Shopping and the American Way of Life

Table of Contents

In Essence

Arms control once held center stage in U.S. foreign policy, but it has quietly faded away.

An assessment of the Bush administration's controversial "faith-based initiatives."

Ousting Saddam Hussein and his Baath Party is only the first step in what promises to be a long, difficult process in Iraq.

Coups seem pretty much a thing of the past...except in Africa.

Some varying prescriptions to "cure" organized labor.

The terrorist threat may suggest otherwise, but major war may be a thing of the past.

Despite the economic hardships of the Depression era, the decade of the 1930s was one of America's most technologically productive periods.

There's plenty of cause for concern, but the media mostly worries about the wrong stuff.

A longtime Mideast observer believes that a Jewish state is an anachronism.

Low interest rates have been a boon to homeowners but a disaster for retirees. Something's got to give.

The purported shortage of native-born scientific researchers seems to lack just one thing: hard evidence.

Thinking about forgeries makes a noted critic wonder about the nature of art itself.

Mental health care is rife with problems, but a recent government commission may have pointed the way towards some solutions.

Exploring society's public and private failings, Erich Fischl has emerged as a leader of a return to figurative art.

European elites generally are in favor of the EU, but the citizenry has reservations.

Book Reviews

IN DENIAL: Historians, Communism and Espionage. By John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr. Encounter. 316 pp. $25.95

Reviewed by David J. Garrow

A new biography reveals the major themes of one of America's most important early writers: Sorrow and imprisonment, the terrible influence of family history and names, the past with its mysterious power over the present.

TILT: A Skewed History of the Tower of Pisa. By Nicholas Shrady. Simon & Schuster. 161 pp. $21.95


Nearly 60 years ago, Americans marched into a small, ravaged country thousands of miles distant, determined to transform it into a modern nation. They could not have imagined how successful they would be—or how long the transformation would take.

David Ekbladh

What does the future hold for America's consumer economy treadmill?

Robert J. Samuelson

Americans have it all. So why do we feel so guilty?

Daniel Akst

“The subject may appear an insignificant one,” Charles Darwin conceded, “but we shall see that it possesses some interest.” Earthworms were the subject, and Darwin’s lifelong fascination with them revealed as much about the unique qualities of his mind as it did about the surprising effects of the creatures’ subterranean labors.

Amy Stewart

Woodrow Wilson’s struggle withphysical affliction—which emerged long before the famous stroke that crippled the last part of his presidency—may have been admirable, but its secret nature compromised Wilson’s own values—and raises the question of how different history might have been had the American public been told the truth.

Kenneth S. Lynn

I am called a retail anthropologist, which makes me uncomfortable, especially around my colleagues in academia who have many more degrees than I do. For whatever combination of reasons, I’ve spent my adult life studying people while they shop. I watch how they move through stores and other commercial environments—restaurants, banks, fastfood joints, movie theaters, car dealerships, post offices, concert halls, malls.

Paco Underhill