In Love’s Shadow, Paul A. Bové presents a case for literary critics and other humanists to stop wallowing in their aestheticized helplessness and instead turn to poetry, comedy, and love.

Bové challenges young lit critters to throw away their shades and let the sun shine in. Love’s Shadow is his three-step manifesto for a new literary criticism that risks sentimentality and melodrama and eschews self-consciousness. The first step is to choose poetry. There has been since the time of Plato a battle between philosophy and poetry. Philosophy has championed misogyny, while poetry has championed women, like Shakespeare’s Rosalind. Philosophy is…


The menorah, the seven-branched candelabrum, has traversed millennia as a living symbol of Judaism and the Jewish people. Naturally, it did not pass through the ages unaltered. The Menorah: From the Bible to Modern Israel explores the cultural and intellectual history of the Western world’s oldest continuously used religious symbol. Steven Fine’s meticulously researched yet deeply personal history explains how the menorah illuminates the great changes and continuities in Jewish culture, from biblical times to modern Israel. Here is an excerpt looking at Rabbi Edgar Magnin’s magnificent domed synagogue in Los Angeles.

In 1929 Rabbi Edgar Magnin, the rabbi of…


A swarm raid is one of nature’s great spectacles. In tropical rainforests around the world, army ants march in groups by the thousands to overwhelm large solitary invertebrates, along with nests of termites, wasps, and other ants. They kill and dismember their prey and carry it back to their nest, where their hungry brood devours it. They are the ultimate social hunters, demonstrating the most fascinating collective behavior.

In Army Ants: Nature’s Ultimate Social Hunters we see how these insects play a crucial role in promoting and sustaining the biodiversity of tropical ecosystems. Through observations, stories, and stunning images, Daniel…


Globalization has a bad name. Critics on the Left have long attacked it for exploiting the poor and undermining labor. Today, the Right challenges globalization for tilting the field against advanced economies. Kimberly Clausing faces down the critics from both sides, demonstrating that open economies are a force for good, not least in helping the most vulnerable. In Open: The Progressive Case for Free Trade, Immigration, and Global Capital, Clausing outlines a progressive agenda to manage globalization more effectively, presenting strategies to equip workers for a modern economy, improve tax policy, and establish a better partnership between labor and the…


By Michael J. Graetz and Ian Shapiro

There is a realistic and sustainable path to universal health insurance through the expansion of Medicare. It is not Medicare for All and it does not begin with Americans in their late 50’s and early 60’s. It begins with Americans in their late 20’s and early 30’s. It does not eliminate employer-provided health insurance or repeal Obamacare.

Three years ago, in the early hours of July 28, 2017, Senator John McCain walked onto the Senate floor to cast the decisive vote against the Republican effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act…


When Americans think of freedom, they often picture the open road. Yet nowhere are we more likely to encounter law enforcement than in our cars. Sarah Seo reveals how the rise of the automobile led us to accept — and expect — pervasive police power. As Policing the Open Road: How Cars Transformed American Freedom makes clear, this radical transformation in the nature and meaning of American freedom has had far-reaching political, legal, and moral consequences. In this excerpt, Seo looks at the long history of abuse by police on American drivers.

Beginning in the late 1930s and with increasing…


While technology used in policing has improved, it hasn’t progressed, says Khalil Gibran Muhammad, if racial biases are built into those new technologies. This excerpt from his book, The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America, shows that for the reform called for by the current protests against systemic racism and racially-biased policing to be fulfilled, the police — especially those at the top — will need to change their pre-programmed views on race and the way they see the Black citizens they are supposed to “serve and protect.

Law enforcement, especially, has doubled down…


The story of the Confederate States of America, the proslavery, antidemocratic nation created by white Southern slaveholders to protect their property, has been told many times in heroic and martial narratives. Stephanie McCurry tells a very different tale of the Confederate experience. Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South tells the real story of what the Confederacy actually was— a proslavery anti-democratic state, dedicated to the proposition that all men were not created equal.

Something stunning — epic even — transpired in the American South between 1860 and 1865. Then, in a gamble of world historical proportions…


As the nation is gripped in the throes of large-scale protests and there are calls for justice in the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, as well as for an end to systemic racism and police brutality, this excerpt from Elizabeth Hinton’s From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America details how the War on Crime, begun in the ’60s, focused mainly on urban crime and unfairly targeted African Americans.

In a 1969 petition called “The Forgotten Cities,” sixteen mayors from the urban Midwest complained to Attorney General Mitchell about…


Can a well-programmed machine do anything a human can — only better? Complex algorithms are choosing our music, picking our partners, and driving our investments. They can navigate more data than a doctor or lawyer and act with greater precision. For many years we’ve taken solace in the notion that they can’t create. But now that algorithms can learn and adapt, does the future of creativity belong to machines, too? It is hard to imagine a better guide to the bewildering world of artificial intelligence than Marcus du Sautoy, a celebrated Oxford mathematician whose work on symmetry in the ninth…

Harvard University Press

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