What We Are Reading Today: Killing Mr. Lebanon, by Nicholas Blanford

Updated 07 May 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: Killing Mr. Lebanon, by Nicholas Blanford

Before the Arab Spring, the Syrian war and fears of another conflict between Hezbollah and Israel, one story dominated Lebanon: The killing of Rafik Hariri. 
The former prime minister and architect of Beirut’s revival after decades of war, Hariri was one of the most powerful men in the country’s history. He was killed by a car bomb near Beirut’s seafront in 2005. 
This book was written before the UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon indicted four Hezbollah members for the assassination. 
Their trial in absentia has been ongoing since 2014. But despite the painfully slow legal process that has unfolded since its publication, Nicholas Blanford’s detailed and compelling account of the final weeks of Hariri’s life still paints a fascinating picture of the murky figures and complex layers that make up the higher echelons of power in the divided nation. 
With the country holding its first election in nine years this week, “Killing Mr. Lebanon” is a reminder of Lebanon’s fragility and the challenges faced by the current generation of leaders in holding it together.


What We Are Reading Today: The Chief by Joan Biskupic

Updated 21 March 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: The Chief by Joan Biskupic

  • The Chief reveals the making of a justice and the drama on America’s highest court

This is an incisive biography of the US Supreme Court’s enigmatic chief justice, taking us inside the momentous legal decisions of his tenure so far. 

In The Chief, award-winning journalist Joan Biskupic contends that Chief Justice Roberts is torn between two, often divergent, priorities: To carry out a conservative agenda, and to protect the Supreme Court’s image and his place in history. 

Biskupic shows how Roberts’s dual commitments have fostered distrust among his colleagues, with major consequences for the law. Trenchant and authoritative, The Chief reveals the making of a justice and the drama on America’s highest court. 

“Given the court’s current composition, anyone who does not want the law to lurch to the right in civil rights, abortion and other areas has to hope Roberts will hold it close to its current course — either based on actual beliefs, or to protect the Supreme Court as an institution,” said Adam Cohen in a review published in The New York Times.

Biskupic has covered the Supreme Court since 1989.