Photo courtesy of Michael Lionstar
It’s easy to assail the network of digital distraction we call “the grid,” that siren-like nexus of the Internet, social media, and the smart phone. Using it intelligently is another matter entirely, and an obtainable skill.
In his latest, In Praise of Wasting Time, Alan Lightman addresses all the elements of today's information overload, compounded by the rapid, noisy, fragmented nature of our time-driven lifestyles. The distinguished physicist, novelist and essayist, a humanities professor at MIT, is not ...
Beverly Gray was as smitten as anyone.
Not so much with the character of Benjamin Braddock, though he had an urchin’s appeal, but with the totality of one of the most influential movies of the 20th century, Mike Nichols’ The Graduate.
On the occasion of the film’s 50th anniversary, Gray offers a compelling behind-the-scenes look at the genesis and making of the movie, as well as a celebration of its enduring cinematic and cultural significance.
In Seduced by ...
Nick Bunker photographed by Steve Hill Photography
The warm reception accorded Nick Bunker's An Empire on the Edge: How Britain Came to Fight America, a history of the “tragedy of errors” leading to the Revolutionary War, belies the sometimes frosty surround in which it was written.
“My office-cum-library is in an extension of our medieval house in Lincolnshire, whose earliest section dates from about 1150,” says the London-born author, whose book was a 2015 Pulitzer Prize finalist and winner of the George Washington Prize.
Catherine Bailey photographed by Konrad Gabriel.
Private scandals and festering rivalries. A notoriously secretive aristocratic family. Decades of potentially embarrassing correspondence put to the torch. Poseurs and plots. Very juicy.
Could familial discord have been just as corrosive as industrial advances and social change in the collapse of the Fitzwilliams, a coal mining dynasty that was the wealthiest family in England at the turn of the 20th century?
Catherine Bailey believed so and set out to document it. Black Diamonds: The Downfall of an Aristocratic ...
Malcom Gaskill photographed by Jon Turner.
Tolstoy believed that history is the consequence of “vast, amorphous and indecipherable” social movements interpreted at risk. Though no less circumspect, Malcolm Gaskill compels events to coalesce, and be revealed.
In Between Two Worlds: How the English Became Americans, Gaskill assays the English experience in America during the first 100 years of colonization, chronicling the arduous physical, emotional, political and religious challenges that beset a large and varied company of 17th-century pioneers who were very much strangers in a strange ...
Matthew Stewart photographedy by Jessica Kirschner.
Matthew Stewart was growing increasingly suspicious.
Might the Declaration of Independence, and indeed many of the earlier, if less exalted, manifestos that fanned the revolt, harbor coded meanings?
If true, he wanted to know how the radical philosophical ideas that seemed to invigorate the 18th-century American rebellion gained a purchase on the revolutionary mind.
To do so would require a thorough genealogical inquiry, as well as a continued, close re-reading of historical texts in order to clarify these opaque but ...
James Tobin courtesy of Myra Klarman photography.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s recovery from polio was a stirring comeback story in the classic tradition, told on one of the world’s highest stages. Together with the American public’s willingness to disregard or reinterpret the evidence of their eyes, this narrative was pivotal to his political career. In The Man He Became: How FDR Defied Polio to Win the Presidency, James Tobin argues that it was not polio alone, but FDR’s response to it, that altered the course of his career ...
David Cannadine photographed by Tom Miller.
In large measure, the experience of a common, cooperative humanity is to conventional historians what “good news” is to journalists: an accepted reality too lacking in drama to be interesting. What V.S. Naipaul termed “that missing large idea of human association” is the overarching subject of Sir David Cannadine’s The Undivided Past: Humanity Beyond Our Differences.
“They take it for granted and do not write about it,” says Cannadine, Dodge Professor of History at Princeton University. “But historically ...