Culture Wars/Current Controversies

The Rich Play Keep Away

Sponsored by MIT Press

Daniel Immerwahr
Zoning Out

A recent book contends that the global economy has a new geography of special zones, islands, and enclaves that benefit the world’s wealthiest residents.

Seth Anziska
‘Let Us Not Hurry to Our Doom’

The first Lebanon War helped lay the groundwork for Israel’s escalations of violence in Gaza. Who will heed its warnings?

Johannes von Moltke
Embracing Anonymity

The critic and novelist Siegfried Kracauer returned repeatedly to anonymity as a theme in his work, and a new biography insists on his desire for anonymity in his life as well.

Miranda Seymour
As Pluck Would Have It

Antonia Fraser’s new biography of the hectically adulterous Lady Caroline Lamb celebrates her as a woman who resisted convention.

Martin Filler
Before the Wrecking Ball Swung

A new volume of photographs taken for the Historic American Buildings Survey captures the program’s wide influence on architectural culture.

Free from the Archives

On 18 Brumaire, Year VIII, or November 9, 1799—224 years ago today—Napoleon Bonaparte helped launch the coup that overthrew the Directory then governing revolutionary France. The next day he was appointed First Consul and would rule the French Republic, the subsequent French Empire, and much of Europe on and off for the next sixteen years.

In the Review’s April 4, 2019, issue, Ferdinand Mount surveyed several biographies of Napoleon, as well as an exhibition of contemporaneous imperial art, and found a man with “a taste for the sentimental as well as the brutal” who had “a lack of any real purpose beyond gaining and retaining power.”

Ferdinand Mount
An Ordinary Man

“Presentation was crucial to Napoleon’s long-lasting success. The stream of bulletins and orders of the day that he issued formed a running narrative, unquenchably bullish and boastful, shamelessly exaggerating the enemy’s losses and minimizing his own. These bulletins are intrinsic to the Napoleonic legend and frequently republished by enthusiasts who seem blithely indifferent to their mendacity.”



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