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Archive by category: London Review of BooksReturn
Sep 02, 2021
American occupation has made the Taliban more disciplined fighters – with new elite battalions such as the Red Unit – and above all a more media-savvy organisation. Video footage from Kabul airport may dominate online, but a different set of images moved events. These were small videos, captured on phones earlier this summer in borderland provinces, showing Taliban forces taking over Afghan border posts, the soldiers calmly handing over their weapons without a fight.
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Sep 02, 2021
I am writing this in code because I cannot speak or saythe thing. The thing which should be, or I so wishcould beplumbed fathomed disinterred from this silence, this ever thickeningsilence through...
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Sep 02, 2021
Kennedy was perfectly aware that nuclear missiles in Cuba posed no real threat to national security, even if they slightly narrowed America’s enormous lead in weapons capable of reaching the other’s homeland. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff had told him that a US nuclear attack would obliterate Soviet society but the inevitable retaliation might still kill as many as fifteen million Americans. War with the USSR was therefore out of the question.
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Sep 02, 2021
Historians,​ public officials and forensic anthropologists are searching for unmarked mass burial sites. Not in Bosnia or Syria but in the United States of America: in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to be...
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Sep 02, 2021
Flower​ arranging occupies a lowly rung in the English cultural hierarchy. Somewhere between handicraft and hobby and associated mostly with women, it conjures up images of 1950s housewives...
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Sep 02, 2021
Imperialism was the foundation of Britain’s power and wealth, and so criticism of it was integral to campaigns for liberty. It was not only Indians and the Indian diaspora who looked to Dadabhai Naoroji as an ally and representative, but British workers, suffragists and Irish nationalists.  
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Sep 02, 2021
According to Black Teacher, Beryl Gilroy created her own programmes of learning, devised idiosyncratic projects and sensed where her lessons could eventually lead her pupils – she wasn’t just wiping tears, joining in their games or buying a troubled child a hamster. Since then, a succession of education ministers have undermined the status and autonomy of teachers, and conditions for children themselves are greatly altered.
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Sep 02, 2021
The politics of class hasn’t disappeared, though its articulations have not remained the same. Deindustrialisation has led to a cascade of changes in the economy and society; its impact on Britain’s coalfields since the 1980s has been severe. But it doesn’t inevitably mean a decline in workers’ rights and collective security. That depends on politics.
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Sep 02, 2021
Bill​ Brandt|Henry Moore is an investigation in two parts. There is the exhibition at the University of East Anglia’s Sainsbury Centre (recently closed), which travels in mid-November to...
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Sep 02, 2021
‘Mind’ is never a good word in D.H. Lawrence: the whole problem of modern life was that there was far too much mind in it, operating ‘as a director or controller of the spontaneous centres’ which should properly be in charge. Mindlessness has its attractions: ‘I would like to be a tree for a while. The great lust of roots. Root-lust. And no mind at all.’
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Sep 02, 2021
Food​ is money. Or it can be, if you know how to transform it into profit. Ajinomoto Co. is Japan’s biggest producer of condiments and seasonings, with annual revenues of ¥1 trillion,...
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Sep 02, 2021
Fredric​ Jameson points out in this study that Walter Benjamin never wrote a book, or not of a traditional kind. His account of German baroque theatre, translated into English as The Origin of...
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Sep 02, 2021
Sisters, infernal virgins, would you kill again,Knowing the endless sieves you would refill again?Night is where the day’s mistakes repeat,I swallow the bitter crumb, the sleeping pill...
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Sep 02, 2021
‘Life is not a series of gig-lamps symmetrically arranged,’ Virginia Woolf wrote, disparaging the kind of fiction associated with Arnold Bennett, John Galsworthy and H.G. Wells....
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Sep 02, 2021
Gwendoline Riley’s landscape is the North of England: bars, motorways, housing estates. In her novels, there is often a monstrous father, and an awful mother too – though the latter is more subtly cannibalistic, more pathetic. The father will trash and attack; the mother will wheedle and whine.
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Sep 02, 2021
Afew weeks ago,​ a man appeared in my front garden as I was trimming the hedge. Slight in stature, in his early twenties with short dark hair, he was wearing a huge hold-all as though it were a...
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Sep 02, 2021
Defenders of Berlin’s new palace claim that as home to the Humboldt Forum – a collection of objects from Africa and Asia – it demonstrates Germany’s eagerness to engage in a ‘dialogue of cultures’. This is disingenuous. The building’s façade, sponsored partly by German business and testament to a stifling, philistine cultural climate, is its real message – a coda to the Merkel era.
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Sep 02, 2021
Farah Pahlavi and Andy Warhol photographed in New York, 1977. In the mid 1970s​, Iran started buying nudes. Some were abstract nudes, such as Willem de Kooning’s Woman III, with her...
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Sep 02, 2021
To​ modern eyes, The Memorial of the Church of England, Humbly Offer’d to the Consideration of All True Lovers of Our Church and Constitution might look like a benign, beard-and-sandals...
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Sep 02, 2021
The speed and scale of response to the Covid-19 pandemic could be seen to point up our failure to take action commensurate with the threat of climate change, but the comparison doesn’t seem quite right. Climate change doesn’t provide the same clarifying moments as a pandemic, and if we expect COP26 – or a summer of heatwaves – to be such a moment, we will be disappointed. The question is how to move forward when the urgency created by each climate disaster is so easily lost.
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Sep 02, 2021
The letters page from London Review of Books Vol. 43 No. 17 (Friday 27 August 2021)
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Sep 02, 2021
Table of contents from London Review of Books Vol. 43 No. 17 (Friday 27 August 2021)
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Aug 04, 2021
Neither Trump nor the people around him were part of a sinister plot to subvert and ultimately take over the democratic institutions of the United States. They didn’t possess even the minimum competence for that. Trump’s presidency was a kind of vacuum of seriousness: the relationship between means and ends was practically non-existent.
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Aug 04, 2021
Here is what it is: no force on earth will keep a writer’s preoccupations out of their fiction. You are not necessarily looking for them, but you find them every time. There you are in your octagon, holding a glass of whisky in one hand and working one foot into the fur of a bear, when the fire lights up the primal line.
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Aug 04, 2021
Howls​ of rage greeted the new concrete paths that were laid over the notoriously treacherous rock of the Acropolis last year. Increasing the numbers the site can handle arguably brings visitors...
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