eligible building site.

Adult Fiction
by John Clayton
Frankly, I don't see much difference between what sits on the fiction shelves of my bookstore and what walks in the door.

When the Civil-Rights Movement Was News
by Thomas Jeffers
The 19th-century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard remarked that we live life forward and understand it backward. He was anticipated by William Wordsworth's definition of poetry as emotion recollected in tranquility.

Sondheim's Operas
by Terry Teachout
In March, London's Royal Opera House announced plans to produce Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd. This will be the first musical ever to be performed by the company on its main stage at Covent Garden.

No Crueler Tyrannies by Dorothy Rabinowitz
by Carol Iannone
No Crueler Tyrannies: Accusation, False Witness, and Other Terrors of Our Times by Dorothy Rabinowitz Free Press. 239 pp. $25.00 The witchcraft trials that took place in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692 are an appallingly fascinating episode in our history.

The Degaev Affair by Richard Pipes
by David Pryce-Jones
The Degaev Affair by Richard Pipes Yale. 153 pp. $17.95 Late-19th-century Russian revolutionaries became a byword for terrorism in much of the world.

Hatred's Kingdom by Dore Gold
by Alex Alexiev
Hatred's Kingdom: How Saudi Arabia Supports the New Global Terrorism by Dore Gold Regnery. 309 pp. $27.95 After A year and a half in which the war on terrorism consisted essentially of large tactical operations—liquidating the Taliban regime, destroying al Qaeda's base in Afghanistan, rounding up Islamist agents around the world—the U.S.

Freedom Evolves by Daniel C. Dennett
by Adam Schulman
Freedom Evolves by Daniel C. Dennett Viking. 347 pp. $24.95 Daniel C. Dennett, a professor of cognitive science at Tufts, has made a name for himself as a scientific bad boy by writing books that boldly challenge our belief in the special status of man in the universe.

Random Family by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
by Kay Hymowitz
Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc Scribner. 408 pp. $25.00 In Random Family, the journalist Adrian Nicole LeBlanc traces the lives of a Puerto Rican family in the South Bronx over the course of more than a decade, beginning in the mid-1980's, at the height of the crack epidemic, and concluding in 2001.

June, 2003Back to Top
"Shacking Up"
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Kay S. Hymowitz is quite right that most Americans want to marry, and it is certainly a good bet that children are better off when born to married rather than to unmarried mothers [“The Cohabitation Blues,” March].

North Korea
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Joshua Muravchik's argument that the U.S. should consider initiating military action against North Korea ignores the immense harm that such an attack would do to the American-led international order, especially in the wake of our ill-conceived war against Iraq, which has severely undermined the American alliance system [“Facing Up to North Korea,” March].

by Our Readers
To the Editor: My brother Christopher Hitchens writes that he never made a certain “preposterous, vulgar remark” which I have quoted him as having made [Letters from Readers, April].

by Our Readers
To the Editor: Frederick W. Kagan's critique of U.S. strategy in the war in Afghanistan is half right [“Did We Fail in Afghanistan?,” March].

A Teacher
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Joseph Epstein writes that he hasn't “the faintest idea” whether he was “successful” as a teacher [“Goodbye, Mr.

Lessons of the War
by Victor Davis Hanson
The general facts about the recent war are not in much dispute. In a span of about three weeks, the United States military overran a country the size of California.

The New Gloomsayers
by Joshua Muravchik
The bearers of bad news are back. The headlines may tell of American military victories overseas, but everywhere warnings are proliferating of troubles ahead.

by David Aizman
For the first week, Varvara Stepanovna Klobukova felt simply splendid in her new surroundings. Above all, she was tickled by the knowledge that a miracle had occurred and she was abroad, in France.

The Scandal of "Diversity"
by Jonathan Kay
In late June the Supreme Court is expected to hand down a decision on the constitutionality of race-guided admissions policies at the University of Michigan undergraduate college and law school.

Castro's Gambit
by Mark Falcoff
The sudden arrest in April of several score Cuban human-rights activists, dissidents, independent journalists, and librarians, followed rapidly by their sentencing to long terms in prison and, only a few days later, by the summary execution of three men who had attempted to hijack a ferry to Florida—all this has served to remind us that quite apart from China, Iran, Syria, North Korea, and Zimbabwe, Fidel Castro's police state in the Caribbean remains one of the world's most repressive regimes. Given the fact that these events occurred at the very moment when both the media and American foreign policy were focused almost wholly on Iraq, they might seem to have been purposely timed to take advantage of the world's momentary distraction.

Bringing Up Parents
by Kay Hymowitz
Are American parents nuts? Sometimes it seems like it. A friend recently told me of a young acquaintance, the mother of a two-year-old girl, who was seriously considering not having a second child because bringing a new baby into the house would, as she put it, “hurt my daughter's self-esteem.” In the locker room of a gym, I once watched a young woman dressing her baby after a swim.

The Shy Master
by Terry Teachout
Not all great composers are also greatly popular. Some, like Berlioz and Wagner, are so idiosyncratic that their music will probably always exercise a polarizing effect on audiences.

The Challenge of Crime by Henry Ruth and Kevin R. Reitz
by James Wilson
The Challenge of Crime: Rethinking Our Response by Henry Ruth and Kevin R. Reitz Harvard. 374 pp. $35.00This book offers many sensible, thoughtful suggestions on specific issues related to crime.

Of Paradise and Power by Robert Kagan
by David Pryce-Jones
Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order by Robert Kagan Knopf. 103 pp. $18.00 “For a Strong Europe Against the American Evil,” ran the slogan in heavy black type on a poster recently plastered over Italian walls.

The Language Police by Diane Ravitch
by Dan Seligman
The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn by Diane Ravitch Knopf. 272 pp. $24.00 Diane Ravitch's account of censorship in educationland is at once unsurprising and stunning.

McSweeney's Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales ed. by Michael Chabon
by Sam Munson
McSweeney's Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales Edited by Michael Chabon Vintage. 480 pp. $13.95 (paper) Contemporary fiction is a deceptively fertile patch of ground.

The Rule of Lawyers by Walter Olson
by Barton Aronson
The Rule of Lawyers: How the New Litigation Elite Threatens America's Rule of Law by Walter Olson St. Martin's. 352 pp. $25.95 In The Litigation Explosion (1991), Walter Olson provided a trenchant analysis of the forces behind the American propensity to settle every sort of dispute by going to court.

Diversity by Peter Wood
by Chester Finn,
Diversity: The Invention of a Concept by Peter Wood Encounter. 351 pp. $24.95 Barring unforeseen developments, the Supreme Court will soon hand down its decisions in Grutter v.

July, 2003Back to Top
Fuzzy Theology
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Although I have great respect for Hillel Halkin and frequently agree with him, his analysis of the Conservative movement's new Bible, Etz Hayim, is yet another instance of secular impatience with liberal religion [“ ‘Boiling a Kid’: Reflections on a New Bible Commentary,” April].

by Our Readers
To the Editor: Richard Pipes's discussion of Eric Hobsbawm and his Stalinist record could be extended in one regard [Books in Review, April].

Containing Iraq
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I commend Robert J. Lieber for grappling with the difficult issue of containment [“The Folly of Containment,” April].

A Scientific Scandal?
by And Critics
Dan-E. Nilsson: I appreciate the opportunity to respond to David Berlinski's essay on the 1994 paper I authored with Susanne Pelger called “A Pessimistic Estimate of the Time Required for an Eye to Evolve” [“A Scientific Scandal,” April].

Civil Liberties After 9/11
by Robert Bork
When a nation faces deadly attacks on its citizens at home and abroad, it is only reasonable to expect that its leaders will take appropriate measures to increase security.

The Chinese Sickness
by Arthur Waldron
The strange synergy between Chinese misrepresentations of reality and the Western desire to believe those misrepresentations takes many forms, but for the latest example one need look no farther than the still-uncontrolled epidemic in China of the viral illness abbreviated as SARS.

Judaism Beyond Words: Conclusion
by David Gelernter
Judaism is the story God chooses to tell the Jews, and they choose to hear. But Judaism is in grave trouble today, because it has difficulty saying what the point of the story is.

The Morality of War
by George Weigel
A mid the welter of moral argument—some serious, much not—that preceded Operation Iraqi Freedom, two clarifying moments stand out. The first came on January 26, when Secretary of State Colin Powell addressed a generally hostile audience of the global great and good in Davos, Switzerland.

by Gal Luft
When Israel pulled out of its security zone in southern Lebanon three years ago, it was widely predicted that the radical Shiite group Hizballah, whose forces had relentlessly attacked the occupying Israeli troops, would close up military operations and henceforth focus solely on Lebanese domestic affairs.

On Discovering Bada Shanren
by Steven Munson
“The essence of art should not be judged by likeness to an object, but by the emotions and intelligence the art embodies.” With their emphasis on the subjective—that is, on the primacy of the artist's sensibility—these words (as rendered by the curator Joseph Chang) have a modern ring.

Romancing the Score
by Terry Teachout
Most listeners would agree on what the word “romantic” means when it is used to describe a piece of music.

Terror and Liberalism by Paul Berman; The Crisis of Islam by Bernard Lewis
by David Warren
Terror and Liberalism by Paul Berman Norton. 214 pp. $21.00 The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror by Bernard Lewis Modern Library. 184 pp.

Enough by Bill McKibben
by Kevin Shapiro
Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age by Bill McKibben Times Book. 288 pp. $25.00 In the emerging debate over whether to restrict technologies like cloning and genetic engineering, at least one thing is clear: nobody wants to be called a Luddite.

Breaking Free by Sol Stern
by Jonathan Kay
Breaking Free: Public School Lessons and the Imperative of School Choice by Sol Stern Encounter. 230 pp. $25.95 For years, opponents of school vouchers had it easy.

The God of Old by James L. Kugel
by Noah Millman
The God of Old: Inside the Lost World of the Bible by James L. Kugel Free Press. 270 pp. $25.00 In an earlier book, the widely praised The Bible As It Was (1998),1 James L.

What Liberal Media? by Eric Alterman
by George Russell
What Liberal Media? The Truth About Bias and the News by Eric Alterman Basic. 322 pp. $25.00 Eric Alterman, the vociferous media critic of the Nation and an online commentator for, has for years now been peddling a pretty straightforward theory about the American press.

September, 2003Back to Top
Staying Put
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Frederick W. Kagan's argument that America should continue to maintain 60,000 troops in Germany rests on at least two questionable assumptions: that relations between the United States and Germany are bound to improve over the long term, and that the presence of U.S.

by Our Readers
To the Editor: As the author of a forthcoming book on Stephen Sondheim, How Sondheim Found His Sound, I hate to quibble with Terry Teachout's ringing endorsement of the composer [“Sondheim's Operas,” May].

Mapping Peace?
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Instead of offering creative and constructive ideas for overcoming the obstacles on the road to peace in the Middle East, Abraham D.

Empty Pulpits
by Our Readers
To the Editor: There is no rabbi crisis. Jack Wertheimer, who has my genuine respect and with whom I generally agree, has unfortunately presented us with a flawed analysis [“The Rabbi Crisis,” May].

Hong Kong and the Future of Freedom
by Arthur Waldron
For most of the six years since its return to Chinese control in 1997 under the rubric of “One Country, Two Systems,” Hong Kong has served as perhaps the single most important piece of evidence for three fundamental assumptions underlying our policy toward the People's Republic of China (PRC).

The Neoconservative Cabal
by Joshua Muravchik
Over the last months, the term “neoconservative” has been in the air as never before in its 30-year career. Try entering it in Nexis, the electronic database of news stories.

Winks, Nods, Disguises—and Racial Preference
by Carl Cohen
Twenty-five years ago, when the case of Bakke v. University of California arrived before the U.S. Supreme Court, it was widely anticipated that the Justices would at last resolve an issue that had been bedeviling the country for years: the permissibility of preference by race in university admissions.

Out of Andalusia
by Hillel Halkin
Geographically, except for Spain, the world of Arabic-speaking Islam was the same in the Middle Ages as it is today.

Revisiting Israel’s “Original Sin”
by Efraim Karsh
The late 1980's saw the rise in Israel of a school of “new historians”—younger, Left-leaning academics whose aim was to place under severe question the accepted history of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Bellow’s Progress
by Algis Valiunas
On the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of The Adventures of Augie March, the Library of America has made Saul Bellow the first living novelist to be admitted to its literary pantheon.

The Murder Artist
by Terry Teachout
The fact that Adolf Hitler aspired as a young man to be an artist is sufficiently well known to have passed into the common stock of allusion.

In Praise of Nepotism by Adam Bellow
by Nathan Glazer
In Praise of Nepotism: A Natural History by Adam Bellow Doubleday. 565 pp. $30.00 This is a book whose provenance may well overshadow any serious discussion of its merits.

Mexifornia by Victor Davis Hanson
by James Wilson
Mexifornia: A State of Becoming by Victor Davis Hanson Encounter. 150 pp. $21.95Immigration is changing the nation, and nowhere more rapidly than in California.

Gulag by Anne Applebaum
by Steven Marks
Gulag: A History by Anne Applebaum Doubleday. 679 pp. $35.00 Returning from a trip to the Soviet Union in 1934, P. L. Travers, the creator of Mary Poppins, wrote caustically that she had been “diddled”: “the tourist is shown only the best of everything.” Unlike Travers, most writers and intellectuals who visited the Soviet Union at the time were quite easily taken in.

The Rebbe’s Army by Sue Fishkoff
by David Gelernter
The Rebbe's Army: Inside the World of Chabad-Lubavitch by Sue Fishkoff Schocken. 352 pp. $26.00 Sue Fishkoff's book shows us a religious movement in action—one of the most startlingly successful of modern times.

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
by Sam Munson
Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi Random House. 368 pp. $23.95 This is a very timely book. Azar Nafisi, now teaching at Johns Hopkins, recounts here the almost two decades she spent as a professor of Western literature in the Iran of Ayatollah Khomeini.

Positively Fifth Street by James McManus
by Dan Seligman
Positively Fifth Street: Murderers, Cheetahs, and Binion's World Series of Poker by James McManus Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 422 pp. $26.00 “Las Vegas is either the most unreal place in the world or the most real place.

October, 2003Back to Top
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I write to applaud the sanity, wisdom, and courage of Michael J. Lewis's critique of the new World Trade Center design [“Into the Void with Daniel Libeskind,” May].

Friends and Enemies
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In his description of the hostile geopolitical environment confronting the Bush administration during the drawn-out prelude to Operation Iraqi Freedom [“Lessons of the War,” June], Victor Davis Hanson resorts to unmistakably derogatory rhetoric when he calls Turkey a “suddenly fickle ally.” This all-too prevalent sentiment was prominently expressed by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, who in an interview with CNN berated the Turkish military for having failed to ensure compliance with American demands.

Affirmative Action
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Jonathan Kay hits the nail on the head in “The Scandal of ‘Diversity’ ” [June]. The argument that there are some unquantifiable “educational benefits that flow from an ethnically diverse student body,” as Justice Lewis Powell put it in 1978, is clearly a fallacy.

Watching China
by And Critics
We have heard all this before, many times. Unfortunately, it does not become more convincing with the retelling. In “The Chinese Sickness” [July-August], Arthur Waldron conjures up the specter of a menacing China in the grip of an irredeemably evil regime, simultaneously threatening democratic neighbors and teetering on the brink of bloody disintegration.

Has the Supreme Court Gone Too Far?
by James Wilson
A SymposiumThe case against the imperial judiciary has been a staple of conservative polemics since at least the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v.

Fables of the Erotic Other
by John Clayton
In a third-rate motel in Venice, California, Jacob Gershom is being nudged out of afternoon sleep. How can he mind? Marya (rhymes with aria) sweeps her long golden hair over his chest.

What Remains of Robert Lowell?
by Thomas Jeffers
Robert Lowell, who died in 1977, was a public poet in the vein of such 19th-century precursors as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, or such 20th-century ones as Robert Frost and T.S.

Cartooning, Left and Right
by Michael J. Lewis
The most appalling cartoon to leap from the ashes of September 11 was surely that of Ted Rall, who was brought to a high pitch of moral indignation by a particular class of malefactors.

Prokofiev’s Return
by Terry Teachout
In 1936, Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) ended two decades of voluntary exile in the West and returned to the Soviet Union.

Lost Prophet by John D’Emilio
by Carl Gershman
Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin by John D'Emilio Free Press. 560 pp. $35.00 Perhaps the archetypal democratic activist of the last century, Bayard Rustin is best known as the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, the famous demonstration that was highlighted by Dr.

Bearing Right by William Saletan
by Kay Hymowitz
Bearing Right: How Conservatives Won the Abortion War by William Saletan California. 327 pp. $29.95 Three decades ago, Norma McCorvey, a broke and aimless twenty-one-year-old facing her third unwanted pregnancy, took the alias Jane Roe and became the plaintiff in a case that led the Supreme Court to pronounce abortion a constitutional right.

Robert Mugabe by Stephen Chan
by Claudia Rosett
Robert Mugabe: A Life of Power and Violence by Stephen Chan Michigan. 243 pp. $27.95 Rarely is there room in our headlines for more than one Africa crisis at a time.

The Two Percent Solution by Matthew Miller
by Dan Seligman
The Two Percent Solution: Fixing America's Problems in Ways Liberals and Conservatives Can Love by Matthew Miller Public Affairs. 304 pp. $26.00 I have long cherished an op-ed piece served up by Thomas Sowell in 1985 and headed “The Wonderful World of Solutions.” Its title whimsically echoed the Wonderful World of Disney, a longtime children's television favorite, and made the point that in the thorny real world of public policy, we almost never encounter problems just needing to be “solved.” What we endlessly confront instead are hard choices among competing alternatives, all guaranteed to leave us with plenty of lingering trouble.

In Denial by John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr
by Steven Marks
In Denial: Historians, Communism, and Espionage by John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr Encounter. 280 pp. $25.95 If we now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Alger Hiss, Julius Rosenberg, and scores of other American Communists were spying for the Soviet Union, it is in large part thanks to John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr.

November, 2003Back to Top
Varieties of Anti-Semitism
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In his review of my book Terror and Liberalism [July-August], David Warren complains about my discussion of the Islamist philosopher Sayyid Qutb and of Islamist anti-Semitism.

Terror and Freedom
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In “Civil Liberties After 9/11” [July-August], Robert H. Bork demolishes several straw men but gives readers few clues to what is troubling about the policies of the Bush administration.

By the Book
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In staging his match between the performance styles of Vladimir de Pachmann and Rudolf Serkin [“Romancing the Score,” July-August], Terry Teachout distorts the facts to such consistent ends that we would like to offer a few corrections. Mr.

Civil liberties; varieties of anti-Semitism; musical interpretation.
by Our Readers
Terror & Freedom To the Editor: In “Civil Liberties After 9/11” [July-August], Robert H. Bork demolishes several straw men but gives readers few clues to what is troubling about the policies of the Bush administration.A0One example: to illustrate what he portrays as knee-jerk criticism, Mr.

The Terror Ahead
by Gabriel Schoenfeld
On day 18 of the war in Iraq, a single United States Air Force B-1 bomber attacked a residence in the north of Baghdad where Saddam Hussein was believed to be hiding.

On Hating the Jews
by Natan Sharansky
No hatred has as rich and as lethal a history as anti-Semitism—“the longest hatred,” as the historian Robert Wistrich has dubbed it.

Gay Marriage—and Marriage
by Sam Schulman
The feeling seems to be growing that gay marriage is inevitably coming our way in the U.S., perhaps through a combination of judicial fiat and legislation in individual states.

Kissinger & Chile: The Myth That Will Not Die
by Mark Falcoff
The 30th anniversary of the coup d'etat that deposed Chile's Marxist president Salvador Allende has come and gone, but not without a burst of accusations of American complicity with—if not responsibility for—that event.

Oh Dad, Dear Dad
by Joseph Epstein
It will soon be five years since my father died, leaving me, at a mere sixty-two, orphaned. He was ninety-one when he died, in his sleep, in his own apartment in Chicago.

Charles Murray’s All-Stars
by Terry Teachout
Despite the faddishness of post modern ways of thinking, I doubt very many people truly believe that quality in art and literature is only an arbitrary construct, imposed by the powerful on the powerless for political purposes.

Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al Franken
by David Frum
Lies and the Lying Liars who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right by Al Franken Dutton. 368 pp.

No Excuses by Abigail Thernstrom & Stephan Thernstrom
by Leslie Lenkowsky
No Excuses: Closing the Racial Gap in Learning by Abigail Thernstrom and Stephan Thernstrom Simon & Schuster. 334 pp. $26.00 In one of the most remarked-upon passages of the Supreme Court's recent decision upholding the affirmative-action program of the University of Michigan Law School, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor looked ahead to the day when “student body diversity” could be achieved without resorting to special admissions procedures for black and Hispanic applicants.

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri; The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
by Sam Munson
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri Houghton-Mifflin. 291 pp. $24.00 The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem Doubleday. 511 pp. $26.00 These two coming-of-age novels, both of them released in the last months to much acclaim, are set in different environments but treat a common theme.

Coercing Virtue by Robert H. Bork
by Jonathan Kay
Coercing Virtue: The Worldwide Rule of Judges by Robert H. Bork AEI. 161 pp. $25.00 Judicial activism has no more ferocious a critic than Robert Bork.

Alfred Kazin’s America ed. by Ted Solotaroff
by Thomas Jeffers
Alfred Kazin's America: Critical and Personal Writings edited and introduced by Ted Solotaroff HarperCollins. 542 pp. $29.95 Alfred Kazin (1915-1998) was a New York intellectual—part cultural historian, part literary critic, part memoirist—who identified less with this or that coterie than with our national culture in toto.

December, 2003Back to Top
New History?
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Efraim Karsh's mendacity and hutzpah are truly mind-boggling [“Revisiting Israel's ‘Original Sin,’ ” September]. Like most of his kind, he accuses others—in this case, me—of committing the serial distortion in which he himself blatantly indulges. Two examples should suffice to illustrate Mr.

by Our Readers
To the Editor: By his compressed joining of some of the writers for the Public Interest on domestic policy and COMMENTARY on foreign policy, Joshua Muravchik gives a somewhat misleading account of the origins in the 1970's of the term “neoconservative” [“The Neoconservative Cabal,” September]. I was the co-founder and co-editor (unnamed by Mr.

Hitler's Opera
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I greatly appreciated Terry Teachout's “The Murder Artist” [September]. He is entirely right about Hitler; a reading of the dictator's “table talk” amply bears out Mr.

Fudging on China
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Arthur Waldron is right that last summer's enormous demonstrations in Hong Kong against new laws on subversion, treason, and sedition demolish Washington's wishful thinking about China and Hong Kong [“Hong Kong and the Future of Freedom,” September].

Neocons; Hong Kong; Benny Morris; etc.
by Our Readers
Neocons To the Editor: By his compressed joining of some of the writers for the Public Interest on domestic policy and Commentary on foreign policy, Joshua Muravchik gives a somewhat misleading account of the origins in the 1970’s of the term “neoconservative” [“The Neoconservative Cabal,” September]. I was the co-founder and co-editor (unnamed by Mr.

Israel’s Arabs v. Israel
by Efraim Karsh
October 1, 2000, a day when most Israelis were observing the Jewish new year, was also the second day of the “al-Aqsa intifada,” a campaign of anti-Israel violence planned and coordinated by Yasir Arafat's Palestinian Authority after the collapse of the Camp David talks in July.

Listening to Arabs
by Joshua Muravchik
“Let him finish,” called out Ruthie. The bell had sounded, but the class, at a summer institute in Greece, sat and listened as Gevara poured out his tale of woe.

What Do Arab Reformers Want?
by Robert Satloff
One of the more pleasant surprises to emergein 2002—an exceptionally dreary year in the Middle East—was the inaugural volume of the Arab Human Development Report (AHDR).

Baghdad, with Victims
by Steven Vincent
By late October, there seemed widespread agreement in the Western press that the United States was failing in Iraq, where I had been living for the past month and a half.

A Guide to Schwarzenegger Country
by James Wilson
You already know the story: the incumbent governor of California runs out of money. Having spent the entire budget surplus accumulated by his predecessor, he then goes on to sign bills that call for even more spending.

In Arthur Miller’s America
by Carol Iannone
When Arthur Miller heard that audiences were weeping night after night during the hugely successful Broadway run of Death of a Salesman in 1949, he was displeased.

El Greco and His Critics
by Steven Munson
Again the gray of El Greco. . . . We agreed only concerning its animalic effect; coolness, “froid glacial!” [“icy cold”], said the marquis.

King of the Jazz Age
by Terry Teachout
In 1930, Paul Whiteman, then the most popular dance bandleader in America, appeared with his 28-piece orchestra in a Hollywood musical called King of Jazz.

Rumsfeld by Midge Decter
by Victor Davis Hanson
Rumsfeld: A Personal Portrait by Midge Decter Regan Books/HarperCollins. 220 pp. $24.95 Donald Rumsfeld, we are told, had a bad summer and a worse fall.

Right to Exist by Yaacov Lozowick
by Christopher Caldwell
Right to Exist: A Moral Defense of Israel's Wars by Yaacov Lozowick Doubleday. 304 pp. $26.00 In April 2002, Yaacov Lozowick, the director of archives at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, was to appear at a public ceremony where an aged Israeli woman would make a gift of the letters she had received as a teenager from her mother, who had been trapped in Europe and died at Auschwitz.

The Progress Paradox by Gregg Easterbrook
by Kay Hymowitz
The Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse by Gregg Easterbrook Random House. 400 pp. $24.95 Americans have never been so educated, healthy, well-fed, long-lived, or fabulously rich.

Anti-Americanism by Jean-François Revel
by Jacob Heilbrunn
Anti-Americanism by Jean-François Revel translated by Diarmid Cammell Encounter. 176 pp. $25.95 No one has attacked the illusions of the French Left more audaciously, or persistently, than Jean-François Revel.

Vixi by Richard Pipes
by Mark Falcoff
Vixi: Memoirs of a Non-Belonger by Richard Pipes Yale. 255 pp. $30.00 Readers of COMMENTARY will immediately identify Richard Pipes as the distinguished historian of Russia and a prominent public intellectual.

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