Friday December 4th, 2009

The Beat

A weekly roundup of noteworthy reviews from other sources.

schenkarLeonard Cassuto says that “In Joan Schenkar, [Patricia] Highsmith has found a biographer who does meaningful justice to both her powerful work and her uncomfortable existence.” . . . Mark Mazower’s new book, No Enchanted Palace, examines the “ideological origins of the UN.” . . . Barbara Ehrenreich’s latest explores the ideological origins (and pernicious effects) of “the mass delusion that is positive thinking.” . . . John G. Rodwan, Jr., is not impressed by Michael Chabon’s thoughts about fatherhood. (“He acknowledges that he offers ‘depressingly trite’ statements and ‘tiresome, empty’ observations. He fails to take the next step of refraining from making them.”) . . . George Scialabba reviews a new history of Communism by “a splendid storyteller with a fascinating tale to tell.”