One of my favorite forms of writing is the long book review. Maybe it’s because I want to read more books than I can, and the LBR is the best substitute or maybe it’s because the format allows for engagement of specific arguments in detail. Regardless, it’s why I’ve always loved the back of the book at The New Republic and why I’m so fond of the Claremont Review of Books. It’s also why I’ve been frustrated with NR’s own book reviews. As a matter of policy we keep them on the shorter side because, dagnabit, not everyone agrees with me (shocking, I know). This doesn’t mean the back of NR isn’t very good, and often superb, it’s just I really like the long form review. Well, the latest issue of NR has broken format and has a wonderful, long and rich review by Michael Novak covering three of the latest books championing atheism (by Dawkins, Harris and Dennett). I think it’s just a lovely piece of writing. I don’t know if Michael’s long review reflects a change in policy and I suppose I could just ask.
Also, while I’m at it, I should say that Derb’s essay on the 75th anniversary of Huxley’s Brave New World in the previous issue was also wonderful piece of work.