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BOOK REVIEW: ‘The Speechwriter: A Brief Education in Politics’

From 2007 to 2010, Barton Swaim worked as a writer for Mark Sanford, the South Carolina governor who set out to hike the Appalachian Trail, ended up in Argentina where he found romance, and in the process gave the media the kind of story they’re best at.

BOOK REVIEW: ‘The Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot’

In September 1953, bold headlines dominated American newspapers. “Mystery Red MIG Lands Near Seoul,” trumpeted the San Francisco Chronicle. The North Korean pilot, Lt. No Kum Suk, aged 21, was so disgusted with the totalitarian state shaped by the Soviet-installed dictator Kim Il Sung that he broke off a training flight to land near Seoul, the South Korean capital.

China’s dream is America’s nightmare

For decades, China analysts have been asking the question, “What is China’s Grand Strategy?” Nowhere, it seemed, had PRC officials ever publicly discussed their country’s future place in the world.

What you don’t know and should know about your family

Finding an enormous amount of money in what used to be your old home sounds like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. There is a graceful kickoff in the listing about a “1903 Queen Anne home — graciously proportioned rooms and elegant millwork.”

Recalling the thrill of a Broadway season past

One of my favorite remarks about state of legitimate theater occurred in the television classic “I Claudius.” When Augustus Caesar inquired how things were in the theatrical world, a venerable actor replied that “the theater wasn’t what it was.” But the real zinger was when he added slyly: “And you know what? It never was what it was.” Well, with all due homage to the general acuity of that remark, here is a book to tell us of a season on Broadway just over half a century ago that could absolutely justify anyone saying that the theater today really isn’t what it was — then.

A peevish professor questions the faith of our fathers

It was the first day of school in September of 1954 and something had changed. As a 10-year-old student at Washington’s John Eaton Elementary School, I was about to join my classmates in the morning Pledge of Allegiance when our fifth grade teacher, Miss Parsons, announced that two new words had been added to the pledge. Henceforward, the America referred to in the pledge would be one nation “under God.” Most of us — probably including Miss Parsons — had assumed that that was what our country always had been.

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BOOK REVIEW: 'Days of Rage'

DAYS OF RAGE: AMERICA'S RADICAL UNDERGROUND, THE FBI, AND THE FORGOTTEN AGE OF REVOLUTIONARY VIOLENCE

BOOK REVIEW: 'The Shadow of the Crescent Moon'

The latest addition to the list of promising "Indglish" novelists is 32 year-old Fatima Bhutto, granddaughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the flamboyant, corrupt Pakistani prime minister ultimately hanged for murder, and niece of his daughter, Benazir Bhutto, another controversial Pakistani prime minister who died before her time.

A German writer evokes Hitler's final days

This is the 10th and final volume of "Echalot" -- a German word for sonar, also rendered as echo soundings -- a monumental collection of firsthand accounts of World War II published in the course of two decades by the distinguished postwar German novelist Walter Kempowski -- the first to appear in English.

Americans just know less now

The feminist academic Laura Kipnis recently experienced the contemporary American mind so well examined in this new volume. Ms. Kipnis wrote a critical piece about the way in which feminism has evolved on campus, and was then subjected to a series of protests and complaints, complete with Star Chamber-like quasi-judicial proceedings to condemn her crime-think, including accusations that her article made students feel "threatened" or unsafe.

Recalling the Roaring Twenties

Pick a year, any year, and it will likely contain a goodly number of eventful happenings. If that year ends in zero, that likelihood increases, not least because it is the start of the decade.

Good prince, bad prince

There were four brothers in the British royal family when the nation was fighting for its survival in World War II, but only three played an honorable role in that epic struggle. The fourth was the Duke of Windsor, the former King Edward VIII who gave up his throne and betrayed his country for the sake of Wallis Simpson, a hardboiled American gold digger in the process of getting her second divorce.

How to unite conservatives and libertarians

In the 1960s, National Review senior editor Frank S. Meyer took on the Herculean task of finding common ground between conservatism and libertarianism. His political vision, fusionism, built right-leaning bridges that played significant roles in two Republican presidential campaigns: Barry Goldwater (1964) and Ronald Reagan (1980).

Lincoln's attitude toward Jews

In an age where it has become so fashionable -- in academe and elsewhere -- to debunk even the greatest of men, it is refreshing as well as heartening to find this book which demonstrates that President Lincoln's attitude toward Jews was in keeping with his generally admirable character.

Members of Utah dynasties square off

"Mormon Rivals?" Rivals? Not necessarily the same thing as "enemies," is it? From out of the Mountain West political journalists foresee the potential emergence of one and possibly two political dynasties, again from successful and politically driven families.

Family reflections and art in motion

Summoned back to Memphis, the city of his birth, for the funeral of an uncle, Alan Lightman takes his readers on a delightful, incisive journey into the idiosyncrasies of the present and the remembrances of the past during a hot summer. "In physics, heat is motion and speed at the molecular level, but in humanity, and especially southern humanity, heat is slowness, deliberation, grace, a rounded kind of courtesy."

When life as a prisoner was not that bad

When World War II ended in Europe 70 years ago, it was a time of rejoicing for many prisoners of war, but not for all. American, British and most of the other POWs serving in the victorious forces of what was then known as The United Nations could look forward to repatriation and recovery.