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Living It

Andrew O’Hagan: The World of Andy McNab

24 January 2008
by Andy McNab.
Bantam, 414 pp., £17.99, October 2007, 978 1 84413 535 6
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Strike Back 
by Chris Ryan.
Century, 314 pp., £17.99, October 2007, 978 1 84413 535 6
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... accurate representation of the world as seen by many decorated soldiers. That is the reason men who don’t ordinarily read have come in great numbers to love the insiderish bravado of McNab and ChrisRyan. Their books are driven by stereotype and cartoon violence, by idiocy, prejudice and unreality, which is why they are inadvertent masterpieces of social realism, for in their garish video-game ...

Short Cuts

Christian Lorentzen: The Trump Regime

1 December 2016
... him during their first meeting, and now he may keep some bits of Obamacare – forget all those years he spent saying the president was born in Kenya. He demoted the leader of his transition team, ChrisChristie, the New Jersey governor mired in his own scandal for allegedly having his aides pursue a vendetta against a local mayor and now allegedly the victim of a vendetta on the part of Trump’s ...

Community Relations

Daniel Finn: In Belfast

27 August 2009
... up yesterday afternoon, a Sunday afternoon? None other than for to get a reaction from the Loyalist community and they certainly got a reaction this time, which is very sad.’ Kevin McDaid’s son Ryan accused the PSNI of failing to protect his father: ‘The police sat and watched as Dad died, they never moved. There were four police officers in a car . . . they never moved, never came, never ...

Short Cuts

Tom Crewe: The Independent Group

7 March 2019
... of guarantee. It is a face in the crowd. Most of our 650 MPs never become household names – we don’t think of them at all. What is an Ann Coffey? A Mike Gapes? An Angela Smith? What is a Joan Ryan? Every once in a while we are forced to grapple with questions like these. We are forever asking for our MPs to be human; but when we are confronted by their humanity, their spiky, quirky, sulky ...

Short Cuts

Christian Lorentzen: Tom Cotton

8 April 2015
... perhaps because of their affirmation of traditional gender roles.) But it’s as a philosopher-king-in-waiting that Cotton has set himself apart from other recent celebrities of the right: Paul Ryan, the Ayn Rand-reading gym rat; ChrisChristie, hulking hero of the parking lot outside the Springsteen concert; Sarah Palin, snowmobile queen avenger. Though Cotton left graduate school because it ...

In the Land of the Free

Christian Lorentzen

22 November 2012
... he choked up and started telling campaign staffers which positions he’d have given them in his administration; now they stand to collect unemployment benefit or, more likely, become lobbyists. Paul Ryan, who dreamed of being Romney’s Dick Cheney, returns to Congress at the age of 42, and as long as his 90 per cent white Wisconsin district keeps voting for him, he has another three decades to try ...

‘It was everything’

Eliot Weinberger: The Republican Convention

10 August 2016
... Raised on a cattle farm, married to a row crop farmer, I’m a Christian, pro-life, gun-carrying, conservative woman’). There were a few noted committed Trumpistas (Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, ChrisChristie); a few party stalwarts (Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell – who was booed) taking a sip of, if not exactly drinking the Trump Kool-Aid; and a breadline of hungry ‘rising stars’, fixed on the ...


Christian Lorentzen: At the Conventions

27 September 2012
... business politics is a cover for big business policies, and occasionally this would come to the surface in the form of wild applause for union-busting governors like Scott Walker of Wisconsin or ChrisChristie of New Jersey. Imagine Nikki Haley’s joy when she saw the first Boeing built in South Carolina roll down the tarmac ‘surrounded by six thousand non-union employees’. That Monday night ...

Grand Theories

W.G. Runciman

17 October 1985
The Return of Grand Theory in the Human Sciences 
edited by Quentin Skinner.
Cambridge, 215 pp., £17.50, July 1985, 0 521 26692 0
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by Erik Olin Wright.
Verso, 344 pp., £20, September 1985, 0 86091 104 7
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Powers and Liberties: The Causes and Consequences of the Rise of the West 
by John Hall.
Blackwell, 282 pp., £19.50, September 1985, 0 631 14542 7
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... of science owes its influence to being wrongly held to imply that scientific progress is anything which a community of scientists asserts to be so – which Kuhn himself doesn’t believe at all. Ryan: Rawls’s Grand Theory of Justice seeks to found a doctrine of rights (as opposed to deserts) on first principles to which all disinterested persons will assent, but it is really only an appeal to ...

Nuremberg Rally, Invasion of Poland, Dunkirk …

James Meek: The never-ending wish to write about the Second World War

6 September 2001
Ghost MacIndoe 
by Jonathan Buckley.
Fourth Estate, 469 pp., £12.99, April 2001, 1 84115 227 7
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The Twins 
by Tessa de Loo.
Arcadia, 392 pp., £6.99, May 2001, 1 900850 56 7
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by John Lawton.
Weidenfeld, 322 pp., £16.99, March 2001, 0 297 64345 2
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The Day We Had Hitler Home 
by Rodney Hall.
Granta, 361 pp., £15.99, April 2001, 1 86207 384 8
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Five Quarters of the Orange 
by Joanne Harris.
Doubleday, 431 pp., £12.99, April 2001, 0 385 60169 7
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The Fire Fighter 
by Francis Cottam.
Chatto, 240 pp., £15.99, March 2001, 0 7011 6981 8
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The Element of Water 
by Stevie Davies.
Women’s Press, 253 pp., £9.99, April 2001, 0 7043 4705 9
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The Bronze Horsewoman 
by Paullina Simons.
Flamingo, 637 pp., £6.99, April 2001, 0 00 651322 0
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The Siege 
by Helen Dunmore.
Penguin, 304 pp., £16.99, June 2001, 0 670 89718 3
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... but the success of The English Patient and Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, and the fascination with the war on the part of the human mint that is Steven Spielberg (Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan and soon Band of Brothers) must speak eloquently to publishers. In one direct sense at least, the Second World War is about money: it was the last war that materially affected the lives of all the ...

Burn Rate

Ed Harriman: The Iraq Disaster

6 September 2007
... would provide’. Lately, some of the most damning criticism of the occupation forces has been directed against the British. A recent report by the International Crisis Group, whose trustees include Chris Patten, George Soros and Zbigniew Brzezinski, entitled ‘Where Is Iraq Heading? Lessons from Basra’, suggests that ‘the British appear to have given up on the idea of establishing a functioning ...

Like a Manta Ray

Jenny Turner: The Entire History of Sex

21 October 2015
The Argonauts 
by Maggie Nelson.
Graywolf, 143 pp., £23, May 2015, 978 1 55597 707 8
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... And if, like me, you are not familiar with the queer and avant-garde art worlds of southern California, one joy of reading Nelson is getting introduced to them: Catherine Opie and A.L. Steiner, Chris Burden and Paul McCarthy, Ryan Trecartin and Mike Kelley, Nao Bustamante and William Pope.L. Nelson spends less time on work that, in her view, is stupid, arrogant or exploitative. Names that come up ...

Criminal Justice

Ronan Bennett

24 June 1993
... records relating to the residents, which they refused to return when Peirce was trying to trace those who had been staying in the hostel in October 1974. It was not until 1988, after Father Frank Ryan, the hostel’s head, had sued the police, that copies – not the originals – were returned. Peirce was then at last able to start tracing potential witnesses. It emerged that a nun working in the ...

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