Hampton Sides, Outside
Sides charts the career of hard-charging first responder Michael Ferrera, who served over 30 years as a paramedic and sheriff’s deputy before he snapped. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, a condition that is affecting more and more of America’s non-military emergency workers. Now, as PTSD spreads through the ranks of search-and-rescue teams, fire departments, and law enforcement, those who previously brushed off the condition are becoming painfully aware of its devastating realities.
Nancy F. Cott, Boston Review
Opponents of marriage equality often portray the institution as a universal ideal, unaltered by time, and warn of the dangers that will come if it is tampered with. But history tells a different story—how marriage has survived through reinvention by governments and social movements. Even the first deeply Christian settlers of North America intentionally placed marriage in the hands of the state because of its importance to the civil realm.
Paul Krugman, New York Times Magazine
For several decades, Europe’s social democracies have looked liked most advanced, humane societies on earth. But when the continent embraced the strong arguments for an economic union, it overlooked some of the problems lurking in the shadows—problems that are now plunging the Euro zone into crisis.
David Brooks, The New Yorker
Modern education is all about cultivating intelligence, developing competitive career skills and achieving academic perfection. But brain science is revealing more and more about how human nature really works and the powerful, overlooked role that emotional connections play in giving us a fulfilled live. Using fictional characters, Brooks describes a generation that has “a sense that they are shallower than they need to be.”
Gordon S. Wood, New York Review of Books
The great historian of the American Revolution takes down a new book by The New Yorker’s Jill Lepore, which attempts to set straight the “antihistory” being written in the Tea Party movement. Wood calls her account of the conservative resurgence “mocking” and “partisan,” and argues that popular memory may be closer to the spirit of the American revolution than Lepore is willing to grant.
William Greider, The Nation
“Government has been disabled or captured by the formidable powers of private enterprise and concentrated wealth,” Greidner writes in this eulogy for the era where government had the power to keep the private sector in check. Now, he argues, both parties are under corporate control, and Americans realize that politics is no longer on their side.
Amy Chua, The Wall Street Journal
One of the most talked about and debated essays of the year continues to build buzz. In case you missed it, a Chinese-American lawyer describes a reign-of-terror parenting style that most Westerners find shocking: forbidding her daughters from having sleepovers or playdates, forcing them to practice piano and violin for hours on end, and berating them for anything less than a perfect performance.
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