Lauren Young

On October 9, 2009, the Nobel Committee announced that President Barack Obama had been awarded the coveted peace prize for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." How can Obama live up to such lofty expectations? One almost needs a roadmap. In Power & Responsibility, three authors provide just that. Lauren Young reviews.

Nia Hyatt

In major cities they are everywhere and they are nowhere. The homeless are as much a part of the urban portrait as are speeding taxi cabs, camera toting tourists, rushing businessmen and police on patrol, yet passersby prefer to avert their attention rather than look the threadbare in the eyes. They are invisible. Until now. Nia Hyatt reviews The Invisible Man, directed by Arthur Yorinks.  

Malalai Joya

In 2005, Malalai Joya became the youngest person ever elected to the Afghan parliament. Two years later, she was suspended for her denunciation of warlords and their cronies in government. Under constant threats of violence and death, Joya continues to expose anti-democratic forces in Afghanistan. Recently, she launched her new book, A Woman Among Warlords, in New York City. Here is the text of her urgent, emotional speech of that night. This essay is part of The Mantle's series Against Censorship.

Shaun Randol

In 2006 I read Elizabeth Royte’s Garbage Land (Little Brown, 2005), wherein Royte traces her trash through the labyrinthine American waste system. Royte asked, after we toss it into the garbage can, where does it go? What is the impact of the item’s life post-use? What does the vast and growing collection of too-easily disposable products in our landfills say about American lifestyle, priorities and, yes, morals?

Shaun Randol

The conflict between Israel and Palestine is not easy to grasp. That it seems like it has been going on forever has also diminished the “appeal” of engaging the conflict, or at least the novelty of doing so. In only fits and starts it seems the American media covers the conflict—when fighting breaks out in Gaza or dignitaries meet for yet another round of fruitless negotiations and peace talks, for example. Sustained coverage is lacking, no doubt. Perhaps the American public is just worn out on the subject.

Marianne LeNabat

Singer-songwriter Charlotte Greig's first novel, A Girl's Guide to Modern European Philosophy, takes the reader between the sheets and into the realm of existentialism. Marianne LeNabat reviews a premier with a suspenseful ending.

Shaun Randol

Just knocked out another Malcom Gladwell goody, The Tipping Point. Not as good as Outliers (in fact, I got bored in the last chapter), but an interesting read nonetheless. While the the lessons to be learned make a standard read for entrepreneurs and businessmen and marketers, I'm wondering whether or not the lessons can be applied to progressive causes and ideas.

Shaun Randol

Last night at the venerable 92Y, Council on Foreign Relations president Richard Haass took a few questions from a smiley, curious, leggy Katie Couric. Haass has a new book out, War of Necessity, War of Choice, and The MANTLE would love a good progressive critique of it--so get crackin'!

Shaun Randol

Just knocked back Malcom Gladwell's brain candy Outliers like it was a shot of Jameson, minus the nasty hangover. Outliers is an easy and engaging read, I finished it in less than a day, so it's worth a go if you have a moment to spare. Hell, why not? Everyone seems to be reading it.

Couple of things I thought about. First, where are the women at!?!? All of Gladwell's outlier examples are male. Bill Gates. Bill Joy. Steve Jobs. Chris Langan. And so on.