LRB Cover
Volume 39 Number 7
30 March 2017

LRB blog 27 March 2017

Eleanor Fellowes
Against Prison

24 March 2017

Adam Shatz
Dana Schutz’s ‘Open Casket’

23 March 2017

Glen Newey
Beware of Cows


19 June 2014

Jacqueline Rose

23 September 2010

Elif Batuman
Down with Creative Writing

16 March 2017

Alice Spawls
Twombly’s Literariness

In the next issue, which will be dated 20 April, James Meek reports from Poland.

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Andrew O’Hagan

Memories of Robert Silvers, editor of the ‘New York Review of Books’

When I was young it was possible to feel you’d made it as a writer simply by getting a phone call from one of four editors. When it came to ambition, very few of the writers I knew really gave a fuck about being in Who’s Who, being named an honorary fellow or having one of the queen’s gongs, or a million quid advance. What they wanted was for the phone to ring and for Bob Silvers to be on the line. More


Iain Sinclair

The Last London

Lastness reverberates. That impulse towards wiping the slate clean and starting over. ‘London was, but is no more.’ John Evelyn writing, after the Great Fire, with such relish in his plain statement of fact. ‘London was, but is no more.’ It reminds me of hearing Ian Holloway, the manager of Queen’s Park Rangers, on the radio. He’s got a nice West Country burr, very soothing for his employers. He was talking about his club’s horrible run of form when he said, with disarming optimism, ‘I think we’re right on the crest of a slump.’ And that’s where the current last London seems to be: riding the crest of a slump. That madness of quitting Europe, burning our bridges, starving hospitals of funds, is part of a suicide-note delirium. When the worst is coming straight at you at a thousand miles a minute, embrace it. More

Daniel Soar

The Most Expensive Weapon Ever Built

The beauty of the Joint Strike Fighter project is that everyone can bring something to the party. In a Lancashire workshop, for instance, BAE Systems is building a section of the aft fuselage, including the tail, for every F-35; along with other contributions from all over the world, these pieces are then shipped to Texas for final assembly. This means that every F-35 sale is a boost to the coffers of Britain’s own largest arms company. (BAE has also been allowed to do the foldy bits at the end of the wings.) And the opportunities are everywhere. There are aluminium sheets from Milton Keynes, electronic modules from Billingstad, circuit boards from Ankara, hydraulics from Melbourne, wiring systems from Rotterdam, manifolds from Adelaide, wing parts from Turin and actuators from New York. More

Sheila Fitzpatrick

The Russian Revolution

Historians’ judgments, however much we hope the opposite, reflect the present; and much of this apologetic and deprecatory downgrading of the Russian Revolution simply reflects the – short term? – impact of the Soviet collapse on its status. By 2117, who knows what people will think? More

Susan McKay

The Irish Border

A friend who lives in the North and works in an EU-funded community centre in the South said she fears the return of the border to the minds of the people. The old questions. Who are you? Where are you from? Do you have any identification? What is the purpose of your journey? More

Short Cuts
Frances Webber

Churchill’s Faces
Rosemary Hill


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