what i'm reading: art spiegelman and kevin baker in the harper's

A few days ago, I recommended the June issue of Harper's magazine. Now I'm urging you to get to your favourite bookstore or library and read it as soon as you can.

I've just finished Kevin Baker's lengthy piece "Stabbed In The Back: The Past and Future of A Right-Wing Myth," as brilliant and fascinating a US history lesson, and as stinging an indictment of current policies, as I've read anywhere. It's truly a tour de force.

Baker has written a trilogy of historical novels about New York City. I haven't read the last one, Paradise Alley. Its subject is the same as that of my favourite New York City novel, Peter Quinn's Banished Children of Eve: the 1863 New York City draft riots. (On Baker's website, he recommends a visit to the Lower East Side tenement museum, which is where I first heard of Banished Children. Not a coincidence.) I'll read Paradise Alley eventually. Baker is also a baseball fan, a Yankees fan, a fan of New York City, and still, I think, a believer in the US, or at least in its potential, now twisted and derailed.

There are lots of good things to read in this issue of Harper's, but Kevin Baker and Art Spiegelman steal the show.

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