Population genetics theory supplies powerful predictions about how natural selection interacts with genetic linkage to sculpt the genomic landscape of nucleotide polymorphism. Both the spread of beneficial mutations and the removal of deleterious mutations act to depress polymorphism levels, especially in low-recombination regions. However, empiricists have documented extreme disparities among species. Here we characterize the dominant features that could drive differences in linked selection among species--including roles for selective sweeps being 'hard' or 'soft'--and the concealing effects of demography and confounding genomic variables. We advocate targeted studies of closely related species to unify our understanding of how selection and linkage interact to shape genome evolution.