Two Infamous Looks at the Jeffrey MacDonald Case

I'm not sure why now, but the Jeffrey MacDonald case is having something of a cultural resurgence. A new Hulu/FX documentary based on legendary documentarian Errol Morris's book A Wilderness of Error just aired, with a podcast, Morally Indefensible, to accompany it. Ok, maybe it's just that one thing which is actually two things, plus... Continue Reading →

Masha Gessen On Our Autocracy

Book review: Surviving Autocracy, by Masha Gessen (Amazon / Book Depository) Journalist and author Masha Gessen lived through the changes of the Soviet Union, including Putin's ascendancy and increasing control over the state media. Gessen’s reported and written extensively about totalitarianism and the relationship of Putin's Russia with the west. In Surviving Autocracy, Gessen turns this... Continue Reading →

Slice-of-Life Stories From A Random Day

Book review: One Day, by Gene Weingarten (Amazon / Book Depository) Select an ordinary day at random, report it deeply, then tell it like it happened -- from midnight to midnight, the most basic, irreducible unit of human experience. Ideally, the more you'd learn, the more firmly you'd establish that in life, there's no such... Continue Reading →

Four Women and their Crime “Obsessions”

Book review: Savage Appetites, by Rachel Monroe (Amazon / Book Depository) For the past few years, as the US murder rate has approached historic lows, stories about murder have become culturally ascendant...whether our tastes tended toward high-end HBO documentaries interrogating the justice system or something more like Investigation Discovery's Swamp Murders. (Or, as was often... Continue Reading →

Three Looks at Female Desire in ‘Three Women’

Book review: Three Women, by Lisa Taddeo (Amazon / Book Depository) Journalist Lisa Taddeo crisscrossed the country interviewing women about desire for eight years, eventually selecting three for deep-diving in Three Women. She moved to two of their towns in order to examine desire and the innermost details of their sex lives from their perspectives.... Continue Reading →

Investigating the Extreme of Psychopathy

Book review: The Psychopath Test, by Jon Ronson (Amazon / Book Depository) Journalist Jon Ronson's "journey through the madness industry" begins with a stressful situation in parallel with a mystery dropped in his lap: First, he's tapped to use his journalistic prowess to trace a book that's been sent to prominent academics around the world... Continue Reading →

The View From Tehran

Book review: I'm Writing You From Tehran, by Delphine Minoui (Amazon / Book Depository) The taxi rolls along gray lines. That's all we can make out in the darkness: gray lines, as far as the eye can see, marking out the road to the airport. Outside, beyond the window, the night devours the last forbidden... Continue Reading →

Hope in Historical Precedence

Book review: Lessons from a Dark Time, by Adam Hochschild Book Depository When times are dark, we need moral ancestors, and I hope the pieces here will be reminders that others have fought and won battles against injustice in the past, including some against racism, anti-immigrant hysteria, and more. The Trumps and Putins of those... Continue Reading →

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