"Behind the Masterpiece: Van Morrison's Astral Weeks at 50"

How influential was it? This influential:

“Bruce Springsteen’s obsession with the record led him to tap Richard Davis to play bass on his 1973 debut and on Born to Run in 1975,” Walsh writes. “Martin Scorsese claims the first 15 minutes of Taxi Driver are based on it. Philip Seymour Hoffman quoted it in his Oscar acceptance speech. Elvis Costello called it ‘the most adventurous record made in the rock medium’; part of the late Jeff Buckley’s own myth is tied with his choice to cover ‘The Way Young Lovers Do.’ Joni Mitchell was so taken aback by the album that she badgered one of Van’s guitarists for information about him.”

"Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America by Nancy MacLean"

Steven Horwitz, following Mike Munger, eviscerates Professor MacLean's book.

MacLean’s own responses and the unwillingness of so many other progressive historians and scholars to call her out on her obvious scholarly transgressions are very sad outcomes. A serious attempt to engage public choice theory by progressive scholars would have been welcome, as would a subsequent exchange that involved more than progressives taking legitimate scholarly criticisms as coordinated attacks and then shouting “Koch!” as if that were an answer to said criticisms. Such a conversation will have to await the publication of a different book. 

"Passage to Israel"

The creator of a book of photographs of Israel discusses the reaction to the book

It turns out that it’s hard to protest beauty. Beauty bypasses ideology and goes straight to the soul. Beauty can’t be fabricated; it can’t be used as part of a false narrative, a rewriting of history.

(As I write the book is getting 4.5 stars out of 5 on Amazon.)

"Book Review: Russell Redenbaugh's 'Shift the Narrative'"

Mr. Redenbaugh sounds like an amazing guy.

Eight months later, and after countless surgeries on his partially working eye, Redenbaugh heard the verdict on his remaining sight as told to his inconsolable mother: “We have done all that we can do.  He will be blind for the rest of his life.” What’s amazing is how the patient responded to news that would perhaps cause most to give up.  Redenbaugh was relieved.