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The Road to Independence

David Caute, 21 November 1985

Peasant Consciousness and Guerrilla War in Zimbabwe 
by Terence Ranger.
James Currey, 377 pp., £25, October 1985, 0 85255 000 6
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Guns and Rain: Guerrillas and Spirit Mediums in Zimbabwe 
by David Lan.
James Currey, 244 pp., £19.50, October 1985, 0 85255 200 9
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... Perhaps Tomorrow (1981), deserves to have been included in Ranger’s bibliography as well as David Lan’s. Our post-Independence historiography obviously runs some risk of an inverted snobbery towards non-kosher white Rhodesian sources (though Ranger has elsewhere drawn extensively on the records of district commissioners). Ranger has concluded from ...

Simple Facts and Plain Truths

David A. Bell: Common Sense, 20 October 2011

Common Sense: A Political History 
by Sophia Rosenfeld.
Harvard, 337 pp., £22.95, 0 674 05781 3
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... following the Stoics, used the term sensus communis to mean the values and beliefs that all men held in common. Descartes and Locke both seized on the concept but in their hands it came to refer to basic mental capacities: above all, the ability to perceive things correctly and reason about them on an elementary level. But common sense and its French ...

Thirteen Poems from ‘Salt’

David Harsent, 20 October 2016

... door. Can you see it yet: shadow of slow-onset, contagion’s mission-creep. So, yes … voices held to a monotone, the painting, the clock, hanging clothes, aerials and ridge-tiles, cirrus, cirrus …   To live in silence, to write a white book, to go touchless from place to place, to shuffle off your skin, the mask of your face under its hank of ...

Perfectly Mobile, Perfectly Still

David Craig: Land Artists, 14 December 2000

by Andy Goldsworthy.
Thames and Hudson, 203 pp., £35, August 2000, 0 500 51026 1
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... in the winter of 1987, consisted of icicles ‘with their thick ends dipped in snow then water, held until frozen together’. He rearranged the ice daggers – that is all. Their ribbing, their smoothness or roughness, are as the freezing of the water moulded them. All that is left of the natural material used by Picasso or Michelangelo is some salient ...


David Gilmour: In Spain, 5 January 1989

... support for his application to join the socialists. During that same campaign I went to a meeting held by the Government party (UCD) in Lebrija, an Andalusian town with a large Gypsy population. The UCD, which knew that it was going to be destroyed in the election, realised that it could not fill the hall by itself, so it had hired an excellent local ...

Four Poems

David Harsent, 12 March 2009

... though maybe it’s a failing to stand at one remove, to watch, to want everything stalled and held on an indrawn breath. The house, the woman, the window, the lamplight falling short of everything except bare earth – can you see how it seems, can you tell why you happen to be just here, where the garden path runs off to black, still watching as she ...

On Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin

David Wheatley, 27 January 2022

... alongside hers knits and the woman’s husband ‘rages at the wheel’: ‘It was like history, held there/in view of another lifetime://we climbed the cogged wheel of our age,/our century, side by slow side.’ Meeting the demands of the age will always be difficult for a poet who ‘appears to have been born in 1870/and schooled in 1689’, a feeling that ...

More Reconciliation than Truth

David Blackbourn: Germany’s Postwar Amnesties, 31 October 2002

Adenauer’s Germany and the Nazi Past: The Politics of Amnesty and Integration 
by Norbert Frei, translated by Joel Golb.
Columbia, 479 pp., £24.50, September 2002, 0 231 11882 1
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... examines the mounting West German obsession – Frei’s term – with the release of those held by the Allies as war criminals. Among them were the men convicted at Nuremberg. A larger number were soldiers who had contravened the rules of war by executing POWs or hostages. Most were SS men, party, police and other officials or concentration camp ...

Stalking Out

David Edgar: After John Osborne, 20 July 2006

John Osborne: A Patriot for Us 
by John Heilpern.
Chatto, 528 pp., £25, May 2006, 0 7011 6780 7
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... in a theatrical revolution. Launching both the Angry Young Man and kitchen-sink drama, the play is held to have had a devastating and irreversible impact on a postwar theatre scene dominated by winsome drawing-room comedies and witless country-house whodunnits. At the time, the play and its message were anatomised in leading articles, discussed by school ...

Notes on the Election

David Runciman, 5 March 2015

... and delivered without notes. What made it appear a triumph was the speech given the next day by David Davis, Cameron’s main rival for the Tory Party leadership and the man long considered the favourite to succeed Michael Howard. Davis flopped. He spoke woodenly from behind a lectern without any of Cameron’s natural ease, looking and sounding like ...

Working the Dark Side

David Bromwich: On the Uses of Torture, 8 January 2015

... director of the CIA, John Brennan, offered no challenge to the facts. Exactly 119 detainees were held at CIA sites in various countries from 17 September 2001 to 22 January 2009. It is the first official tally since Michael Hayden, a CIA director under Bush and Cheney, ordered that no matter how the facts changed the reported numbers should never climb above ...


David Bromwich: The Snowden Case, 4 July 2013

... So he took the project underground and executed it in secret. Cheney issued the orders, his lawyer David Addington drew up the rationale, and Hayden at NSA made the practical arrangements. Eventually Cheney would appoint Hayden director of the CIA. Americans caught our first glimpse of the possible scope of NSA operations in December 2005 when the New York ...

Separation Anxiety

David Hollinger: God and Politics, 24 January 2008

The Stillborn God: Religion, Politics and the Modern West 
by Mark Lilla.
Knopf, 334 pp., $26, September 2007, 978 1 4000 4367 5
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... of the divine. Protestantism had perfected the Christian community by embracing the world held at a distance by Catholics. Moreover, Protestantism’s ‘principle of spiritual freedom hastened the consolidation of the modern state’, thereby, in Hegel’s view, bringing to an end ‘the millennial historical labours of Christendom’. The modern ...

Homage to Rhubarb

David Allen, 8 October 1992

Rhubarb: The Wondrous Drug 
by Clifford Foust.
Princeton, 317 pp., £27.50, April 1992, 0 691 08747 4
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... involved careers of the more familiar fruits and vegetables. For long, Redcliffe Salaman held this field alone, with his justly-renowned History and Social Influence of the Potato. Smaller-scale and little-known by comparison, but in its unambitious way hardly less fascinating, is N.W. Simmonds’s monograph on bananas, with its thought-provoking ...

The Politics of Now

David Runciman: The Last World Cup, 21 June 2018

The Fall of the House of Fifa 
by David Conn.
Yellow Jersey, 336 pp., £9.99, June 2017, 978 0 224 10045 8
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... power, some moments now look like straws in the wind. In late November 2010 the English FA sent David Cameron, Prince William and David Beckham to Fifa headquarters in Zurich to lobby on its behalf before the vote for the right to host the 2018 World Cup. Two old Etonians and an alumnus of Chingford County High ...

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