Books

Books

Tree of Smoke: A Novel

Late in Denis Johnson’s novel, one of his many defeated, aimless characters, Bill Houston, surveys what Johnson elsewhere calls “the cancelled life”:
He’d lived almost twenty-five years, his hardships colored in his own mind as youthful adventures, someday to be followed by a period of intense self-betterment, then accomplishment and ease.

Books in search of an author

"Of making many books there is no end,” says Ecclesiastes. Certainly more books are made than can be read, and many are produced that probably didn’t need to be. But there are some books that yet need to be written. Here are six suggestions:

The Myth of American Diplomacy: National Identity and U.S. Foreign Policy

These are sobering times. I recently attended a faculty meeting hosted by my university’s chief officer for emergency planning.

Opa Nobody

Writing family history is a notoriously fraught enterprise. The reputations of the dead, the memories of the living and the artifacts that threaten both combine to make it a problematic literary task that most writers avoid—or else disguise in fiction.