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Andrew Bacevich: The Protean face of modern warfare, 3 March 2005

The Remnants of War 
by John Mueller.
Cornell, 258 pp., £16.50, September 2004, 0 8014 4239 7
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The Future of War: The Re-Enchantment of War in the 21st Century 
by Christopher Coker.
Blackwell, 162 pp., £50, October 2004, 1 4051 2042 8
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The New Wars 
by Herfried Münkler.
Polity, 180 pp., £14.99, October 2004, 0 7456 3337 4
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... all of recorded history. Yet a remarkable number of writers persist in trying. To be fair, John Mueller, a leading figure in the war-is-dead school, does not so much ignore the past as twist it to suit his purposes. But in the twisting, The Remnants of War renders history all but unrecognisable. The result is a book that conveys a relentlessly ...

Who’s in, who’s out?

Campbell Craig and Jan Ruzicka: The Nonproliferation Complex, 23 February 2012

... of thousands of civilians. In Atomic Obsession: Nuclear Alarmism from Hiroshima to al-Qaida, John Mueller argues that the nonproliferation regime was responsible for these deaths, and for the staggering material costs of the war, and asks whether they were a price worth paying to prevent Saddam from getting a bomb – a bomb he would never have been ...

Short Cuts

David Bromwich: Mueller Time, 18 April 2019

... On 22 March​ , Robert Mueller, the special counsel charged with investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election and its possible connection with the Trump campaign, submitted his report to William Barr, the US attorney general. Two days later, Barr sent a letter to Congress summarising the two main conclusions of the report ...


David Bromwich: I met a Republican, 7 March 2019

... of Trump in 2016. The new secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, and the national security adviser, John Bolton, are believers in US force projection whose appetite for wars can only frustrate Trump’s announced purpose to withdraw from the wars we are already in. The extent to which this president understands so basic a fact about a government he nominally ...

I didn’t do anything wrong in the first place

David Runciman: In the White House, 11 October 2018

Fear: Trump in the White House 
by Bob Woodward.
Simon & Schuster, 448 pp., £20, September 2018, 978 1 4711 8129 0
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... from the Russia investigation, paving the way for his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, to appoint Robert Mueller as special counsel. Trump considers it a betrayal, not just because it threatens to undermine his presidency, but because it didn’t come up when he offered Sessions his job. ‘How do you take a job and then recuse yourself?’ Trump wanted to ...

American Breakdown

David Bromwich, 2 August 2018

... a result of the volume of sabre-rattling or the onset of war with Iran; a decision to sack Robert Mueller, the special counsel who is investigating meddling in the 2016 election; a shutdown of the federal government to extort funds for the wall with Mexico; a sudden intensification of the president’s attacks on his political enemies and accusers in pending ...

Short Cuts

David Bromwich: Alexander Hamilton’s Worst Idea, 24 October 2019

... TV news host Tucker Carlson. In the absence of his third sacked national security adviser, John Bolton, the role of empire-minder has been taken over by Democrats and the anti-Trump media. (Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, accordingly averred that any withdrawal from Syria is as unthinkable as withdrawal from Germany or ...

One Summer in America

Eliot Weinberger, 26 September 2019

... is a for-profit run by a military contractor, Caliburn International. The anti-immigrant zealot John Kelly – once considered the only ‘adult’ in the White House when he was chief of staff – joined Caliburn’s board immediately after leaving government.*In a televised interview with Vice President Pence, the host reads from an article about the ...

At the Jeu de Paume

Brian Dillon: Peter Hujar, 19 December 2019

... by Nadar or Julia Margaret Cameron. Some of them were famous – William Burroughs, Brion Gysin, John Giorno – or soon to be: Hujar recorded successive generations of downtown scenesters, including Gary Indiana, Fran Lebowitz and Cookie Mueller. Even if he had been only a portraitist, Hujar’s work would be an essential ...

Lucky Boy

Kevin Kopelson, 3 April 1997

directed by Scott Hicks.
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Shine: The Screenplay 
by Jan Sardi.
Bloomsbury, 176 pp., £7.99, January 1997, 0 7475 3173 0
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The Book of David 
by Beverley Eley.
HarperCollins, 285 pp., £8.99, March 1997, 0 207 19105 0
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Love You to Bits and Pieces: Life with David Helfgott 
by Gillian Helfgott, with Alissa Tanskaya.
Penguin, 337 pp., £6.99, January 1997, 0 14 026546 5
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... Ben Rosen (Nicholas Bell), in a scene cut from the film, describes David’s father, Peter (Armin Mueller-Stahl), as a ‘poor man’s Leopold Mozart’. Pianospeak, we’re to believe, indicates mental illness. Mozart was insane, according to a playwright too invested in Salieri’s resentment to be more specific. Gould was autistic, according to loony ...

Little Bastard

Patrick Collinson: Learning to be Queen, 6 July 2000

Elizabeth: Apprenticeship 
by David Starkey.
Chatto, 339 pp., £20, April 2000, 0 7011 6939 7
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Elizabeth I: Collected Works 
edited by Leah Marcus and Janel Mueller.
Chicago, 436 pp., £25, September 2000, 0 226 50464 6
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... head was about to be struck off. ‘Where is it?’ Starkey’s account of what the martyrologist John Foxe called, in the short novel included in his Book of Martyrs, ‘the miraculous preservation of the Lady Elizabeth’, is detailed and thorough, one of the most insightful short histories of the reign of Mary, and it corrects many supposed facts and a ...

Spying on Writers

Christian Lorentzen, 11 October 2018

... in Hollywood; H.L. Mencken, who came under suspicion for his German background during both wars; John O’Hara, whose many failures included a job application to the fledgling CIA). The book’s editors, JPat Brown, B.C.D. Lipton and Michael Morisy, founded and run the website MuckRock, where anyone can file a Freedom of Information Act request with the US ...

Lecherous Goates

Tobias Gregory: John Donne, 20 October 2016

John Donne 
edited by Janel Mueller.
Oxford, 606 pp., £95, July 2015, 978 0 19 959656 0
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... He affects​ the Metaphysics,’ Dryden wrote of John Donne, ‘not only in his satires, but in his Amorous Verses, where Nature alone should reign; and perplexes the Minds of the Fair Sex with nice Speculations of Philosophy, when he shou’d ingage their Hearts, and entertain them with the softnesses of Love ...

Not a desire to have him, but to be like him

Slavoj Žižek: Highsmith is the One, 21 August 2003

Beautiful Shadow: A Life of Patricia Highsmith 
by Andrew Wilson.
Bloomsbury, 534 pp., £25, June 2003, 0 7475 6314 4
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... to produce and consume. But perhaps the irony displays a deeper necessity, hinging on what Heiner Mueller called the ‘waiting-room mentality’ of Communist Eastern Europe: There would be an announcement: ‘The train will arrive at 18.15 and depart at 18.20,’ and it never did arrive at 18.15. Then came the next announcement: ‘The train will arrive at ...

Attempts to Escape the Logic of Capitalism

Slavoj Žižek: Václav Havel, 28 October 1999

Václav Havel: A Political Tragedy in Six Acts 
by John Keane.
Bloomsbury, 532 pp., £25, September 1999, 0 7475 4458 1
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... his suffering by marrying the princess, he is married to a beautiful movie actress. Why, then, has John Keane chosen as the subtitle of his biography ‘A Political Tragedy in Six Acts’? In the Seventies, when Havel was still a relatively unknown Czech dissident writer, Keane played a crucial role in making him known in the West: he organised the publication ...

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