While the Washington Monthly‘s reputation as an incubator of journalistic talent is well known, it provides a special and valuable niche in another way: one of the rare spots where you can regularly find accessible but expansive reviews of political books.
That’s meant a lot to me personally, because a good bit of what I consider the best writing of my career has been encouraged and nurtured by Monthly Books Editor Kukula Glastris over the years. It’s not just the books I’ve been assigned, or Kukula’s helpful editing; it’s been the opportunity to use books as a departure point for broader political or historical analysis. Thanks to the Monthly, I’ve had the chance to reconsider the evolution (or devolution) of the conservative movement via a biography of Jesse Helms; to compare different types of “populism” through the prism of William Jennings Bryan’s career; and to discuss both the roots of the Christian Right and the contemporary struggle in the Anglican Communion.
There are other (though not many) places you can read reviews of political books, but hardly any that are as consistent and as wide-ranging as the Monthly. If you aren’t in the habit of reading them, you’re missing something valuable. And if you do read and enjoy them, please help make sure you don’t miss them in the future by making a donation here.