Afghanistan after the Exit

Zain Samir

Thereare hundreds of military bases scattered across Afghanistan, from concrete watchtowers, surrounded by razor wire, to massive airbases, fortified with concrete blast walls and watchtowers stretching for miles. Hundreds of thousands of Afghan and foreign soldiers, officers, technicians, cooks, cleaners and generals occupied these bases, along with armoured Humvees, helicopters,...

 

Dirty Work

Katrina Forrester

Microwork is the latest proof that technological development doesn’t end work, but only produces new forms of labour – and new ways of concealing it. Facebook’s user-friendly façade masks the poorly paid and precarious work that goes on behind the scenes, replicating, rather than departing from, institutions in the physical world like the care home, the garment factory, the abattoir, the prison.

 

A Psychohistory of France

Rosemary Hill

Formuch of the 20th century, geography and history were treated as separate subjects: ‘maps and chaps’, as the saying had it. It is an anomalous distinction, but oddly persistent. While human perception does not divide time and space along the lines of academic disciplines, attempts to bring them together often have a disruptive effect on the institutions concerned with...

 

Indecent Government

Ferdinand Mount

Priti Patel has recently empowered special constables for the first time to carry tasers – sabres by another name. Shades of Peterloo. Nor will there be any shortage of storage space for the noisy. The government boasts that it has embarked on the largest prison-building programme for a century. These five Acts of Parliament were all in force by the end of April. Each of them is intended to increase government control: over Parliament, over elections, over the courts, over immigrants and over public demonstrations. How it all brings back the dear dead days of 1819 – the hulks, the sabres, the bastilles, the transportation of illegal males without a chance to say goodbye, let alone take their families with them. For Boris Johnson, the outrage that these Acts have generated in lefty circles is not a drawback but a brilliant success. The whole thing is a deliberate strategy to enthuse his core vote and heighten their sense of imperilment. 

 

Elif Batuman’s Education

Clair Wills

My experience of reading Either/Or has been that, whatever you may be thinking, Batuman is always three or four steps ahead of you, not only on gender politics, but on history (the war in Ukraine worms in, unbelievably), American imperialism, orientalist tourists, the very different ways in which Ivy League undergraduates and Turkish hostel workers get to be ‘special’ – you name it. And she may well be several steps ahead on this, too. Nonetheless.

Travels for the Mind

Travels for the Mind

Read the world’s best writing – from some of the world’s best writers. Subscribe to the LRB today.

 

Prodigious Enigma

Catherine Hall

Inthe early 18th century, Bordeaux was a rapidly expanding and prosperous city. Its riches derived from the business of slavery, and the city changed to accommodate this business. The port was renovated to make room for the large ships travelling to Martinique, Guadeloupe and St Domingue; work began on what was to be the magnificent Place de la Bourse on the Garonne and on the new merchant...

 

Maeve Gilmore

Francesca Wade

To advertise​ simultaneous exhibitions of their paintings at two London galleries in 1939, Maeve Gilmore and Mervyn Peake posed for a photograph at their home in Maida Vale. Peake, wearing a flamboyant floral tie, sits in the foreground, his looming shadow on the wall behind him. He is drawing a charcoal portrait of Gilmore, who stands silhouetted against the window, paintbrush in hand,...

 

‘Vagabonds!’

Adewale Maja-Pearce

Perhaps​ I wasn’t paying attention, but Èkó – or Lagos, from the Portuguese for lakes – has suddenly become fashionable, though not always for the best reasons. We can do without another TV documentary on the floating slum that is Makoko (many of whose 100,000 inhabitants shit and bathe in the lagoon they live over) and a further homily about the wonders of...

LRB notecards

Be the envy of the neighbourhood with these sets of ten notecards, featuring LRB cover designs by Peter Campbell and Alexander Gorlizki.

Read More

That Year Again

Collected pieces from the LRB on the year 1922, now available online and at the LRB bookshop. Featuring Helen Vendler on T.S. Eliot, Michael Wood on Nosferatu, Lewis Nkosi on the Harlem Renaissance and poems by Don Paterson and Anne Carson.

Read More

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences