The Glory and the Folly

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Table of Contents

In Essence

Memphis demolished inner-city projects and transferred residents into better neighborhoods, but only succeeded in spreading crime to the new areas.

What do post–Civil War Reconstruction and U.S. nation-building efforts in the Philippines, Cuba, Haiti, Somalia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan have in common?

The new American president will have plenty on his plate, especially in the Southern hemisphere.

A prominent historian ponders the long-term legacy of the elusive Bush Doctrine.

The new U.S. embassy in Iraq is a fortress covering 104 acres, but building bunkers may not be the best model to follow.

Many online merchants have looked for profits in the "long tail"—the niche markets—but an economist questions whether the numbers add up.

To give children advantages in emotional, academic, or athletic performance, parents are starting their kids in school later. Two experts think the practice intensifies inequality in American life.

Even before the recent meltdown, the stock market was hard to read. A market strategist explains why.

Pouring academic publications online has not meant that researchers can find them. There's too much out there, and it's too poorly indexed.

America has been dealing with energy crises for a long time. Like the one in the winter of 1637...

The German cities of Lübeck and Hamburg took different approaches to outside trade; one faded into insignificance, while the other became Europe's third most important trading center.

The Brussels-based leaders of the European Union might take a page from the Habsburg playbook in dealing with the problems of unifying its varied countries under one banner.

William F. Buckley Jr. opposed every milestone achievement of the civil rights movement, but he was no bigot.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, has long been revered by Catholics, but now evangelical Christians are increasingly drawn to her.

Does time run backward in other universes? It would match the symmetry of many other aspects of our physics.

A lesson in the ongoing struggle between man and nature, courtesy of Hawaii's gray bird grasshopper.

Like most cities, Paris's architecture is changing constantly, but there is a growing tension between the low-profile, older buildings in the city's center and the higher-rise denser construction on the périph.

Evidence of ongoing destruction of Iraq's most celebrated archaeological sites is as illusory as WMDs.

Banning part-time child labor in countries such as the Philippines may have a perverse and unforeseen effect—forcing parents to pull the children out of schools.

India's parliamentary system is in a shambles, and may only get fixed when the country's small parties put enough pressure on the two dominant one.

Book Reviews

G. Pascal Zachary on Rwandan president Paul Kagame, whose rule "provides the clearest test case in Africa of whether an enlightened authoritarianism can produce better results than liberal democracy."

Kate Christensen looks at the wives of three famous French artists, and how their lives, "no matter how difficult, painful, or uncertain, were never boring."

James McGrath Morris reviews a chronicle of Jacob Riis's rise from poor immigrant to famous muckraker.

Charles Barber finds American Therapy "thoroughly researched and elegantly organized," but says it does not quite capture the "fascinating dialectic" between "our exterior and interior landscapes."

In Concrete Reveries, writes reviewer Geoff Manaugh, philosopher Mark Kingwell offers only a glimpse of what makes him "an original thinker with provocative ideas."

Reviewer Stephanie E. Schlaifer looks at Brenda Wineapple's account of the quarter-century relationship between poet Emily Dickinson and political activist Thomas Wentworth Higginson.

Hew Strachan on Targeting Civilians in War: "Desperation drives even democracies to target civilians in order to coerce the enemy to surrender."

What makes people volunteer to help others? Reviewer Darcy Courteau tries to find some answers in a study by two sociologists.

Reviewer Remuka Rayasam finds Anita Jain "more interested in stringing together amusing anecdotes than in making a sincere attempt at cross-cultural understanding" in her account of her hunt for a suitable husband.

Writing about Daniel Gardner's The Science of Fear, Evelin Sullivan concludes that "for the sake of our survival, one fear ought to become stronger: that of being afraid of the wrong things."

In his minute analysis of Albert Einstein's works, writes reviewer David Lindley, Hans C. Ohanian "reveals himself to be the kind of strictly logical, step-by-step physicist that Einstein plainly was not, and Ohanian's inability to cope with that difference almost seems to have turned into a personal animosity."

Edward Tenner reviews a biography of Buckminster Fuller, "preppy nerd and buttoned-down bohemian, green guru and globe-trotting jet fuel consumer, a college expellee who relished honorary degrees [who] proclaimed a new cosmos of structural lightness and left a personal archive of 45 tons about it."

T. R. Reid reviews a "warts-and-all history of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, one of the darkest moments in the 180-year history of the Mormon Church."

Aaron Mesh on Hollywood's controversial attempts to portray the last days of Jesus Christ on film.


The case for universal pre-kindergarten isn’t as strong as it seems.

Douglas M. Call & Douglas J. Besharov

For more than a century, the Oxford English Dictionary has dominated language lovers’ bookshelves. Now it is online, and a new edition may never see book covers again. In the digital age, will the OED remain a cultural cornerstone?

Charlotte Brewer

Global warming is shrinking Greenland’s ice sheet—and heating up its movement for independence from Denmark.

Joshua Kucera

There is more than one way to get a rogue state to change its ways.

Robert S. Litwak

A Princeton political scientist reveals that many of our worst fears about America’s voters are true.

Larry M. Bartels

From afar, America’s presidential contests often look more like playground antics than a shining example of democracy. But looks can be deceiving.

Denis MacShane

“Pollsters and pundits” has become a dismissive epithet in modern politics. Pollsters, at least, deserve much better.

Scott Keeter

The antidote to frenzied partisanship won’t be found in politics as usual but in problem-solving leaders who govern from the center.

Gil Troy

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