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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.
by | Mar 12, 2012

“I am shocked, shocked to find that gambling in going on in here,” says Captain Renault in the film Casablanca as he collects his winnings and shuts down Rick’s Café. That famous line — now a common metaphor for hypocrisy…

by | Mar 7, 2012

Honor in the Dust: Theodore Roosevelt, War in the Philippines, and the Rise and Fall of America’s Imperial DreamBy Gregg Jones(New American Library, 430 pages, $26.95) The story of the Spanish-American War has its roots in Guantanamo Bay, in scandalous…

by | Jan 19, 2012

The Founding Fathers vs. The People: Paradoxes in American DemocracyBy Anthony King (Harvard University Press, 242 pages, $35) Some of the more cherished American articles of faith take a real beating in a new critique of U.S. institutions by a…

by | Dec 12, 2011

George F. Kennan: An American Life By John Lewis Gaddis (Penguin Press, 784 pages, $39.95) One of the more poignant moments in the massive new biography of George F. Kennan describes him leaving the State Department in Washington for good….

by | Nov 1, 2011

America has been marathon-mad for decades but after you have run a few of them they begin to seem a bit ho-hum. At least for me. There are currently hundreds of active marathons in U.S. cities, with more than a…

by | Oct 20, 2011

On Evil By Terry Eagleton (Yale University Press, 176 pages, $16) “The devil seems to have all the best tunes,” says Terry Eagleton, paraphrasing a frustrated London pastor from 1844. No surprise here, Eagleton explains. To fend off the Evil…

by | Oct 10, 2011

As our youngsters continue to be outscored by Asians and Europeans in basic subjects like math and reading, some middle school teachers are resorting to a seemingly desperate measure — allowing chewing gum in the classroom as a performance enhancer….

by | Oct 3, 2011

I have no idea how Barack Obama got my email address but a few weeks ago there it was in my inbox — a message from the President. I decided to break my lifelong rule of zapping all emails from…

by | Aug 24, 2011

A wise man once said, “Show me a man who is married to a beautiful woman, and I’ll show you a man who’s tired of sleeping with her.” When I heard this, I finally understood the Dominique Strauss Kahn (DSK)…

by | Jul 18, 2011

The Jew Who Was Ukrainian: How One Man’s Rip-Roaring Romp Through an Existential Wasteland Ended in a Bungled Attempt to Bump off the Exceptionally Great Leader of Mother Russia By Alexander Motyl(Cervena Barba Press, 186 pages, $16) Alexander Motyl was…

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