"Blood and Leviathan" (page 62) is Stephen Davies' review of War! What Is It Good For? (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), a book that tries—but fails—to make the case that large-scale conflict is the driving force behind human development. Davies, 60, is the education director at the Institute for Economics Affairs, a London-based think tank, and the author of Empiricism and History (Palgrave Macmillan). His research focuses on the private supply of public goods, including law enforcement. "I became persuaded of the real possibility of a functioning stateless society through reading David Friedman and through historical research on the way that public goods of all kinds have been provided by voluntary means," he says.
Lenore Skenazy, 55, is founder of the Free-Range Kids movement, which battles the notion "that our children are in constant danger from creeps, kidnapping, germs, grades, flashers, frustration, failure, baby snatchers, bugs, bullies, men, sleepovers and/or the perils of a non-organic grape." In the ironically titled Discovery Life Channel show World's Worst Mom, Skenazy helps parents adjust to the idea that kids can do some things on their own. In "Why I Threw a Sex Offender Brunch" (page 60), she describes one way she put her money where her mouth is.
In "Fake News and False Memories" (page 72), the University of Maine journalism professor Michael J. Socolow reviews Broadcast Hysteria (Hill and Wang). In the process he debunks the myth that Orson Welles' infamous radio broadcast of War of the Worlds resulted in a massive popular panic. Socolow, 46, studies the American radio industry of the 1920s and '30s, finding that "in order to establish and protect their communications oligopoly, [CBS and NBC] continually countered new technologies, pressured politicians and regulators, and circumscribed political discourse on the American airwaves." Before entering academia, he worked as the radio cataloger for the Museum of Television & Radio and was an assignment editor at CNN.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Contributors".