Nonfiction

RECENT REVIEWS

Marginalia and Its Disruptions

Marginalia and Its Disruptions

DURING MY FIRST teaching gig out of graduate school I was reading some philosophical tome in the University of Vermont library. Years later I don’t recall the book’s title, but I do remember the m...

Deep Roots

Deep Roots

I HAVE TWO “firsts” in my life of which I am inordinately proud. One is that my first concert was The Carpenters. (It was the ’70s, and I was a strange child obsessed with AM radio and collectin...

Brief Cases

Brief Cases

LIKE A GOOD HOUSEGUEST, Brief Encounters has left this reader grateful for its abundant gifts; grateful too that it doesn’t overstay its welcome. Actually, it can’t. By keeping each anthology sele...

They All Knew Jack

They All Knew Jack

IF YOU ARE FAMILIAR at all with the Whitechapel murders, you might have heard of the usual suspects: artist, Walter Sickert; Duke of Clarence, Prince Albert Victor; Polish immigrant and certified psyc...

Remaking American Environmentalism

Remaking American Environmentalism

JEDEDIAH PURDY has written a big book, taking up a set of profound environmental questions and offering sweeping answers. As with any volume of this scope and ambition, some of the ideas he spells out...

The End of the Only Child Era

The End of the Only Child Era

FOR 30 YEARS the one-child policy was one of the first things people learned about China. I learned about it in geography at school in the UK around 1980, and it’s fixed in my memory with photos of ...

Street Life

Street Life

I THINK IT could do no harm to say a word or two about how and when this review was written. I received the book for review in early October. I’m a fan of Luc Sante’s work. I perhaps didn’t lo...

Capitalism in a Bottle

Capitalism in a Bottle

MARION NESTLE is hardly the first person to be appalled by the improbable success of Pepsi and Coca-Cola, those twin behemoths of the global corporate stage whose instant brand recognition and extraor...

A Reasonable Response to Ruin

A Reasonable Response to Ruin

THE WRITER OF THIS REVIEW happens to live all the way across the pond in southern Germany, happens to be British, happens to have seen much of America but never Michigan, and happens to have several f...

Human Google

Human Google

FIRST, THE GOOD NEWS. On the first page of Wayne A. Wiegand’s Part of Our Lives: A People’s History of the American Public Library, a stunning statistic from the Pew Research Center’s 2013 Inter...

The Ultimate Mexican-American

The Ultimate Mexican-American

A FEW MONTHS AGO, before I’d read How the Gringos Stole Tequila, a friend invited me to a pop-up bar in Historic Filipinotown for a tasting of “illegal mezcal.” So risqué. How could I refuse? T...

Purple Gold

Purple Gold

EARLY ON in Frances Dinkelspiel’s Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession, and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California, Mark Anderson says that, when drinking a fine rare vintage, he would wonder...

Going Deep in the “Magic South”

Going Deep in the “Magic South”

WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE SOUTH that drives us there? That tells us about ourselves, and how we live? It is a place overflowing with stereotypes: of potholed roads and potbellied racists; of gun-toting mis...