Category Archives: Books

Prologue (Blogging Black Lamb and Grey Falcon)

“And the death of Elizabeth had shown me the scourge of the world after the war, Luccheni, Fascism, the rule of the dispossessed class that claims its rights and cannot conceive them save in terms of empty violence, of killing, … Continue reading

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Clever Girl! (Blogging Black Lamb and Grey Falcon)

“He does not so much split his infinitives as disembowel them.” (Rebecca West on Dr. Lionel Tayler, The Clarion, 1913)  CONSIDER THIS INTERACTION recorded by Ian Parker about the late Christopher Hitchens in The New Yorker: And then the young … Continue reading

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Not too late to seek a newer world (Blogging Black Lamb and Grey Falcon)

“My dear, I know I have inconvenienced you terribly by making you take your holiday now, and I know you did not really want to come to Yugoslavia at all.  But when you get there you will see why it … Continue reading

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The Bridge on the Neretva (Blogging Black Lamb and Grey Falcon)

“To look at it is good; to stand on it is as good.” (Black Lamb and Grey Falcon) THE COVER OF nearly every edition of Black Lamb and Grey Falcon prominently features the same extraordinary architectural, cultural, and pontine monument … Continue reading

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Working Titles (Blogging Black Lamb and Grey Falcon)

“I write books to find out about things.” (Paris Review, 1981) FOR THIS PROJECT I have four individual editions of Black Lamb separated in publication by 80 years. More than 25 years ago I started reading the 1994 Penguin Books … Continue reading

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Blogging ‘Black Lamb and Grey Falcon’

“What is Kaimakshalan?  A mountain in Macedonia, but where is Macedonia since the Peace Treaty?  This part of it is called South Serbia.  And where is that, in Czechoslovakia, or in Bulgaria?  And what has happened there?  The answer is … Continue reading

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Garry Wills’ Qur’an (Part One)

Is Islam as American as apple pie?  Both are early imports from Asia Minor – Islam from the Arabian Peninsula by way of Africa and Iberia, apples from southern Kazakhstan by way of Europe – that have grown deep roots … Continue reading

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Belief from the inside out

Carla Power’s Pulitizer Prize-shortlisted If the Oceans Were Ink, an outsider’s meditation on The Holy Qur’an with the help of a learned Islamic scholar, signals a subtle but seismic shift in our intellectual world.  It joins other unmistakable indications that mostly secular Western … Continue reading

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Joan Didion, Californian

Joan Didion seized my attention early, before I wrote for myself.  Assigned “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” in high school, I read with amazement her cool, detached descriptions of things I recognized growing up in California.  I graduated quickly to “The White … Continue reading

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What LEGO Taught Me

For my birthday my wife bought me the LEGO kit Benny’s Spaceship.  For anyone who’s seen The Lego Movie you’ll get the joke. It’s the outrageous monster outer space cruiser the little blue 1980s LEGO astronaut with the busted helmet … Continue reading

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