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The Least Worst Place

Colin Dayan: ‘Supermax’ Prisons, 2 August 2007

Bad Men: Guantanamo Bay and the Secret Prisons 
by Clive Stafford Smith.
Weidenfeld, 307 pp., £16.99, April 2007, 978 0 297 85221 6
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... Stafford Smith does not explicitly condemn the theorising of academics such as Alan Dershowitz or Michael Levin, but he implies that their rationalisations of torture may have helped to legitimate its use. Indeed, in urging his readers to link the armchair explanations of professors and policy-makers to the silence or racist abuse of soldiers and prison ...


Benjamin Markovits: Michael Jordan and Me, 23 May 2002

... for his rudeness, but partly because he captured the essence of my other, still breathing hero, Michael Jordan. ‘Half dust, half deity’, Byron wrote of man’s estate, but I applied his meaning more specifically. ‘Alike unfit to sink or soar’ seemed to describe that hanging space, a few feet off the ground, in which Jordan lived. Jordan has presided ...

Mad Doings in Trade

Anatole Kaletsky, 21 June 1984

The World’s Money: International Banking from Bretton Woods to the Brink of Insolvency 
by Michael Moffitt.
Joseph, 284 pp., £9.95, February 1984, 0 7181 2414 6
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International Debt and the Stability of the World Economy 
by William Cline.
MIT, 134 pp., £5.10, September 1983, 0 262 53048 1
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Managing Global Debt 
by Richard Dale and Richard Mattione.
Brookings, 50 pp., October 1983, 0 8157 1717 2
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... looking for juicy yarns. This is why a racy, readable, gossipy book like The World’s Money by Michael Moffitt (himself an adviser to Shearson American Express, a subsidiary of one of the big lenders) is worth a whole stack of official reports, particularly to policy-makers, who have to deal constantly with markets but often have no idea of what they ...

Time Longer than Rope

Greil Marcus, 16 November 1995

... in the bureaucratic aftermath of the Jacksonian Revolution, or by Francis Coppola’s fratricidal Michael Corleone in the Cold War utopia of the Fifties, or by The Turner Diaries’ stone-faced Timothy McVeigh in 1995, just months after the United States began a shift from the republic of inclusion shaped by Lincoln, Carnegie, and King to the republic of ...

Ozymandias Syndrome

Robert Irwin, 24 August 1995

Islamic Architecture 
by Robert Hillenbrand.
Edinburgh, 645 pp., £49.50, November 1994, 0 7486 0479 0
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The Art and Architecture of Islam 1250-1800 
by Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom.
Yale, 348 pp., £45, August 1994, 0 300 05888 8
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The Mosque: History, Architectural Development and Regional Diversity 
edited by Martin Frishman and Hassan-Uddin Khan.
Thames and Hudson, 288 pp., £36, November 1994, 0 500 34133 8
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Iznik: The Pottery of Ottoman Turkey 
by Nurhan Atasoy and Julian Raby.
Alexandria Press/Laurence King, 384 pp., £60, July 1994, 1 85669 054 7
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... of the painting, the eye can wander about as it pleases. In a recent book on Mughal painting, Michael Rogers observed that ‘in many fine Islamic paintings, as indeed in the late Gothic manuscript painting of Northern Europe, it is left to the viewer to organise the space as he or she will, the eye roving from exquisite detail to exquisite detail without ...

Hate is the new love

Malcolm Bull: Slavoj Žižek, 25 January 2001

The Fragile Absolute or why is the christian legacy worth fighting for? 
by Slavoj Žižek.
Verso, 182 pp., £16, June 2000, 1 85984 770 6
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... City of God seems to have become the Left’s new paradigm of social change. In Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt’s Empire, Augustine provides the model for a counter-empire in which ‘the divine city is a universal city of aliens, coming together, co-operating, communicating.’ And even Slavoj Žižek, who complains that ‘in today’s critical and ...

King Cling

Julian Bell: Kings and Collectors, 5 April 2018

Charles I: King and Collector 
Royal Academy, London, until 15 April 2018Show More
Charles II: Art and Power 
Queen’s Gallery/London, until 13 May 2018Show More
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... The only signs of fresh pictorial intelligence in the exhibition come from two Englishmen, John Michael Wright and John Riley, whose portraits presage the comic tones of the 18th century, and from the Flemish Jacob Huysmans. Huysmans, like Orazio Gentileschi before him, was a protégé of the queen whose waywardness could be indulged: his portrait of Queen ...

The Knock at the Door

Philip Clark: The Complete Mozart, 8 February 2018

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: The New Complete Edition 
Universal Classics, £275, October 2016Show More
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... of Mozart’s original piece are scattered in the background. In 1991, the British composer Michael Finnissy wrote WAM, a trio for flute, bass clarinet and piano which he structured as a montage of Mozartian trills, melodic passagework and bass lines, rendered unpredictable in performance as the three musicians read from unsynchronised scores, making ...

Out Hunting

Gary Younge: In Baltimore, 29 July 2021

We Own This City: A True Story of Crime, Cops and Corruption in an American City 
by Justin Fenton.
Faber, 335 pp., £14.99, February, 978 0 571 35661 4
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... a coma was induced. He never woke up.Gray’s death occurred just months after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, which ignited the Black Lives Matter movement, and the news of his death led to riots. In response, the governor of Maryland declared a state of emergency and called in the National Guard. The autopsy revealed that Gray’s ...

Botticelli and the Built-in Bed

Anthony Grafton: The Italian Renaissance, 2 April 1998

Behind the Picture: Art and Evidence in Italian Renaissance 
by Martin Kemp.
Yale, 304 pp., £25, November 1997, 0 300 07195 7
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... A great many other art historians – from Aby Warburg and his teacher, Hubert Janitschek, down to Michael Baxandall – have drawn glosses on painters’ methods and intentions from Alberti’s text. Kemp questions the plausibility of such arguments. The evidence of the surviving manuscripts shows that only the Latin text attained any substantial ...

Plan Colombia

Malcolm Deas, 5 April 2001

... by drugs and guerrillas. Our moral or intellectual engagement with conflict abroad is also, as Michael Ignatieff puts it, ‘notoriously selective and partial’. Colombia does not appear to be strategic. Certainly, for most of its independent history it has not been so. One disdainful late 19th-century Foreign Office note on a despatch from Bogotá ...


David Denby: Deaths on Camera, 8 September 2016

... steady and we see Walter Scott, a man of about fifty, abruptly running away from a policeman, Michael Slager, who then discharges eight rounds from his revolver, five of which hit Scott in the back. Scott falls, and Slager, running up to the immobile body, shouts: ‘Put your hands behind your back!’ Santana keeps his camera on Slager as he returns to ...

Make for the Boondocks

Tom Nairn: Hardt and Negri, 5 May 2005

by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri.
Hamish Hamilton, 426 pp., £20, January 2005, 0 241 14240 7
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... US Defense Shield, Armageddon has retreated further. In The Globalisation of World Politics (2001) Michael Cox pointed out that today ‘nuclear war is far less likely to happen,’ even though there has been an increase in the number of wars. Later in the same volume Andrew Linklater maintained that ‘there is no doubt that globalisation and fragmentation ...

I Could Sleep with All of Them

Colm Tóibín: The Mann Family, 6 November 2008

In the Shadow of the Magic Mountain: The Erika and Klaus Mann Story 
by Andrea Weiss.
Chicago, 302 pp., £14.50, May 2008, 978 0 226 88672 5
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... other three – the barely tolerated ones – were Golo, born in 1909, Monika, born in 1910, and Michael, born in 1919. Erika remembered a time during the shortages of the First World War when food had to be divided but there was one fig left over. ‘What did my father do? He gave this fig just to me alone . . . the other three children stared in ...

An Invertebrate Left

Perry Anderson, 12 March 2009

... in 1974 – followed a year later by a book-length interview with the American neoconservative Michael Ledeen, subsequently prominent in the Iran-Contra affair – that this huge enterprise had a major impact in the public sphere, attracting a barrage of criticism on the left as a rehabilitation of Fascism. By the time his fifth volume came out, in the ...

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