Winter 2020

Cover Story

This Man Should Not Be Executed

Billy Joe Wardlow murdered a man, but mitigating facts say he should not pay for that crime with his life

by Lincoln Caplan


The Greatest Sexual Revolution

How World War II prefigured the ’60s

by Jon Zobenica

Changing Trains

In Stuttgart, in 1943, my mother escaped bombs falling on the station. Has her terror expressed itself in me?

by Catharina Coenen

Channeling Emerson

At work in his timeless, smoke-scented, ghost-crammed study at the old manse

by James Marcus

A Transcendentalist at Work

Thoreau spent his last dozen years in this garret, making sense of what he could see from his windows

by Richard Higgins

Encounters Of f the Page

After conducting 250 author interviews over four decades, I’m still engaged but a lot less awestruck

by Wendy Smith


Book Essay

Norma Maclean

Norman Maclean and Me

Advice for living and drinking from the author of A River Runs Through It

Rebecca McCarthy

Book Reviews

Ralph Ellison

Visible Man

An intimate view of a great American writer

Randall Kenan
History, Alive and Well

History, Alive and Well

A writer’s tour of the Soviet world, 30 years after its collapse

Graeme Wood
A Biographer Looks Back

A Biographer Looks Back

A noted practitioner reveals her tricks of the trade

Ann Jefferson
University of Virginia

A Founding Class

Two new studies of the man from Monticello

Henry Wiencek
Elizabeth Bishop and Louise Crane

Questions of Inspiration

Should we try to see the poet in her poetry?

Rachel Hadas
Lydia Davis

The Barber of Language

A new collection from a celebrated prose stylist

Sandra M. Gilbert
Van Cliburn performing

Nationalist Anthems

Remembering a time when composers mattered more

Sudip Bose

Pursuing the White Whale

A briny exploration of Melville’s greatest work

William Howarth