The New York Review of Books – May 25, 2023 issue: Michael Hofmann on Goethe’s last years, Jerome Groopman on the business of biotech, Joan Acocella on Balanchine, Jed S. Rakoff on William O. Douglas’s environmentalism, Adam Hochschild on 1619 and 1776, Willa Glickman on grassroots labor unions, Brenda Wineapple on Susanna Moore, Ian Johnson on art looters, Jenny Uglow on Samuel Pepys and the wreck of the HMS Gloucester, Nicholas Guyatt on financing the Civil War, Elaine Blair on how we talk about sexual assault, poems by Eugene Ostashevsky, D. Nurske, and Ama Codjoe, and much more.
Bewitched by Goethe
In Johann Eckermann, Goethe found an amanuensis made in heaven.
Conversations with Goethe: In the Last Years of His Life by Johann Peter Eckermann, translated from the German by Allan Blunden, with an introduction and notes by Ritchie Robertson
A strange time to publish—strange time to publish anything—a translation of Eckermann’s Conversations with Goethe (or should that be Goethe’s Conversations with Eckermann?), in six hundred static, major-key pages that can easily feel like twice as many. The big man, himself by now somewhat fallen on hard times, recorded by the little acolyte.
Saving Lives and Making a Killing
A new book reveals the split personality of the biotech industry: an altruistic enterprise that creates breakthrough treatments for patients in need, and a bare-knuckle business that seeks to generate astronomic profits and stop competitors from developing better treatments.
For Blood and Money: Billionaires, Biotech, and the Quest for a Blockbuster Drug by Nathan Vardi
A research scientist for Pharmacyclics, Sunnyvale, California, 2013. In For Blood and Money, Nathan Vardi writes that when Pharmacyclics—which developed ibrutinib, a treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia—was bought by the pharmaceutical giant AbbVie in 2015 for $21 billion, ‘the deal…set the new high-water mark for success in the biotechnology industry.’