Contents | May 2002

The Atlantic Monthly | May 2002
In This Issue

e sleeps only four or five hours a night, keeps his desk immaculate, and tests all his food for poison. He is a fan of the Godfather movies and of Winston Churchill. Using information gleaned from extensive interviews with Iraqi exiles who knew Saddam Hussein well, Mark Bowden ("Tales of the Tyrant") provides an intimate and compelling account of the daily life of the Iraqi ruler and how he wields and retains power. Bowden is the author of Black Hawk Down (1999) and Killing Pablo (2001); he writes a weekly column for The Philadelphia Inquirer, where he was a reporter for twenty-two years. Our Finest Day, a book about D-Day for which Bowden wrote the text, was published last month. His nonfiction book Finder's Keeper's will be published in the fall.

James Earl Ray wrote hundreds of letters during the thirty years he spent in prison for the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. The letters have been obtained by Boston University's Mugar Memorial Library, where the Martin Luther King Jr. archive is also housed. Douglas Brinkley and Anne Brinkley ("Lawyers and Lizard-Heads") were the first outside scholars to examine them. Douglas Brinkley is the director of The Eisenhower Center for American Studies and a professor of history at the University of New Orleans. His most recent book is Rosa Parks (2000), a biography in the Penguin Lives series. He is also a co-editor, with Julian Bond, of the forthcoming Portable Civil Rights Reader. Anne Brinkley is at work on a book for children.

In a recent meeting with a genealogist Steve Olson ("The Royal We") discovered that he is a descendant of Nefertiti and Confucius—but then, so are we all, owing to the surprising mathematics of genealogy. Olson's book Mapping Human History: Discovering the Past Through Our Genes is being published this month.

Donald Hall ("New England Primer") is the author of numerous books of poetry, including Without (1998) and The Painted Bed, which was published last month.

This month in The Agenda: The Atlantic's editor, Michael Kelly, hails the maturity of air power; David Brooks asserts that character-building doesn't have to come from hardship; Jonathan Rauch shows how conservative homophobia has helped to undermine marriage and make cohabitation cool; Jack Beatty takes President Bush to task for spending the nation's inheritance; Walter Kirn explains how issuing national identity cards would fundamentally alter our national identity; P. J. O'Rourke puts forward a joint resolution (with Christopher Buckley) to institute a much needed regime of vote control; and Stephen Glain wonders why South Korea seems intent on keeping its most prominent North Korean defector under wraps.

Although Richard Todd ("Lost in the Magic Kingdom") "learned the lyrics to the Mouseketeer song when it was brand-new," only recently did he pay his first visit to Disney World, where between bouts of having fun he Had Thoughts. Todd, a former executive editor of The Atlantic, is at work on a book about authenticity in contemporary American life.

Cars introduced as the weather warms up tend to be more fun than cars introduced at other times of the year, writes Thomas Hine ("Spring Cars"). Hine, who helped to organize the traveling exhibition "U.S. Design: 1975-2000," currently at the Denver Art Museum, is the author of Populuxe (1986), The Total Package (1995), and The Rise and Fall of the American Teenager (1999). He has written a book about shopping, to be published in November.

The Newport Casino, home to the only public grass tennis courts in the country, offers anyone a rare chance to experience the game in its most sublime form. Marshall Jon Fisher ("Tennis on the Green") has been a frequent contributor to The Atlantic since 1995, when he wrote about wooden tennis rackets.

Introducing people at parties is fraught with opportunities for spectacular gaffes, and Mary Killen ("Well Met") has some ideas about how to avoid them. Killen writes the "Your Problems Solved" column for The Spectator, in London, and the "Back-seat Driver" column for the British edition of House & Garden.

David Lodge ("Dickens Our Contemporary") reviews Jane Smiley's incisive Penguin Lives biography of Charles Dickens, the world's first literary celebrity. Lodge is the author of eleven novels, most recently Thinks ... (2001) and the novella Home Truths (1999). His new book, Consciousness and the Novel: Connected Essays, will be published in the fall.

Is there a more hilarious novel from the past half century than Kingsley Amis's Lucky Jim? Christopher Hitchens ("The Man of Feeling") thinks not. He writes for Vanity Fair and The Nation, and is the author of Unacknowledged Legislation: Writers in the Public Sphere (2000) and The Trial of Henry Kissinger (2001). His cover story in last month's Atlantic considered recent revisionist appraisals of Winston Churchill.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, Richard Nixon, much more than his immediate predecessors, shaped the civil-rights landscape that surrounds us today. Tamar Jacoby ("A Surprise, But Not a Success") reviews Dean Kotlowski's Nixon's Civil Rights: Politics, Principle, and Policy. Jacoby, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, is the author of Someone Else's House: America's Unfinished Struggle for Integration (1998).

Copyright © 2002 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All rights reserved.
The Atlantic Monthly; May 2002; In This Issue; Volume 289, No. 5; 6.