Magazine December 1, 2008, Issue

Out of Darkness

(Andres Martinez Casares/Reuters)

What hasn’t Michael Novak written about in the course of his long career? Whether the subject is sports in American life or the meaning of ethnicity, The Experience of Nothingness or The Catholic Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Novak is illuminating and unfailingly large-spirited. Indeed, so generous is the tone of his new book that criticism seems positively ungrateful. But perhaps Novak will be as indulgent toward carping reviewers as he has been toward Christopher Hitchens and his antics.

No One Sees God is rather like that fabled four-cornered pie in Gogol’s Dead Souls: “In one corner put the cheeks and dried spine

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