LRB Cover
Volume 36 No 18
25 September 2014

LRB blog 22 September 2014

Ross McKibbin
A Hopeless Way to Run a Country

22 September 2014

Peter Geoghegan
In Glasgow

19 September 2014

James Meek
The Morning After


2 September 2004

Slavoj Žižek
Leftist Platitudes

18 October 2007

John Lanchester
Vasily Grossman’s Masterpiece

22 October 2009

Greg Grandin
Latin America Pulls Away

In the next issue, which will be dated 9 October, the second part of Jenny Diski’s memoir, which will be published in instalments in the LRB; James Meek on Ukip; Laura Jacobs on George Balanchine.


Tuesday 23 September at 7.00 P.M.

Kitten Clone: Inside Alcatel-Lucent: Douglas Coupland with Alain de Botton

Friday 26 September at 7.00 P.M.

Nowhere People: An evening with Paulo Scott

Tuesday 30 September at 7.00 P.M.

Labyrinth: Will Self and Mark Wallinger

More Events...

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Frances Stonor Saunders

Pasternak and the Valet

Isaiah Berlin was on his honeymoon – he married late – when he first read Dr Zhivago. It was the evening of Saturday, 18 August 1956, and he had just made the short journey back to Moscow from the village of Peredelkino, where he had spent the day with Boris Pasternak. Pasternak’s dacha was part of a complex set up on Stalin’s orders in 1934 to reward the Soviet Union’s most prominent writers. One of them, Korney Chukovsky, described the scheme as ‘entrapping writers within a cocoon of comforts, surrounding them with a network of spies’. More

Ian Penman

Elvis looks for meaning

In the spring of 1965, on the road between Memphis and Hollywood, desert plains all around, his bloodstream torqued by a tinnital static of prescription ups and downs, Elvis Presley finally broke down. He poured out his troubles to Larry Geller, celebrity hair stylist and, lately, something of a spirit guide for Elvis. Geller had given him a mind-expanding reading list of what we would now recognise as New Age self-help books. Elvis had read them all, performed all the meditations, but didn’t feel the light, not in mind, body or soul. The fire refused to descend; his spiritual air remained a vacuum. More

Melanie McFadyean

In the Wrong Crowd

‘You do not need to deliver the fatal blow or even be at the actual scene of the killing to be found guilty and sent to jail,’ Detective Inspector John McFarlane said after the conviction of 17 of the 20 young people jointly charged with the murder of 15-year-old Sofyen Belamouadden at Victoria Station in March 2010: ‘the law on joint enterprise is clear and unforgiving.’ To be found guilty of murder as an individual it must be proved beyond reasonable doubt that you intended to kill or cause serious harm resulting in death. More

Owen Bennett-Jones

The Durand Line

The conflict in the Afghanistan-Pakistan borderlands has similarities with other contemporary struggles. From Timbuktu to Kandahar, jihadis, national governments, ethnic groups and, in some cases, tribes are fighting for supremacy. In each place there are complicating local factors: badly drawn international borders; the relative strength or weakness of non-violent Islamist movements; the presence or absence of foreign forces, whether Western or jihadi; and different historical experiences of colonialism. More

Short Cuts
Jeremy Harding

In Cardiff
John Barrell

At the Movies
Michael Wood