Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Unwanted Thoughts

Sponsored by Brandeis University Press

Our June 8 issue is online now, with Trevor Jackson on the cryptocurrency craze, Howard W. French on the creation of Nigeria, Laura Kolbe on Siddhartha Mukherjee’s cellular story, Vivian Gornick on Marina Jarre’s novelistic memoirs, Erin Maglaque on the Catholic censors, John Washington on a memoir of migration, Joan Acocella on George Balanchine’s wives and mistresses, David W. Blight on the Constitution divided, Yasmine El Rashidi on Etel Adnan’s maximal life, poems by Nick Laird and Erica McAlpine, and much more.

Trevor Jackson
The Price of Crypto

Despite its boosters’ frequent references to democracy and freedom, cryptocurrency reflects a radical marketization of politics in which major players can rewrite the rules as needed.

Laura Kolbe
‘Autopsies of Many Kinds’

Siddhartha Mukherjee’s beautifully written book about cell biology grows hazy when it comes to who or what ought to set the priorities of biomedical research.

Erin Maglaque
Unwanted Thoughts

Robin Vose’s new history of the Index of Prohibited Books shows how Catholic censorship was, despite its totalizing ambitions, often incoherent and contradictory.

John Washington
Journey to the North

Javier Zamora’s retelling of the almost lethal three-thousand-mile journey he made from El Salvador to the US as a child gives the experience of migration extraordinary immediacy.

Talking to the Sun in Washington Square

a poem by Nick Laird

Looking after children means
simultaneously building a field hospital,
a hedge school, a diner, and an
open-air prison with my bare hands
and operating them at a continual loss.
In this instant they are playing…

More to read at

David Quammen
What Is Wildness?

Wildness, a name we give to living nature, is intangible, maybe even ineffable, but it’s not imaginary—it’s biological.



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