Bye Bye Britain

Neal Ascherson

In​ 2019, Boris Johnson became prime minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. In 2020, he shrank into being prime minister of England. For the second time in less than seven years, the union is in trouble. But this time the problem needs a new question. Forget: ‘Should Scotland be independent?’ The Scots will take care of that. Ask instead:...

 

In America’s Blood

Deborah Friedell

Financially, Trump’s victory was a disaster for the NRA: members became complacent with an ally in the White House, and dues dropped by $35 million. In the midterm elections, for the first time, the NRA was outspent by gun control advocacy groups, and they’ve had layoffs. All this has made them increasingly dependent on large donations from gun manufacturers, sometimes estimated to be at least 60 per cent of their income. It’s not just American money: a quarter of the guns in the US were made in Europe, and Austrians (Glock), Germans (SIG Sauer) and Italians (Beretta) have donated millions of dollars to the NRA in order to protect their biggest market. The interests of gun sellers and gun buyers often overlap, but not always. I used to wonder why the NRA seemed to value the right to carry a concealed gun over an openly carried one, until it was pointed out to me that gun manufacturers often make more money from accessories – waistband holsters, ankle holsters, jackets with special pockets, vegan leather handbags with gun compartments – than from the guns themselves.

 

‘The Discomfort of Evening’

Adam Mars-Jones

Thetitle of Marieke Lucas Rijneveld’s first novel, a bestseller in their native Holland and the winner of this year’s International Booker Prize, makes it seem like an Italian metaphysical painting, perhaps a de Chirico piazza or colonnade enigmatically bathed in Mediterranean light, when in fact the book is set on a Dutch dairy farm like the one on which its author was raised....

 

The Women’s Liberation Movement

Jenny Turner

Iwaswashing up or something ten years ago when an episode of The Reunion with Sue MacGregor came on the radio, the one about the Women’s Liberation protesters who stormed the Miss World competition at the Royal Albert Hall in 1970. I must have known about it already, but it was like I’d never got the point. Listening to that programme, for some reason, took me right back into...

The Longplayer Assembly

Presented by Artangel, in association with the LRB: 24 leading thinkers converge in a non-stop 12-hour conversation relay, live online on Saturday 26 September, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. BST

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I Am Brian Moore

Colin Burrow

In a review​ of Seamus Heaney’s Selected Poems, the novelist Brian Moore remarked: ‘For the great majority of writers born and brought up within its shores, Ireland is a harsh literary jailer. It is a terrain whose power to capture and dominate the imagination makes them its prisoner, forcing them, no matter how far away they wander, to return again and again in their writing to...

 

Sheets of Fire and Leaping Flames

Thomas Jones

Itmust have seemed like the end of the world, and for thousands of people it was. The Younger Pliny was 17 when he witnessed the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. He described it many years later in two letters to Tacitus, who had asked him for an account of his uncle’s death. The Elder Pliny, now best known for his encyclopedic Naturalis Historia and for dying under the volcano, was...

 

Flour Fixated

Bee Wilson

Notmany people have heard of Norman Borlaug, but his invention – the high-yield, short-straw wheat that fuelled the Green Revolution – is consumed every day by the majority of humans on the planet. Without Borlaug’s wheat, there would be no modern food as we know it. Everything from sandwiches to pizza to soy sauce to animal feed is manufactured from wheats adapted from...

Talking Politics: History of Ideas

After each episode of the new Talking Politics podcast, brought to you in partnership with the London Review of Books, continue your exploration of the history of ideas in our unrivalled archive of essays and reviews, films and podcasts.

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LRB Books: Collections and Selections

Rediscover classic pieces, recurring themes, and the dash the London Review of Books has cut through the history of ideas, for the past 40 years, with LRB Collections and now LRB Selections: two new series of collectible books.

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