The Nation Books & the Arts

Books, Politics, and Ideas from The Nation.

If you want to understand the wave of right-wing populism erupting in Europe, France is a good place to start. David Avr...
04/28/2017
Le Pen’s Long Shadow

If you want to understand the wave of right-wing populism erupting in Europe, France is a good place to start. David Avrom Bell on the rise of the Le Pens and France's far right.

Before Donald Trump, before Nigel Farage and Brexit, before Viktor Orban and Geert Wilders, there was Jean-Marie Le Pen. As far back as 1984, this crude, bullying, narcissistic, and bigoted former paratrooper shocked French opinion when his far-right National Front party received nearly 11 percent o...

Obama didn’t lose the argument with the right; he chose not to wage it.
04/20/2017
Obama From the Rearview Mirror

Obama didn’t lose the argument with the right; he chose not to wage it.

Barack Obama’s stature will grow ever more impressive in the rearview mirror. We already miss his dignity, his grace, and his intelligence. His presidency was largely a competent, no-drama, scandal-free administration, and it will only gain in esteem as we gag on a presidency rotting, like a fish,.....

"For Isaac Deutscher, exile helped him discover his real community—the internationalist left."https://www.thenation.com/...
04/04/2017
The Red Emigrant

"For Isaac Deutscher, exile helped him discover his real community—the internationalist left."https://www.thenation.com/article/the-red-emigrant/

In May of 1965, two years before his sudden death from a heart attack, Isaac Deutscher addressed a mammoth anti­war rally in Berkeley, California. In a recording of the occasion, you can hear him say that he is going to skip the subject of Vietnam, which the previous speakers had covered so well, a....

"Frederick Douglass did not celebrate struggle for struggle's sake. He struggled because he believed he would win." Matt...
03/15/2017
The Enduring Struggle

"Frederick Douglass did not celebrate struggle for struggle's sake. He struggled because he believed he would win." Matt Karp on Frederick Douglass's radical vision of democratic politics

“AFTER FRED. DOUGLASS.—” barked an October 1850 headline in the Mississippi Free Trader, the state’s leading Democratic newspaper. The article below it went on to note: “We are very much pleased to learn that a party of Marylanders are in pursuit of the sweet pet and fragrant expounder of...

Michelle Dean on Gay Talese and the Limits of New Journalism: "Their eagerness, above all else, was to claim their novel...
03/15/2017
The Serendipiter’s Journey

Michelle Dean on Gay Talese and the Limits of New Journalism: "Their eagerness, above all else, was to claim their novelty, and in retrospect, it seems that this may have been the most radical thing they did."

2016 was a bad year for most people, but it was especially so for Gay Talese. Now 85, he is at an age when most of his time should be spent collecting the thin portfolio of lifetime-achievement awards available to journalists.

Richard Evans on Volker Ullrich's new Hitler biography and the ways to destroy democracy
02/28/2017
The Ways to Destroy Democracy

Richard Evans on Volker Ullrich's new Hitler biography and the ways to destroy democracy

There are more ways of destroying a democracy than sending troops into the streets, storming the radio stations, and arresting the politicians, as Adolf Hitler discovered after the failure of his beer-hall putsch in 1923.

"The left cannot sustain itself on defense alone." Patrick Iber on the resurgence of socialist politics in America
02/22/2017
Socialism’s Return

"The left cannot sustain itself on defense alone." Patrick Iber on the resurgence of socialist politics in America

For the American left, 2016 proved to be a year with a cruel twist ending. In the first few months, a self-�described democratic socialist by the name of Bernie Sanders mounted a surprisingly successful primary challenge to the Democratic Party’s presumed and eventual presidential nominee, Hilla...

02/04/2017

What role can the critic play in today’s uncertain times? @n_j_dames on Mark Greif, A.O. Scott, and James Wood http://bit.ly/2kuHylC

02/03/2017

Alisa Solomon on the despair and lost sense of idealism in David Hare's England http://bit.ly/2k5w5YH

02/03/2017

With criticism, it’s best to reverse D.H. Lawrence’s famous motto: Trust the teller, not the tale. http://bit.ly/2k0E3zx

02/02/2017

“Now more than ever, reporters can play an essential role as society’s watchdogs.” http://bit.ly/2kZ3EtG

02/02/2017

Would politics be better off without anger? @amiasrinivasan on Martha Nussbaum's new book http://bit.ly/2k0W0Ov

12/29/2016

“Laissez-­faire was planned, planning was not.” Nikil Saval on Karl Polanyi in his times and ours http://bit.ly/2httS4r

12/27/2016

"A Starting Point for Politics": @BruceRobbins6 on Stuart Hall and his vision for a new kind of radical politics http://bit.ly/2hLLkoD

Atossa Araxia Abrahamian on MIA and DJ Rupture's cosmopolitanism and the making of a new global sound http://bit.ly/2hdu...
12/26/2016
Cosmopolitan Pop

Atossa Araxia Abrahamian on MIA and DJ Rupture's cosmopolitanism and the making of a new global sound http://bit.ly/2hduwWU

DJ /rupture and MIA capture the new global spirit of pop music.

12/26/2016

Timothy Shenk on the Vox generation of policy analysts and journalists and what they miss about American democracy http://bit.ly/2hX7Edb

12/24/2016

Timothy Shenk on what political scientists and policy journalists often miss about American politics. http://bit.ly/2ijLUHt

12/24/2016

Ian McEwan’s latest novel returns to a recurring theme and anxiety in his fiction—the breakup of the modern family http://bit.ly/2hLtH8u

12/23/2016

“Despite what economists and political scientists claim, the rational self is not always master in its own house.” http://bit.ly/2h5VQmN

The rise of mass incarceration in America has been a thoroughly bipartisan project: http://bit.ly/2ijPkcZ
12/22/2016
Fortress America

The rise of mass incarceration in America has been a thoroughly bipartisan project: http://bit.ly/2ijPkcZ

How 20th-century liberals helped create our age of mass incarceration.

12/22/2016

Jedediah Purdy on the crisis of North Atlantic democracies and the two paths—right and left—for populism http://bit.ly/2ijQbKM

Once reveling in the liberal hopes of a multicultural society, Zadie Smith's fiction now has a darker outlook. http://bi...
12/22/2016
Zadie Smith’s Liberal Imagination

Once reveling in the liberal hopes of a multicultural society, Zadie Smith's fiction now has a darker outlook. http://bit.ly/2ijGSuy

Once reveling in the hopes and possibilities of a multicultural society, her fiction now has taken on a more despairing outlook.

Once reveling in the liberal hopes of a multicultural society, Zadie Smith's fiction now has a darker outlook. http://bi...
12/07/2016
Zadie Smith’s Liberal Imagination

Once reveling in the liberal hopes of a multicultural society, Zadie Smith's fiction now has a darker outlook. http://bit.ly/2fF4AUZ

Once reveling in the hopes and possibilities of a multicultural society, her fiction now has taken on a more despairing outlook.

12/06/2016

Bay Area class polarization constitutes the backdrop for journalist Emily Witt’s new book Future Sex http://bit.ly/2glWwb4

12/06/2016

A profound sense of hope and despair haunts John Edgar Wideman’s new work of nonfiction. http://bit.ly/2gH6B2L

A profound sense of hope and despair haunts John Edgar Wideman’s new work of nonfiction. http://bit.ly/2gyUtxK
12/05/2016
Wideman’s Ghosts

A profound sense of hope and despair haunts John Edgar Wideman’s new work of nonfiction. http://bit.ly/2gyUtxK

A profound sense of hope and despair haunts John Edgar Wideman’s new work of nonfiction.

12/05/2016

Atossa Araxia Abrahamian on MIA and DJ Rupture's cosmopolitanism and the making of a new global sound http://bit.ly/2gHaa94

Jesse McCarthy on the despair—& brief moments of hope & resilience—haunting John Edgar Wideman's novels & nonfiction htt...
12/04/2016
Wideman’s Ghosts

Jesse McCarthy on the despair—& brief moments of hope & resilience—haunting John Edgar Wideman's novels & nonfiction http://bit.ly/2gLAUBD

A profound sense of hope and despair haunts John Edgar Wideman’s new work of nonfiction.

12/04/2016

Sjon's novels capture how just below the surface of everyday life is a world haunted by the past http://bit.ly/2g7XFA7

Timothy Shenk on what political scientists and policy journalists often miss about American politics. http://bit.ly/2gH4...
12/03/2016
Democracy’s Revenge

Timothy Shenk on what political scientists and policy journalists often miss about American politics. http://bit.ly/2gH4pZ3

What political scientists and policy journalists often miss about American politics.

12/02/2016

“With or without permission, the writing sucks the reader into its orbit." Vivian Gornick on Elena Ferrante http://bit.ly/2gWcrhc

12/02/2016

Martha Nussbaum's new book about anger tells us more about the liberal mindset than the actual world of politics http://bit.ly/2gH3pUT

12/01/2016

Charles Baxter on the enchanted counterworld of Icelandic novelist Sjon http://bit.ly/2gH200x

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