Anne Applebaum

The Polish Prologue

Seventy years ago next week — at 4:45 a.m. Sept. 1, 1939, to be precise — the German battleship Schleswig-Holstein began to shell the Polish military base near Gdansk. For Germans, for Poles, and for the British and French, who immediately declared war on Germany, that was the beginning of World War II.

Why Afghans Need a Vote

It minced no words, the Taliban, in the leaflets that it scattered across southern Afghanistan last weekend. In one of the missives, the Taliban threatened to cut off the noses and ears of anyone who dared to vote in Thursday’s presidential election.

In the Key of Healing

Two years ago, someone called up Arthur Bloom with an unusual request: A badly wounded soldier, a former drummer, wanted to start playing music again. Trouble was, he’d lost a leg in Iraq and couldn’t use his old drum kit. Did Bloom have any ideas?

A Mad, Bad, and Brutal Baron

A Mad, Bad, and Brutal Baron

Like a contemporary reincarnation of Adela Quest, the heroine of E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India, James Palmer was both attracted and repelled by his first encounter with the grotesque, grimacing, wooden gods of Inner Mongolia: “I entered the shrine of a gruesome god, his sharp teeth grinning and his head festooned with skulls. I …

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