Books

“From all forms of trench warfare, preserve us, O Lord!” should be the humble prayer of every soldier, for it is about the most unpleasant, tiresome, disagreeable, dangerous, death-without-glory kind of warfare which the evil genius of man could devise. As, however, it has come to stay, it may perhaps be of interest to describe what it was like in Gallipoli. (More…)

My boyhood neighbor, Loren Jones, was a man with an interesting story about Stalinist Russia.  He arrived there in 1937 as the first television engineer in the country, sent by his employer, the Radio Corporation of America. (More…)

One of the questions to be asked of a translated novel is ‘why was this translated?’  The answers can range from the author’s perceived importance, to providing foreign readers with cultural insight, or to publishing economics. (More…)

The division of Syria has not undergone any changes, since the time of Volney. To the pashalik of Aleppo  belongs Aintab, Badjazze, Alexandretta, and Antakia. Damascus comprehends Hebron, Jerusalem, Nablous, Bostra, Hums, and Hama. (More…)

Irony can be a difficult tone to manage well. It can be even more difficult to visualize effectively. Jillian Tamaki is a skilled ironist whose new graphic story collection Boundless (Drawn & Quarterly) can absorb and reward repeated readings. (More…)

Simply writing a personal or family memoir would be an easier task than producing an illustrated graphic memoir. It is not only that the work is more difficult technically, but so much more is at risk in the visualization of the narrative. Emotions about family members and their lives emerge in the pictures. Visual storytelling commits where words can remain ambiguous. (More…)

Prisons are holistic and extended social systems, a point that remains too little recognized in public discussions of prisons and imprisonment. That system includes prison staff and their families, people equally capable of social expression as prisoners and their own families. While prisoners often write of their experiences, prison wardens and guards are far more reticent. (More…)

People who have been living in a ghetto for a couple of centuries, are not able to step outside merely because the gates are thrown down, nor to efface the brands on their souls by putting off the yellow badges. The isolation imposed from without will have come to seem the law of their being. But a minority will pass, by units, into the larger, freer, stranger life amid the execrations of an ever-dwindling majority. (More…)

The new publication of A History of American Working-Class Literature from Cambridge University Press provides a moment to ask some questions: Is it dead? And who reads it, especially when so few people in the contemporary United States want to understand themselves as working-class? (More…)

We had several good agents at Radio Liberty, whose staff included many emigres from the USSR. But by far our best agent there was a man named Oleg Tumanov, who had a twisted history of involvement with the KGB that continued into the 1990s. (More…)

Josephine Baker was black America’s first international stage and film star. She was a woman who, tired and angry over Jim Crow racism in the United States, was early among African American artists and intellectuals in relocating to France. Baker’s career opposed and repudiated the narrow provincialism endemic to US racism. (More…)

This is a portrayal of the face of Germany. It is an answer to the question: Is this Second World War a war of the “Have-nots” against the “Haves,” as Hitler asserts, of the poor peoples against the rich peoples, of the socialist nations against the plutocratic nations? (More…)