The Saturday Essay

From Review

From Leisure & Arts

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    Much Ado About (Nearly) Nothing

    A neutrino has less than one-millionth the mass of an electron: Every second, billions zip through space—and even your own body. John Gribbin reviews "The Perfect Wave" by Heinrich Päs.

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    Good Friends in High Places

    The big banks have become virtual wards of the government—and profitably so. There is a long history of such collaboration. George Melloan reviews "All the Presidents' Bankers" by Nomi Prins.

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    When Deadlines Came Alive

    The first newspapers were timid and fearful of censors. Pamphlets were freer to report the news and offer an opinionated perspective. Jeffrey Collins reviews "The Invention of News" by Andrew Pettegree.

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    What Country, Friends, Is This?

    Shakespeare has long been an American obsession—from the constant antebellum productions of 'Othello' to LBJ played as Macbeth and Schwarzenegger's Hamlet. Lee Sandlin reviews "Shakespeare in America," edited by James Shapiro.

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    Look, I Came Here for an Argument

    Would you call Monty Python 'revolutionary'? 'Uniquely highbrow'? Well, they certainly were funny. Christopher Bray reviews "Everything I Ever Needed to Know About . . . I Learned From Monty Python," by Brian Cogan and Jeff Massey.

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    Waking the Dragon

    Rutherford called an atom's nucleus a 'gnat in Albert Hall.' Others called it the fly in the cathedral. Learning to harness the power within that tiny core would change the world. Gino Segrè reviews Craig Nelson's "The Age of Radiance."

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    Leviathan on the March

    War is bad for people, who starve, suffer and die. But war is good for states, which grow ever more powerful. Felipe Fernández-Armesto reviews Ian Morris's "War! What Is It Good For?"

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    Duke Bedeviled

    Revisiting the toxic controversy surrounding Duke's lacrosse team—and examining the wayward culture on college campuses today. David M. Shribman reviews "The Price of Silence" by William D. Cohan.

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    Still Life With Empire

    Embassy visits, Sunday lunches, forbidden trysts during the golden age
    of American power. Edward Kosner reviews Ward Just's "American Romantic."

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    Too Big to Jail

    After the last financial crisis, big banks paid fines rather than facing prosecution. Matt Welch reviews "The Divide" by Matt Taibbi.

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    How Civil Rights Won the Day

    Johnson championed a bill even stronger than the one Kennedy had proposed. James T. Patterson reviews "The Bill of the Century" by Clay Risen and "An Idea Whose Time Has Come" by Todd S. Purdum.

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    Fiction Chronicle: Of Sheep and Cows

    Sam Sacks reviews Evie Wyld's "All the Birds, Singing," Akhil Sharma's "Family Life," Vladimir Lorchenkov's "The Good Life Elsewhere" and Lydia Davis's story collection "Can't and Won't."

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    San Fran on the Veld

    As a boy, Mark Gevisser was fascinated by the blank spaces on maps that separated his Jewish family's home from the 'locations' where their black servants lived. Rian Malan reviews "Lost and Found in Johannesburg" by Mark Gevisser.

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    Lighting Out

    With his house and his marriage falling apart, Kit Noonan sets out to locate his biological father. Joanne Kaufman reviews "And the Dark Sacred Night" by Julia Glass.

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    Bright and Beautiful, Great and Small

    Meghan Cox Gurdon reviews new children's books, including Matthias Picard's "Jim Curious" and "The Day I Lost My Superpowers" by Michaël Escoffier and Kris Di Giacomo.

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    In the Company of Incredibles

    Research for 'Ratatouille' meant two weeks eating Paris and traipsing

    through the sewer system. Stewart Pinkerton reviews "Creativity, Inc." by Ed Catmull.

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    Once Lost, Now Found

    Seafaring Scandinavians would use birds to gauge the distance from ship to shore. Now we have GPS. Daniel Akst reviews "You Are Here" by Hiawatha Bray.

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    Stops That Never Started

    The Second Avenue subway was first proposed in 1929. It will begin operation—perhaps—in 2016. Julia Vitullo-Martin reviews Joseph B. Raskin's "The Routes Not Taken."

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    Mysteries Chronicle: Dead Poets

    Tom Nolan reviews Zachary Lazar's "I Pity the Poor Immigrant," Henry Chang's "Death Money" and Marco Malvaldi's "Game for Five."

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    Uncle Sam's Favorite Tipple

    Distillers are using centrifuges to sort the pleasing tastes in bourbon from the unpleasing. Wayne Curtis reviews "Bourbon" by Dane Huckelbridge.

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    The Hillbilly Hammerstein

    Hank Williams has been cast by turns as a lovesick martyr, family man, slick songwriter and proto-rocker. Barry Mazor reviews "The Hank Williams Reader."

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    Mastering the Art of Cooking—and Eating

    One man reports from the trenches behind the stove; another savors a bottle of 1949 Clos des Lambrays. Moira Hodgson reviews "Sous Chef" by Michael Gibney and "My Usual Table" by Colman Andrews.

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    No Place Like Home Water

    Visiting a Labrador salmon cabin and swinging flies for steelhead trout with the master of piscatory prose. David Profumo reviews John Gierach's "All Fishermen Are Liars."

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    Punk Rock for Kids

    Imagine the Doors by way of Lewis Carroll: Rock swagger and nonsense verse and live shows and PB&J-consuming audiences. Sonny Bunch reviews "Wonderkid" a novel by Wesley Stace.

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    The Closest of Triple Crowns

    Affirmed beat Alydar by 11/2 lengths in the Derby, by a neck in the Preakness and by a head in the Belmont. Maryjean Wall reviews "Duel for the Crown" by Linda Carroll and David Rosner.

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    The Only Grown-Up in Hollywood

    She was America's biggest star. Then she turned 12—and got on with her life. Jeanine Basinger reviews John F. Kasson's "The Little Girl Who Fought the Great Depression."

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    A Face for Theater

    In his autobiography, Derek Jacobi piles on self-loathing agonies like a Cyrano de Bergerac—one of his more memorable roles. John Heilpern reviews "As Luck Would Have It."

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    Driven to Tears

    You don't need a degree in creative writing to be brought to tears by verse. Barton Swaim reviews "Poems That Make Grown Men Cry" edited by Anthony and Ben Holden.

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    Five Best: Dorothy Gallagher

    The author of "Lillian Hellman: An Imperious Life" recommends books on postwar Europe.

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    With Allies Like These

    Pakistan's intelligence agency hid and protected Osama bin Laden. The chief of the army even knew of the cover up. Some ally. Sadanand Dhume reviews "The Wrong Enemy" by Carlotta Gall.

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    From Prudent to Profligate

    There was once a tradition of limiting the uses of public debt and worrying about the burden it placed on future generations. No more. Edward Chancellor reviews "America's Fiscal Constitution" by Bill White.

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    The Case of the Phantom Cure

    Hungry for exposure, in 1890 the creator of Sherlock Holmes traveled to Berlin to write about a much-hyped cure for tuberculosis. William Bynum reviews "The Remedy" by Thomas Goetz.

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    Stop Telling Us What to Do

    When a tree fell into a stream in Franklin Township, N.J., it took 12 days and $12,000 for the necessary permits to remove it. Stuart Taylor Jr. reviews "The Rule of Nobody" by Philip K. Howard.

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    The Roots of the Culture War

    Almost all of the 'big idea' books of the 1950s shared the premise that self-fulfillment was the highest moral good. Barton Swaim reviews "The Twilight of the American Enlightenment" by George M. Marsden.

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    The Atrocity Exhibition

    How much cheapening of the Holocaust are we willing to accept in the name of art? Sam Sacks reviews "In Paradise" by Peter Matthiessen.

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    What Made Rabbit Write

    John Updike confessed he "drank up women's tears and spat them out / as 10-point Janson, Roman and ital." Leo Robson on Adam Begley's "Updike" and the collected stories.

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    A King Worthy of the Title

    Faisal, a son of the sharif of Mecca, carried authority whether wearing a kaffiyeh or a Chesterfield coat.Oren Kessler reviews Ali A. Allawi's "Faisal I of Iraq."

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    Interior, Upper West Side

    A lonely housewife's habit of spying on her neighbors turns into something more. Moira Hodgson reviews "Visible City" by Tova Mirvis.

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    The Ungovernable General

    Douglas MacArthur was a brilliant commander but habitually flouted authority—even the president's. Edward M. Coffman reviews "The Most Dangerous Man in America" by Mark Perry.

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    Photo-Op: Spin Class

    A photographic review of "Elegance in an Age of Crisis: Fashions of the 1930s," edited by Patricia Mears and G. Bruce Boyer.

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    Science Fiction: Time and Again

    The latest novel by the author of "The Prestige" tells four intertwined stories, including one set in the Islamic Republic of Great Britain. Tom Shippey reviews Christopher Priest's "The Adjacent."

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    Go Ask Apollo

    Cities in the 8th century B.C. confronted new problems: Should we found a colony? Allow this one man to rule? Brendan Boyle reviews Michael Scott's "Delphi."

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    We're Not in Brooklyn Anymore

    Walter O'Malley not only moved the Dodgers to L.A. but persuaded the Giants' owner to move to San Francisco. Paul Dickson reviews Andy McCue's "Mover and Shaker."

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    The Lost Spirit of the Great Plains

    In the 19th century, the Mandan people were the most prolific farmers on the northern Great Plains. Daniel K. Richter reviews "Encounters at the Heart of the World" by Elizabeth A. Fenn.

  • Subscriber Content Read Preview

    [image]

    Grow Your Own

    Backyard chicken coop thriving? Time to think about getting a steer. Eugenia Bone reviews Max Watman's "Harvest."

Food

Fashion

Travel

Autos

Arts & Entertainment

Sports

Best-Selling Books List

Answers allows you to tap the knowledge of Community members. Answer a question below or ask a question.

Q: What is the best way to cut Medicare and Medicaid costs and provide affordable healthcare to most Americans?

Follow Books News

Top Groups In Books

  • WSJ Editor WSJ Books

    Discuss books, literature and authors with Wall Street Journal reporters and editors.

Partner Center
An Advertising Feature