Harvey Blume

Harvey Blume is a writer in Cambridge.

Recent Articles

Of Slime Mold and Software

Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software By Steven Johnson. Scribner, 288 pages, $25.00 I t's easy to see why there aren't more books like Steven Johnson's Emergence : Only Johnson knows how to write them. Johnson was a founder and editor of Feed, one of the Web's first and best "zines" (now moribund, unfortunately, thanks to the economic downturn). Feed aimed to show that there was no contradiction between maintaining high literary standards and creating online community, and it succeeded, in large part, because Johnson himself is both media savvy and a skilled writer. Johnson's first book, Interface Culture (1997), was probably the single most memorable volume to come out of the Internet explosion of the 1990s. It was an intellectually bold, often exhilarating read, full of unexpected perspectives on culture and digital media. The new book is exactly the volume Johnson needed to write next. It takes up the earlier arguments, expands them in the light of a...

Kissinger, In Deed

The Trial of Henry Kissinger, Christopher Hitchens. Verso, 160 pages, $22.00. F rom the way that Christopher Hitchens tears into bloated reputations, it's easy to imagine that in another age he would have spent many a predawn hour happily preparing to duel. Now he has flung his challenge at Henry Kissinger, a man who generally liked to use the B-52 for predawn confrontations, though he might also send ground forces and, on special occasions, even an assassin. Much of the story of Kissinger is already known (not that it's bad to be reminded), so the question that arises apropos of The Trial of Henry Kissinger, a book-length version of two articles Hitchens wrote for Harper's last winter, is: Why now? What about this moment leads Hitchens to train his considerable powers of detestation upon Kissinger? Some new facts have come to light in the interim, but the case against Richard Nixon's secretary of state stands much as it did in 1976, when a character in Joseph Heller's novel Good as...