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The New York Review of Books

The New York Review of Books April 9, 2020

For over 50 years, The New York Review of Books has been the place where the world's leading authors, scientists, educators, artists, and political leaders turn when they wish to engage in a spirited debate on literature, politics, art, and ideas with a small but influential audience that welcomes the challenge. Each issue addresses some of the most passionate political and cultural controversies of the day, and reviews the most engrossing new books and the ideas that illuminate them. Get The New York Review of Books digital magazine subscription today.

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2 мин.

JOHN BANVILLE’s novel Snow will be published in October. ETHAN BRONNER, a Senior Editor at Bloomberg, is a former Jerusalem Bureau Chief and Deputy Foreign Editor of The New York Times. DAVID COLE is the National Legal Director of the ACLU and the Honorable George J. Mitchell Professor in Law and Public Policy at the Georgetown University Law Center. His latest book is Engines of Liberty: How Citizen Movements Succeed. COCO FUSCO is a New York City–based artist and writer and the author of Dangerous Moves: Performance and Politics in Cuba. SYLVIA LEGRIS’s fourth poetry collection, Garden Physic, will be published in 2021. ROBERT MACFARLANE is the author of books about nature, people, and place, including The Old Ways, Landmarks, and, most recently, Underland: A Deep Time Journey. He is a Fellow of Emmanuel College,…

21 мин.
an outside chance

Declarations of intent to run for the US presidency have a special kind of cartography. Everything is oriented toward Washington, as it was toward Jerusalem in the old maps. But the optics should place the candidate at a spiritual distance from the capital: in a boyhood home in Kansas (Dwight Eisenhower), in a snowstorm in Minnesota (Amy Klobuchar), or in one’s own tower in New York City (Donald Trump). Yet on April 30, 2015, an improbable candidate for the Democratic nomination made his announcement from an open patch of ground just a few dozen yards from the Capitol building, whose imposing classical portico partly framed the TV footage of his press conference. The patch is actually known as the Senate Swamp or, as the official press gallery website has it,…

8 мин.

There is a box in my apartment labeled “Old Not Good Photos.” This is an understatement. Most of the photos are two-and-a-half-inch squares, showing little blurred black-and-white images, taken from too far away of people whose features you can barely make out, standing or sitting alone or in groups, against backgrounds of gray uninterestingness. They are like the barely flickering dreams that dissipate as we awaken, rather than the self-important ones that follow us into the day and seem to be crying out for interpretation. However, as psychoanalysis has taught us, it is the least prepossessing dreams, disguised as such to put us off the scent, that sometimes bear the most important messages from inner life. So too, some of the drab little photographs, if stared at long enough, begin…

20 мин.
the crapola sublime

Traces of J.B. Jackson: The Man Who Taught Us to See Everyday America by Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz. University of Virginia Press, 311 pp., $39.50 The pioneering American cultural geographer John Brinckerhoff Jackson (1909–1996) learned to analyze landscapes not at Harvard, where he lectured, or in New Mexico, where he lived and ranched, but in the war-shattered countryside of Germany’s Hurtgen Forest during the Allied push eastward after the D-Day landings in 1944. German resistance had halted the American advance in the forest, and Jackson, attached to the Ninth Infantry Division as a combat intelligence officer, spent a cold and uncomfortable winter there. With time on his hands, he set about creating a most unusual library. During the day he moved between ruined buildings, searching the wreckage for regional guidebooks, picture postcards, tourist…

17 мин.
love among the ruins

The Fallen by Carlos Manuel Alvarez, translated from the Spanish by Frank Wynne. Graywolf, 143 pp., $16.00 (paper) Turcos en la niebla [The Disoriented Ones] by Enrique Del Risco. Madrid: Alianza, 451 pp., $29.99 (paper) I read the books Armando gave me, the book of stories about Che Guevara that tells how Che refused the gift of a bicycle for his daughter, because bicycles belong to the State, to the People, not to any particular individual. I asked Armando why, if bicycles were for everyone and not for individuals, they made bicycles for individuals to ride? Why didn’t they make a gigantic bicycle that we could all get on and pedal together, millions of pedals moving at the same time, all riding in the same direction? —Carlos Manuel Alvarez, The Fallen Emigrating doesn’t just offer you the…

15 мин.
bigger brother

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power by Shoshana Zuboff. PublicAffairs, 691 pp., $38.00 In the 1970s, when Shoshana Zuboff was a graduate student in Harvard’s psychology department, she met the behavioral psychologist B. F. Skinner. Skinner, who had perhaps the largest forehead you’ll ever see on an adult, is best remembered for putting pigeons in boxes (so-called Skinner boxes) and inducing them to peck at buttons for rewards. Less well remembered is the fact that he constructed a larger box, with a glass window, for his infant daughter, though this was revealing of his broader ambitions. Zuboff writes in The Age of Surveillance Capitalism that her conversations with Skinner “left me with an indelible sense of fascination with a way of construing…