Tag: Books

The Pandemic Planners Were Ready. No One Listened.

The Covid-19 pandemic has laid bare many fault lines in American society, from the savage inequalities of our health care system to the collapse of federal governance into a quagmire of blame-shifting and conspiracy-mongering during much of the crisis. For longtime financial journalist Michael Lewis, though, the effort to comprehend and contain the spread of Covid-19 mostly represents a tragic parable of unheeded expertise and thwarted procedural efficiency.

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How a Young Scholar Changed Our Understanding of Homer Forever

One afternoon in 1935, Milman Parry, a 33-year-old scholar whose research would revolutionize the study of Ancient Greek poetry, was unpacking his suitcase at the Palms hotel in Los Angeles. According to his wife, Marian, Parry was naked from the waist up and rummaging through his clothes when he accidentally jostled a handgun tangled up in a shirt, which sent a bullet into his heart. Underneath a news photograph of Marian taken later that year, a caption read: “Mrs.

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What Did the Sacklers Know?

What did they know, and when did they know it? That is, when did the Sackler family know that OxyContin, the drug responsible for their vast fortune, was also partly responsible for the opioid crisis? Such questions are no abstraction to the family of billionaires currently fending off some 3,000 lawsuits filed by nearly every state, as well as many cities, counties, and tribal governments, in America.

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The Lost Worlds of Edward Said

Exiles often have conflicting feelings about their adoptive society, and Edward Said was no exception. As a Palestinian in the United States, he recognized the country’s pervasive racism and violence, but he also knew its educational system made his career as a renowned and prosperous thinker possible. His life was indeed filled with paradoxes and contradictions.

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The Turbulent Life of Francis Bacon

The same day that Francis Bacon’s landmark retrospective opened at the Grand Palais in Paris, in 1971, his longtime boyfriend and muse George Dyer died on the toilet in their hotel. It was unclear whether the cause of death was an accidental overdose of sleeping pills or suicide. The day before, Bacon had returned to the Hôtel des Saints-Pères to find Dyer drunk in bed with a young man. The couple argued. Bacon stormed out to spend the night in another room.

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