Simon Winchester is the author of The Professor and the Madman, The Man Who Loved China, and Krakatoa, among other books. His new book, The Perfectionists: A Brief History of Precision, will be published next May. (November 2017)

IN THE REVIEW

The Nature of Catastrophe

A destroyed section of the Japanese coastal city of Kesennuma, in Miyagi Prefecture, the day after the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, March 2011

Ghosts of the Tsunami: Death and Life in Japan’s Disaster Zone

by Richard Lloyd Parry

The Ordinary Virtues: Moral Order in a Divided World

by Michael Ignatieff
Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan At first it was just a thin white line, seemingly painted far out onto the eastern horizon between the sky and the sea. But then the line steadily thickened and raced closer and closer to shore, until all too swiftly it was translated …

The Mongrel Speech of the Streets

Thomas Rowlandson: Six Stages of Mending a Face, Dedicated with Respect to the Right Hon.ble Lady Archer, May 29, 1792; from the exhibition ‘Infinite Jest: Caricature and Satire from Leonardo to Levine,’ on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, through March 4, 2012

Green’s Dictionary of Slang

by Jonathon Green
On Perry Street, in New York’s Greenwich Village, in an otherwise unremarkable seventh-floor apartment known to many but visited by few, is a veritable lexicographic Wunderkabinett. It is probably truer to say that the apartment itself is a Wunderkabinett, since books begin at its very threshold, and in the space …