Page by Page: Book Reviews

The Culture of Bruising or How Some Black People Argue

Sowell has forthrightly challenged his critics and detractors with the sheer volume of his work. In the blood sport of academic disagreement, that production is the sign of the bruiser. Whatever the reason for the neglect of Sowell, Jason L. Riley provides us with a much-needed book.

Literary Criticism as Autobiography

While Sansom’s September 1, 1939 professes to be a biography of Auden’s poem, the result borne out by the actual structure of Sansom’s text and the nature of its many self-reflective digressions complicates that goal.

Everyone Talks About Bowie

From David Bowie’s cousin to his childhood friends, his managers, musical collaborators, girlfriends, writers such as novelist Hanif Kureishi, and extraneous celebrities to the last word of the midwife present at Bowie’s birth, A Life leaves almost no stone unturned, no corner empty, and no speculation left unsaid.

Visits to a Small Planet

The essays in The History of the Future often chronicle the various ways these places and their founders, planners, architects, or investors imagined the future alongside the ways the future did and did not cooperate. Even where wrong (and they almost always were), their vision still shapes the fruits of their labors in ways they never would have wished.

“Are the Important Things Something Else Entirely?”

Jenny Erpenbeck, born in East Berlin, is an award-winning German novelist, short story writer, playwright, and opera director. Not a Novel is her first full-sized nonfiction collection, translated in 2020 by Kurt Beals, a professor in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at Washington University in St. Louis.

Fly Us to the Moon and Let Us Live Among the Stars  

Milligan’s central thesis in Nobody Owns the Moon is that we should avoid applying overly simplified ethical guidelines to make decisions regarding current and future activities in space, and that we need to weave multiple moral concepts into a complex and flexible framework.

The Soldier as Great American Statesman

With new evidence, along with fresh perspectives, David L. Roll has revised and refined aspects of conventional wisdom. First, Marshall’s leadership is more inspired than previously acknowledged. Second, in his professional life he is generally more assertive and self-assured, more likely to be uncompromising, and at times even less humble.

Remembering Eleanor Roosevelt

What I knew was the surface. But Eleanor, David Michaelis’s recent biography, let me step into her heart. Now I could imagine how she ached for her father’s company, how her relatives’ comments must have stung, how her school days charged her mind and set it in perpetual motion. How awkward it was for her to show tenderness, how desperately she craved it. How fully she became herself and what power that gave her.

Nancy with the Hidden Hand

Washington Post columnist Karen Tumulty does a great service in her new book by taking us behind the public façade. The Triumph of Nancy Reagan is a detailed, insightful, and gossipy look at the wife of Ronald Reagan, one of our most consequential, yet controversial presidents.