When I think of the writers I worshiped when I was starting out in life, I always think of Margaret Drabble. She was 20 years older than I, but the serious, hip, intellectual British novelist whose black-and-white photo appeared on the front cover of some of her paperbacks seemed permanently young. Reading her was like having an extremely brainy and fashionable best friend who'd been educated at Cambridge and had really lived.
In the pages of David Finkel's new book, you'll meet a veteran who has recurring nightmares in which a fellow soldier asks, "Why didn't you save me?" You'll also meet a veteran who sees images of dead Iraqis floating in his bathtub, and another who tries to kill himself by biting through his right wrist — the only wrist he can raise to his mouth since his left side is paralyzed.
Federal bureaucracies aren't the only ones scaling back operations during the government shutdown. It's also meant that kids couldn't take field trips to the Smithsonian.
In fact most of the popular Washington attractions funded by the government are closed. That includes the Smithsonian's 19 museums and the National Zoo, plus Ford's Theatre and the National Gallery of Art.