Page by Page: Book Reviews

Recreating the Heavens

In Star Theatre, William Firebrace, as the architect that he is, provides the reader with an excellent assessment of some of the most interesting planetarium buildings in the world. He also walks us through the unique history of the human desire to bring the heavens down to Earth.

An Eerie Self-Pity: Curzio Malaparte on the Rocks of Resistance in Paris

Curzio Malaparte’s ferociously ambiguous politics pushed him in and out of Il Duce’s prisons in the 1930s, yet they also rehabilitated him sufficiently to grant him access to Axis military and diplomatic operations as a journalist during the war. And when the winds shifted again, he trimmed his sails, finding work with occupying U.S. forces in Italy after Mussolini’s collapse.

An Ensemble View of Modern American Life

While The Other Americans makes for a compelling read with its digestible chapters, its alternating perspectives, and its many layers, an overly ambitious scope means that some of the subjects it tries to tackle receive scant attention.

The Story of a Literary Friendship and How It Ends Badly

Be it Hughes and Hurston, Baldwin and Wright, or Tupac and Biggie, burdened friendships are a recurrent and disturbingly alluring theme in the study of Black writers. Yet, if it is the dramatic bite of high-profile betrayal that tends to ignite a hot-selling story, in the case of Zora and Langston it is the dynamics of friendship that provide a happy counterexample.

All the Roads That Lead to Rome

Addis offers a dark view of Rome’s history, in which historical change comes about not through high-minded actions or progress, but rather through brutality, ruthlessness, and accident. This is a healthful antidote to the triumphalist histories, acclaiming the expansion of the Roman Empire, the rise of Christianity, Italian nationalism, or Western civilization, of which the city of Rome has sometimes been the center.

How to Eat to Live

Using the twin themes of hunger and health to explore the biopolitics of nature, Treitel convincingly shows that natural eating habits not only persisted in times of want as an efficient way to manage the nation’s food supply, but also in times of plenty to improve the health of the body politic.