Thomas E. Ricks: “Most art has a public face—music is played, paintings are displayed, plays are enacted, movies are filmed and often watched by groups. Books tend to be more private, from one person’s act of writing to another’s act of reading. Most mysterious of all is the hidden middle stage, the offstage act of editing. Yet sometimes it can make all the difference.”

“What requires less intellectual engagement, less genuine consideration, than smiling and looking into a camera?”

Ian Buruma: “Near the beginning of The Memory of Justice, the violinist Yehudi Menuhin declares that the barbarism of Nazi Germany can only be seen as a universal moral catastrophe: ‘I proceed from the assumption that every human being is guilty.’ The fact that it happened in Germany, he says, doesn’t mean that it cannot happen elsewhere. This statement comes just after we have seen the Nazi leaders, one after the other, declare their innocence in the Nuremberg courtroom. […] There was nothing special about the Germans that predisposed them to become killers or, more often, to look away when the killings were done. There is no such thing as a criminal people.”

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