LRB Cover
Volume 39 Number 22
16 November 2017

LRB blog 17 November 2017

John Perry
Dam Violence

16 November 2017

Esther Chadwick
Thomas Bewick’s Sketchbook

15 November 2017

Natasha Warikoo
Racist Spires


4 December 2008

Mahmood Mamdani
Mugabe in Context

7 November 2013

Christian Lorentzen
Charles Manson

16 December 2004

Charles Nicholl
The Da Vinci Codices

In the next issue, which will be dated 30 November, Colm Tóibín on the Wilde family, Andrew O'Hagan on Neal Ascherson's first novel.

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Adam Shatz

The President and the Bomb

America’s wartime transformation, and the emergence of the national security state, has cast a long, seemingly infinite shadow over peacetime. Perhaps the question we should be asking is not whether Trump can be stopped, but whether the system as a whole can be overhauled. ‘We have elevated the president to the position of a demigod, and then when he turns out to be Donald Trump, we’re shocked,’ Andrew Bacevich said to me. ‘But since Roosevelt we have vastly enhanced the power and prerogatives exercised by the president, and his ability to execute the nuclear war plan is just part of the package. Why have we entrusted this one imperfect individual with the power to blow up the planet?’ More

Thomas Jones

X marks the self

Before it was co-opted as the pocketwatch of late capitalism – a gift from the US government – GPS was developed as a way to help the US air force drop its bombs just where it wanted with as little risk as possible to American lives. As with any technological breakthrough, it took decades, with false starts, moments of inspiration, patient refinements, scepticism from the brass (‘We’re the navy, we know where we are’), inter-service rivalry and a more or less steady influx of government cash. Within days of Sputnik’s launch in 1957, two young engineers at Johns Hopkins University were using the Russian satellite’s radio signal to plot and then predict its position. GPS came of age in the 1991 Gulf War. More

T.J. Clark

The Art of the Russian Revolution

I have been trying to forget the shows in London commemorating the Bolsheviks, in particular the Royal Academy’s Revolution: Russian Art 1917-32. But I haven’t been able to: some things, some spaces and images, have stuck in the mind like shards of glass. In particular, I’ve found myself from time to time back in a small dark room at the end of the Royal Academy’s exhibition, on the walls of which were projected mugshots of entrants to the Gulag. The room was manipulative, and I was manipulated like everyone else. There would have been a kind of obscenity in trying to resist. More

Alice Spawls

The Brontës

I should make the first of what I hope need be only a few confessions. We are in the business of history, but also of opinion, of trying to read the characters of the dead. I am not a 19th-century scholar, a Brontë expert, a Brontë fan even. A year ago, I was not interested in Charlotte, or her mysterious sisters or feckless brother, or their eccentric father, and I was certainly not interested in her charming publisher or her upright critics. I was not interested in hearing what the Brontës were, what they have become, or what they were definitely, almost certainly, assuredly, not. I did not want to visit Haworth. More


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