Garry Wills
What the Gospels Meant.
Penguin, 224 pages, $24.95

Garry Wills, translator
Martial's Epigrams: A Selection.
Viking, 207 pages, $23.95

Back in 1961, Garry Wills wrote a pretty good book called Chesterton: Man and Mask. In 1970, he published a pretty bad book called Nixon Agonistes. His 1978 Inventing America was lively, and his 1983 Lead Time was dull. His 1984 Cincinnatus was smart, and his 1987 Reagan’s America was stupid. His 1992 Lincoln at Gettysburg deserved the Pulitzer Prize it won, and his 1997 John Wayne’s America stank on ice. Saint Augustine in 1999: cooking with Crisco. Papal Sin in 2000: burnt to a crisp.

Anyway, you get the picture. Remember the Two Moods of Voltaire? None of the man’s acquaintances could tell beforehand whether it...


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