Two segments trace some effects of the war in Iraq:

At home in Illinois: CALVIN TRILLIN reports on the family of one National Guardsman killed in Iraq: Brian Slavenas of DeKalb, Illinois. His father is a strong supporter of the war, but his mother is a long-time antiwar activist. Trillin wrote his powerful “Letter from Illinois” for The New Yorker.

— And in Washington, the pro-war camp is euphoric these days; they say that the “liberation” of Iraq has prompted Arabs to challenge their own regimes in Lebanon, Palestine and Egypt, and that the US stands poised to reap the benefits of “democratization.” There’s one problem with this analysis, ADAM SHATZ argues: it isn’t true. Adam is Literary Editor of The Nation; he has visited Beirut and interviewed the leader of Hezbollah for the New York Review of Books; he wrote recently for the op-ed page of the L.A. Times.

Also: CONSERVATIVES ON CAMPUS: they claim they are vicitims of leftist professors; they say they are “fearful,” and need the government to protect them. RUSSELL JACOBY will explain their so-called “Academic Bill of Rights” being proposed in state legislatures across the country; he wrote about it for The Nation.

Plus: The history of FAILURE IN AMERICA: Scott Sandage has a terrific book on the topic: Born Losers.

More things to read:
“Conservatives have long complained about the small number of Republicans on the faculty at Harvard. My best guess is that this is the result of differences in innate ability.” –Jon Wiener, “(Un)Fair Harvard,” The Nation, April 4:

“California inspires people to think big, and to write big books. Take, for example, Kevin Starr. . . .” — Jon Wiener, “Dreams and Delusions,” five books about California, The Nation, April 11: