Book review from Michael Potemra:
The Complete New Yorker (Random House, 123 pp., $100), true to its name, is an eight-DVD set containing every page of every issue of the 80-year-old magazine. Virtually all of the physical weight of this gift box is accounted for by the accompanying book; the DVDs containing the actual reproduced magazines, all 4,109 issues, can be held easily in the palm of one’s hand. The bittersweet victory over paper — tons and tons of paper, but lovable paper nonetheless — is in sight.
The most daunting question is, Where to start? The search engine is well-organized, by author and subject — so if you want to read, say, any of the 793 stories, essays, and poems written for The New Yorker by John Updike, they will be arranged chronologically for you...Another, equally pleasant strategy is the Cultural Immersion. Take an issue at random, from, say, 1960 — and flip through it from cover to cover. Here, it’s the ads, even more than the stuff that’s listed in the table of contents, that will give you a snapshot of lived history. A poem or essay is created, at least in part, with an eye toward literary eternity; the glossy ads are ephemeral by design. You want to know what people thought was really cool in 1960?
Conservatives will be delighted to find here such old friends as William F. Buckley Jr. and Richard Brookhiser. Just as delightful, though, are the political prophecies of liberals past. In his November 15, 1976, write-up of Jimmy Carter’s election victory, Richard H. Rovere worried about the impending collapse of the GOP..