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Mead Reviews Brook for the NYer

Insightful review by Rebecca Mead questions the core of David Brooks’ new book, “The Road to Character”:

But Eliot’s unvisited tombs, in their quiet, solemn modesty, present an image that is the very opposite of a what is implied by a eulogy—which is, after all, a very public affirmation and celebration of a life.

A choice quote:

Even if Brooks is the kind of writer who makes you want to preface your sentences with the phrase “Brooks isn’t wrong to point out,” Brooks isn’t wrong to point out that the examination of what comprises a moral life, an examination that came as second nature to his subjects, has fallen out of cultural favor, at least in the overachieving circles of the meritocracy. (Among literary essayists and their readers, however, it’s not quite such a taboo: consider the recent work of Leslie Jamison and Eula Biss.) “What the Victorians were to sex, we are to morality: everything is covered in euphemism,” he writes, with nice precision.

By the way, Brooks wrote some interesting things for the New Yorker. I enjoyed this and this.