Magazine April 4, 2011, Issue

Wrestling with History

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld speaks at a news briefing at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., April 18, 2006. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)
Known and Unknown: A Memoir, by Donald Rumsfeld (Sentinel, 815 pp., $36)

One of the most incisive aphorisms of one of the finest aphorists of all time, La Rochefoucauld, goes like this: “We confess to little faults only to persuade ourselves that we have no great ones.” What is amazing is that La Rochefoucauld was able to hit upon this insight without ever having beheld the life and career of Donald Rumsfeld, or read his memoir Known and Unknown — for no better example of it could possibly exist.

Known and Unknown is a cradle-to-retirement panorama, and it is one in which any temperamental conservative can find much to admire. The writing evinces

To Read the Full Story
Adam Garfinkle — Mr. Garfinkle is editor of The American Interest and author, most recently, of Jewcentricity: Why the World Praises, Blames, and Uses the Jews to Explain Nearly Everything (Wiley, 2009).

In This Issue


Politics & Policy

From TV Star to Twitter Twit

Assemble any group of entertainment-industry executives — doesn’t matter who or how many — and eventually the conversation turns to the Internet. The value of any entertainment product — television show, ...


Politics & Policy

Not Enough Money

‘To economists reading this essay in 2010, perhaps the most remarkable single fact to note about monetary policy at the end of the interwar period” — the author, Columbia University ...

Books, Arts & Manners

City Desk

Distant Harmonies

The concert hall at the museum is folded into its Egyptian wing. To reach it you must pass huge stone cats and bas-reliefs of peasants harvesting and fishing. Maimed statues ...
Politics & Policy

Border Control

The makers of alien-invasion movies tend to have a low opinion of human military prowess. Sometimes the space invaders are so completely invincible that our only options are to heed ...



Ban Ki Moon and Stars

You know what we need from Hollywood? More depressing movies about trendy causes, injected with plotlines designed to make you sad about driving your car and eating meat. So says ...
Politics & Policy


LAMENT The mole was dead upon the ground; He did not move when he was poked. His coat was sleek, his body round, His life revoked. His parts seemed not to coincide: His hands were stuck ...
Happy Warrior

Earthquake Demographic

‘Why is there no looting in Japan?” wondered a headline in the Daily Telegraph. So did a lot of other folks. Various answers were posited: The Japanese are a highly civilized people ...
Politics & Policy


How Efficient Is High-Speed Rail? I am disappointed that National Review has again (in “The Week,” March 7) dismissed high-speed rail as a “niche market” item. And, although the statistics in ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ At least we agree: We wish he were president of China too. ‐ “Thou turnest man to destruction. . . . Thou carriest them away as with a flood.” The ...
The Bent Pin

Pagan Jane

I am just now recovering from my annual battle of the clashing outlooks. It takes place around my birthday, which, by a sardonic twist of Fate, falls in the same ...


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