What’s the point of having a blog if you can’t be self-indulgent now and then? So allow me to plug my new book, Daydream Believers: How a Few Grand Ideas Wrecked American Power
(Wiley & Sons). As the subtitle may suggest, it is not a biography of the Monkees but rather a journalistic dissection of why
the United States’ global adventures and image have gone to hell in recent years. Some of you may know that I write a twice-weekly column in Slate
about such matters. My book is not
a compilation of my columns; it’s all new stuff. The official pub date is February 4, but it’s already in stock in many bookstores and on amazon.
Now I’m feeling guilty. So, to compensate for my diversion from the stated mission of this blog, I will also plug Alex Ross’ The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the 20th Century, a sprawling tour de force about the great (mainly classical) composers of the past 100 years—a collage of biography, political history, cultural analysis, and musicology—that ranks not only as 2007’s best book about music but as one of that year’s best books, period.