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Feb 9, 2008 2:51 pm

Saturday Notes

Adam Kirsch,"Imperial Appetite," NY Sun, 6 February, reviews John Darwin's After Tamerlane: The Global History of Empire Since 1405.

Jonathan Keates,"The Paladin of Panache," Literary Review, February, reviews Ishbel Addyman's Cyrano: The Life and Legend of Cyrano de Bergerac.

Robert J. Richards,"Bad Seeds," American Scientist, March/April, reviews Barbara Oakley's Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed, and My Sister Stole My Mother's Boyfriend. Hat tip.

Megan Marshall,"The Impossible Art of Deciphering Manuscripts," Slate, 8 February, launches from the recent controversy over Robert Faggin's edition of The Notebooks of Robert Frost to an essay about the problems of transcription. I could tell you about them, but I suspect that our colleagues who work in pre-modern and non-English language manuscripts have little sympathy for my anguish.

What Richard Johnson,"Mystery of a JFK ‘Son'," NY Post's Page Six, 7 February, reports as Gossip is reported as News in Denise Ryan,"B.C. man said to be JFK's illegitimate son," Vancouver Sun, 8 February. They say that Vanity Fair was about to break the story of a forty-something Vancouver man who believes he is the unacknowledged son of John F. Kennedy and a Texas woman, who was introduced to JFK by Lyndon Johnson. Vanity Fair apparently took his claim seriously enough to send a first-rate photographer to Vancouver, but delayed the story after a contact with Senator Ted Kennedy's office. Hat tip to my virtual son, Chris Richardson.

Finally, Chris Bray recommends yesterday's testimony by the Center for Defense Information's historian, Douglas Macgregor, before the House Foreign Affairs' Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight. See, especially, Macgregor's very tough criticism on pp. 4-9 of the Bush administration's unlimited commitment to defending the current Iraqi regime.

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