The Sovereign State of Retirement

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Table of Contents

In Essence

Humanitarian aid organizations have gotten more political in recent years, sometimes at the cost of their principles.

The "belief-o-matic" and online absolution are just two ways that faith is reaching out to new spiritual spaces.

Give a bartender a tumbler and you'll almost always get a bigger pour.

A decade of standards-based school reforms have raised some test scores that were abysmally low, but produced little else.

In a culture where the line between reality and fantasy has blurred, the Book of Revelation provides plenty of good source material.

Vicente Fox entered office with promises that he would end Mexico's cycle of corruption. That was then.

The Tennessee Valley Authority was born of crisis, its architecture a monument to an enlightened response.

While President George W. Bush's call for health savings accounts may not be the answer, something must be done soon about the nation's spiraling health care costs.

It's both true and romantic that entrepreneurs such as Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard launched corporations in their garages, but their success owes much to years spent in conventional business positions.

Nepalese democracy has foundered and its political tempests have become increasingly turbulent.

There's growing distrust of political parties in many advanced democracies, not just the United States.

Opinion polls seem to influence the media as much as the politicians.

One simple, time-honored solution to convince aging justices to leave the high court: offer them more money to step down.

There were reasons why 17th-century Venice was the birthplace of modern opera.

Looking busy has become a badge of honor for the moneyed class.

A vast class has all but disappeared from American culture: the working class.

After 10 years of term limits in some state legislatures, it's becoming clear who the winners are: governors and executive bureaucracies.

Toy makers are churning out a host of learning-driven gadgets, but most of them assume Mom and Dad won't be around.

Throughout history, a Jewish emphasis on literacy and education provided them with advantages over other cultures.

Book Reviews

A Memoir.

By Wole Soyinka.
Random House.
528 pp. $26.95

The Persian Blogs.

Edited and translated
by Nasrin Alavi.
Soft Skull Press.
336 pp. $15.95

Life Under the
Fascist Dictatorship,

By R. J. B. Bosworth.
Penguin Press.
692 pp. $35

Illusions of a
Borderless World.

By Jack Goldsmith
and Tim Wu.
Oxford Univ. Press.
272 pp. $28

A Quantum Computer Scientist Takes On the Cosmos.

By Seth Lloyd.
Knopf. 221 pp. $25.95

The Life of William Jennings Bryan.

By Michael Kazin.
Knopf. 374 pp. $30

The Secret History of Forced
Sterilization and
America’s Quest for
Racial Purity.

By Harry Bruinius.
Knopf. 401 pp. $30

Music and Literature Against the Grain.

By Edward  W. Said.
Pantheon. 208 pp. $25

Chemical Warfare From World War I
to Al Qaeda.

By Jonathan B. Tucker.
Pantheon. 479 pp. $30


The Social Security system gave birth to the modern idea of retirement as a golden age of life after work. That concept was never very carefully thought out, and now that it is more than 70 years old it looks ripe for retirement.

W. Andrew Achenbaum

Dignified retirement is still a cherished part of theAmerican dream, but for some that dream is onlya fantasy. A rickety retirement system means moreU.S. workers have to stay on and on at the job.

Beth Shulman

While America dithers, Sweden and other countries have pioneered creative and surprisingly hard-headed reforms to cope with the mountain of retirement costs that lie ahead.

Sylvester J. Schieber

Americans enter the brave new world of retirement with a lot of silly fantasies. And, says this writer, thank goodness for that.

James Morris

Terrorist bombings, riots, and an uproar over satirical cartoons have inspired talk of a Europe under siege by Muslim immigrants. Will minarets rise in place of the continent’s steeples, or is this vision of invading Muslim hoards a mirage?

Martin Walker

Pearl Buck’s chronicles of everyday life in China won her millions of readers and a Nobel Prize. They also won her the scorn of highbrow Western critics and the venom of China’s Communist leaders. Now her adopted land is rediscovering the work of this woman once denounced as a cultural enemy.

Sheila Melvin

Why is one of Africa’s most successful democracies taking hold in an impoverished Muslim country half-covered in the sand of the Sahara desert? In Mali, the seeds of change are rooted in tradition.

Robert Pringle
True Believers  Image

The Untold Story of Hope, Deception, and Survival at Jonestown.
By Julia Scheeres.
Free Press. 307 pp. $26

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