Freedom Just Around the Corner: A New American History, 1585-1828 , by Walter A.
McDougall. HarperCollins, 638 pages, $29.95.
Every chronicle of European settlement of the New World must
include a boat. The boat you choose will shape the story you tell. Start with
the Niña , the Pinta and the Santa Maria , Read More
Sons of Mississippi , by Paul Hendrickson. Alfred A. Knopf, 343 pages, $26 .
Forget what you’ve read about the New South, that mythological region of racial and economic comity. To read Paul Hendrickson’s remarkable Sons of Mississippi is to encounter a modern-day South rife with vexing contradictions and haunted by the ghosts of Read More
Great Neck , by Jay Cantor. Alfred A. Knopf, 703 pages, $27.95.
Every author has an obligation to the reader’s right hand. The left hand already belongs to him: It’s holding all the pages that have been turned so far. The right hand, though, is sending electronic pulses back to the reader’s fickle brain, precise Read More
One of the mysteries of Gangs of New York concerns the moniker of the Dead Rabbits-the mythic, supposedly ultraviolent 1850′s Irish gang that plays a central role in both Martin Scorsese’s $70 million epic and the 1927 book by Herbert Asbury on which it is based. Historian Tyler Anbinder, in his book The Five Points Read More
Michael Jackson is not just a bad man, as this newspaper editorialized when he and Al Sharpton attacked the recording industry for racism this month. He is also gone. Once Michael Jackson was huge. Now he’s a huge corpse, a fit companion for Elizabeth Taylor, Liza Minnelli and the other revenants of the entertainment industry. Read More
Never let it be said that the men who would rule us,
regardless of the actual electoral returns (an evenly divided Senate; the
popular vote in favor of a man scorned as a sore loser), don’t know how to
dress for great state occasions. Trent Lott, the man from Mississippi who will
be the non-majority Read More
Every four years, the death of the Democratic Left is proclaimed by politicians and pundits attending the party convention. This is a ritual observed faithfully by the conventionally wise convention goers at least since the nomination in 1976 of Jimmy Carter, a moderate Southern governor whose rise was regarded as a portent of liberalism’s demise. Read More
Finding out what Rudolph Giuliani thinks about national issues isn’t easy. Sometimes he simply declines to answer inquiries, like his preferred Presidential candidate, George W. Bush. On other occasions, such as when a proposed increase in the minimum wage is under discussion, Mr. Giuliani barks an answer and then reconsiders, saying that he is waiting Read More
I had this dream the other night in which a bearded fellow from the Taliban, carrying an automatic rifle, his shoulder-held missile propped against the bare white wall behind him, was shaking hands with a skinhead, all shiny bald with a blue swastika in the middle of his wide, white forehead. The skinhead wore black Read More