Becca Rothfeld

Washington, D.C.

Book critic

Education: Dartmouth College, BA in philosophy and German; University of Cambridge, MPhil in history and philosophy of science; Harvard University, ABD, PhD in philosophy

Becca Rothfeld is the nonfiction book critic at Book World. Before joining The Washington Post, she served as assistant literary editor of the New Republic and worked toward her PhD in philosophy at Harvard, where she focused on aesthetics and the history of philosophy. Her debut essay collection is forthcoming from Henry Holt in 2024.
Latest from Becca Rothfeld

The doctor who saw colonialism as a sickness

‘The Rebel’s Clinic,’ by Adam Shatz, is an engrossing biography of the psychiatrist, philosopher and revolutionary Frantz Fanon.

January 19, 2024

He joked that he had 13 readers. He deserves millions.

‘The Geography of the Imagination’ shows off the stylish brilliance of Guy Davenport, a writer who contained multitudes.

January 11, 2024

‘Equality’ says the path has always been fraught

Darrin M. McMahon’s wide-ranging history demonstrates that progress toward achieving equality is almost never linear

January 4, 2024

A delightful look back at how the Renaissance changed beauty standards

Jill Burke’s ‘How to Be a Renaissance Woman’ is full of surprising information about how the era widened self-expression.

December 14, 2023

How evangelicals learned to put country over God

In “The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory,” Tim Alberta explores why the patriotism of the church he grew up in has taken on such alarmingly violent undertones.

December 8, 2023

Yes, people lie online. But it may matter less than we fear.

In “A History of Fake Things on the Internet,” Walter Scheirer says concerns about digital misinformation are overblown and alarmist.

December 2, 2023

Flaubert’s letters are as hilarious and humane as his best fiction

The French writer’s correspondence, recently reissued in one volume, is some of the loveliest and liveliest ever written

November 22, 2023

The real origins of America’s gun culture

“Gun Country” chronicles the transformation of guns from tangible weapons to ideological ammunition during the Cold War

November 9, 2023

Tracy K. Smith conjures her family’s ghosts in ‘To Free the Captives’

The Pulitzer Prize-winning poet’s new memoir evokes her ancestors despite archives eroded by institutional racism.

November 2, 2023

Do we need to save fiction from conglomerate publishing?

In “Big Fiction,” Dan Sinykin writes with narrative flair about the age of consolidation in the books business.

October 27, 2023