Charles Manson, the CIA, and a Very Different Side of Helter Skelter

Book review: Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties, by Tom O'Neill with Dan Piepenbring So many years later, Manson’s name still served as a kind of shorthand for a very American form of brutal violence, the kind that erupts seemingly from nowhere and confirms the nation’s darkest fears about... Continue Reading →

New Release Mini-Review Hodgepodge

What the title says! I've been trying to think of themes or ways to combine reviews because I have such a backlog and I finally just gave up. These have nothing in common except they're being released this week or next. Let's talk about them! Carry: A Memoir of Survival on Stolen Land, by Toni... Continue Reading →

What Pianos Mean to Siberia, And More

Book review: The Lost Pianos of Siberia, by Sophy Roberts (Amazon) There is no dramatic curtain-raiser to the edge of Siberia, no meaningful brink to a specific place, just thick weather hanging over an abstract idea. It is a modern economic miracle, with natural oil and gas reserves driving powerful shifts in the geopolitics of... Continue Reading →

Zadie Smith Reflects on the Pandemic

Book review: Intimations, by Zadie Smith I'm not sure how I feel about the inevitable barrage of lockdown/pandemic essays. I've managed to successfully avoid them anywhere I've seen them in online reading, but one of the first books of personal essays written during and about the lockdown comes to us from Zadie Smith, which presented... Continue Reading →

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