2019 In Writing

I did a lot of writing this year. This is a brief list of some of my favorites.

My book, The Enigma of Clarence Thomas, came out. It got some pretty great reviews. You should buy it.

I began writing for The New Yorker Online, which has been a joy.

My first piece was on political converts, men and women who make the journey from one ideology to another, and why the move from left to right has mattered more, over the course of the last century, than the move from right to left.

My second piece was on Eric Hobsbawm, a Communist and a historian, and how his failure at the first made possible his success at the second.

My last piece was an excerpt from my book on Clarence Thomas. It was selected by The New Yorker as “one of our biggest stories of 2019.”

I wrote three other pieces for other venues.

The first was a lengthy essay in Dissent on a bunch of memoirs from the Obama administration. It was at the top of the list of the magazine’s “most read pieces” of 2019.

The second was a much shorter piece I did for Boston Review on what Hayek has to teach the left about politics, morals, and economics.

The last was a very short piece for New York Magazine on what happens when journalists get too close to academics, and vice versa. This, as it turns out, was one of the more controversial pieces I’ve written over the years. A lot of people didn’t like it; there was a lot of argument about it on social media. It also was the occasion for an interesting discussion on On the Media.

Speaking of journalism and academia, I’m working on a long piece on Max Weber, a scholar who did journalism (and tried to do politics). Stay tuned for that some time in the new year.

I’m also working on a combined review of Jodi Dean’s Comrade, which I’m loving, and Vivian Gornick’s The Romance of American Communism, which I’ve long been a fan of and which is being reissued this coming year.

And once I’m done with that, I’ve got a piece to do on Adam Smith, empathy, and markets.

Oh, and Alex Gourevitch and I have written an academic article on freedom and the left. It should be out sometime in the coming year (though academic publishing schedules are wonky).

On a completely unrelated note, I taught, among other things, a new intro course in political theory this past fall. We read Plato’s Republic, Smith’s Wealth of Nations, and Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth. That was it. I’ve never taught a course with so few texts, but it was a great experience. The students, almost all of them first-years, were amazing, finding connections between these three very different texts that I hadn’t seen or considered. We did a lot of very careful and close reading. I hope it was as much fun for them as it was for me.

Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year.

P.S. You’ll notice that the blog has a slightly new look. Thanks to designer Remeike Forbes for all the work on it these past few months and over the years.


  1. gracchibros December 25, 2019 at 12:16 pm | #

    Thanks Corey. This is a help for a world, in so many respects, in “fragments,” to pull your works together in one place.

    Best to you and your readers….

  2. BrianF December 25, 2019 at 7:27 pm | #

    This is great, a nice holiday present. I have a selfish suggestion, though. Could you post a notice and/or link whenever you have a article published? Podcasts, too. Love your work.

  3. jonnybutter December 27, 2019 at 7:46 am | #

    Glad for the update. Would have missed the New Yorker pieces! Happy New year.

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