Essays

Essays

Jan 22nd 2015

I remember that a friend of mine in California sent me a heads-up on the 17th of December saying that the USA and Cuba were about to free some of their prisoners in a gesture of better times to come. But as everyone now knows, it wasn't just a mere prisoner exchange.

Jan 22nd 2015

For those who enjoy debunking the reputations of national heroes, there can be few softer targets than Winston Churchill. The phrase “flawed hero” could almost have been invented to characterise his long, wilfully erratic career.
Jan 17th 2015

The American philosopher Richard Rorty once wrote that academe's obsession with theory creates a 'shibboleth' in the university system, sheltering and confining its debates and polemics from the public sphere.

Jan 15th 2015
This year the UK’s biggest poetry award, the TS Eliot prize, has gone to David Harsent for his 11th collection, Fire Songs.
Jan 7th 2015

Pulitzer Prize winning author Lawrence Wright has just published a thrilling, compulsively readable account of the 1978 Camp David accords titled Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin and Sadat at Camp David.  

Jan 7th 2015
Marcus Aurelius (121-180CE) was emperor of Rome at the height of its influence and power. One can only imagine the pressures that a person in his position might have experienced. The military might of the empire was massive, and much could happen in the fog of war.
Jan 5th 2015

Periodically we hear the anguished voices of sensitive aesthetes lamenting the deplorable and degraded state of contemporary art.

Jan 1st 2015

As the end of the year approaches, we reflect on the past year and make resolutions for the one ahead, celebrating the transition between old and new.

Dec 31st 2014

What do James Taylor and The Beatles have in common with the Head of the National Institute of Health?

Dec 30th 2014

Our poor old world lurches from crisis to crisis:

Ebola.  Ferguson. Syria. ISIS.

So New Year’s most welcome.  Let’s start again

With peace on earth and goodwill toward men.

Dec 26th 2014
I am a member of the Lotos Club in Manhattan, a literary club celebrated for having Mark Twain as its most famous member. Apparently, he had spent many happy hours with fellow members there in his declining years.
Dec 24th 2014

Do we need religion in order to be moral?
Dec 22nd 2014

Rudy Giuliani is blaming President Obama for the murder of two NYPD officers.

Dec 21st 2014

The holiday season is always a good time to take stock of the year just past and see what we might anticipate in the 12 months to come. In the case of Pope Francis, it is fair to say that a great deal went well.

Dec 20th 2014

The day went something like a Keystone Kops comedy from the silent movie era.

Dec 18th 2014

Pope Francis has opened the Pearly Gates to Blue Heelers.

Dec 18th 2014

William Shatner is daring to go where no author has gone before. 

The original Star Trek captain is using modern technology—Kickstarter—to fund a campaign to publish and market a new book.

Dec 16th 2014

There is a growing crisis haunting the Catholic Church. And it is a crisis larger than the events that have so greatly afflicted the American Catholic Church. The pedophilia scandals are a horrifying element of this crisis. So, too, are the bishops who covered up and excused these outrages.

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