October 7, 2021
Nathaniel Rich
Rolling Along
The beauty, eccentricity, and precariousness of life on the river side of the New Orleans levees.
They Called Us River Rats: The Last Batture Settlement of New Orleans
by Macon Fry
Anahid Nersessian
The Escape Artist
Richard Zenith takes a panoramic approach to Fernando Pessoa’s biography, setting the writer’s orderly, insular way of life against the riotous backdrop of the early twentieth century.
Pessoa: A Biography
by Richard Zenith
Susan Tallman
The Uses of Portraiture
As three exhibitions show, portraiture can be an argument, a celebration of surfaces, an occasion to play with historical tropes, or a form of resistance on behalf of the normally unpictured.
The Medici: Portraits and Politics, 1512–1570
an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, June 26–October 11, 2021
Alice Neel: People Come First
an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, March 22–August 1, 2021
The Political Portrait: Leadership, Image and Power
edited by Luciano Cheles and Alessandro Giacone
The Obama Portraits
by Taína Caragol, Dorothy Moss, Richard J. Powell, and Kim Sajet
The Obama Portraits Tour
an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum
Fintan O’Toole
The Lie of Nation Building
From the very beginning, the problem with the US involvement in Afghanistan lay essentially in the deficits in American democracy.
The Afghanistan Papers: A Secret History of the War
by Craig Whitlock
The American War in Afghanistan: A History
by Carter Malkasian
Karen Solie
a poem
Deborah Eisenberg
Magic Mountains
The first English translation of Adalbert Stifter’s short story collection Motley Stones brings us into contact with his transporting and ineffable mystery.
Motley Stones
by Adalbert Stifter, translated from the German by Isabel Fargo Cole
Lynn Hunt
From the Local to the Global
Something seemingly small and insignificant—a provincial family, a signed slip of paper—can open up onto much wider worlds.
An Infinite History: The Story of a Family in France Over Three Centuries
by Emma Rothschild
The Promise and Peril of Credit: What a Forgotten Legend About Jews and Finance Tells Us About the Making of European Commercial Society
by Francesca Trivellato
Christopher Benfey
‘Such a Lovely Turmoil’
Albert Pinkham Ryder was described as the American Van Gogh; Jackson Pollock called him “the only American master who interests me.” Why has his reputation waned?
A Wild Note of Longing: Albert Pinkham Ryder and a Century of American Art
an exhibition at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, New Bedford, Massachusetts, June 24–October 31, 2021
Ruth Bernard Yeazell
Dickens’s Multitudes
Two new books examine the novelist who produced some of the greatest multivoiced fiction in all of English literature.
The Artful Dickens: Tricks and Ploys of the Great Novelist
by John Mullan
The Mystery of Charles Dickens
by A.N. Wilson
Peter Brown
The Glories of Aksum
Recent studies of medieval Ethiopia are a timely reminder of a Christianity wider than Europe.
Medieval Ethiopian Kingship, Craft, and Diplomacy with Latin Europe
by Verena Krebs
A Companion to Medieval Ethiopia and Eritrea
edited by Samantha Kelly
A Contextual Reading of Ethiopian Crosses Through Form and Ritual: Kaleidoscopes of Meaning
by Maria Evangelatou
Zoë Schlanger
Our Silent Partners
Merlin Sheldrake explores how fungi challenge our understanding of nonhuman intelligence and complicate the boundaries between one organism and another.
Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds and Shape Our Futures
by Merlin Sheldrake
Robyn Creswell
On the Road
The Book of Travels, Hanna Diyab’s memoir of his Mediterranean adventures, is a mixture of clear-eyed observation and wide-eyed innocence.
The Book of Travels
by Ḥannā Diyāb, edited by Johannes Stephan, translated from the Arabic by Elias Muhanna, and with a foreword by Yasmine Seale and an afterword by Paolo Lemos Horta
Caroline Fraser
Where Sheep May Safely Graze
A cri de coeur against our current state of abject agricultural illiteracy, James Rebanks’s new book may be the most passionate ecological corrective since Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.
The Shepherd’s Life: Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape
by James Rebanks
Pastoral Song: A Farmer’s Journey
by James Rebanks
Geoffrey Wheatcroft
Mogul of Mystery
Robert Maxwell’s improbable transformation from yeshiva boy to British media baron and outrageous swindler.
Fall: The Mysterious Life and Death of Robert Maxwell, Britain’s Most Notorious Media Baron
by John Preston
Howard W. French
Enemies of Progress
France’s obsession with retaining influence over its former West African colonies has led to brutal dictatorships in Burkina Faso and Chad.
Thomas Sankara: A Revolutionary in Cold War Africa
by Brian J. Peterson
France’s Wars in Chad: Military Intervention and Decolonization in Africa
by Nathaniel K. Powell
Living by the Gun in Chad: Combatants, Impunity and State Formation
by Marielle Debos, translated from the French by Andrew Brown
The Trial of Hissène Habré: How the People of Chad Brought a Tyrant to Justice
by Celeste Hicks
Michael Greenberg
New York After Cuomo
He was a master centrist and brilliant consolidator of his own power. Who will control the state now that he’s gone?
Andrew Koppelman
Halfway to the Right
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