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Phantom Gold

John Pemble: Victorian​ Capitalism

7 January 2016
Forging Capitalism: Rogues, Swindlers, Frauds and the Rise of Modern Finance 
by Ian Klaus.
Yale, 287 pp., £18.99, January 2015, 978 0 300 18194 4
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... fortune. Many who suffered weren’t in the game of getting rich quick. Often the push not of greed but of need weakened the pull of fear. Credulity was no doubt a part of the equation; but, as IanKlaus’s Forging Capitalism makes clear, in the Victorian City of London if you weren’t credulous you were very smart indeed. Klaus swims against the current of neoliberal vindication of Adam Smith. He ...

Diary

Neal Ascherson: Scotophobia

5 April 2007
... the existing federal structures, redesigned in the 1968 constitution after the Warsaw Pact invasion. But the motive power for the split – the agency – was provided by the Czech politician Václav Klaus. An ambitious and crafty neoliberal, Klaus concluded that Slovak needs and demands would always obstruct his own plans in a federal Czechoslovakia. In an independent Czech state, on the other hand ...

Fame

Ian​ Hamilton

2 July 1981
Charles Charming’s Challenges on the Pathway to the Throne 
by Clive James.
Cape, 103 pp., £4.95, June 1981, 0 224 01954 6
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... a number of these are funny, but in ways in which James has been much funnier before. The strength of Peregrine Prykke was in the detail of its little world (who is Terry Towelling, Hugo Harsfried, Klaus Mauler?). Most readers couldn’t know about the true-to-life-ness of his characters, and could therefore respond to them as if they were James’s own ribald inventions. The tiniest of cameos had to ...
7 November 1991
Harlot’s Ghost 
by Norman Mailer.
Joseph, 1122 pp., £15.99, October 1991, 0 7181 2934 2
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A Very Thin Line: The Iran-Contra Affairs 
by Theodore Draper.
Hill and Wang, 690 pp., $27.95, June 1991, 0 8090 9613 7
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... Manuel Noriega to the CIA. As the Watergate hounds closed in, Henry Kissinger was implored to sink to his Jewish knees and join Richard Nixon in prayer on the Oval Office carpet, and complied. Klaus Barbie was plucked from the SS ‘Most Wanted’ list and, with many of his confrères, given a second career in American Intelligence. J. Edgar Hoover amassed tapes of sexual indiscretion in ...

Old Europe

Jeremy Harding: Britain in Bosnia

20 February 2003
Indictment at The Hague: The Milosevic Regime and the Crimes of the Balkan Wars 
by Norman Cigar and Paul Williams.
New York, 339 pp., $24.95, July 2002, 0 8147 1626 1
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Unfinest Hour: Britain and the Destruction of Bosnia 
by Brendan Simms.
Penguin, 464 pp., £8.99, July 2002, 0 14 028983 6
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Under Orders: War Crimes in Kosovo 
by Fred Abrahams.
Human Rights Watch, 593 pp., £18, October 2001, 1 56432 264 5
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Milosevic: A Biography 
by Adam LeBor.
Bloomsbury, 386 pp., £20, October 2002, 0 7475 6090 0
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... dangerous business for Milosevic than the alluring spectre of a Greater Serbia that hovered over the wars in Bosnia and Croatia. Kosovo was an integral part of Serbia; Milosevic told the Nato General Klaus Naumann in 1998 that he ‘could not give it up’. And so the province which had been the making of him at the end of the 1980s was his undoing a decade later. By the time the US negotiator Richard ...

Upriver

Iain Sinclair: The Thames

25 June 2009
Thames: Sacred River 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Vintage, 608 pp., £14.99, August 2008, 978 0 09 942255 6
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... television, while planning regulations for the Isle of Dogs, that unlucky swamp, were shredded for the construction of a shelf of towers. Michael Heseltine, a wild-haired, mad-eyed visionary (Klaus Kinski to Margaret Thatcher’s Werner Herzog), pushed Docklands across the Thames to the East Greenwich Peninsula, Bugsby’s Marshes. The obsessive, neurotic and delusional Millennium Dome concept ...

A Ripple of the Polonaise

Perry Anderson: Work of the Nineties

25 November 1999
History of the Present: Essays, Sketches and Despatches from Europe in the Nineties 
by Timothy Garton Ash.
Allen Lane, 441 pp., £20, June 1999, 0 7139 9323 5
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... form. Among its most fluent practitioners are the three Anglo-musketeers regularly featured in the New York Review of Books: Neal Ascherson and Timothy Garton Ash (spurs won in Eastern Europe) and Ian Buruma (in East Asia). United by common liberal convictions, the trio are otherwise quite distinct. Garton Ash, a generation younger than Ascherson, followed his path from Germany to Poland as lands ...

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