Response by George Packer  

Jim Rule’s reference to me is hard to parse, because the language is vague, but he’s essentially saying that anyone who now warns against a swift and complete withdrawal from Iraq must be trying to justify an earlier decision to …



It Isn’t Over  

Most Americans think the war in Iraq is over, or should be over, or will be over very soon. Whether we won or lost is less certain and has already become the subject of a debate that will grow more …







Making Genocide Thinkable  

WHEN VICTIMS BECOME KILLERS: COLONIALISM, NATIVISM, AND THE GENOCIDE IN RWANDA by Mahmood Mamdani Princeton University Press, 2001 364 pp $29.95 ANYONE WHO sets out to show how genocide can become thinkable ought to have an eye on the line …



Growing Up Liberal  

Blood of the Liberals, from which this piece is excerpted, tells the private and public story of three generations in the twentieth century. My maternal grandfather, George Huddleston, was a populist congressman who represented Birmingham, Alabama, from 1915 to 1937. …





With Friends Like These  

Sir Vidia’s Shadow: A Friendship Across Five Continents by Paul Theroux Houghton Mifflin, 1998 368 pp $24 Ex-Friends: Falling Out with Allen Ginsberg, Lionel & Diana Trilling, Lillian Hellman, Hannah Arendt, and Norman Mailer by Norman Podhoretz The Free Press, …



Children of Paradise  

Cold New World does what certain novels used to do: reveal the moral condition of a time and place by telling stories on a large, intimate scale. Near the end of his book, William Finnegan introduces what in fiction would …



The Last Page  

Not long ago I attended a conference on the theme, “Are serious books in serious trouble?” The question was rhetorical. One by one the suspects were arraigned on charges: publishing conglomerates, superstores, television, public education. By the end American culture …



The Novel as Counterhistory  

Underworld by Don DeLillo Scribner, 1997 827 pp $27.50 Underworld has the makings of a masterpiece. It’s a novel of the historical imagination on a vast scale, with uncompromising perceptual rigor. On the level of the sentence, it pulls off …



Notes on Confusion  

I spent a good part of my summer reading cures for liberalism. One prescribed a limited but activist government; another a colorblind, egalitarian nationalism; others an affirmation of democratic universalism, a revival of civic republicanism, a program of economic populism, …