David Gates

Tape Ate My Homework

Like most NEWSWEEK writers, I'm a quick study. Somebody dies whom you know a little about, you take a couple of hours to eke out familiarity with solid fact, and you kick in the piece.

The Man With Two Brains

From the 1890s until he died in 1963, Robert Frost wrote down ideas, homemade aphorisms and fragments of poems. As one of his jottings says (God knows in what context), "I reel them off with one brain tied behind me." As you'd expect of a man who fetishized plainness, he used cheap spiral notebooks and flip pads and school composition books.

War and Remembrance

Ken Burns's in-your-face documentary on World War II revisits the battlefield and home front of yesteryear. But for viewers, the subtext will inevitably be today—and Iraq.

The Genius of P. G. Wodehouse

Evelyn Waugh considered P. G. Wodehouse the greatest comic writer of his time: that would be from 1900, when he sold his first magazine article, to 1974, when his last book came out. (He died a year later, at 93.) And Waugh predicted that his determinedly escapist stories and novels "will continue to release future generations from captivity that may be more irksome than our own." Right on both counts.

Great Expectations

Seven years after his debut, the award-winning story collection "For the Relief of Unbearable Urges," Nathan Englander has finally published a second book.

Great Expectations

Seven years after his debut, the award-winning story collection "For the Relief of Unbearable Urges," Nathan Englander has finally published a second book.

Kurt Vonnegut, 1922-2007

It's hard to imagine why Kurt Vonnegut was called a "pessimist" or a "cynic." He lived through three quarters of the worst century ever and saw enough of the next one to know it was already shaping up as a contender.

Re-examining the Holocaust

"The head takes the longest to burn; two little blue flames flicker from the eyeholes ... the entire process lasts twenty minutes—and a human being, a world, has been turned into ashes." A Polish Jew named Zalman Gradowski wrote this account of what actually happened, step by step, in the gas chambers and crematoriums of Auschwitz, where he'd been sent in late 1942, along with seven members of his family, including his wife and mother.

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