Magazine September 19, 2011, Issue

Postcards from the Continent

Postcard display at a souvenir shop in Nice, France (Eric Gaillard/Reuters)

Five days, five ports, five bus tours: The vacation is over, and I am fully qualified to make broad, shallow generalizations about Europe. May I have the first slide?

• The euro is a dull currency. No actual humans or buildings, just imaginary structures that say “Europe! Delightful old solid, culturally vibrant Europe.” But you feel a bit odd giving someone a bill adorned with nothing more than architectural allegory. At least they could have a picture of 42 Brussels Eurocrats signing the Swiss Cheese Hole-Standardization Mandate, or something else that speaks to the money’s deep, rich history. It does have a

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A review of Tension City: Inside the Presidential Debates, from Kennedy–Nixon to Obama–McCain, by Jim Lehrer.

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