Hollywood’s Trap

The Nutty Professor a film by Tom Shadyac

Independence Day a film by Roland Emmerich

Mission: Impossible a film by Brian De Palma

The Rock a film by Michael Bay

Twister a film by Jan De Bont

The Cable Guy a film by Ben Stiller

The Deferential Spirit

The Choice by Bob Woodward

The Agenda: Inside the Clinton White House by Bob Woodward

The Commanders by Bob Woodward

Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA 1981-1987 by Bob Woodward

Wired: The Short Life and Fast Times of John Belushi by Bob Woodward

The Brethren by Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong

The Truth Teller

Becoming Modern: The Life of Mina Loy by Carolyn Burke

The Lost Lunar Baedeker by Mina Loy, edited by Roger L. Conover

A Tale of Three Leaders

An Easy Burden: The Civil Rights Movement and the Transformation of America by Andrew Young

Prophet of Rage: A Life of Louis Farrakhan and His Nation by Arthur J. Magida

In the Name of Elijah Muhammad: Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam by Mattias Gardell

Jesse: The Life and Pilgrimage of Jesse Jackson by Marshall Frady


Frank Kermode (1919–2010) was a British critic and literary theorist. Born on the Isle of Man, he taught at University College London, Cambridge, Columbia and Harvard. Adapted from a series of lectures given at Bryn Mawr College, Kermode’s Sense of An Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction remains one of the most influential works of twentieth-century literary criticism.

Brad Leithauser is a novelist, poet, and essayist. He lives in Massachusetts.

Nicholas Lemann is a Professor at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and a staff writer for The New Yorker.
 He is the author of The Big Test: The Secret History of the American Meritocracy and The Promised Land: The Great Black Migration and How It Changed America, among other books.

Jack F. Matlock Jr. was US Ambassador to the Soviet Union between 1987 and 1991 and is the author of Autopsy on an Empire. He is George F. Kennan Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. (February 2000)

Kenneth Maxwell , the founder of the Brazil Studies Program at 
Harvard’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, is currently 
a weekly columnist for the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo.
 (August 2015)

Louis Menand is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of English at Harvard. His books include The Marketplace of Ideas, American Studies and The Metaphysical Club.

Ingrid D. Rowland teaches in Rome for the University of Notre Dame’s Rome Global Gateway. A frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books, she is the author of The Culture of the High Renaissance: Ancients and Moderns in Sixteenth-Century Rome and The Scarith of Scornello: A Tale of Renaissance Forgery. She has also published a translation of Vitruvius’ Ten Books of Architecture and a history of Villa Taverna, the US ambassador’s residence in Rome. Her latest book is From Pompeii: The Afterlife of a Roman Town.

Helen Vendler is the Arthur Kingsley Porter 
University Professor in the Department of English at Harvard. The Ocean, the Bird, and the Scholar, a collection of her later essays, has just been published.
 (June 2015)

Garry Wills is Professor of History Emeritus at Northwestern. He is the author, most recently, of The Future of the Catholic Church with 
Pope Francis.