In 2009, Peter Van Buren joined a team working to rebuild Iraq's infrastructure and economy. For the next year, he encountered comically misguided projects, greedy contractors and oblivious bureaucrats. In his new book, We Meant Well, he recounts the ground-level waste and corruption he saw.
This week a high school in western Pennsylvania canceled its production of Kismet, citing sensitivity over the Sept. 11 attacks. The musical was adapted from the Arabian Nights; might it not be good for students to learn a lesson about controversy?
Moneyball stars Brad Pitt as Billy Beane, the Oakland A's general manager who used analytics and statistics to stay competitive against other teams with much larger payrolls. Critic David Edelstein says the film, based on the 2003 Michael Lewis book, is "entertaining as a sports-underdog story."
His question was directed to former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. There was strong applause when the candidate repeated his position in favor of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that was ended this week.
As a young man in Virginia, Earl Reynolds once shined James Brown's shoes. And that chance meeting helped prod him into making a tough choice about his own future. For a while, Brown's advice even led to a rift between Reynolds and his father.
Robert Stone's characters fall all over the moral spectrum, but between a revolutionary nun, a treacherous spy and an alienated anthropologist, they certainly make for good reading. Author Roland Merullo recommends Stone's A Flag for Sunrise, a rich depiction of Central America in the turbulent '70s.
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