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Articles by Joanna Scutts

War, in Panorama

February 1st, 2014
War, in Panorama

How could they do it, those young men who, with every reason to live, walked deliberately into machine-gun fire? Joe Sacco gives us a panoramic view of the horror, the labor, and the losses of WWI.

A Man Could Stand Up: On Downton Abbey’s Second Season

April 1st, 2012

Unlike the soap operas with which it is often dismissively aligned, Downton Abbey is defined by change rather than stasis – by its beautifully produced attention to social evolution.

Time Wounds All Heels

October 1st, 2011

In Alan Hollinghurst’s new novel The Stranger’s Child the renown of a minor English poet balloons and distorts in each succeeding decade after his death


September 1st, 2011

One of the most significant voices of the Harlem Renaissance was Jessie Redmon Fauset — novelist, essayist, translator, and editor. She’s become obscured behind many of the male writers she published, but Joanna Scutts returns her poignant work to the main stage

‘Some fights are bigger than others’

August 1st, 2011

Brothers take opposing sides in World War One, in a gripping biography that reveals the history and politics of America’s role in the conflict.

Sophistication and Recklessness: Patrick Leigh Fermor

July 1st, 2011

With Patrick Leigh Fermor’s death, the world lost a gracious host, a tireless traveller, and one of the best prose stylists of the 20th century. We pause to appreciate him.

A Raging Appetite

June 1st, 2011

Food writing today requires guts – often quite literally. Gabrielle Hamilton’s memoir transcends gross-out theatrics to portray a life in food, from abandonment to something like fulfillment.

The Greatness that was Downton

February 1st, 2011

Julian Fellowes’ “Downton Abbey” was shot in a castle, but it may have a nearer relationship to “Mad Men” than “Brideshead Revisited.” Joanna Scutts tracks the evolution of the British costume drama.

Second Glance: The Daringly Sensible Marjorie Hillis

October 1st, 2010
Live alone cover

In books such as “Live Alone and Like It” Marjorie Hillis preached independence and practical style to “live-aloner” working women of the 1930s and beyond

No Sign of Horror in the Heavens

December 1st, 2008

Mary Borden’s long-forgotten 1929 memoir of World War I, The Forbidden Zone, takes its readers into the harrowing world of a front-line trauma nurse. Joanna Scutts joins her in the trenches and assesses the damage.

The Least Glamorous Spy

March 1st, 2008

Today the name Mata Hari evokes a villainess in a James Bond movie. Yet, as Joanna Scutts discovers, if you wipe away the makeup from the myth, you uncover a far sadder and more complex tale.

The Life of the Tail Gunner

January 1st, 2008

In her new novel Day, A.L. Kennedy places a World War II veteran on the set of a war movie; unfortunately, Joanna Scutts writes, the characters of her book are not much more dimensional than the movie set.

The Uncertainty Principle

December 1st, 2007

Joanna Scutts reviews Soldier’s Heart by West Point professor Elizabeth D. Samet, whose memoir accomplishes the impressive feat of finding common ground between Army officers and English majors.

The Dream After the Nightmare

November 1st, 2007

When crises like 9/11 erupt, says Susan Faludi, America’s women wind up in lockdown. Joanna Scutts finds the national unconscious as unbalanced as ever in The Terror Dream.

Peer Review: Onion Skins and Grass Cuttings

August 1st, 2007

In our regular feature, Joanna Scutts is judge and jury over the reviewers of Günter Grass’s Peeling the Onion, who rather too frequently forgot they were supposed to be considering a book.

Second Glance: Dorothy Sayers and the Last Golden Age

August 1st, 2007

Joanna Scutts inaugurates this regular feature by revisiting the groundbreaking mysteries of Dorothy Sayers, who’s ability to wryly delight remains undimmed.