Magazine November 23, 2009, Issue

Be Careful What You Ask For

John P. Marquand in 1943 (Getty)

Is there an American novelist who has fallen farther from grace than John P. Marquand? For years he was one of the best-known names on the bestseller lists, and his part-time job as a judge for the Book-of-the-Month Club made him as influential as he was successful. But Marquand wasn’t a hit with the highbrows. Edmund Wilson, writing in The New Yorker in 1942, went so far as to declare that “Mr. Marquand hasn’t the literary vocation.” Marquand was stung by such sniping, and despite his Pulitzer Prize and Time cover, he went to his grave sure that he’d gotten

Terry TeachoutMr. Teachout is the drama critic of the Wall Street Journal and the critic-at-large of Commentary. Satchmo at the Waldorf, his 2011 play about Louis Armstrong, has been produced off Broadway and throughout America.

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners


China Alone?

When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order, by Martin Jacques (Penguin, 576 pp., $29.95)
Film & TV

Dark and Wild

This is a film about childhood that can be appreciated by pretentious, nitpicky grown-ups, it will find its fiercest fans among the Maxes of the world




‘Would it not be easier,” wrote Bertolt Brecht after the East German uprising in 1953, “for the government to dissolve the people and elect another?”