Masculinity Is the New Prey: On Ander Monson’s “Predator”

SEPTEMBER 22, 2022 ANDER MONSON HAS WATCHED Predator 146 times. He was 12 years old when the movie came out in 1987, which partially accounts for his obsession. Predator is one of those loud, dumb movies that became a kind of lingua franca for American boys and man-children of a certain age. They loved recreating … Read more

Death becomes them

The Mysterious Romance of Murder is not meant as a replacement, or an updating, of critical surveys of the detective genre such as Julian Symons’s Bloody Murder (1972) or David Lehman’s own The Perfect Murder: A study in detection (1989), which covers a wide historical range and includes a reading list. Rather, as Lehman explains … Read more

The deer hunter

Felix Salten’s Bambi (1923) has come down to posterity, principally, in the shape of the 1942 film concocted by Walt Disney. The first English translation, originally subtitled “A life in the woods” and published in 1928 by Simon and Schuster, sold 650,000 copies before the film was released. In 2019 Clydesdale Classics, a Simon and … Read more

Strongest links

In February 1972 President Nixon received an assessment from the US National Security Council of the weakness of the South Vietnamese army. Against the advice of his Secretary of Defense, Melvin Laird, who cautioned against reinforcements on the basis that this would a lack of confidence in the Vietnamese forces, Nix ordered a further aircraft … Read more

Trouble in paradise

J. Bradford (“Brad”) DeLong, a macro-economist and economic historian (and deputy secretary at the US Treasury under President Bill Clinton), has written a history of the “long” twentieth century, which he situates between 1870 and 2010. It is explicitly and instructively contrasted with Eric Hobsbawm’s history of the “short” twentieth century, from the outbreak of … Read more

Law and disorder

Lorraine Daston is one of those historians of science who make scientists uneasy. She made a brilliant debut in 1988 with Classical Probability in the Enlightenment, which presented the history of probability not as a purposeful journey towards theoretical perfection, but as an assortment of social negotiations in which pure reason took second place to … Read more

Mechanical failure

The standing of philosophy radically changed in the second half of the seventeenth century. Its central role in European intellectual culture began to diminish, coming to a head in the eighteenth century, with David Hume’s attack on the aspirations of metaphysics. What gave rise to those initial changes is the subject of Dmitri Levitin’s The … Read more

Cultivating his garden

When I was a child I wanted to be a cartographer. I drew maps of my surroundings – bedroom, home, neighborhood, city, country, continent – ​​with “Here be dragons” additions, features of the books I loved. Those books had little in common but for one thing: they had to have a map in the endpapers. … Read more

The book of modern love

Henri Beyle, better known as Stendhal, thought of his novels as lottery tickets. Success, for him, meant finding readers in a more or less distant future. It is fair to say that Le Rouge et le Noir (The Red and the Black), published to mixed acclaim in 1830, ultimately proved a winning ticket. In recent … Read more