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Didn’t they notice?

David Runciman: Offshore, 14 April 2011

Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men who Stole the World 
by Nicholas Shaxson.
Bodley Head, 329 pp., £14.99, January 2011, 978 1 84792 110 9
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Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer – and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class 
by Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson.
Simon and Schuster, 368 pp., £11.50, March 2011, 978 1 4165 8870 2
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... justice (who isn’t?). He is also, on some accounts, a victim: his unfortunate mentor at the LSE, David Held, has described the predicament the ostensibly reform-minded Saif found himself in after his father’s people had revolted as ‘the stuff of Shakespeare’, but that surely is letting everyone concerned off far too lightly. He may just be a ...

On David King

Susannah Clapp, 21 June 2018

... for drawings and paintings – and commissioned photographs. Some of the most powerful were by David King. He used to come blazing into the office with his huge black-and-white portraits, already measured up for size: no question, ever, of anything being cropped. One was of the writer Francis Wyndham, then in his sixties, in conversation with a 34-year-old ...

Who was David Peterley?

Michael Holroyd, 15 November 1984

... David Peterley’s Peterley Harvest was first published on 24 October 1960. The book had a curious history and, shortly before publication, stories began to appear in the press declaring it to be an elaborate hoax. The jacket of the book contained the information that David Peterley was the only son of an old Quaker family that had ‘lived in the Chilterns and been neighbours of Milton and the Penns ...
The Idea of Poverty: England in the Early Industrial Age 
by Gertrude Himmelfarb.
Faber, 595 pp., £20, March 1984, 0 571 13177 8
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... condition into an intolerable but solvable problem, as the Industrial Revolution has held out, for the first time, the prospect of a more abundant life, not only for the élite, but for humanity as a whole. Only when its eradication became possible did poverty become a problem. We may not have gone far towards solving it in practice (vide ...

Two poems after Yannis Ritsos

David Harsent, 27 September 2012

... and never notice a thing, except now and then a maid will laugh and her laughter is caught and held like a tethered bird. [ … ] There came a day when I was feeling better. I asked the serving girls to put my make-up on for me, which they did, then brought me a mirror. My face was green, my lips black. ‘Thank you,’ I said, ‘thank you, it makes all ...

From Loss

David Harsent, 7 March 2019

... is death in abeyance         as blood slows and you         are held in that pale light         frost-fall and a caught breath.         There is no true healing         not at the well of sorrows         not at the whipping-post not         at the communion rail –         Christ’s ...

Like a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader

John Lloyd: Globalisation, 2 September 1999

The Lexus and the Olive Tree 
by Thomas Friedman.
HarperCollins, 394 pp., £19.99, May 1999, 0 00 257014 9
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Global Transformation 
by David Held and Anthony McGrew.
Polity, 515 pp., £59.50, March 1999, 0 7456 1498 1
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... us his job, as foreign affairs columnist for the New York Times, is the best in the world – but Held et al. have done the reading, the cross-referencing and the pondering. Friedman goes wrong in the way that good, attention-grabbing journalists often go wrong when they set out to write at length. He tends to fall back on the belief that the world he is ...

The Queen Bee Canticles

David Harsent, 6 January 2011

... framing sea and sky, blue climbing on blue, a glaze shaken by the heat, as she drifted in and held heavy in the thickening air. It was this: a man writing, herself as witness, the swarm now stalled and gorged. When I die, bury me in honey. Fill an amphora three times my height, five times my bulk, then let me down into it gently, a long soft glide … His ...

Deal of the Century

David Thomson: As Ovitz Tells It, 7 March 2019

Who Is Michael Ovitz? 
by Michael Ovitz.
W.H. Allen, 372 pp., £20, September 2018, 978 0 7535 5336 7
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... Hollywood when Ovitz was perceived as the awesome future already arrived: the incarnation of long-held fears concerning what talent agents might become. But it’s clear now that he was also the last of a dying breed (so many American movie pathfinders end up that way). That’s the reason for his book’s tight-lipped title. The man who was recognised, not ...

Notes on the Election

David Runciman, 5 February 2015

... return to Westminster with a raft of new MPs we face the possibility of the balance of power being held by a party that rejects Britain’s current constitutional settlement. The last time the SNP had sufficient representation in the Commons to make or break a government they used it to break one, calling the no confidence vote in the Callaghan administration ...

Ariel the Unlucky

David Gilmour, 5 April 1990

Warrior: The Autobiography of Ariel Sharon 
by Ariel Sharon and David Chanoff.
Macdonald, 571 pp., £14.95, October 1989, 0 356 17960 5
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The Slopes of Lebanon 
by Amos Oz, translated by Maurie Goldberg-Bartura.
Chatto, 246 pp., £13.95, January 1990, 0 7011 3444 5
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From Beirut to Jerusalem 
by Thomas Friedman.
Collins, 541 pp., £15, March 1990, 0 00 215096 4
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Pity the nation: Lebanon at War 
by Robert Fisk.
Deutsch, 622 pp., £17.95, February 1990, 0 233 98516 6
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... produced ‘something of a personal crisis’ and tore away ‘every illusion’ he had ‘ever held about the Jewish state’. And for Robert Fisk, who no longer had illusions about that or anything else, it was a year in which he escaped death a score of times and lived to produce some of the most memorable journalism of the decade. Sharon’s book is a ...

Eden and Suez

David Gilmour, 18 December 1986

Anthony Eden 
by Robert Rhodes James.
Weidenfeld, 665 pp., £16.95, October 1986, 0 297 78989 9
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Descent to Suez: Diaries 1951-56 
by Evelyn Shuckburgh, edited by John Charmley.
Weidenfeld, 380 pp., £14.95, October 1986, 0 297 78993 7
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Cutting the Lion’s Tail: Suez through Egyptian Eyes 
by Mohamed Heikal.
Deutsch, 242 pp., £12.95, October 1986, 0 233 97967 0
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The Suez Affair 
by Hugh Thomas.
Weidenfeld, 255 pp., £5.95, October 1986, 0 297 78953 8
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... skilfully handling diplomatic problems with the support of the Foreign Office, but it was widely held that in politics he was a bit of a lightweight, a ‘natural number two’ who should never have become prime minister. John Grigg wrote of him before the Suez crisis: ‘Popularity means much more to him than it ever should mean to a statesman. Since the ...

What’s going on, Eric?

David Renton: Rock Against Racism, 22 November 2018

Walls Come Tumbling Down: The Music and Politics of Rock Against Racism, 2 Tone and Red Wedge 
by Daniel Rachel.
Picador, 589 pp., £12.99, May 2017, 978 1 4472 7268 7
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... to be gaining a presence not just in politics but in pop culture too. That same month, May 1976, David Bowie was photographed at Victoria Station on his return to Britain after two years in North America. Standing in an open-topped Mercedes, he appeared to give his fans some kind of open-handed, straight-armed – possibly fascist – salute. Soon afterwards ...

Look…

David Runciman: How the coalition was formed, 16 December 2010

22 Days in May: The Birth of the Lib Dem-Conservative Coalition 
by David Laws.
Biteback, 335 pp., £9.99, November 2010, 978 1 84954 080 3
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... Australians), they seem to have been unembarrassable. Yet that’s not how it worked over here. David Laws’s 22 Days in May, which recounts the negotiations that preceded the formation of the coalition government from the inside, explains how it happened that in our case the winners actually ended up winning. Hardly surprisingly, it’s not that Lib Dem ...

Rota Fortuna

David Harsent, 24 April 2008

... this far – all are part of a deal struck at the hour of your birth, part of a plan that always held this very moment, when you pause to think of the dream that had you stalled somehow above a depthless blank of sky and sea . . . and there floods in, now as never before, that sense of giving yourself over to chance that will turn you for home, or take you ...

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