Featured ArticleNew York Review of Books. Gordon situates his considered argument against the backdrop of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum issuing a blanket statement, refusing historical comparison to the Holocaust in response to Alexandra Ocasio Cortez calling the detention camps on the U.S. boarder “concentration camps” last year. — Samantha Hill
Anya Schiffrin writes about how Varian Fry helped a number of German intellectuals, Jews, and leftists emigrate from Germany. Fry co-founded the Emergency Rescue Committee, which later became the International Rescue Committee. Among those Fry helped save include Hannah Arendt, Marc Chagall, and Victor Serge.
On the eve of the Hannah Arendt Center’s Conference Racism and Antisemitism, it is worth thinking about Malcolm Gladwell’s new book Talking To Strangers. Gladwell seeks to understand what happened to Sandra Bland that led to her hanging in a Texas prison. It is known that Bland was pulled over in the Prairie View, Texas by officer Brian Encinia.
Judith Butler reviewed Bari Weiss’s new book How to Fight Anti-Semitism for Jewish Currents. Butler’s book review is notable for a couple of reasons and worth reading whether one finds oneself politically closer to Butler or Weiss. The primary reason being: It’s rare to read a real book review these days that systematically works through the arguments in a text. Butler, a pro-BDS supporter, argues that Weiss lacks an historical understanding of antisemitism.
In the years leading up to the Civil War, there were more than seventy violent clashes between Representatives and Senators in Congress. In her book Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and Road to Civil War Joanna Freeman tells a story of a raucous antebellum Congress replete with bullying, dueling, and fistfights.1 Even amidst the bitter animosity that pervades Washington, D.C., in the era of President Donald Trump, it takes some effort to imagine our elected officials...
When Hannah Arendt arrived at the German Literature Archive in Marbach Germany in June 1975 to organize Karl Jasper’s papers, she stood up in the cafeteria and began reciting Friedrich Schiller by heart. She was fond of “Das Mädchen aus der Fremde”, but this is pure speculation. As Arendt said to Günter Gaus in her last interview, she carried German poems around in her hinterkopf. I’d wager she knew more than one.
As World War II came to an end, the German philosopher Karl Jaspers republished a revised edition of his 1923 book The Idea of the University. Jaspers saw universities as essential to the maintenance of a vibrant democracy. He was worried that the universities in Germany had become overly specialized and technical and that they had lost their true calling as institutions dedicated to communication and truth.
George Packer has a long and thoughtful essay about culture wars, meritocracy, and our children. The structure of the essay follows Packer and his wife as they navigate the New York City public and private schools. They pull their son out of an expensive private school to send him to a public school that is 38% white, 29% black, 24% Latino, and 7% Asian, closely representative of the city’s population. But the school is less academically rich than the private school...