Dennis Lehane, the novelist of "Mystic River" and "Gone Baby Gone," sees America vanishing. "Isn't anybody paying attention?"
Gore Vidal -- passionate historian, and indomitable comic -- at his best in 2003, contrasting Founding Heroes and Bathetic Pretenders in American politics.
David Shields kicks ass and drops names talking about his manifesto: "Reality Hunger." Aphorisms, Emerson, David Markson are in. Novels, Ian McEwan and Michiko Kakutani are out, out, out.