O little axe of Bethlehem

In the year of our Lord, nineteen hundred and eighty-three, a youth humbly approached his special destination — a little music shop in the heart of his city’s downtown. Inside, he took $188 in crumpled tens and twenties from his pocket.  Then the kindly shop owner reached above his head and took down a cherry-red … Continue reading O little axe of Bethlehem

On reviewing and breaking backs

One advantage of being the L.A. Times deputy book editor was this: I rarely reviewed a book I didn't like. Every week, I sorted through piles and piles of new books for only those things that resonated with me -- if something didn't, I wouldn't write about it. But what happened if I was a … Continue reading On reviewing and breaking backs

Is the U.S. headed for a decline and fall?

  Is the United States destined to collapse like the ancient Roman Republic?  I had a chance to examine some of the historical parallels in a new book by Joseph Nye titled Is the American Century Over? My review of Nye appears in the most recent edition of the Los Angeles Review of Books. What … Continue reading Is the U.S. headed for a decline and fall?