'Your papers, please' must never be heard in America
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Adolf Hitler had a love-hate relationship with Berlin. He loved the city for what it represented -- the focal point of Prussian power, the dynamic capital of the kaiser's empire and the political and military nerve center of the Third Reich.
Just in time for President Obama's second term, economists Robert Litan and Carl Schramm have given policymakers a recipe for spurring economic growth through entrepreneurship. It should be required reading for Washington's movers and shakers, both in the administration and in Congress.
The third volume of T.S. Eliot's letters shows the poet and critic in a period of transition. Readers of the unauthorized biographies by Lyndall Gordon and Peter Ackroyd tend to think of Eliot as either the effete Francophile of "Prufrock and Other Observations" or the austere self-professed "classicist in literature, royalist in politics, and anglo-catholic in religion" who wrote "Ash-Wednesday."
On the night of Aug. 5, 1984, Richard Burton set aside a volume of William Blake's verse and closed his eyes for what would be the last time. On March 3, 2011, Elizabeth Taylor, the woman whom Burton deemed the love of his life, died. Now more than a year on, 670 pages of these quite remarkable diaries are available to the rest of the world.
The author Thomas Merton wrote, "Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time." It's an accurate assessment. When you go to an art gallery or museum, certain paintings immediately capture your interest and imagination. Other works will lead you to feelings of boredom, frustration or even repulsion.
Shortly after Israel's stunning victory in the 1967 Six Day War, a cartoon appeared simply showing the fabled Egyptian Sphinx sporting a black eye patch. It was one of those wonderful images that needed no words: the man behind his nation's triumph was Moshe Dayan, who had worn that patch ever since losing his eye during World War II, making it an integral part of his very high public profile.
Mickey Edwards, a Republican Congressman from Oklahoma's 5th Congressional District for 16 years, is one of those rare political figures who continue to contribute meaningfully to the public debate after leaving office. In Congress, he served on a number of important committees and was a member of the House Republican leadership. After eight terms in Congress, he took his knowledge and experience to the classroom, teaching at Harvard, Princeton, Georgetown and George Washington University, bringing with him a depth of knowledge of how policy is shaped and formed, tempered by a valuable perspective gained in the world of practical politics.
Few would argue that John Milton's long poem "Paradise Lost" is one of the pinnacles of achievement in the centuries-long tradition of English literature. Not only is it THE English epic, worthy of comparison with its great classical predecessors, the Greek "Odyssey" and "Iliad" and the Latin "Aeneid," but its subject, Adam and Eve's fall from grace in the Garden of Eden, was to resonate down through the centuries, providing the underlying theme for so many poems, plays and novels.
It is hard to think of any other volume that provides as much information and insight into the nature of the Soviet system and its collapse as this book. Focusing on glasnost, (the opening up of public discourse by Mikhail Gorbachev about the failings and past history of the Soviet Union), Leon Aron presents a richly documented and riveting portrait of every aspect of the Soviet system based exclusively on Soviet-Russian sources, most of them probably unfamiliar even to American experts on Soviet affairs who read Russian.
Most Americans celebrate Thomas Jefferson as the author of the Declaration of Independence and one of the illustrious Founding Fathers who ornamented the presidency in our republic's fledgling years. Famously, though, the accomplishments he chose for his grave were authoring the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom and founding the University of Virginia.
It was apparent early on in the Civil War that the newly emerging railroads, suddenly "annihilating" time and distance, would be pivotal to victory or defeat. Some historians have relegated the railroads to secondary importance in the war. Not William G. Thomas.
If, as historians have increasingly come to believe, the 20th century's two world wars were in fact one conflict, then German Foreign Minister Walther Rathenau, murdered by anti-Semitic zealots in 1922, was as much one of its casualties as any soldier who died on its battlefields or perished in one of its death camps.
Anyone who has paid heed to Russia in the two decades since the collapse of communism and the Soviet Union has come to realize that things have not worked out all that well. Those desiring better lives, seeking the freedoms enjoyed by other peoples of the world, threw off the shackles of an authoritarian state that routinely persecuted, imprisoned and murdered its citizens by the millions.
First, let's acknowledge that Garry Wills' book-length discussion of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" is full of useful information and likely to be an indispensable companion to students of the play in years to come. It collects in one place much of what you need to know about Shakespeare's knowledge of the classical world and, up to a point, offers a useful account of what he was doing with it in the play.
President Obama is on a nine-day junket soaking up some sun on the other side of the Pacific. Aside from visiting his boyhood home of Indonesia, he dropped into Hawaii to grace the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit with his presence. In between calling corporate America lazy and complaining about how his new half-trillion stimulus package can't get passed, he's bellyaching about China, saying they need to play by the rules. A recent Gallup poll revealed that 70 percent of Americans perceive the People's Republic to be a threat, but they're not exactly sure why. Here's a list of 10 books to help the curious reader bone up on Beijing: