Ted Sorensen's Legacy for Writers

Ted Sorensen's prose for then-president John F. Kennedy sometimes promised too much idealism, put too much faith in appeals to our common humanity. The high-flown rhetoric didn't always match Kennedy's actions.

Movie Review: 'Never Let Me Go'

It's almost impossible to write about 'Never Let Me Go' without spoilers. This is telling, and too bad, because while the revelation about the nature of the students at Hailsham is dramatic, it's also not the real story, which is much more about the human condition than any sci-fi plot twist.

Who Helped Harper Lee With "Mockingbird"?

We like to think of writers, like heroes, as isolated beings. But a book is also shaped the system of editors, agents, publishers, teachers, and readers. Harper Lee did have help in writing 'To Kill a Mockingbird.' It takes nothing away from her accomplishment to realize that the dynamic interplay between individual effort and structural support is particularly pertinent to Lee's story.

David Mitchell's New 'Thousand Autumns'

David Mitchell's huge new book centers on a young Dutch clerk who, in 1799, arrives in Dejima, the artificial island and isolated Dutch trading post in Nagasaki harbor, and on a midwife, Orito Aibawaga, with whom Jacob falls in love. The book moves between their two stories, undulating like the sea or the oscillating style of Mitchell's prose.

Tony Judt: Why Liberals Should Speak Out

Tony Judt is an historian, essayist, liberal polemic, and the author of several acclaimed books, including Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945. But in the past year, Judt has also become known for his battle with ALS, commonly called Lou Gherig's disease. NEWSWEEK's Louisa Thomas spoke to Judt—who is paralyzed from the neck down and answered questions via e-mail—about some of the larger issues on his mind.

The Life and Hard Times of Arthur Koestler

Political commentators today tend to celebrate a certain kind of skepticism promoted by Cold War intellectuals, men who counseled a vigorous response to evil while remaining humbled by the persistence of evil lurking in all human effort.

Books: Kati Marton's Family Secrets

Even as a kindergartner in 1954, Kati Marton understood that her parents were different from most Hungarians. Endre and Ilona Marton drove a Studebaker convertible and played bridge with the American ambassador.

It's Going to Be a Tough Year on Mad Men

Time has been Mad Men's costar from the start. It provides the jokes, the fears, the gadgets. It's behind the haunted look in Don Draper's eyes. But when season three begins on Aug. 16, time may play its biggest role yet.

"New Nationalism" Looks New Again

In august 1910, Teddy Roosevelt climbed on top of a kitchen table in Osawatomie, Kans., and gave one of the defining speeches of his life. "Ruin in its worst form is inevitable," he said, "if our national life brings us nothing better than swollen fortunes for the few and the triumph in both politics and business of a sordid and selfish materialism." When he described his solution—a "new nationalism" encompassing greater government involvement in financial markets and social programs—the...

Crying for Kashmir

When Justine Hardy and her mother visited the Kashmir Valley in the spring of 1989, it seemed to them an idyll. The weather was warm, the nights were cool, and mother and daughter rode bikes, shopped, and packed picnics of Kashmiri delicacies.

The Quiet Poet Laureate

Kay Ryan has lived in the same small house on a hill in Marin County, Calif., for 30 years. She shingled the exterior walls and covered the steps and walkways in bright tile scraps herself.

A Tourbook Written in Crayon

For a child, a box of Crayola crayons can be a wondrous thing. When I was in elementary school, I was particularly taken with burnt sienna. It was neither brown nor red, but seemed taken from the earth, and it had the most beautiful name.