This past year Michael Murray brought out Jacques Barzun: Portrait of a Mind, tracking his subject’s astonishing life from a French boyhood in which Barzun played marbles with the poet Guillaume Apollinaire through a brilliant career at Columbia University, first as an undergraduate, then as a teacher, and finally as the university’s provost. Murray relates a particularly delightful story about young Professor Barzun. In one of his first history classes, Barzun recalled, there “was a beautifully dressed man of about forty, with very black hair and a signet ring with a diamond and a tie pin; he was done up to the nines. At the end of the first semester, he came to me and said: ‘I am a Turk, and I want to express my gratitude because in your dealing with the Turkish question you have been perfectly fair. This means so much. I want to tell you that if ever at any time someone stands in your way or has done you harm, here is my card, just call me, and he will be taken care of.’”