Letters to the Editor – The New York Times4 min read


On the contrary: Women writing about women’s achievements in fields and institutions where they have been invisible and without voice has been instrumental in calling attention to their exclusion. Schwendener says that this kind of writing won’t “reverse the course of patriarchal art history.” Of course it won’t. But while one book won’t do it, many books, focusing as Donna Seaman does on the work and lives of women artists, can go a long way toward pointing to the desperate need for change.


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Celebrating Our Illustrators

To the Editor:

I am repeatedly impressed by the combination of ingenuity and relevance of the art in the Book Review. The front-page drawing by Pablo Amargo, illustrating the lead review by Terrence Rafferty of “Six Four,” by Hideo Yokoyama (Feb. 26), is a case in point. It captures the unease of the central character within seemingly well-ordered Japan that the review suggests the crime novel conveys so well. At the same time the art is striking and dynamic, drawing the viewer into the central symbol.



To the Editor:

The graphics that accompany Book Review pages are always marvelous. Do these artists ever get any honors? Credits beyond the listing of their names? Praise for their extraordinary creativity? Because they are never explicitly celebrated, I feel that their work is taken for granted.



Reading for the Age of Trump

To the Editor:

Several articles and letters in the Book Review have addressed dystopian literature and the Trump administration. To these titles I would add Theodore Dreiser’s Trilogy of Desire (“The Financier,” “The Titan” and “The Stoic”). These novels are based on the life of the robber baron Charles Yerkes.

The ruthless doings and outrageous behavior of the fictional Frank Cowperwood not only shed light on Trump but on the members of his billionaire cabinet as well. It’s a shame Dreiser’s works are largely unread today, especially in the wake of the 2008 financial collapse.



More, Not Less

To the Editor:

Annie Murphy Paul, in her review of “Testosterone Rex” (Feb. 26), writes, “Built into the very structures of our thinking is the notion of women as less: less lustful, less competitive, less aggressive.”

Agreed, “women as less” is a source of injustice across cultures. But Paul’s list reinforces this bias. Isn’t being more lustful, competitive and aggressive exactly what’s wrong with maleness? Why venerate what testosterone does? I see women not as “less” lustful, competitive and aggressive but rather as more love-oriented, cooperative and peace-seeking. If that’s “less,” it’s certainly also more.

To the extent that males and females differ in these things, women appear dealt the better hand. And if that’s just in my own personal pro-woman bias, I’m sticking with it. It seems to me that women have a lot to teach men about how best to be human.



The writer is the first endowed professor for nature and humanity at Stony Brook University.

‘Age of Anger’

To the Editor:

In his review of “Age of Anger,” by Pankaj Mishra (Feb. 19), Franklin Foer states, “Thanks to the advance of capitalism, we live in a world with less abject poverty, less disease, less oppression and greater material prosperity.” That such aspects of the world are better only because of capitalism is overly simplistic and perhaps plain wrong, given its displacement of hundreds of millions of people for arable land, cheap labor and natural resources.

Mishra’s book has flaws, like its overreliance on Rousseau, but there is no “glibness” to his statement that “most people have found the notions of individualism and social mobility to be unrealizable in practice,” even in the United States, where mobility rates have fallen. His critique of global capitalism widens our understanding of its subjective as well as material effects upon an increasingly flat Friedmanian world.



The Book Review wants to hear from readers. Letters for publication should include the writer’s name, address and telephone number. Please address them to books@nytimes or to The Editor, The New York Times Book Review, 620 Eighth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10018. Comments may also be posted on the Book Review’s Facebook page.

Letters may be edited for length and clarity. We regret that we are unable to acknowledge letters.

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