Copy Wrong

“Yes, I read the illegal translation,” a Czech internet correspondent known as “Hustey” wrote this summer, when the next, eagerly awaited book in J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series Read More

The Shriek Heard ‘Round the World

By now every American with access to a television, a radio, or a computer has heard the notorious howl with which Howard Dean ended his concession speech after the Democratic caucuses in Iowa. Read More

“Your Brave And Early Fallen Child…”

Since the beginning of the war in Iraq last year, a small tempest has arisen in the media over whether or not George W. Bush should attend the funerals of American servicemen and women killed in the line of duty. Read More

America’s First Iraq

What happened when we delivered the Philippines             from tyranny a century ago? All happy occupations may, like Tolstoy’s families, be alike; but each unhappy occupation is definitely unhappy in its own way. Of course it is too early to tell which our occupation of Iraq—not to mention Afghanistan—will be. As of this writing, the portents are ominous, with mounting numbers of Iraqis dead in violent street demonstrations, the Iranian-backed Shiite clergy clearly positioning themselves to make a power grab, and the remnants of the Taliban still conducting hit-and-run attacks in Afghanistan. We are only at Read More

Fifty Years In Hollywood

All happy occupations, like Tolstoy’s families, resemble one another; but each unhappy occupation is unhappy in its own way. Of course it is too early to tell which our occupation of Iraq—not to mention Afghanistan Read More

The Case for the Draft

Historically, it has had real virtues. As everyone in the United States is aware by now, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is a man of strong opinions. But Americans of all stripes, regardless of their feelings about the then-looming war, seemed to feel that the Secretary went too far last January when he responded to a proposal by Rep. Charles B. Rangel that the United States reinstate the military draft. Rumsfeld pointed out how many men had been able to get exemptions from service during the Vietnam War and then added that “what was left was sucked into the intake, Read More

What Trent Meant

It’s not an easy thing to be a politician. One never knows when the media will suddenly pick up an offhand remark—the same sort of thing that one has said for years, really—and suddenly focus withering, national attention on it. No wonder that most politicians would rather history be an infinitely malleable subject, a record that they could rewrite at will. Read More

Violent City

A five-day battle for New York reveals the                               birthing pains of our democracy. Paradise Alley is set during the fateful month of July 1863, and it is about both the Irish immigrant experience and one of the lesser-known but most critical episodes in our history, the New York City draft riots. Riots may be a mild word to describe them. As an observer said at the time, it was not so much a riot as a revolution, a five-day pitched battle in the streets for Read More

General Discontent

“Embattled, Scrutinized, Powell Soldiers On,” read the headline on the front page of The New York Times, as if the writer were rather astonished to find Colin Powell still at Read More

When the Last Law Was Down

What happens when you set aside the Constitution? What does it mean to be an American? This may sound like a trite question, but it is one that we have been asking for the entire history of the United States, and it has more relevance than ever in the age of globalization—and terrorism. Europe seems to do little but debate its identity these days. Tidy garden-apartment nations, whose politics for decades consisted of little more than debating how much they should expand the social-welfare state, now find themselves asking, “What is a Frenchman? A Dane? A Dutchman?” as they confront Read More