The Right Coast

October 14, 2005
By Maimon Schwarzschild

This feline passage is from a review in the (London) Times Literary Supplement of some recent books about Admiral Lord Nelson -- hero, of course, of the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805:
A man who has already received roughly one biography for every year which has elapsed since his death is obviously in need of some more. This is not a cynical remark, for the Nelson biographical canon, though very large, is very unsatisfactory. All too many of the biographers belonged to one or both of two classes: those who knew nothing about naval warfare, and those who knew nothing about anything else.
There is almost a delayed action from that deadly word "both".

TLS may now be the best general intellectual review in the English speaking world. TLS's politics are mostly the usual sneers about Bush and America, but not always, and not unanimously. Even Edward Luttwak gets a fairly regular look-in as contributor.

On the other hand my renewal notice has just arrived for the New York Review of Books. I dropped my subscription a few years ago -- after being a faithful subscriber for more than twenty years -- as the number of hate-Bush screeds mounted with every issue. But after the election last year, I thought I'd try again. They'll have to move on to other topics now, right? where they will have more interesting things to say. Wrong. No doubt the NYRB has a shrewd marketing sense of what its readership wants: namely, relentless Bush Derangement Syndrome. There is still the occasional worthwhile, non-political piece. But it's buried under the liberal-orthodoxy-enraged stuff. A little sadly, I won't be re-enlisting. I'm sure they'll get along fine without me.