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See you in court, pal

John Lanchester: The Microsoft Trial

30 September 1999
The Nudist​ on the Late Shift 
by Po Bronson.
Secker, 248 pp., £10, August​ 1999, 0 436 20477 0
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Infinite Loop: How Apple, the World’s Most​ Insanely Great Computer Company, Went Insane 
by Michael Malone.
Aurum, 598 pp., £18.99, April 1999, 1 85410 638 4
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Burn Rate: How I Survived the Gold Rush​ Years on the Internet 
by Michael Woolf.
Orion, 364 pp., £7.99, June 1999, 0 7528 2606 9
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The Cathedral and the Bazaar: revised edition 
by Eric S. Raymond.
O'Reilly, 256 pp., £11.95, February 2001, 0 596 00108 8
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... to do with computers, or who are far-gone in hobbydom. These people can write code (which is geekspeak for ‘write computer programs), mark up HTML to create web pages, and know not only what’s going on, but also what’s about to go on. Above them are the übergeeks, the illuminati of the digital revolution: the kind of people, to use one example from Po Bronson’s entertaining Silicon ...

Do you Floss?

Lawrence Lessig: The sharing economy

18 August 2005
The Success​ of Open Source 
by Steven Weber.
Harvard, 312 pp., £19.95, August​ 2004, 0 674 01292 5
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Democratising Innovation 
by Eric​ von Hippel.
MIT, 208 pp., £19.95, May 2005, 0 262 00274 4
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... that here we have people helping other people, or that they are helping people they’re never going to meet. It is that all this pro bono effort is devoted to a very peculiar end: making Microsoft’s customers happier. For these volunteers operate within Microsoft ‘newsgroups. They’re not paid by Microsoft; the vast majority are not even recognised by Microsoft. But they all work (and some ...

Making It Up

Raphael Samuel

4 July 1996
Raymond​ Williams 
by Fred Inglis.
Routledge, 333 pp., £19.99, October 1995, 0 415 08960 3
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... This biography opens with a vivid chapter on Raymond Williamss funeral. Entitled ‘Prologue, in Memoriam’, it transports the reader to Clodock Church, ‘a plain little building’ in the foothills of the Black Mountains. It is a comfortless day, Fred Inglis  ...
31 October 1996
Adventures on the Freedom Road: The French Intellectuals in the 20th Century 
by Bernard-Henri Lévy, translated by Richard Veasey.
Harvill, 434 pp., £20, December 1995, 1 86046 035 6
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The Imaginary Jew 
by Alain Finkielkraut, translated by Kevin O’Neill and David Suchoff.
Nebraska, 230 pp., £23.95, August​ 1994, 0 8032 1987 3
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The Defeat of the Mind 
by Alain Finkielkraut, translated by Judith Friedlander.
Columbia, 165 pp., $15, May 1996, 0 231 08023 9
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... In lieu of Sartre and Raymond Aron, future historians of French intellectuals in the Eighties and Nineties may well be condemned to structuring their narratives around the post-Marx brothers of French intellectual life, Bernard ...
3 October 1985
Here lies: An Autobiography 
by Eric​ Ambler.
Weidenfeld, 234 pp., £10.95, June 1985, 0 297 78588 5
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The Levanter 
by Eric​ Ambler.
Weidenfeld, 216 pp., £8.95, June 1985, 0 297 99521 9
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Doctor Frigo 
by Eric​ Ambler.
Weidenfeld, 250 pp., £8.95, June 1985, 0 297 76848 4
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The Other Side of the Moon: The Life of David Niven 
by Sheridan Morley.
Weidenfeld, 300 pp., £10.95, September 1985, 9780297787082
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Secrets: Boyhood in a Jewish​ Hotel 1932-1954 
by Ronald Hayman.
Peter Owen, 224 pp., £12, July 1985, 9780720606423
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A Woman in Custody 
by Audrey Peckham.
Fontana, 253 pp., £3.95, June 1985, 0 00 636952 9
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No Gangster More Bold 
by John Morgan.
Hodder, 179 pp., £9.95, July 1985, 0 340 26387 3
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... Eric Ambler told an interviewer recently that though he often felt the urge to write for the stage he was put off by the scrutiny to which he would be subjected: and the pun in the title of his  ...
17 December 1981
The Forward March of Labour Halted? 
by Eric​ Hobsbawm, Ken Gill and Tony Benn.
Verso, 182 pp., £8.50, November 1981, 0 86091 041 5
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... or as a self-interested apologist for an all too palpably unequal distribution of rewards and powers. Over the last few decades, however, both these advantages have been whittled away. They have been so not because the Right has suddenly started to have the best of the intellectual argument – the most persuasive conservative arguments are still those current since the days of Burke and Adam Smith ...

Moooovement

R.W. Johnson

8 February 1990
Resources of Hope: Culture, Democracy, Socialism 
by Raymond​ Williams, edited by Robin Gable.
Verso, 334 pp., £29.95, February 1989, 0 86091 229 9
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The Alien Mind of Raymond​ Williams 
by Jan Gorak.
Missouri, 132 pp., $9.95, December 1988, 0 8262 0688 3
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Raymond​ Williams: Writing, Culture, Politics 
by Alan O’Connor.
Blackwell, 180 pp., £27.50, June 1989, 0 631 16589 4
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Raymond​ Williams on Television: Selected Writings 
edited by Alan O’Connor.
Routledge, 223 pp., £7.95, April 1989, 9780415026277
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News from Nowhere: No 6. Raymond​ Williams:​ Third Generation 
edited by Tony Pinkney.
Oxford English​ Limited, 108 pp., £3.50, February 1989
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Raymond​ Williams: Critical Perspectives 
edited by Terry Eagleton.
Polity, 235 pp., £29.50, September 1989, 9780745603841
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... Raymond Williamss death in January 1988 has been followed by an avalanche of obituarial tribute. To some extent, the tributes were a matter of the Left giving a last, sad cheer for one of its most versatile and ...

In Letchworth

Gillian Darley: Pevsner's Hertfordshire

22 December 2019
... The volumes of the Buildings of England series initiated by Nikolaus Pevsner unsurprisingly confine themselves to buildings and their settings, but it’s tempting to be distracted by what you already know about a place, about Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire, for instance, the latest county to have its volume revised and expanded by Yale.* The mid-18th ...

Tired of Giving in

Eric​ Foner: Rosa​ Parks

10 May 2001
Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: The Life of Rosa​ Parks 
by Douglas Brinkley.
Weidenfeld, 248 pp., £12.99, January 2001, 0 297 60708 1
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... On 1 December 1955, Rosa Parks, a 42-year-old black woman who had just completed her day’s work in a department store in Montgomery, Alabama, was arrested for refusing to surrender her seat on a city bus to a white passenger, as required by municipal law. The incident sparked a year-long ...

After the Cold War

Eric​ Hobsbawm: Tony Judt

26 April 2012
... became historians because they lived through it and shared its basic passion: namely the belief that politics was the key to our truths as well as our myths. In spite of our differences, both Tony’s Marxism and the French Left and my own recent How to Change the World are dedicated to the memory of the same independent thinker, the late George Lichtheim. We got on well in personal terms – but ...

Destined to Disappear

Susan Pedersen: ‘Race Studies’

19 October 2016
White World Order, Black Power Politics: The Birth of American International Relations 
by Robert Vitalis.
Cornell, 272 pp., $29.95, November 2015, 978 0 8014 5397 7
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... Clark played a key role in the birth of the field of international relations in the two decades before the First World War, he read, especially by founding and supporting one of the new discipline’s flagship journals, the Journal of Race Development. ‘That can’t be right,’ he thought. Some more digging told him that it was. The Journal of Race Development, established in 1910, was one of a ...
17 May 1984
Essays on Detective Fiction 
edited by Bernard Benstock.
Macmillan, 218 pp., £20, February 1984, 0 333 32195 2
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Dashiell Hammett: A Life at the Edge 
by William Nolan.
Arthur Barker, 276 pp., £9.95, September 1983, 0 213 16886 3
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The Life of Dashiell Hammett 
by Diane Johnson.
Chatto, 344 pp., £12.95, January 1984, 9780701127664
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Hellman in Hollywood 
by Bernard Dick.
Associated University Presses,​ 183 pp., £14.95, September 1983, 0 8386 3140 1
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... One minor pleasure of growing up is being allowed to buy sweets ad lib. The same applies to thrillers and detective stories. But there’s a difference. Few dieticians or gourmets would recommend or gravely evaluate competing brands of candy: yet ‘popular culture’ – including comic strips, trash films, junk videos, and rock musi...

The Vulgarity of Success

Murray Sayle: Everest​ and Empire

7 May 1998
Eric​ Shipton: Everest​ and Beyond 
by Peter Steele.
Constable, 290 pp., £18.99, March 1998, 0 09 478300 4
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... The one line that everybody knows about why people climb mountains was spoken on a wet night in New York, 17 March 1923. The tall, lean and theatrically handsome George Mallory, clergyman’s son, Winchester and Magdalen College, Oxford, artillery officer on the Western Front, faultless husband and devoted father of three, was on a lecture tour, trying to raise money for the forthcoming ...

Oops

Ian Stewart

4 November 1993
The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Disorder on the Electronic Frontier 
by Bruce Sterling.
Viking, 328 pp., £16.99, January 1993, 0 670 84900 6
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The New Hacker’s Dictionary 
edited by Eric Raymond.
MIT, 516 pp., £11.75, October 1992, 0 262 68079 3
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Approaching Zero: Data Crime and the Computer Underworld 
by Bryan Clough and Paul Mungo.
Faber, 256 pp., £4.99, March 1993, 0 571 16813 2
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... On 29 June 1989, a security manager for the US telephone company Indiana Bell received an anonymous telephone call. In a menacing tone a young man’s voice informed him that he had planted bombs in several switching systems known as 5ESSs. ‘They’re set to blow on a national holiday. They could be anywhere in the country – it’s a sort of ...

Madly Excited

John Bayley

1 June 1989
The Life of Graham Greene. Vol. I: 1904-1939 
by Norman Sherry.
Cape, 783 pp., £16.95, April 1989, 0 224 02654 2
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... which must have the authority of seeming to be the real thing. In the cleverest ones the real thing usually does come in somewhere: a phrase describing a street, a scrap of dialogue, a character’s sudden gesture. The scrap of authenticity validates the whole. Male novelists are more disingenuous about their romance than women, dividing and dramatising it, pretending to discredit by exaggeration ...

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