STEVEN ROSS is a professor of philosophy at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center.
I became an ardent fan of William T. Vollmanns work after reading Europe Central (2005). It is an extraordinary accomplishment, a remarkable feat of re-imagining one of the most complex, and harrowing, events of the 20th century, the conflict between Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia.
In the summer of 2006, I was planning a trip to Buenos Aires and Brazil. I sort of knew this then, but I certainly see this now: my life was quite adrift, not in a tragic or irrevocable sense, but enough to annoy me.
After eight years in which ideology reigned supreme, President Obama, it is often said, will bring a welcome pragmatism to Washington. It is worth asking just what this means, or is likely to mean.