Voices of Remembrance

The massacre began on September 28, 1941, and continued over the following two days. Scores of Ukrainian Jews were rounded up by Nazi storm troopers and their Ukrainian sympathizers, marched into a clearing in the middle of a wooded area, and shot, their bodies dumped into a mass grave. Read more [...]

The Grandmother of Borough Hall

In the spacious conference room on the second floor of Queens Borough Hall, Claire Shulman speaks to a visiting delegation of Russian women about her job as Borough President. The women, legislative aides in the former Soviet Union, are visiting the U.S. to learn about the workings of American government and politics (“Next, we’re going to see Bella Abzug,” says their interpreter). One of the Russians asks Shulman how she deals with day-to-day problems, such as a poorly paved street. Read more [...]

The Art of Reception Crashing

My friend C., a fellow journalist, is emphatic about what he considers a true joy of our profession. Is it a prominent byline, an exclusive story, an expose of wrongdoing? Guess again. “What I really like,” he says, “is all the chances you get to eat and drink for free.” Read more [...]

Strangers to the Tribe

Gabrielle Glaser can identify with Madeline Albright. Like the Secretary of State, Glaser, a freelance journalist, grew up believing that she was a Christian – in her case, a German Lutheran, like most of her neighbors in rural Oregon – before learning otherwise. While visiting Poland in 1984, Glaser found out that she was actually descended from Jews who had emigrated from that country a century earlier. Read more [...]

Seeking Justice for Terrorist Victims

The relatives of several American victims of terrorism have tried to achieve some degree of closure by suing foreign governments, such as Iran, which sponsor terrorist groups. A number of plaintiffs have been successful, winning large court judgments. Read more [...]

Getting Off the Roller Coaster: Women Seek Tools to Overcome Eating Disorders

For most of her life, Susan B., now 51, has struggled with eating disorders of one kind or another. As a child, she was a compulsive overeater; as a “size 16” teenager, she was taken by her mother to a doctor who prescribed diet pills. She spent most of the next decade on a dietary roller coaster – “I’d go up and down 20 to 25 pounds,” she says – but didn’t think she was abnormal until, at 28, she was diagnosed with hypoglycemia and told to cut sugar out of her diet. She tried, but the “withdrawal” drove her into bulimia, the disorder whose victims compulsively purge their bodies of recently eaten food, usually by vomiting. Though she repeatedly underwent therapy and hospitalization, this condition plagued her for years. Read more [...]

Yente for the Masses

Fifty years ago, The NewYorker devoted an unprecedented six issues to a profile of Walter Winchell – actually, it was more of an attack – by the essayist St.Clair McKelway. It was later published in book form. On the surface, this seems absurd. Winchell was not an artist, a statesman (except perhaps in his own mind), or a philosopher. He was a "reporter" and "broadcaster" in the very loosest sense – his words appeared in a newspaper, and he spoke into a microphone. But much of what he said and wrote had been given to him by others, and most of it was hardly profound – a potpourri of news "flashes," jokes, capsule reviews, political commentary, and above all, gossip about celebrities of the day. Read more [...]

Class Distinctions

In a photograph at the front of this book, three fortyish political activists – Frank Trotta, Jr., Leslie Maeby, and Tim Carey – stand together at a restaurant in Peekskill, N.Y. Peekskill is the home base of conservative Republican George Pataki, who was elected New York's Governor in 1994 on promises to cut taxes and spending (i.e., social-service programs) and bring back the death penalty. Both Carey and Maeby worked for Pataki's campaign, and it's a safe bet that Trotta, a lifelong Republican, gave him his vote. Read more [...]

An American Thug in the Far North

Of the many striking scenes in Joel and Ethan Coen's Fargo, two are especially memorable. One is the opening sequence, where the credits roll over a landscape of utter blankness – a snow-covered highway in rural North Dakota – interrupted by a single car, towing another vehicle. It’s reminiscent of the first scene of Scorsese's Taxi Driver, and equally disturbing; it suggests both purity and terrifying isolation. The other occurs about 15 minutes later: a housewife is sitting in her living room, watching a perky local morning show, when two men wearing black ski masks show up at her back door. The incongruity is almost comical... until one of the men pulls out a crowbar and starts smashing the door glass. Read more [...]

John Garfield: The Absolute Outsider

"What are you gonna do, kill me?" says John Garfield, as boxer Charlie Davis, to the mobster for whom he refuses to throw a fight. "Everybody dies!" The line is typical Garfield: defiant, but with an underlying sense of his own mortality. It's from the classic boxing drama Body and Soul (1947) – a highlight of the Film Society of Lincoln Center's series, “Running All The Way: The Films of John Garfield,” which runs for three weeks starting August 9. This retrospective is long overdue for an actor who despite a substantial body of work – more than 30 films, some legitimate classics – has never quite earned the iconic status of some of his contemporaries in the decades since his untimely death. Read more [...]

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