The lake in front of us was a thick green. A pea-soup green. It seemed emptier, smaller. Its putrid smell was now everywhere. I asked him about the lake’s current condition. He’d been there for over half a century. He’d seen its blue, pristine waters turn green and thick and foul. He’d seen all the fish disappear.
August 15, 2019
Sierra Leone, a Successful Intervention
There is one place in the world where Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, is not vilified for his part in the 2003 invasion of Iraq: a West African country where, less than three years earlier, his government’s intervention helped to end one of the most vicious conflicts in recent history.
June 7, 2019
Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln is a work of sufficient richness to instantly invite repeat viewings. It is a history film that dares to pile on verbal and visual details thickly and rapidly enough that a second viewing may be necessary simply to register all that is going on.
November 21, 2012
Someone Else's Children
My wife and I have two sons, aged eighteen and twenty-two. Both have registered for the Selective Service, as the law requires. We don’t have a clear idea of Tommy’s or Nicholas’s views regarding military service; we hope that circumstances won’t force us to find out. None of us knows any men or women currently serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. They are someone else’s children. During the Civil War, in contrast, the mangling of young bodies was evident to all. Three million volunteers armed with advanced rifles, and firing at one another at point-blank range, fought on battlefields often not far from their own homes. American writers, many of whom had children in the war, were not insulated from the carnage. The remarkable medical photographs of the Civil War surgeon-photographer Reed Bontecou—now published in their entirety for the first time and recently shown at The Robert Anderson gallery in New York—bring us closer still.
November 28, 2011