Also of interest…
In counterintuitive ideas
The Case for Nationalism
by Rich Lowry (Broadside, $27)
Consider this book “part of a larger effort on the right to create an after-the-fact framework for Trumpism,” said Carlos Lozada in The Washington Post. In “a selective reading of history,” Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review, argues that the ideals of 1776 did less to shape the American project than what he calls “the religio-cultural attributes” of the land’s European settlers. The rest is simply facile. In this book, “nationalism cannot be bad, because Lowry has defined it as good.”
In Defense of Elitism
by Joel Stein (Grand Central, $28)
Don’t let the title fool you, said Alec Dent in the Washington Free Beacon. Instead of looking down on his fellow Americans from a snob’s redoubt, former Time columnist Joel Stein has written “one of the most nuanced and introspective takes on populism” since the 2016 election. Not that he stops with what he learned by listening to Trump supporters in northern Texas. He critiques populism for putting too much trust in primal instincts, but also helps his fellow blue staters understand its appeal.
by Andrea Long Chu (Verso, $13)
“Everyone is female,” writes Andrea Long Chu, “and everyone hates it.” The essayist, a young trans woman who’s among our most original thinkers on gender, is clearly “less interested in exhaustive explanation than in the flash of insight produced by a well-thrown knife,” said Julian Lucas in Harper’s. But in this slim book, she finds common ground among Freud, anti-porn feminists, and incels by amusingly showing how they—and all of us—feminize ourselves by accommodating to the desires of others.
Self-Portrait in Black and White
by Thomas Chatterton Williams (Norton, $26)
Thomas Chatterton Williams has a funny way of advocating a post-racial world, said Cinque Henderson in the Los Angeles Review of Books. Here, the U.S.-born, Paris-based scholar describes how the birth of his blond, blue-eyed daughter taught him to rethink his own black self-identification. We have an obsession with race, he says, and should eagerly move past it, including through interracial marriage. But wait: “Can someone who has written his only two books on race really claim to have overcome it?” ■