A Tale of Two Declines

I was on a very long flight the other day and, to get me through it, I had two books: the new bestseller Of Thee I Zing by Laura Ingraham, and a book I last read twenty years ago, The Radetzky March by Joseph Roth. The former is the latest hit from one of America’s most popular talk radio hosts; the latter is an Austrian novel from 1932 by a fellow who drank himself to death just before the Second World War, which, if you’re planning on drinking yourself to death, is a better pretext than most. Don’t worry, I’ll save the Germanic alcoholic guy for a couple of paragraphs, although the two books are oddly related.

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