Adam Hochschild’s books include King Leopold’s Ghost, To End All Wars, and Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936–1939, which was published in March. He teaches at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley. (May 2016)
Mr. Smith Goes to Prison: What My Year Behind Bars Taught Me About America’s Prison Crisis
by Jeff Smith
Understanding Mass Incarceration: A People’s Guide to the Key Civil Rights Struggle of Our Time
by James Kilgore
One private prison company alone, the Corrections Corporation of America, today runs the country’s fifth-largest prison system, after those of the federal government and the three biggest states. The less money such corporations spend on staff training, food, education, medical care, and rehabilitation, the more profits they make. States, at least in theory, have a financial incentive to reduce recidivism, but for private prisons, recidivism produces what every business wants: returning customers. No wonder these companies push hard for three-strikes laws and similar measures.
In the last days of 1936, Spain was five months into a bitter civil war, in which volunteers from many countries were helping the elected government of the Spanish Republic battle a military coup led by General Francisco Franco and backed by Hitler and Mussolini. Some foreigners flocking to Spain, …
Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power
by Seth Rosenfeld
Even at its worst, the FBI was far less draconian than dozens of secret police forces active around the world then and today. But changes in technology have vastly increased the ease of surveillance. In the 1950s, in order to eavesdrop on a meeting in Jessica Mitford’s house, two bumbling FBI agents hid in a crawl space beneath it; the mission almost came to grief when one fell asleep and started snoring. But today those agents would have access to vastly more: not just Mitford’s phone calls—which they were already tapping—but her credit card statements, her Google searches, her air travel itineraries, her bookstore purchases, her e-mails, her text messages, her minute-by-minute locations as signaled by the GPS in her mobile phone.
As if eastern Congo had not already suffered enough, seven years ago Nature dealt it a stunning blow. The volcano whose blue-green bulk looms above the dusty, lakeside city of Goma, Mount Nyiragongo, erupted, sending a smoking river of lava several hundred yards wide through the center of town and …
Two hundred years ago this spring, Britain ended its Atlantic slave trade, an event of immense importance, because the country then dominated the traffic in human beings. From the mid-1700s on, roughly half the captive Africans taken to the Americas had been transported in British ships. Ever since, Parliament’s vote …
an exhibition at the Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren, Belgium, February 4–October 9, 2005.
La mémoire du Congo: Le temps colonial
catalog of the exhibition, in French or Dutch, edited by Jean-Luc Vellut et al
Recent decades have seen many battles over historical memory. The Turkish government—and, for that matter, our own—still refuses to speak of an Armenian genocide. Japan’s schoolbooks still whitewash its troops’ atrocities in World War II. And a curious conflict over memory is going on right now in Europe, where the …
Because of the photography of their day, we tend to think of the world wars in black and white. Peter Walther’s The First World War in Colour feels like looking at a familiar scene through a different pair of eyeglasses. The first thing that stuns you is the brilliant colors of the uniforms. The French army of 1914 was the most snappily dressed in Europe.