Michael O'Donnell | Reader, Writer

Contact Michael


    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

    Search site

    2017 Archive (10 found)

    The Sound of the Future

    December 11, 2017  | 

    Beethoven was the first great Romantic composer, and if you listen closely you can hear the moment he launched a new era in music. It occurs about a minute into the third movement of his Symphony No. 3, Eroica. After ninety-two bars of indeterminate pianissimo throat clearing, the orchestra suddenly scales upward and erupts in …

    Read Here Read at Source

    Another Reason to Rejoice Greatly

    December 8, 2017  | 

    It is a December evening, and you’re trapped in a school auditorium for the holiday concert. The long-suffering music director raises a baton, the violins screech horribly and some petrified high-school tenor, all puberty and nerves, squeaks out the first few notes of “Comfort Ye,” the opening aria of Handel’s “Messiah.” Your soul convulses as …

    Read Here Read at Source

    Da Vinci’s Diaries

    October 26, 2017  | 

    Leonardo da Vinci — bearded sage of the Renaissance, anatomist, engineer, inventor, and creator of two of the most famous paintings in history (Mona Lisa and The Last Supper) — was first and foremost a mensch. He was, according to an acquaintance, handsome and kind, a gay vegetarian, “friendly, precise, and generous, with a radiant, …

    Read Here Read at Source

    Russia’s Founding Father

    August 24, 2017  | 

    When Mikhail Gorbachev rose to give his first address as general secretary of the Communist Party in 1985, listeners could be forgiven their low expectations. The previous three Soviet premiers were walking fossils. Their mumbling speeches inspired no one. Konstantin Chernenko, Gorbachev’s immediate predecessor, wheezed and coughed and was as yellow as old fingernails; a …

    Read Here Read at Source

    How the Thug Became a Dove

    June 10, 2017  | 

    While serving as attorney general, Robert Kennedy wore his hair close-cropped in the style of the early 1960s. After a trip to the barber it could almost resemble a crew cut. But after President Kennedy’s assassination, he began growing it out. By the time he became a candidate for president in 1968, he had an …

    Read Here Read at Source

    Where the Water Goes

    May 5, 2017  | 

    Some miles south of the Mexican city of Los Algodones, near the Baja Peninsula, the Colorado River ends. It used to flow to the sea, emptying into the Gulf of California. As recently as midcentury, its delta was a wetland ecosystem, with lagoons, fish, and jaguars. Now the drainage basin is an arid wasteland. Motorists …

    Read Here Read at Source

    Six Encounters with Lincoln

    May 1, 2017  | 

    How do we gauge the success of a presidency? The media has recently found itself asking this question. There are standard measures like passing durable legislation and responding well to crisis. Equally important, at least for the current president, are keeping campaign pledges and maintaining popularity through statements and speeches. President Obama’s goal seemed to …

    Read Here Read at Source

    Action Figures

    April 27, 2017  | 

    So much has been said about Margaret Thatcher that the only thing left to do is to say less. Cannadine’s life of the strident and indomitable prime minister is quick as a sprint and a joy to read. Initially prepared as an entry for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Cannadine’s Thatcher appears here in …

    Read Here Read at Source

    Why We Eat Octopus But Not Cat

    April 8, 2017  | 

    The debate over eating animals has become as toxic as our politics, with even more fake blood. The positions of both sides are best understood in the context of reaction. Carnivores ­unsurprisingly dislike vegetarian ­finger-wagging and want to enjoy their suppers in peace. Animal-­welfare advocates, for their part, see such an acute ethical crisis that they …

    Read Here Read at Source

    The Worst Job in the World

    March 20, 2017  | 

    In 1981, the Atlantic Monthly published a devastating critique of supply-side economics called “The Education of David Stockman.” The article was a major embarrassment for the Reagan administration: Stockman was the president’s budget director, and had publicly undermined the theory and numbers behind Reagan’s entire economic program. The cover of the magazine even featured a …

    Read Here Read at Source

  • Review Archives

  • © 2024 Michael O'Donnell. All rights reserved.

    Website designed by Muhr Design.