10 years ago

Murder and corruption under Hollywood’s bright lights

If this book had been a straightforward narrative account of L.A.’s history from the end of the First World War through the Great Depression, it could have been brilliant. The two central characters, in all their indulgences and idiosyncrasies, beautifully embody the tale of crime and corruption, fame and its misfortunes, all under the brilliant […]

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10 years ago

A young man from Malawi points the way to hope for Africa

A debate has been raging for years within that rarefied global community that earns its keep from the business of what we Americans call “foreign aid.” (Others, less afflicted by an aversion to international engagement, call the field “official development assistance.”) On one side are the advocates for large-scale bilateral and multilateral aid, insisting that […]

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10 years ago

Soccer, explains Simon Kuper, is merely politics by other means

If you think England’s notorious soccer hooligans represent the worst expression of violent behavior in competitive soccer, read Soccer Against the Enemy. As British sports journalist Simon Kuper explains it in this lively book, soccer, like war, is merely politics by other means. The style a national soccer team brings to the game is also […]

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10 years ago

The Iraqi view of life under Saddam Hussein

The celebrated Iraqi poet Nabeel Yasin and his family were front-row witnesses to the brutality, the indignities, and the humiliations of life under Saddam Hussein for more than three decades. In this lovingly written family biography, Jo Tatchell, a British freelance journalist and friend of Yasin, tells the story of Nabeel and his three brothers […]

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10 years ago

The nitty-gritty details of space travel, funny and otherwise

Let’s just assume, for the sake of argument, that you’re passionately interested in space travel and desperate to know “what it’s really like out there.” Mary Roach’s Packing for Mars will tell you more than you ever dreamed of knowing about the experience. It may also make you think twice about daydreaming of a trip […]

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10 years ago

Stanley Milgram put social psychology on the map

So, here’s a biography of one academic social psychologist by another one, and guess what? It’s fascinating! Most of the credit has to go to the subject of this book, Stanley Milgram, who was without question the most famous social psychologist who ever trod the halls of academe. You may never have heard Milgram’s name, […]

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10 years ago

Life in the maelstrom of Hurricane Katrina

In one remarkable little book, Dave Eggers brings to life both the best and the worst of the USA. Zeitoun is the unlikely story of a Syrian-American immigrant who builds a prosperous life and an enviable reputation for himself and his family and then experiences the full force of Hurricane Katrina and its protracted aftermath. […]

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