The Saturday Essay

From Review

From Leisure & Arts

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    Nixon: A President Obsessed

    The president had listening devices everywhere: the Oval Office, the Cabinet Room, the Aspen Lodge at Camp David.

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    A Nation of Eavesdroppers

    After 40 years, many questions gossiped about in the days after Watergate remain unanswered.

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    Photo-Op: Trained Eye

    Photochroms of the mossy greens of Florida's Everglades and the rosy pinks of San Francisco's sunset provided an enticement—and a replacement—for travel during the turn of the 20th century.

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    How Radical Were the Founders?

    Was America's revolution driven by political philosophers or practical men reacting to events?

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    Far From the Fatherland

    The FBI's first counterspy was a German-American draftsman who lured enemies to a bugged office.

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    Shaker Style, Beyond the Chairs

    Rather than remaining aloof from their neighbors, Shakers sold them furniture, candy and seeds.

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    Mysteries: Queen and Pawns

    In "Back Channel," a nervy Cornell coed becomes a crucial go-between for Khrushchev and Kennedy.

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    Fiction Chronicle: Into the Deep End

    An inventive, incantatory style transforms a potboiler plot into a strange and unsettling experience in Yannick Murphy's 'This Is the Water.'

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    Wingsuit Insanity

    Daredevils slash through the sky like flying squirrels at more than 100 miles per hour—sometimes without a parachute.

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    Flickers in the Firmament

    One amateur astronomer adjusted his eyes for nighttime observation by staring into a deep well.

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    Children's Books: Literate Beasts

    There's something circular about children's books that explicitly seek to instill in children a love of books.

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    Five Best: Ken Adelman

    The author of "Reagan at Reykjavik: Forty-Eight Hours That Ended the Cold War" recommends books on and by wanderers.

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    How to Save the Dollar

    You can't have a reliable measurement tool that itself constantly changes in value. A gold standard would fix that.

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    A History of the 'L-Word'

    At liberalism's core lay a distrust of power and a desire to turn away interference from the state. What happened since the 18th century?

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    Chinese Life Beyond Beijing

    China discourages Uighurs from practicing Islam. This year during Ramadan, state media declared that fasting is unhealthy.

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    Move Aside, Minutemen

    As tea was being dumped in Boston Harbor, momentous changes were taking place across the continent, defining America's future.

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    The Literary Theorists Are Wrong

    Professors will tell you Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness' isn't about moral anarchy but Western racism. That doesn't seem right.

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    Inside Intel

    A born leader, an ethereal genius and a tough taskmaster built the most important company on the planet.

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    Where Your Couch Really Comes From

    It's not easy to copyright a furniture design—and somebody will always come along and make it for less.

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    The Conspiracy Theories of the John Birch Society

    Robert Welch and his followers specialized in making wild claims about domestic subversion.

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    Photo-Op: Josef Koudelka

    Caught up in the Prague Spring of 1968, the photographer fought back with the weapon he had: an Exakta Varex camera.

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    The Fever That Gripped Europe

    Two scientists who worked to beat typhus and sabotage the Nazis.

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    Imagining a Future Free of Smartphones

    GlowCaps signal to people when it's time to take their pills. The Ambient Umbrella blinks to forecast rain.

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    Science Fiction: Left Behind

    It's 40 years from the present, and everyone is wired with an implant called Adware that enables them to store their memories.

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    Fiction Chronicle: The Awkward Ages

    A myth-drunk novel about a 6-foot-8 water-polo player who dreams of Greek gods.

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    From Frankie Laine to Kurt Cobain

    An exuberant tour of 60 years of pop music.

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    Bootleg Bonanza

    In the Iowa town that produce Al Capone's favorite hooch, merchants, politicians and even the local monsignor all benefited from the illicit trade.

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    Murder as Fine Art

    A National Gallery curator wonders: What if a Venetian master had captured a crime of passion in one of his famous canvases?

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    Five Best: Molly Antopol

    The author of the story collection "The UnAmericans" recommends works about the Cold War.

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