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Cleaning Up

Tom Nairn

3 October 1996
ThePol Pot Regime: Race, Power and Genocide in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, 1975-79 
by Ben Kiernan.
Yale, 477 pp., £25, April 1996, 0 300 06113 7
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... historical attempt was made literally to reverse the entire process – to truncate urbanisation altogether and forcibly reconstitute peasant society into a different sort of nation, what BenKiernan calls ‘the indentured agrarian state’. Everyone has heard of the horrors accompanying this attempt, yet the episode itself remains ill-understood. In its own day the Cambodian revolution was ...

The Unrewarded End

V.G. Kiernan: Memories of the CP

17 September 1998
The Death of Uncle Joe 
by Alison Macleod.
Merlin, 269 pp., £9.95, May 1997, 0 85036 467 1
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Enemy Within: The Rise and Fall of the British Communist Party 
by Francis Beckett.
Merlin, 253 pp., £9.95, August 1998, 0 85036 477 9
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... found a nook for myself in the local section of the Britain-China Friendship Association, an organisation that arose out of the Korean War. There were one or two Party organisers involved, including Ben Bradley, whom I had known for a long time. He had done a spell of Party work in India, and been one of the defendants in the Meerut Conspiracy Trial. Our Edinburgh section was kept going by a nucleus ...

Pay Attention, Class

Robert Hanks: Giles Foden

10 September 2009
Turbulence 
by Giles Foden.
Faber, 353 pp., £16.99, June 2009, 978 0 571 20522 6
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... His chief players are Charles Douglas, a nervously afflicted, pragmatic British meteorologist, the scientifically minded Norwegian Sverre Petterssen, and the data-crunching Americans Irving Krick and Ben Holzman. Group Captain James Stagg of the RAF, in peacetime a geologist rather than a meteorologist, had the job of providing Eisenhower with forecasts for at least 48 hours ahead, based on the often ...

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