Tag Archives: princeton university press

Ethics In The Real World


Ethics In The Real World
82 Brief Essay on Things That Matter
By Peter Singer
Princeton University Press – £19.95

No man is liberated from fear who dare not see his place in the world as it is; no man can achieve the greatness of which he is capable until has has allowed himself to see his own littleness.

Such humble thinking wouldn’t go a miss in the White House right now, not to mention the Turkish Parliament and an array of other so called high places of high-octane power.

It does after all seem that when certain movers and shakers, hipsters and shirkers – be they politicians, financial investors or perhaps worse, City mortgage advisers – reach the penultimate threshold of no longer having to worry about the next pay cheque, they automatically feel compelled to relinquish all and every shred of decency they may have once had.

A quality which may well perhaps, (partially) explain why they are the people they invariably are: usually highly motivated and focused, yet simultaneously dull and exceedingly unpleasant.

In a round-a-bout kind of way, this (partially) accounts for Ethics In The Real World – 82 Brief Essay on Things That Matter being the book it is: real and inspired, provocative, yet relentlessly well thought through and honestly considered. Qualities which ought hardly be surprising, as Peter Singer has often been described as the world’s most influential philosopher, which these 330 pages (excluding Introduction, Acknowledgements and Index) do much to clarify.

One can literally open any page of this most wonderful book, and be wholeheartedly reached by way of unarguable truth – with even the very idea of philosophy itself, already being scrutinized in the book’s Introduction: ”There is a view in some philosophical circles that anything that can be understood by people who have not studied philosophy is not profound enough to be worth saying. To the contrary, I suspect that whatever cannot be said clearly is probably not being thought clearly either.”

And the shedding of light on philosophy doesn’t end there.

The chapter ‘Philosophy On Top,’ actually concludes with the optimistic note: ”More surprising, and possibly even more significant than the benefits of doing philosophy for general reasoning abilities, is the way in which taking a philosophy course can change a person’s life. I know from my own experience that taking a course in philosophy can lead students to turn vegan, pursue careers that enable them to give half their income to effective charities, and even donate a kidney to a stranger. How many other disciplines can say that?”

Indeed, how many other disciplines can say that?

There again, As Singer openly admits: ”Given the practical importance […] as a good utilitarian I ought to aim to write for the broadest possible audience, and not merely for a narrow band of committed utilitarians.”

Broken into eleven prime parts (Big Questions, Animals, Beyond the Ethic of the Sanctity of Life, Bioethics and Public Health, Sex and Gender, Doing Good, Happiness, Politics, Global Governance, Science and Technology, and finally, Living, Playing, Working), these 82 essays traverse all that is fundamentally important in one’s life.

As such, this book ought to be considered as something of a prime humanistic template for (the intrinsic motivation of) one’s everyday behaviour.

David Marx

Germaine de Stael


Germaine de Stael – A Political Portrait
By Biancamaria Fontana
Princeton University Press – £24. 95

          It is a cult, but one yawns in church.

What I particularly like about Germaine de Stael – A Political Portrait, is the fine fact that it addresses the very nitty-gritty, head-on, a mere few pages into what is clearly, a most well-researched thesis. There’s no particular elaboration, no flim-flam nor skirting around the edges of what was a resoundingly feisty and exceedingly independent thinker.

To be sure, some might readily argue that Germaine de Stael’s idiosyncratic independence of mind was a reaction to the fractious events taking place in France at the time. As Richard Bourke, author of Empire and Revolution: The Political Life of Edmund Burke states, this book is ”a captivating portrait of a fascinating figure caught up in the whirlwind of events.”

Quite possibly best known (today) as a novelist and literary critic, lest it be said it was Stael’s political outspokenness that perhaps best captures her all-round milieu within the parameters of the French Revolution.

The banker’s daughter who became one of Europe’s best-connected intellectuals, Stael was an exceptionally talented woman who achieved a degree of public influence to which not even her ”wealth and privilege would normally have entitled her.” Indeed, when the lives of so many around her were destroyed, she succeeded in carving out a unique path for herself, thereby ensuring her views and thoughts were heard – initially by powerful men within her immediate vicinity, and later by the European public at large.

All of which the Professor of the History of Political Ideas at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, Biancamaria Fontana, has instinctively captured. That her previous books include Montaigne’s Politics, Benjamin Constant and the Post-Revolutionary Mind and Rethinking the Politics of Commercial Society, such instinctive writing ought hardly come as a surprise.

Each of Germaine de Stael’s nine chapters (as well as Introduction and Conclusion) are written with a knowledge that nigh borders on the very dissection of the subject’s ideological belief(s).

A most pertinent example of this being Stael’s mode of necessary compassion within the general gambit of revolution, which Fontana captures perfectly in chapter six (‘Condemned to Celebrity’): ”In a revolutionary crisis it is claimed over and over again that compassion is a childish sentiment, opposed to those actions that are necessary to the general interest, and that it must be set aside, with all effeminate emotions, unworthy of men or state or chiefs of parties; it is on the contrary during a revolution that pity must become a rule of conduct. Where justice is well established, one can do without mercy; but a revolution, whatever its aim, suspends social order, and it is then necessary to go back to the source of all laws, in a moment in which legal power means nothing.”

Again, no particular elaboration, no flim-flam nor skirting around the edges of what was a resoundingly feisty and exceedingly independent thinker.

In the words of Ruth Scurr (author of Fatal Purity: Robespierre and the French Revolution): ”An important and original book about a prominent female intellectual who took the measure of the French Revolution in both theoretical and practical terms. Fontana argues convincingly that Stael’s political ideas have been overlooked or underrated in previous treatments of her life and work.”

David Marx

Democracy’s Infrastructure


Democracy’s Infrastructure –
Techno-Politics & Protest after Apartheid
By Anita Von Schnitzler
Princeton University Press – £22.95

By the standards of students of the liberal principles, the southern African plural urban society is in need of a great deal of reform before it could be expected to function well.

                                                                                       J.A. Lombard 1978

Surely this is a most profound understatement of the most profound order?

In 1978, Nelson Mandela was still incarcerated on Robben Island. It was also his sixtieth birthday, which the then British Prime Minister, James Callaghan, acknowledged, by sending him formal greetings from the House of Commons. I should imagine Mandela was beside himself with joy; especially as South African society was, if nothing else, still fundamentally out of control and seemingly beyond repair.

Fast forward to today, and we find ourselves amid a society, still teetering on the brink of breakdown, although said breakdown is supposedly reflective of South African society itself.

As much is coherently brought to bear throughout Democracy’s Infrastructure – Techno-Politics & Protest after Apartheid, by the anthropologist, Anita von Schnitzler. A savvy account of an overtly troubled nation, written from the premise of dare I actually write: that of a semi-apolitical perspective; namely that of the country’s water rights and the introduction of the all governing (it would seem) water meter.

A technological product or policing breakthrough or however you’d like to describe it, which, as von Schnitzler explains, is more clinically Orwellian, than many might initially imagine: ”A prepaid meter is a device, which, apart from measuring networked services such as electricity, gas, or water, automatically disconnects users in cases of nonpayment. In order to access services, users have to purchase and load up credit tokens in advance, either by entering a numerical code or by using a magnetic key or card. Failure to do so results in immediate ”self-disconnection.” While the meter is one of many increasingly sophisticated infrastructure technologies that mediate access to flows of goods, information, and money in many places of the world today, it is also a distinctly South African thing […]. Living prepaid mirrors life in a moment in which income has become precarious, where reliance on a regular monthly wage is the exception rather than the norm. Here, payment for basic services is no longer shaped by the cyclical temporality of regularly recurring monthly salaries and bills; instead, income as well as payment is often incremental and ad hoc.”

By it’s very nature then, living ‘prepaid’ has essentially been introduced and designated to ultimately fail.

And to fail in such a way as to both condone and promote an everyday existence which is undeniably stressful – to say the least.
Or is it?: ”While the threat of cutoff is what makes many residents object to prepaid meters, it is paradoxically also this ability to prevent debts from accumulating that often makes them attractive. Prepaid meters, in this sense, are technologies of precarity that reflect the multiple dilemmas and vicissitudes of life after the ”end of the salary” (Mbembe and Roitman 1996). Thus, they provide a window onto larger shifts in experiences of time, consumption, and life after formal employment.”

As the second part of the book’s title suggests (Techno-Politics & Protest after Apartheid), these six chapters traverse much of what is enabling South Africa to move forward, whilst simultaneously dissecting that which is quintessentially holding it back.

David Marx

Good Neighbours


Good Neighbours –
The Democracy of Everyday Life in America
By Nancy L. Rosenblum
Princeton University Press – £24.95

Once an individual has extended to another enough consideration to hear him out for a moment, some kind of bond of mutual obligation is established… once this new extended bond is granted, grudgingly or willingly, still further claims for social or material indulgence can be made.

(‘Who Is My Neighbour – Proximity’)

Throughout this book, Nancy Rosenblum endeavours to explore how encounters betwixt a menagerie of neighbours might do much to create an everyday semblance of so-called democracy. A political idiom ”which has been with us since the beginning of American history and is expressed in settler, immigrant, and suburban narratives and in novels, poetry, and popular culture.”

Assuming that the rest of the world do not have neighbours, Good Neighbours – The Democracy of Everyday Life in America, is, as its title might suggest, unequivocally anchored within the Union that is North America. This is absolutely fair enough, but because America is, and has been renowned for being quintessentially isolationist for so long, I’d have thought a (new) book that addresses its global neighbours would have been a little more humbling.

If not appropriate, given recent developments in the US.

Reason being, President elect, Donald Trump’s administration will undoubtedly initiate an increasingly inward political posture, that if nothing else, will do much to alienate its (global) neighbours; be they within the close proximity of Mexico and Canada, or further afield, say Europe.

That Trump, and a great many of his supporters want to literally build a wall along America’s entire border with Mexico (and have Mexico ”pay for it”) is a dangerous and degrading example of said alienation.

After all, did the Berlin Wall not teach us anything?

In the seventh chapter ‘Betrayal,’ under the sub-heading ‘World without Walls,’ Rosenblum writes: ”Mistrust suffuses the atmosphere. The sounds we make, people who visit, our children’s friends, our comings and goings, even our jokes, can be insinuating, potential evidence of political disloyalty, or infraction of some rule, just a bad attitude. ”When a guest comes to the apartment it is everyone’s business, a mini-event, a source of gossip and argument. Neighbours may make themselves blind and mute; like residents in violent inner cities, they are ”frozen in place.””

Although ”frozen in pace,” isn’t exactly how I’d describe the so-called neighbourly behaviour of citizens amid America’s ”violent inner cities” since last Tuesday’s (disastrous) election result. Yesterday’s street riots in Portland, Oregon by Democrats, and the pending Klu Klux Klan Rally in North Carolina by Republicans (in celebration of Trump’s victory), being just a couple of examples of the country’s ever increasing division. A division, heart-breakingly brought to bear during Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent flooding of that great American city, New Orleans.

Much to Rosenblum’s credit though, this is more than aptly and honestly addressed in the chapter, ‘Disaster,’ where she writes: ”When survivors and onlookers speak of ”Katrina” they are referring to the storm as a personified agent […] but not just that. Too much hubris, error, indifference, political infighting, and malfeasance were apparent to attribute the disaster to the hurricane alone. Victims, certainly, do not forget officials who disavow responsibility, transfer blame, offer no apology, shield themselves with lawyers – political decisions before and responses afterwards are made by men and women, not brute nature.

Disasters are said to be the great equaliser, but demographics are part of the autopsy of disaster. Politics and social environment are risk factors in every catastrophe, and the victims ”are primarily social outcasts – the elderly, the poor, and the isolated… invisible people.””

No matter how you look at it, this book will, to a certain degree, trigger many a sociological in-depth-debate. A debate that will unquestionably continue to remain resoundingly global – for many, many, years to come.

David Marx

American Jesuits and the World


American Jesuits and the World
By John T. McGreevy
Princeton University Press – £24.95

The United States is the freest country in the world. You believe yourselves free in France and in Belgium; but be assured that you possess but the shadow of the liberty which we enjoy in America. I can establish here as many schools as I can wish, and no one will interfere with them. What is more, I could preach the doctrines of the Catholic religion in the most Protestant town, before an audience composed entirely of Protestants, and I feel sure that I would not suffer a single interruption.
                                                                                               (‘Education and Religious Liberty’)

Food for prophetic thought? Or prophetic food for fraught food? I guess the wretched Republican Candidate, Donald Trump, would the answer and a whole lot more (prophecy) besides. Still, each of this book’s six chapters (along with an Introduction, Conclusion, Notes, Acknowledgements and a section on Abbreviations Used in the Notes), fundamentally regale many a story of a revealing and/or a controversial Trumpesque persuasion.

That American Jesuits and the World – How An Embattled Religious Order Made Modern Catholicism Global, goes some way in tracking Jesuits who left Europe for America and Jesuits who left the United States for missionary ventures across the Pacific, might, in and of itself, already be (considered) mightily controversial. That assorted stories include the tarring and feathering of an exiled Swiss Jesuit in Maine, the efforts of the French Jesuits in Louisiana to obtain Vatican approval of a miraculous healing, and the educational efforts of American Jesuits in Manila, should punctuate the fact that author John T. McGreevy doesn’t pull any punches. Nor hold any back for that matter.

Indeed, these stories place the Jesuits at the centre of the worldwide clash between Catholics and liberal nationalists, and reveal how the Jesuits not only revived their own order but made modern Catholicism more global.

Hence the rather apt, second part of American Jesuits and the World’s title.
A title (How An Embattled Religious Order Made Modern Catholicism Global) many might readily decree, lends the book a somewhat inflammatory undertone – right from the very start.

In the book’s Introduction for instance, none other than John Adams is quoted in conversation with Thomas Jefferson: ”I do not like the late Resurrection of the Jesuits. They have a General, now in Russia, in correspondence with the Jesuits in the U.S. Who are more numerous than every body knows. Shall we not have Swarms of them here?… If ever any congregation of Men could merit, eternal Perdition on Earth and in Hell… it is this Company of Loiola. Our system however of Religious Liberty must afford them an Asylum. But if they do not put the Purity of our Elections to a severe Tryal, it will be a wonder” (1816).

Hmm, does this not sound somewhat reminiscent of what that ill-led buffoon, and now Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, has been carping on about these last few months? Especially with regards ”swarms” of migrants invading Britain….

Lord Help Us.

What this book does show rather well, is the degree to which history is simply steeped in myopic circularity. The sort of which – every now and then – is augmented with the kind of dire stupidity that is so evidently on display amid much of the UK’s current electorate (debacle).

Like mid-thirties Germany, a despicable line has been drawn in Britain’s sad and solipsistic sand; many an unfortunate kernel of which, can be found throughout these 223 pages. There’s a good example in chapter six (‘Empire’), where John T. McGreevy – who is Dean of the College of Arts and Letters and Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame – quotes Denis O’Connell, the one time Irish cleric: ”It is the question of two civilizations. It is the question of all that is old & vile & mean & rotten & cruel & false in Europe against all this [sic] is free & noble & open & true & humane in America. When Spain is swept of [sic] the seas much of the meanness & narrowness of old Europe goes with it to be replaced by the freedom and openness of America. This is God’s way of developing the world.”

As touched on at the outset of this review, there’s so much detonatory food for thought contained herein, which simply reeks of a certain, shiny, pristine black-kettle ideology.

”This is God’s way of developing the world” (my italics). Oh really? Says who?

As Sven Beckert, author of Empire of Cotton: A Global History has been quoted as saying: ”Global history is all the rage today, yet one of the most global institutions – the Catholic Church – has largely been ignored in this wave of scholarship. In this timely and brilliantly argued book, McGreevy convincingly shows that in order to understand the modern world – and modern America – we need to come to terms with globe-trotting priests with a global vision.”

We do.

On a final note, I do rather like the way the author hasn’t held back so far as the actual tonality of the writing is concerned. McGreevy hasn’t exactly shied away from assorted tough, literary values; as some of the quotes I’ve included I’d like to think exemplify.

David Marx

The Golden Age – Shtetl


The Goden Age – Shtetl
A New History of Jewish Life in East Europe
By Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern
Princeton University Press – £22.95

”After all, ”shtetl” as a word is nothing but a cultural artifact, a caprice of collective memory. It signifies a vanished Jewish Atlantis, a yearning for a distant and utopian national culture and for the redeeming traditional values of east European Jerusalem, that ”holy community” that we tend to strip of corporeality and then sugercoat its imaginary residue. This book fleshes out the shtetl and adds some salt to it” (What’s In A Name?/A Locust Of Action’).

What with the media’s current, nigh utopian uproar due to the former Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone’s brash braggadocio flim-flam with regards Judaism yesterday (May 28th); I thought it might be an idea to try and perhaps replenish some of the hope, if not a mere kernel of inspiration that the Jewish faith has bequeathed over the last few thousand years.

The history of which, if truth be told, goes back a tad further than that of the Labour Party. But what do I know?

The Golden Age Shtetl – A New History of Jewish Life in East Europe does much to re-instill a modicum of belief in said history, that, so far as the shtetl is concerned, is something of a lost (economic) paradise that reeked of colossal potential: ”this book brings the reader into the shtetl and the shtetl to the reader on a journey through the high moments of shtetl life, exposing the world that Russia, Poland, and Ukraine irretrievably lost.”

Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern is indeed right.

Other than the distant, musical trajectory of Fiddler On The Roof (a village where ”anything made of stone […] the church, a factory, the administration offices – was clearly not Jewish, except, of course, the tombstones. The hand-polished copper candlesticks and samovars of the inhabitants of Anatevka shone like rare treasures in that sepia world of decay”), the life of the shtetl has indeed been lost amid a world of horribly myopic foresight.

Or extreme lack of, which may account for just one of the many reasons one may feel compelled to investigate this book’s ten chapters (with such beguiling titles as ‘Russia Discovers Its Shtetl,’ ‘The Right to Drink,’ ‘A Violent Dignity’ along with ‘Crime, Punishment, and a Promise of Justice’).

An intuitive read, which Israel Bartal – author of The Jews of Eastern Europe, 1772-1881 – describes as turning ”upside down the nostaligic image of the shtetl as a decaying Jewish village, presenting the historical shtetl as a place where Jews enjoyed prosperity and stability. Drawing on huge archival evidence, this pathbreaking study challenges our historical mind and provides an innovative account of the Jewish experience in nineteenth-century Russia.”

Aligned throughout with rare archival photographs and artwork, this more than nuanced history casts the shtetl itself in an altogether new light; revealing how its influential golden age continues to shape the collective memory of Jewish people to the present day. As Petrovsky-Shtern writes in chapter nine’s ‘If I Forget Thee’: ”Jews naturally preserved the image of the shtetl, bemoaned the loss of the East European Jewish town in the fires of war and revolution, and cherished the quest for its remnants, the ethnographic expeditions of the early twentieth century, because the shtetls were the Volhynia dwellings of Jacob and the Podolioa tents of Israel. Although the Balaia Tserkov or Shepetovka were ordinary Ukrainian towns, the presence of a Jewish ”holy community” infused these towns with a sense of holiness. Every Jew from the shtetl knew that the shtetl was no Jerusalem, and yet everybody knew that there was a spark of Jerusalem in the shtetl.”

It’s just such a spark that continues to linger and light the way, if not the day of elegaic enlightenment. So take note Comrade Livingstone, who himself, might want to have a read of this charming and well-documented book himself.

David Marx

Dostoevsky – A Writer in His Time


Dostoevsky – A Writer in His Time
By Joseph Frank
Princeton University Press – £16.95

          I heard the music of the spheres,
          The flight of angels through the skies,
          The beasts that crept beneath the sea,
          The heady uprush of the vine;
          And, like a lover kissing me,
          He rooted out this tongue of mine
          Fluent in lies and vanity

                                                             A.S.Pushkin (The Prophet).

As is written in the Preface of this simply uber sublime book: ”No modern writer rivals Dostoevsky in the grandeur of his presentation of […] eternal Christian dilemma – the fierceness of his attack on the presumed goodness of God, on the one hand, through Ivan Karamzov, and his attempt to counter it with the Legend of the Grand Inquisitor and the preaching of Father Zosima on the other.”

The above skeletal dissertation of surely one of the finest and most inventive writers ever, does much to trigger a cascade of didactic thought and the st(r)oking of one’s academic curiosity. For who else in relatively modern literature, agonisingly questioned unto such a ponderous, yet poignantly heroic, religious endeavour, as Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky?

As is written at the outset of chapter three, Dostoevsky – A Writer in His Time (‘The Religious and Cultural Background’): ”Dostoevsky’s contemporary, Alexander Herzen, remarks in his memoirs that ”nowhere does religion play so modest a role in education as in Russia.” Herzen was, of course, talking about the education of the male children of the landed or service aristocracy, whose parents had been raised for several generations on the culture of the French Enlightenment and for whom Voltaire had been a kind of patron saint.”

Lest we forget that of all the great Russian writers of the early nineteenth century, such as Gogol, Turgenev, Tolstoy, Pushkin, Lermontov, Nekrasov and of course, the aforementioned Herzen; Dostoevsky ”was the only one who did not come from a family belonging to the landed gentry.” A rather turbulent facet of both his life and his literary, social outlook, that subliminally, yet without question, always influenced the view he fully embraced so far as his own position as a writer was concerned.

These 932 pages are a linear, credible, not to mention chronological testament to this fact; which, if nothing else, places the book’s author, Joseph Frank, upon the lone pedestal of great biographical writing (in relation to Dostoevsky). In and of itself, this should come as absolutely no surprise, as his award-winning, five-volume Dostoevsky is already widely recognised as perhaps the finest biography of the troubled Russian genius in any language.

In fact, many consider it to be one of the greatest literary biographies of the past half-century; which is where this somewhat condensed version comes into play. Frank’s monumental, 2500-page work has herein been most skilfully abridged into one, very readable volume. I say skilfully abridged, as it’s not something I’d particularly relish having to do – shredding fifteen hundred pages off one’s own magnum opus – but there you go.

This may go some way in explaining why Bryce Christensen of The Booklist has subsequently written: ”No one could produce a better one-volume biography of Dostoevsky than the author of a much-acclaimed five-volume biography… A masterful abridgement.”

Dostoevsky – A Writer in His Time is indeed, a masterful piece of work. It’s the sort of read wherein the subject matter can become so absorbing, that one (perhaps subliminally) finds oneself questioning one’s own place and meaning in the world – even if only politically or from a strained stand-point of ergonomics.

Such semi-self-introspective consideration is somewhat brought to bear in chapter 27 (‘Winter Notes on Summer Impressions’), wherein Frank resolutely captures Dostoevsky’s fraught vision of yesteryear’s Europe: ”[…] the image that Dostoevsky conveys is of a society rotten to the core with greed for gold yet consumed with vanity at its own moral perfection. All of French life under Napoleon III is seen as a sinister comedy, staged exclusively for the purpose of allowing the bourgeoisie to enjoy both their continual accumulation of wealth and the spectacle of their ineffable virtue. Dostoevsky writes that ”all their [the workers] ideal is to become property owners and to possess as many things as possible”. While the bourgeoisie fears everyone – the working class, the communists, the Socialists – all such apprehensions are the result of a ludicrous mistake. No group in the West really represents any threat to the hegemony of the spiritual principle embodied in the bourgeoisie.

What, after all, has become of the ideals of the French Revolution under the Second Empire, the ideals of liberte, egalite, and fraternite? In momentary accord with Karl Marx and the Socialists, Dostoevsky views political freedom and legal equality, unaccompanied by economic equality, simply as repulsive fictions invented by the bourgeoisie to delude the proletariat. As for fraternite, this, Dosteovsky says, is in the most curious position of all. Europe is always talking about brotherhood and has even raised it to the status of a universal ideal, yet brotherhood is the very antithesis of the European character.”

Were the current French President, Francois Holland, or the European Union as a whole even partially cajoled into acting upon such raw, loaded and impeccable foresight as to what translucent ‘brotherhood’ ought to mean, let alone stand for; then perhaps the wretched economic crisis of the last few years might never have been allowed to happen in the first place.

But then what does ‘the dream of a ridiculous (Russian) man’ know?

Interspersed with others, it took me a while to read this altogether majestic book – but I’m so glad I did. Apart from being somewhat cathartic and most illustrative of the human mind (and its all encompassing, never-ending ability to at least try and understand humanity); this tomb more than illuminates Dostoevsky’s life vast array of brilliant writing. As whether socially or personally, historically or ideologically; it really is all here. In more ways than one. To quote J. M. Coetzee: ”In his aim of elucidating the setting within which Dostoevsky wrote – personal on the one hand, social, historical, cultural, literary, and philosophical on the other – Frank has succeeded triumphantly” (New York Review of Books).

David Marx