All Else Failed: The Unlikely Volunteers at the Heart of the Migrant Aid Crisis

The Greeks have a word for the desire to help people in need, explains Dana Sachs in her riveting new account of humanitarian courage, All Else Failed. She then teaches us a concept that seems alien in the extant rendition of America: Philoxenia, or “love of strangers.” In Sachs’s telling, from the shores of the […]

Western Journeys

Teow Lim Goh’s Western Journeys delves into the heart of what it means to be an American—and what it means to not be considered American enough. Immigrants, minority peoples, and native peoples all find a place in Goh’s analysis of the American experience. Her essays also probe what it means to be living in a […]

East Winds: A Global Quest to Reckon with Marriage

In East Winds: A Global Quest to Reckon with Marriage, Rachel Rueckert details her nearly year-long honeymoon, during which she considers the institution of marriage—an unsurprising choice, given her newlywed status. Rueckert’s engaging prose and humor transmit her unflinching interrogation into both cultural understandings of marriage and her past relationships as she unwaveringly pursues answers. […]


Photo by Emily Levine on Unsplash We had some money and we went to Rome. My husband had never been, and I’d just turned forty. It is not possible for me to write the name I called my husband. I don’t remember our endearments. My husband today—someone else—I call Sweetheart, but I didn’t use that […]

The Poetics of Wrongness

In this book of essays, Rachel Zucker acknowledges that being heterosexual and white confer privilege that today makes both her and her world so very wrong. But then, even to say she’s wrong is wrong. Yet not saying is wrong, especially for a woman, because reticence is wrong, and then assertiveness is wrong. Every effort […]

The Naked Don’t Fear the Water

“I was an Afghan named Habib,” writes Matthieu Aikins in The Naked Don’t Fear the Water: An Underground Journey with Afghan Refugees. Aikins is a Canadian-American journalist with over a decade of experience reporting from Kabul. His debut, while an Afghanistan war book, distinguishes itself from other accounts penned by Western media correspondents. Whereas Anand […]