Sunday, May 31, 2009

Links & Reviews

- Over at Boston1775, John brings some much-needed historical perspective to question of whether life experiences influence Supreme Court justices. And earlier this week, John did some useful historical mythbusting, tracking a conflated quotation back to its roots.

- The $50,000 George Washington Prize, awarded to "the most important new book about America's founding era" went to Annette Gordon-Reed for The Hemingses of Monticello. As Neely Tucker writes in the Washington Post, this means Gordon-Reed has hit a "literary Triple Crown" - the Pulitzer, the National Book Award, and the Washington Prize.

- In the LATimes, Binnie Kirshenbaum both praises and laments the rise of spell-check.

- Cynthia Crossen and Helen Rogan offer up a summer reading list at the WSJ.

- In the Times Argus, a look at a previously unknown Ethan Allen letter set to go on the auction block at Christie's on 24 June (lot description). Estimates are that the missive will sell for as much as $70,000. The letter, written in 1787 to Hector St. John de Crevecoeur, outlines Allen's doubts about the future prospects of the United States unless a stronger government was put in place; Allen writes "Liberty is not, nor will not be by the bulk of the People, distinguished from licentiousness and any Government that allows such freakish liberties to its subjects cannot endure long." The letter has been in a private collection, and the paper suggests that it may have been in France.

- Carlos Ruiz Zafón has an essay in The Times about his book The Angel's Game, a sort of prequel to his The Shadow of the Wind (set to be released in the US in mid-June).


- In the Washington Post, Susan Jacoby's new book, Alger Hiss and the Battle for History, is reviewed by David Greenberg.

- The Last Dickens, by Matthew Pearl, is reviewed by Radika Jones in the NYTimes.

- Colin Tudge's The Link: Uncovering our Earliest Ancestor (about the fossil recently unveiled in NYC) is reviewed by Mike Pitts in the TLS.

- Edmund S. Morgan's new collection, American Heroes, is reviewed by Jonathan Yardley in the WaPo.

- Paradise Found: Nature in America at the Time of Discovery, by Steven Nicholls, is reviewed by Gregory McNamee in the WaPo and by Bill McKibben in the Boston Globe.

- Bernd Heinrich's new Summer World is reviewed by Elizabeth Royte in the NYTimes.

- Woodsburner, a new novel by John Pipkin, is reviewed in the CSM.