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October 07, 2004

Ah, the Halcyon Days of 2000 and 2001

by Ron Hogan

I don't imagine that I really need to remind anybody what's at stake with next month's presidential election, but three slim volumes from Melville House Publishing offer a timely reminder of how this whole darn mess got started in the first place. Renata Adler's Irreparable Harm is a reprint of a New Republic article on the Supreme Court's decision in favor of George W. Bush, while Mark Danner's The Road to Illegitimacy stems from a NYRB feature on the Florida recount. The original story in the bunch comes from Melville head Dennis Loy Johnson, who combines an eyewitness account of the protests that accompanied W's inauguration with an analysis of the near-complete absence of coverage of those protests in the mainstream media in The Big Chill.

That's the one I'd recommend you buy--and in all good conscience, I can only recommend that you buy one, despite the fact that they're all good, since they cost $8.95 each and the other two are readily available online. (OK, you have to subscribe to TNR to read the Adler, but for that money you get a lot more than one article.) It also offers, I'd submit, the critique that's still most timely, as mainstream coverage of the various protest movements is still somewhat shaky. Ideally, these three essays would be assembled in a single volume, something about halfway between a magazine and a book, but since that's not the case, The Big Chill is the one to buy. That said, spend a lot of time at Danner's site and you won't be disappointed...

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