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L’Ordre Cannibale: Vie et Mort de la Médecine 
by Jacques Attali.
Grasset, 325 pp.
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... One of the​ more mournful consequences of the economic crisis is the boom in the business of illness. This is in one sense a figure of speech. The economies of the West are evidently unwell: since 1973, they have been obsessed with the etiology of economic impairment, the electroencephalograms of unemployment and inflation. But it is also literally true ...

Putting down

Emma Rothschild, 4 June 1981

The Zero-Sum Society 
by Lester Thurow.
Harper and Row, 230 pp., £7.95, February 1981, 0 465 09384 1
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... Times are dire for economists in America. The country is preoccupied with its economic misfortunes. Yet the most esteemed theorist of economic recovery seems to be the early 19th-century French populariser of Adam Smith known to Marx as ‘the inane Jean-Baptiste Say … [who] refutes himself again’. The most successful recent guide to the economy – a work called Wealth and Poverty, described by the Republican Director of the Office of Management and Budget as ‘Promethean in its intellectual power and insight’ – explains (with the required obeisance to Say) that slow economic growth is to be understood in terms of faith, the modesty of female sexuality and the ‘dominance of single and separated men in poor communities ...

Hangchow Retrouvé

Emma Rothschild, 22 May 1980

... The city of Hangchow, in the 13th century, was transfixed by food. Its restaurants went in and out of fashion, and were commemorated in elaborate and scholarly guidebooks. There were restaurants specialising in regional food, fish restaurants, fast-food bars, restaurants which served iced food or vegetarian dishes. Its markets were ‘innumerable’, according to Marco Polo, selling game, varieties of apricot, early aubergines, live baby fish carried inland in baskets ...

Endless Uncertainty

Colin Kidd: Adam Smith’s Legacy, 19 July 2001

Economic Sentiments: Adam Smith, Condorcet and the Enlightenment 
by Emma Rothschild.
Harvard, 366 pp., £30.95, June 2001, 0 674 00489 2
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... for subsistence, but to the ‘delicacy’, or taste, which raised him above the brute creation. Emma Rothschild warns us that the shadow of Right-Left divisions and the fear of revolution have haunted understanding of Smith between his death in 1790, during the early stages of the French Revolution, and the collapse of Communism in 1989-91. Only now ...

The money’s still out there

Neal Ascherson: The Scottish Empire, 6 October 2011

To the Ends of the Earth: Scotland’s Global Diaspora, 1750-2010 
by T.M. Devine.
Allen Lane, 397 pp., £25, August 2011, 978 0 7139 9744 6
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The Inner Life of Empires: An 18th-Century History 
by Emma Rothschild.
Princeton, 483 pp., £24.95, June 2011, 978 0 691 14895 3
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... Henry Raeburn’s ‘John Johnstone, Betty Johnstone and Miss Wedderburn’ (c.1790-95). Emma Rothschild has a written a strange, immensely thoughtful book which at first glance ought to complement Devine’s work. But it does nothing of the sort, attending instead to the history of sensibilities rather than of nations. It is based on the lives ...

Counting weapons

Rudolf Peierls, 5 March 1981

Britain and Nuclear Weapons 
by Lawrence Freedman.
Papermac, 160 pp., £3.25, September 1980, 0 333 30511 6
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Countdown: Britain’s Strategic Forces 
by Stewart Menual.
Hale, 188 pp., £8.25, October 1980, 0 7091 8592 8
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The War Machine 
by James Avery Joyce.
Quartet, 210 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 0 7043 2254 4
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Protest and Survive 
edited by E.P. Thompson and Dan Smith.
Penguin, 262 pp., £1.50, October 1980, 0 14 052341 3
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... nuclear disarmament which, he hopes, would be infectious. In ‘The American Arms Boom’ Emma Rothschild describes, and castigates, the growing expenditure on arms research, development and production, and its motivation. Elsewhere, Mary Kaldor discusses the conversion problems which would arise as a result of substantial disarmament. Ken ...

Plan it mañana

Geoffrey Hawthorn: Albert O. Hirschman, 11 September 2014

Wordly Philosopher: The Odyssey of Albert O. Hirschman 
by Jeremy Adelman.
Princeton, 740 pp., £27.95, April 2013, 978 0 691 15567 8
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The Essential Hirschman 
edited by Jeremy Adelman.
Princeton, 367 pp., £19.95, October 2013, 978 0 691 15990 4
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... favourite injunctions from Flaubert was to guard against ‘la rage de vouloir conclure’. Emma Rothschild and Amartya Sen, in a short note here on his economic heterodoxies, are among the few to heed it. Some, being American, have praised his commitment to liberty, but he rarely and then almost always with the irony of a capital letter wrote ...

Daisy Chains

Emma Hogan: Sappho 1900, 20 May 2021

No Modernism without Lesbians 
by Diana Souhami.
Head of Zeus, 464 pp., £9.99, February, 978 1 78669 487 4
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... But de Pougy wouldn’t give up her male clients, who included the Prince of Wales and Maurice de Rothschild. ‘I still need 800,000 francs before I can stop,’ she wrote. ‘Then I shall cable you: “Come take me.”’Albert Barney, Natalie’s alcoholic and violent father, whose fortune came from the family business manufacturing railway cars, was ...

Tunnel Vision

Jenny Diski: Princess Diana, 2 August 2007

The Diana Chronicles 
by Tina Brown.
Century, 481 pp., £18.99, June 2007, 978 1 84605 286 6
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by Sarah Bradford.
Penguin, 443 pp., £7.99, July 2007, 978 0 14 027671 8
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... lists in her seven pages of acknowledgments, she knows all (two full pages) the right people (Lord Rothschild, Henry Kissinger, Bruce Oldfield, Emma Soames), quantities (three paragraphs) of the right researchers, and even the right London hotel owner, who made ‘a room available every time I hit town’ for ‘a demanding ...


Lidija Haas: Candia McWilliam, 6 January 2011

What to Look for in Winter: A Memoir in Blindness 
by Candia McWilliam.
Cape, 482 pp., £18.99, August 2010, 978 0 224 08898 5
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... Day; that the only person who could help Rosa while she was dying was their other schoolfriend Emma, ‘who has inherited from her own mother the gift of healing hands’; that Emma’s mother wears lipstick called Un-shy Violet and ‘is named Kiloran after a bay on the island of Colonsay’; that the ‘laird who gets ...

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