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Rolling Along

The beauty, eccentricity, and precariousness of life on the river side of the New Orleans levees.

They Called Us River Rats: The Last Batture Settlement of New Orleans

by Macon Fry


The Escape Artist

Richard Zenith takes a panoramic approach to Fernando Pessoa’s biography, setting the writer’s orderly, insular way of life against the riotous backdrop of the early twentieth century.

Pessoa: A Biography

by Richard Zenith


The Uses of Portraiture

As three exhibitions show, portraiture can be an argument, a celebration of surfaces, an occasion to play with historical tropes, or a form of resistance on behalf of the normally unpictured.

The Medici: Portraits and Politics, 1512–1570

an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, June 26–October 11, 2021

Alice Neel: People Come First

an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, March 22–August 1, 2021

The Political Portrait: Leadership, Image and Power

edited by Luciano Cheles and Alessandro Giacone

The Obama Portraits

by Taína Caragol, Dorothy Moss, Richard J. Powell, and Kim Sajet

The Obama Portraits Tour

an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum


The Lie of Nation Building

From the very beginning, the problem with the US involvement in Afghanistan lay essentially in the deficits in American democracy.

The Afghanistan Papers: A Secret History of the War

by Craig Whitlock

The American War in Afghanistan: A History

by Carter Malkasian


Magic Mountains

The first English translation of Adalbert Stifter’s short story collection Motley Stones brings us into contact with his transporting and ineffable mystery.

Motley Stones

by Adalbert Stifter, translated from the German by Isabel Fargo Cole


From the Local to the Global

Something seemingly small and insignificant—a provincial family, a signed slip of paper—can open up onto much wider worlds.

An Infinite History: The Story of a Family in France Over Three Centuries

by Emma Rothschild

The Promise and Peril of Credit: What a Forgotten Legend About Jews and Finance Tells Us About the Making of European Commercial Society

by Francesca Trivellato


‘Such a Lovely Turmoil’

Albert Pinkham Ryder was described as the American Van Gogh; Jackson Pollock called him “the only American master who interests me.” Why has his reputation waned?

A Wild Note of Longing: Albert Pinkham Ryder and a Century of American Art

an exhibition at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, New Bedford, Massachusetts, June 24–October 31, 2021


Dickens’s Multitudes

Two new books examine the novelist who produced some of the greatest multivoiced fiction in all of English literature.

The Artful Dickens: Tricks and Ploys of the Great Novelist

by John Mullan

The Mystery of Charles Dickens

by A.N. Wilson


The Glories of Aksum

Recent studies of medieval Ethiopia are a timely reminder of a Christianity wider than Europe.

Medieval Ethiopian Kingship, Craft, and Diplomacy with Latin Europe

by Verena Krebs

A Companion to Medieval Ethiopia and Eritrea

edited by Samantha Kelly

A Contextual Reading of Ethiopian Crosses Through Form and Ritual: Kaleidoscopes of Meaning

by Maria Evangelatou


Our Silent Partners

Merlin Sheldrake explores how fungi challenge our understanding of nonhuman intelligence and complicate the boundaries between one organism and another.

Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds and Shape Our Futures

by Merlin Sheldrake


On the Road

The Book of Travels, Hanna Diyab’s memoir of his Mediterranean adventures, is a mixture of clear-eyed observation and wide-eyed innocence.

The Book of Travels

by Ḥannā Diyāb, edited by Johannes Stephan, translated from the Arabic by Elias Muhanna, and with a foreword by Yasmine Seale and an afterword by Paolo Lemos Horta


Where Sheep May Safely Graze

A cri de coeur against our current state of abject agricultural illiteracy, James Rebanks’s new book may be the most passionate ecological corrective since Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.

The Shepherd’s Life: Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape

by James Rebanks

Pastoral Song: A Farmer’s Journey

by James Rebanks


Mogul of Mystery

Robert Maxwell’s improbable transformation from yeshiva boy to British media baron and outrageous swindler.

Fall: The Mysterious Life and Death of Robert Maxwell, Britain’s Most Notorious Media Baron

by John Preston


Enemies of Progress

France’s obsession with retaining influence over its former West African colonies has led to brutal dictatorships in Burkina Faso and Chad.

Thomas Sankara: A Revolutionary in Cold War Africa

by Brian J. Peterson

France’s Wars in Chad: Military Intervention and Decolonization in Africa

by Nathaniel K. Powell

Living by the Gun in Chad: Combatants, Impunity and State Formation

by Marielle Debos, translated from the French by Andrew Brown

The Trial of Hissène Habré: How the People of Chad Brought a Tyrant to Justice

by Celeste Hicks


New York After Cuomo

He was a master centrist and brilliant consolidator of his own power. Who will control the state now that he’s gone?

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