Nonfiction

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The Fight for America’s Classrooms

The Fight for America’s Classrooms

IN 2008, Drew Gilpin Faust, the president of Harvard University, released a remarkable work of American history. This Republic of Suffering assigned new historical significance to the more than 600,00...

Muttnik: Canine Rocketeers in the USSR

Muttnik: Canine Rocketeers in the USSR

THE MISSILE HURTLED to its mark, a wilderness somewhere between the Moon and Moscow. A minute earlier, it had engulfed the Baikonur Cosmodrome in a kerosene inferno. Now the awestruck apparatchiks, th...

Evolution Between the Sofa Cushions

Evolution Between the Sofa Cushions

IMAGINE an insecticide-soaked mattress crawling with bedbugs. You now have a metaphor for the future of our relationship to the living world. In the second half of the 20th century, synthetic pesticid...

When a River Is a World: Twigger on the Nile

When a River Is a World: Twigger on the Nile

WHILE ON A HUNTING EXPEDITION in the Balkans in 1859, British explorer Samuel Baker made a stop — along with his travel companion, a maharaja from India — at a slave market town in what is now Bul...

How the Humanities Will Save the World

How the Humanities Will Save the World

AT A DINNER GATHERING not long ago, some friends and colleagues were discussing ways to tackle intractable social problems: entrenched inequality, persistant discrimination, nihilistic extremists, cul...

The Gospel of Paul

The Gospel of Paul

IOWA CITY — set amid low hills of genetically engineered commercial crop an hour west of the Mississippi, bisected by the Iowa River, afflicted by floods, tornados, downpours of seemingly tropical ...

The Era of the Geographically Confused

The Era of the Geographically Confused

MY LIFE IS FUNDAMENTALLY ABSURD: this is a line that engraved itself on my mind after reading Jane Jeong Trenka’s 2005 memoir, The Language of Blood, some years ago. The book documents Trenka’s ex...

A Secondary Art: The Letters of Malcolm Cowley

A Secondary Art: The Letters of Malcolm Cowley

The following is a feature article from the newly released LARB Quarterly Journal: Spring 2014 edition. To pick up your copy of the Journal, become a member of the Los Angeles Review of Books at the $...

Varieties of Hatred

Varieties of Hatred

WHY DID THE Nazis kill the Jews? Nearly 70 years since the end of World War II, the causes and meaning of the Holocaust remain as high on historians’ agendas as ever. Over the years, a wide range o...

The Longing of the Collector

The Longing of the Collector

I TOUCH DOWN at Heathrow. Within the hour, I’m on a train. It’s hot and humid, and I’m hungry, so I buy a pastry from the train trolley. It’s so stale that it has sweated onto the plastic wrap...

Into the Wardrobe

Into the Wardrobe

IN THE J. Peterman catalog, launched in the late 1980s, fragments of whimsical fiction accompany breezy watercolor illustrations of every offering. For instance, “It’s early fall, just after dusk,...

The Lost and the Found

The Lost and the Found

IN THE FIRST chapter of Will Boast’s haunting memoir, Epilogue, we learn about his father’s death on a Wisconsin interstate from a ruptured ulcer that most likely had been killing him for days. D...