Here are two fascinating tales of politics past and present. One is a success story of democacy in action. The other, a tragedy. “The Quartet” by Joseph Ellis tells how Washington, Madison, Hamilton and Jay orchestrated a ‘second American Revolution’ by scrapping the perilously weak Articles of Confederation and strengthened our government through drafting and ratifying our present Constitution. “The Dream Palace of the Arabs” by Fouad Ajami recalls a generation of writers who tried to spark for a cultural and political renewal in the name of modernity and secularism.