The New York Review of Books (or NYREV or NYRB) is a semi-monthly magazine with articles on literature, culture, economics, science and current affairs. Published in New York City, it is inspired by the idea that the discussion of important books is an indispensable literary activity. Esquire called it "the premier literary-intellectual magazine in the English language." In 1970 writer Tom Wolfe described it as "the chief theoretical organ of Radical Chic".
The Review publishes long-form reviews and essays, often by well-known writers, original poetry, and has lively letters and personals advertising sections. In 1979 the magazine founded the London Review of Books, which continues independently. In 1990 it founded an Italian edition, la Rivista dei Libri, published until 2010. Robert B. Silvers and Barbara Epstein edited the paper together from its founding in 1963, until her death in 2006. Since then, Silvers has been sole editor. The Review has a book publishing division, established in 1999, called New York Review Books, which publishes classics, collections and children's books. Since 2010, the journal has hosted an online blog written by its contributors.
The Review celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013, and a Martin Scorsese film called The 50 Year Argument documents the history and influence of the paper.
Over the years, the Review has featured reviews and articles by such international writers and intellectuals, in addition to those already noted, as Timothy Garton Ash, Margaret Atwood, Russell Baker, Saul Bellow, Isaiah Berlin, Harold Bloom, Joseph Brodsky, Noam Chomsky, J. M. Coetzee, Frederick Crews, Ronald Dworkin, John Kenneth Galbraith, Nadine Gordimer, Stephen Jay Gould, Christopher Hitchens, Murray Kempton, Paul Krugman, Richard Lewontin, Perry Link, Alison Lurie, Peter Medawar, Daniel Mendelsohn, Bill Moyers, Vladimir Nabokov, Ralph Nader, V. S. Naipaul, Peter G. Peterson, Nathaniel Rich, Felix Rohatyn, Jean-Paul Sartre, John Searle, Zadie Smith, Timothy Snyder, George Soros, I. F. Stone, Desmond Tutu, John Updike, Derek Walcott, Steven Weinberg, Garry Wills and Tony Judt. According to the National Book Foundation: "From Mary McCarthy and Edmund Wilson to Gore Vidal and Joan Didion, The New York Review of Books has consistently employed the liveliest minds in America to think about, write about, and debate books and the issues they raise."
The Review also devotes space in most issues to poetry, and has featured the work of such poets as Robert Lowell, John Berryman, Ted Hughes, John Ashbery, Richard Wilbur, Seamus Heaney, Octavio Paz, and Czeslaw Milosz. For writers, the "depth [of the articles], and the quality of the people writing for it, has made a Review byline a résumé definer. If one wishes to be thought of as a certain type of writer – of heft, style and a certain gravitas – a Review byline is pretty much the gold standard." In editing a piece, Silvers has said that he asks himself "sentence by sentence, if [the point could] be clearer, while also respecting the writer’s voice and tone. You have to listen carefully to the tone of the writer’s prose and try to adapt to it, but only up to a point. [But no change is ever made without the writers' permission.] ... Writers deserve the final word about their prose."
In addition to domestic matters, the Review covers issues of international concern. A British commentator noted in the 1980s, "In the 1960s [the Review] opposed American involvement in Vietnam; more recently it has taken a line mildly Keynesian in economics, pro-Israeli but Anti-Zionist, sceptical of Reagan's Latin-American policy". The British newspaper The Independent has described the Review as "the only mainstream American publication to speak out consistently against the war in Iraq." On Middle East coverage, Silvers said, "any serious criticism of Israeli policy will be seen by some as heresy, a form of betrayal. ... [M]uch of what we've published has come from some of the most respected and brilliant Israeli writers ... Amos Elon, Avishai Margalit, David Grossman, David Shulman, among them. What emerges from them is a sense that occupying land and people year after year can only lead to a sad and bad result."