Debate Democracy at the Harvard Book Store

Political junkies can have a double-header tonight. Prior to watching the big debate between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden, those interested in one of the big issues of our era — freedom and civil liberties in the Age of Terror — can head over to the Harvard Book Store in Cambridge. Events such as this typify what an important resource the Harvard Book Store is locally and why it’s great that the store found new owners.

There, two fine writers with the New York Times Magazine will talk about their findings in this important area. James Traub will discuss his book, “The Best Intentions,” which centers on the future of the democratic impulse in foreign policy after being hijacked by President Bush. Jonathan Mahler will provide a snapshot of his book “The Challenge,” which tells the dramatic story of a Navy JAG officer, who lost his wife and job on behalf of his client, an accused al Qaeda terrorist whom the lawyer believes deserves his day in court. If that sounds cinematic, it is; George Clooney has already purchased the rights to the story to turn it into a movie.

Mahler is an old friend of mine as well as the author of the wonderful, “Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bronx Is Burning,” a chronicle of New York and the 1977 New York Yankees. I wonder what it means that he’s in Boston tonight, of all nights, the anniversary of the infamous Bucky Dent home run at Fenway. Some day I’ll pen a rebuttal to that book, perhaps on this blog.

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