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The Rail’s 2011 Player of the Year

The Rail’s Player of the Year Award annually goes to the most surprisingly influential performer on the political stage. This year's candidates include a testy lawman, a horny congressman, and Swing State actuaries.

OCCUPY GO ROUND: The Dimensional Nature of the Movement

When the protest began on 9/17, there was no concentric circle model for #OWS. There didn’t have to be. People can rely on concentric instincts when they get together to do, say, or envision something important.

Going to the Mat in Baghdad

When Halliburton’s reps hired me as a security contractor in Baghdad, I don’t think they knew I was a closeted hippie liberal. To ensure they never found out, I practiced my yoga in the privacy of my room, in the Baghdad Sheraton. It stayed a secret until my boss Jeff barged in one day while I was standing on my head in my underwear.

In Conversation

THE NEW ERA OF PUBLISHING? Williams Cole Checks in Again with John B. Thompson

Thompson is a Cambridge University sociology professor, and his 2010 book Merchants of Culture: The Publishing Business in the 21st Century was the result of more than five years of talking to editors, publishers, writers, and agents in the U.S. and the U.K. about the rapid changes in the traditional structures of book publishing.

Language and Its Discontents

Laments about the grammar gaffes of others are really laments about them as people: their intelligence, their politics, even their ethics. When it comes to language, we do, and should, take it personally.

The Great American Swindle

It’s rare to see an individual who dedicated his life to a celebrated calling come to the brink of rejecting everything he once accomplished. But that is what a titan of finance—in both a metaphorical and physical sense—almost did in the twilight of a vaunted career. Paul Volcker briefly asks himself what the hell he’d done for the last half century.

City of God

Entering its fifth millennium of continuous settlement, Jerusalem—the Holy Land, al-Quds, city of God, birthplace of Solomon, resting place of Jesus, home of the Temple, keystone of the Middle East, and capital of modern Israel—continues to endure the virulent downsides of Abrahamic righteousness.

Such a Good War

In his The Beauty and the Sorrow, Peter Englund sidesteps issues such as cause and guilt. With a wide panorama worthy of its messy reality, he instead exposes how the war was perceived at the time: Englund lets the reader follow 20 people of various nationalities experiencing the war through their diaries, letters, and memoirs.


The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 11-JAN 12

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