LRB Cover
Volume 39 Number 23
30 November 2017

LRB blog 24 November 2017

Sean Gleeson
Between Burma and Bangladesh

23 November 2017

Glenn Patterson
In Praise of Touts

22 November 2017

Simon Bright
Mugabe is gone


9 July 1992

Eric Hobsbawm
Goodbye Columbus

19 November 2015

Jacqueline Rose
Bantu in the Bathroom

16 November 2006

Andrew O’Hagan
A journey to citizenship

In the next issue, which will be dated 14 December, Matthew Bevis on Edward Lear, Wolfgang Streeck on Perry Anderson’s The H-Word and a Libyan story by William Carter.

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James Meek

Passionate Politics

What is identity politics? Is it, to paraphrase Dylan Thomas, a part of society you don’t like that’s fighting for its interests as fiercely as yours does? Or is it, as Mark Lilla puts it in The Once and Future Liberal, ‘a pseudo-politics of self-regard and increasingly narrow and exclusionary self-definition’? The book belongs to the genre of responses to Donald Trump’s election in which liberal American academics turn their rage on their own intellectual-political class. Lilla argues that the pursuit of identity politics by liberal graduates has crippled and distracted the Democrats. More

Vadim Nikitin


The time capsule was buried in a secluded square in Murmansk in 1967 on the eve of the fiftieth anniversary of the Russian Revolution. Inside was a message dedicated to the citizens of the Communist future. At short notice, the authorities brought forward the capsule’s exhumation by ten days, to coincide with the city’s 101st birthday. With the stroke of an official’s pen, a mid-century Soviet relic was enlisted to honour one of the last acts of Tsar (now Saint) Nicholas II, who founded my hometown in October 1916. From socialism to monarchism in ten days. More

Steven Mithen

Hunter-Gatherers Were Right

The perfectly formed city-state is the ideal, deeply ingrained in the Western psyche, on which our notion of the nation-state is founded, ultimately inspiring Donald Trump’s notion of a ‘city’ wall to keep out the barbarian Mexican horde, and Brexiters’ desire to ‘take back control’ from insurgent European bureaucrats. But what if the conventional narrative is entirely wrong? What if ancient ruins testify to an aberration in the normal state of human affairs rather than a glorious and ancient past to whose achievements we should once again aspire? What if the origin of farming wasn’t a moment of liberation but of entrapment? More

Anne Diebel

Jennifer Egan’s Manhattan Beach

The novel’s re-creation of New York City will probably inspire wistfulness. Sections of the Navy Yard have been preserved, and in recent years revitalised, but the new businesses there make things like zillion-dollar lighting fixtures and fake subway signs. Last year, Admiral’s Row was demolished to clear space for a development that will include a huge supermarket and a car park. Who can resist the romance of the bustling yard in a time of industry and righteousness? In this plot-driven page-turner about a period so important to Americans’ idea of themselves, Egan’s dearth of analysis almost passes without notice. More

Short Cuts
Dave Lindorff

At the Movies
Michael Wood


VIDEO The Last London

Iain Sinclair and Stewart Lee

Iain Sinclair tells Stewart Lee why he wants to write a book about Peru. Watch »

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Elizabeth Bishop

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