Female Code Warriors

Female Code Warriors TWO NEW, WELL-RESEARCHED popular histories — The Woman Who Smashed Codes by Jason Fagone and Code Girls by Liza Mundy — reveal the roles female American cryptanalysts played in cracking secret messages from 1917 through the end of World War II. Fagone’s book is a biography of Elizebeth Smith Friedman’s professional and […]

Above the Fray

Above the Fray WASHINGTON’S FAREWELL could hardly have been published at a better moment. Released on the day when President Obama gave his own farewell address in early January in Chicago, John Avlon’s elegant book about the best-known Founding Father was poised to strike a deep chord in us. For, like Washington himself in his […]

Hail Wedded Love

Hail Wedded Love LET’S IMAGINE a farcical version of the final scene of Romeo and Juliet. Remember, first, how it goes in Shakespeare’s play: Romeo thinks Juliet is dead, so he swallows poison. Juliet revives, sees Romeo dead, and kills herself with a dagger. But what if, at this point, Romeo were to revive, see […]

LARB Radio Hour: Literary and Artistic Connections: Manchester to Oaxaca to LA; Plus, Pankaj Mishra’s “Histories”

LARB Radio Hour: Literary and Artistic Connections: Manchester to Oaxaca to LA; Plus, Pankaj Mishra’s “Histories” This week’s show is a doubleheader. In game one, Award-winning poet and Mancunian Adam O’Riordan joins co-hosts Eric Newman and Boris Dralyuk, as well as author David Shook, to discuss the Manchester writing school, it’s partnership with LARB, the […]

A Negative Freedom: Thirteen Poets on Formal Verse

A Negative Freedom: Thirteen Poets on Formal Verse POETS, CRITICS, AND READERS on both sides of the form/free verse divide are frequently guilty of the Manichean heresy. Stated bluntly: Free verse, the more unfettered the better, is good; meter and rhyme, bad. Or vice versa. The schema turns political and nasty when form is associated […]