There are some writers—a handful, a very few—who by looking intently and penetratingly at one place reveal piercing things about all places and all people, and so paradoxically they are the very antithesis of regional writers. Among them: Faulkner on Mississippi, Walker Percy on Louisiana, Steinbeck on California—and Alice McDermott on Irish Catholic New York.
This is a slightly longer version of the tribute Trillin wrote to his wife that appeared in the New Yorker (March 27, 2006). It is a wonderfully written love story about their romance and married life of 36 years and Alice’s 25-year bout with lung cancer (which she may have gotten from secondhand smoke).
To reimagine Christian ethics, Samuel Wells draws on the liturgy as his chief resource. That he does so in accessible prose without pausing to wrangle with other ethicists is welcome enough—all pastors and many laypeople could read this book profitably.
Alan Wolfe has previously written about the capacity of the American people to correct political imbalances and sustain consensus on many issues (One Nation, After All, 1998). In Does American Democracy Still Work? Wolfe does not express such optimism. He is worried that American democracy is in trouble.