Charles J. Shields, “And So It Goes. Kurt Vonnegut, A Life” (Henry Holt, 2011)
The public image of Kurt Vonnegut is that of a crusty, irascible old man. Someone with whom one would want to drink, but never ever fall in love. The Vonnegut we meet in Charles J. Shields’s insightful new biography, And Read More
Gale Stokes, “The Walls Came Tumbling Down” (2nd Edition, Oxford UP, 2011)
Europe may currently be in crisis and riven with divisions, but at least it’s a Europe of independent states. It was not always so. The Soviets dominated Eastern Europe for nearly half a century following the defeat of the Nazis.… Read More
Rosamund Bartlett, “Tolstoy: A Russia Life” (Houghton Mifflin, 2011)
I vividly recall a time in my life–especially my late teens and early twenties–when I thought I could be anyone but had no idea which anyone to be. For this I blame (or credit) my liberal arts education, which convinced… Read More
Fabienne Peter, “Democratic Legitimacy” (Routledge, 2011)
Winston Churchill said that democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others. The quip reveals an interesting dimension of democracy: it’s hard to beat, but it’s also hard to love. Democracy is hard to love because… Read More
Patricia Campbell, “Knowing Body, Moving Mind: Ritualizing and Learning at Two Buddhist Centers” (Oxford UP, 2011)
There is a lot of ritual involved in Buddhist practice. As more and more North Americans are discovering Buddhism, they are engaging in more and more Buddhist ritual, despite a general aversion many North Americans have to ritualized behavior. Dr. Read More
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