Knocking at the gates by Clayton Trutor | The New Criterion

In 410 ad, Alaric I, King of the Visigoths, breached Rome’s walls, likely with the aid of collaborators, and led an army of thousands into the city. Alaric’s sack of Rome was the culmination of a decade’s worth of campaigns against an increasingly unstable western imperial state, which had grown incapable of controlling its hinterlands [...]

On Crazyism, Jerkitude, Garden Snails and Other Philosophical Puzzles – Scientific American

Horgan: Why do you write fiction? Doesn't that mean philosophy isn't really that fulfilling for you? Schwitzgebel: Wait, writing fiction can’t be a way of doing philosophy? Sartre, Rousseau, Zhuangzi, Voltaire, Nietzsche and Borges might disagree! Is anyone currently doing better work on the ethics of technology than the TV series Black Mirror? For instance, [...]

Book Review: To Rule the Waves by Arthur Herman

Book review of Arthur Herman's To Rule the Waves, a narrative history of the rise of British Naval Power from the 15th to the 20th Century. To Rule the Waves tells the extraordinary story of how the British Royal Navy allowed one nation to rise to a level of power unprecedented in history. From the [...]

We may not be able to leave the house, but these transporting books whisk us to Central Asia – The Washington Post

“Discovering Cyrus,” “The Road to Oxiana,” “The Nature of Alexander” and more. — Read on http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/we-may-not-be-able-to-leave-the-house-but-these-transporting-books-whisk-us-to-central-asia/2020/05/20/722d2dc8-9944-11ea-89fd-28fb313d1886_story.html

The Great Elmore Leonard Renaissance of the Late ’90s | CrimeReads

During his reign as the preeminent king of American crime lit, the late Elmore Leonard was often described as “the most cinematic novelist in the English language.” It was a designation he seemed to encourage, once remarking “I’ve always seen my books as movies.” To be fair, the cinematic track record of Leonard adaptations is [...]

Roberto Calasso – Wikipedia

Roberto Calasso (born 30 May 1941 in Florence) is an Italian writer and publisher. Apart from his mother tongue, Calasso is fluent in French, English, Spanish, German, Latin and ancient Greek. He has also studied Sanskrit. He has been called "a literary institution of one". The fundamental thematic concept of his oeuvre is the relationship [...]

A Writer Pursues His Subjects as a Hunter Stalks His Prey – The New York Times

Calasso is especially good at describing the characters of myth and legend with a novelist’s omniscient authority — and the occasional zinger. “For 16 generations Zeus had intercourse with women from earth,” he writes, and “had always been attracted to the women of the house of Argus.” (Even the king of the gods, it seems, [...]

The Best History Books of 2020 | Five Books Expert Recommendations

If you're looking for the best history books published this past year, the annual Wolfson History Prize is a great place to start. Each year, the judges pick out outstanding books that are both originally researched and readable. Historian and Wolfson judge Richard Evans talks us through the six history books that made the 2020 [...]