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Licence to kill

Paul Foot, 10 February 1994

Spider’s Web: Bush, Saddam, Thatcher and the Decade of Deceit 
by Alan Friedman.
Faber, 455 pp., £17.50, November 1993, 0 571 17002 1
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The Unlikely Spy 
by Paul Henderson.
Bloomsbury, 294 pp., £16.99, September 1993, 0 7475 1597 2
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... It was the patrician Alan Clark who most accurately summed up the approach of the British and American Governments to the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. Nothing, he reckoned, was better for business than a lot of foreigners killing one another. This has been true of all foreign wars throughout the ages, but for businessmen of the Clark mentality a hot war in the Eighties which demanded endless supplies of expensive weaponry and technology was almost too good to be true ...

Mid-Century Male

Christopher Glazek: Edmund White, 19 July 2012

Jack Holmes and His Friend 
by Edmund White.
Bloomsbury, 390 pp., £18.99, January 2012, 978 1 4088 0579 4
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... it as one of the few contemporary novels he liked. The book was reviewed in the New York Times by Alan Friedman, the author of a forgotten novel called Hermaphrodeity, who described it as ‘a nearly inscrutable mystery’ powered by ‘camp, vamp and very damp wit’. He praised White’s ‘poetic brilliance’ and ‘hard, gem-like style’ but ...

What’s fair about that?

Adam Swift: Social Mobilities, 23 January 2020

Social Mobility and Its Enemies 
by Lee Elliot Major and Stephen Machin.
Pelican, 272 pp., £8.99, September 2018, 978 0 241 31702 0
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Social Mobility and Education in Britain 
by Erzsébet Bukodi and John Goldthorpe.
Cambridge, 249 pp., £19.99, December 2018, 978 1 108 46821 3
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The Class Ceiling: Why It Pays to Be Privileged 
by Sam Friedman and Daniel Laurison.
Policy, 224 pp., £9.99, January, 978 1 4473 3610 5
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... government rebranded Labour’s Child Poverty Commission as the Social Mobility Commission, with Alan Milburn as its head. Milburn gave a lot of attention to recruitment to elite positions – his flagship report was on fair access to the professions – but the commission’s analyses and recommendations as a whole were much more extensive, including work ...

The Rise and Fall of Thatcherism

Peter Clarke: Eight years after, 10 December 1998

... a doctrine, it lacks a canonical text. In monetarist proselytising in Britain, the name of Milton Friedman was frequently mentioned, his seminal address to the American Economic Association respectfully invoked. Yet this, for all its keen theoretical insights, evinces scepticism and caution about their immediate application to policy. It is in this respect ...


Anthony Holden, 6 November 1980

The United States in the 1980s 
edited by Peter Duignan and Alvin Rabushka.
Croom Helm, 868 pp., £14.95, August 1980, 0 8179 7281 1
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... not least because its opening contribution comes from her favourite TV star and economist, Milton Friedman, the man for whom the British economy is now what St Paul’s was to Sir Christopher Wren: Si monumentum requiris, circumspice. Professor Friedman’s contribution, an extract from his book-of-the-(TV)-film, Free to ...

On Thatcher

Karl Miller, 25 April 2013

... easing’, the word went undropped in the recent tributes, as did the name of the wizard Milton Friedman. And yet it was once the holy grail of expositions of Thatcherism, receiving ample treatment in Ian Gilmour’s critique Dancing with Dogma. What is admirable in her has, in fact, little to do with dogma. She came to the point and did what she ...


Peter Clarke, 6 July 1995

The Path to Power 
by Margaret Thatcher.
HarperCollins, 656 pp., £24, June 1995, 0 00 255050 4
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... reason to doubt this, or a related comment on Keynesianism; ‘Before I ever read a page of Milton Friedman or Alan Walters, I just knew that these assertions could not be true.’ She readily makes the link from economics to values, insisting that members of Bloomsbury, with their ‘rejection of the Victorian virtues in ...

11 September 1973

Christopher Hitchens: Crimes against Allende, 11 July 2002

Pinochet in Piccadilly: Britain and Chile’s Hidden History 
by Andy Beckett.
Faber, 280 pp., £15.99, May 2002, 0 571 20241 1
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... around the Thatcher candidacy, who wanted to revive the free market doctrines of Hayek and Friedman. The paradox in their case was obvious: it might take a very strong state to impose these libertarian values. Milton Friedman himself, and others of the so-called ‘Chicago School’ of political economy, had been ...

Is the Soviet Union over?

John Lloyd, 27 September 1990

Moving the Mountain: Inside the Perestroika Revolution 
by Abel Aganbegyan, translated by Helen Szamuely.
Bantam, 248 pp., £14.95, October 1989, 0 593 01818 4
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Gorbachev’s Struggle for Economic Reform: The Soviet Reform Process 
by Anders Aslund.
Pinter, 219 pp., £35, May 1989, 0 86187 008 5
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... gets his main economic advice from men who think about the economy in much the same way as Alan Walters (a great favourite in Eastern European Finance Ministries) and Milton Friedman; and the same is true of Boris Yeltsin. In Czechoslovakia (Vaclav Klaus, Finance Minister), Hungary (Petr Bod, Industry Minister) and ...

Holocaust History

Geoff Eley, 3 March 1983

... a capital ‘h’, and without the stronger proprietorial claims now well-established. Philip Friedman, pioneer of Jewish history under the Nazis, used it: but only as a descriptive equivalent with several others, and he seems to have preferred the expression ‘the Jewish Catastrophe’. At this stage ‘holocaust’ may have been more commonly attached ...

The Gatekeeper

Adam Tooze: Krugman’s Conversion, 22 April 2021

Arguing with Zombies: Economics, Politics and the Fight for a Better Future 
by Paul Krugman.
Norton, 444 pp., £13.99, February, 978 0 393 54132 8
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... America’s late 20th-century market revolution originated in Chicago with the likes of Milton Friedman holds true, if at all, for the 1970s and 1980s. But in the last thirty years that story has come to serve more and more as an alibi. In the 1990s the brains behind Clinton and Blair and the Washington consensus were far more likely to be trained at ...

In place of fairies

Simon Schaffer, 2 December 1982

Stolen Lightning: The Social Theory of Magic 
by Daniel O’Keefe.
Martin Robertson, 581 pp., £17.50, September 1982, 0 85520 486 9
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Scienze, Credenze Occulti, Livelli di Cultura 
edited by Paola Zambelli.
Leo Olschki, 562 pp., April 1982, 88 222 3069 8
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... hosts of local historians. Current interest in magic, as exemplified by the work of writers like Alan Macfarlane or Keith Thomas, owes more to this attitude than it does to O’Keefe’s conspiracy of Californian hippies, oriental gurus and sinister denizens of the Warburg. In this conference, for example, Burke shows that the élitist (and confused) notion ...

Double Doctrine

Colin Kidd: The Enlightenment, 5 December 2013

The Enlightenment and Why It Still Matters 
by Anthony Pagden.
Oxford, 436 pp., £20, May 2013, 978 0 19 966093 3
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... political space more properly belonging to the sovereign state. In Atheism in France 1650-1729, Alan Kors has shown that some of the most ingenious arguments for atheism in the Enlightenment were first aired in the teaching of Catholic seminaries which prepared priests to handle any eventuality. The religious Enlightenment is not the only missing ingredient ...


Andrew O’Hagan: Pukey poetry anthologies, 4 November 2004

Poems to Last a Lifetime 
edited by Daisy Goodwin.
HarperCollins, 308 pp., £18.99, October 2004, 0 00 717707 0
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All the Poems You Need to Say I Do 
edited by Peter Forbes.
Picador, 197 pp., £10, October 2004, 0 330 43388 1
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... for their readers. Currently riding high are Why Your Life Sucks: And What You Can Do about It by Alan Cohen, When Children Grieve: For Adults to Help Children Deal with Death, Divorce, Pet Loss, Moving and Other Losses by John James and Russell Friedman, and Bodylove: Learning to Like Our Looks and Ourselves: A Practical ...

Pound Foolish

Kit McMahon, 9 May 1996

Politics and the Pound: The Conservatives’ Struggle with Sterling 
by Philip Stephens.
Macmillan, 364 pp., £20, March 1996, 0 333 63296 6
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... rate. The theoretical underpinning for this framework was thought to have been provided by Milton Friedman and the then fashionable theory of Rational Expectations. Friedman’s views were put forward to the public in the form of simple-minded graphs purporting to show that movements in the money supply were always followed ...

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