Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson spent 17 years at McGraw-Hill, including six years as a news executive in New York. He now writes from Bordeaux in France.

Russia’s Macho Leader Exposed

 

Vovochka: The True Confessions of Vladimir Putin’s Best Friend and Confidant By Alexander J. Motyl (Anaphora Press, 15O pages. $20) This book is long overdue — a sendup of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the macho horseman and judo master so often photographed with rippling pecs. The reality, says this comic novel, is quite the opposite. […]

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The Cold War in Retrospect: How Historians Still Get It Wrong

 

Myths of the Cold War: Amending Historiographic DistortionsBy Albert L. Weeks(Lexington Books, 154 pages, $76) Are Western historians going soft on the Cold War that the Russians waged against the West for 45 years? A new look at trends in this gray area of history indicates that many writers and younger generations now contend the […]

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Talk of the Town

 

One of the biggest events in Robert Mankoff’s life was the day Nancy Pelosi stole a caption from his cartoon and used it without attribution. But Mankoff, editor of the New Yorker cartoon desk, was over the moon when it happened to him. “It’s my most famous one,” he trumpets on the opening page of […]

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Talk of the Town

 

One of the biggest events in Robert Mankoff’s life was the day Nancy Pelosi stole a caption from his cartoon and used it without attribution. But Mankoff, editor of the New Yorker cartoon desk, was over the moon when it happened to him. “It’s my most famous one,” he trumpets on the opening page of […]

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A New Russia Roadmap

 

To the casual observer, the past three years in Russia have been particularly mystifying — bold protest marches, campaigns calling the Duma majority “crooks and thieves,” the imprisonment of some, but not all, leading dissidents, and gulag time for the outrageous Pussy Riot girls. Russia’s own Islamic jihadists even threatened to blow up Sochi during […]

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Delinking From LinkedIn

 

As the NSA phone records scandal recedes in the public consciousness, private marketers are quietly invading our computer systems in their own intrusive ways, enabled by a sea of floating data around social networks and related sites. Taken together, privacy in America has never been more in play. Now a backlash is brewing. Companies such […]

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Ketchum If You Can

 

Vladimir Putin’s first foray into the American op-ed world has produced far more heat than light since its publication Sept. 12. The 1100-word screed under Putin’s byline was a masterpiece of chutzpah, portraying the Russia president as a God-fearing protector of democracy and stalwart supporter of the United Nations, especially the Security Council where Russia […]

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Competing at The Cliburn

 

The first edition of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition since the founder’s recent death is well under way as 30 preselected young pianists prepare for two weeks of playoffs beginning May 24 in Fort Worth, Texas. Piano and music blogs are uneasy over this upcoming new edition. The new President and CEO of the […]

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They’ve Got Mail

 

Distant Intimacy: A Friendship in the Age of the Internet,Frederic Raphael, Joseph Epstein (Yale University Press, 335 pages, $30) Eavesdropping on other people’s e-mails — if truth be told — can be one of life’s guilty pleasures, so it was with some eagerness that I plunged into a book-length collection of confidences between two masters of […]

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Nailing French Jell-O to the Wall

 

An American Spectator in Paris by Joseph A. Harriss (Unlimited Publishing, 328 pages, $17.99) Some professor once said we should show humility when trying to describe national cultures, they are so complex. I hate that idea. What’s most amusing about living among the French is that they beg to be characterized. They never stop analyzing […]

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