Jennifer Burns, “Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right” (Oxford UP, 2009)
When I was in high school I had several friends who went to Wichita’s only prep school. They were nice guys, played D&D, andsaid they were “Libertarians.”I thought that “Libertarian” might have something to do with the library, so I wanted to have nothing to do with it. But they... Read More
Matthew Algeo, “Harry Truman’s Excellent Adventure: The True Story of a Great American Road Trip” (Chicago Review Press, 2009)
Memorial day is coming up, and maybe you are going to take a little car trip. It might even be a “road trip,” one of the great American enterprises (which isn’t to say other folks don’t take them, but Americans can rightly say they invented this genre of fun). In... Read More
James Mann, “The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan: A History of the End of the Cold War” (Viking, 2009)
Ronald Reagan was a odd fellow. Nobody seems to know what to make of him. He started as a Democrat and then became a Republican. Then he broke ranks with his party by running for president against a sitting Republican. As a leader, he appeared to be affably naive; yet... Read More
Kees Boterbloem, “The Fiction and Reality of Jan Struys: A Seventeenth-Century Dutch Globetrotter” (Palgrave-McMillan, 2008)
When we speak of the “Age of Discovery,” we usually mean the later fifteenth and sixteenth century. You know, Columbus, Magellan and all that. But the “Age of Discovery” continued well into the seventeenth century as Europeans continued to travel the globe in search of riches, fame and adventure. And... Read More
Simon Morrison, “The People’s Artist: Prokofiev’s Soviet Years” (Oxford UP, 2009)
In the Soviet Union, artists lived lives that were at once charmed and cursed. Though relatively poor, the USSR poured resources into the arts. The Party created a large, well-funded cultural elite of which only two things were expected. First, that they practice their art. Second–and here’s the rub–that they... Read More
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