I can remember wincing at it in an outlet of Borders. In the summer of 2001, Henry Kissinger authored a book with the insouciant title of Does America Need a Foreign Policy? The pages were still aromatic from the printers when the atrocities of September 11 answered the question. Suffice it to say the paperback contained an Afterword.

Kissinger has had to wait almost two decades for someone to publish a more ill-timed book. The awkwardness now attaches to poor Ben Wilson, whose Metropolis, a fine ode to cities, comes out in the bleakest year for them since World War 2 razed Berlin and Rotterdam...

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