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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.

Vladimir Nabokov in Context Edited by David M. Bethea and Siggy Frank (Cambridge University Press, 334 pages, $79.81) The late great Russian-born novelist Vladimir Nabokov amassed a range of critical comments during his 78 years, more than enough to qualify…

Ten years of work, 53 personal interviews, and a lifetime of theater criticism combine to make Gerald Nachman’s new book, “Showstoppers,” a Broadway hit. Fans of musicals will find a wealth of astonishing stories here that they thought they already knew by heart. Indeed, Nachman’s subtitle is fully justified: “The surprising backstage stories of Broadway’s most remarkable songs.”

The Life of Kings: The Baltimore Sun and the Golden Age of the American Newspaper Edited by Frederic B. Hill and Stephens Broening (Rowman & Littlefield, 322 pages, $38) In what may turn out to be a new genre in…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Okay, we all know that the London Olympics were successful and full of great surprises. Good for the winners, bad for the losers. But toward the end, it was getting more and more difficult to concentrate on fractions of seconds…

With the possible exception of the egregious Geraldo Rivera, I cannot think of another television interviewer who has stirred emotions quite the way Mike Wallace did. I knew him slightly, sat for an interview that was never broadcast, and witnessed…

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