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Informals of the world unite

Geoffrey Hawthorn, 9 November 1989

The Other Path: The Invisible Revolution in the Third World 
by Hernando de Soto, translated by June Abbott.
Tauris, 271 pp., £14.95, June 1989, 1 85043 144 2
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Cocaine: White Gold Rush in Peru 
by Edmundo Morales.
University of Arizona Press, 228 pp., £17.95, August 1989, 0 8165 1066 0
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A Concise Economic History of the World: From Paleolithic Times to the Present 
by Rondo Cameron.
Oxford, 437 pp., £30, July 1989, 0 19 504677 3
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... For an economic tract, Hernando de Soto’s book has had a remarkable success. It was first published in Lima, its subject, in 1986, but at once became a best-seller throughout Latin America. It is said to have been read with interest in China and the Soviet Union, and this summer de Soto was invited to Washington to discuss it with the American Treasury Secretary ...

Do it in Gaelic

Jeremy Harding: Australia’s Boat-People, 26 September 2013

... finger and tried to create a gaping hole. But when they proclaimed a $10 billion shortfall in Tony Abbott’s budget plans, two senior figures at the Treasury and the Finance Ministry cast doubt on their sums. Whatever voters thought about the last six years of Labor government on the eve of the election, the civil service seemed to have reached a ...

Cubist Slugs

Patrick Wright: The Art of Camouflage, 23 June 2005

DPM: Disruptive Pattern Material; An Encyclopedia of Camouflage: Nature – Military – Culture 
DPM, 2 vols, 944 pp., £100, September 2004, 9780954340407Show More
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... of camouflage’ was another successful portraitist and landscape artist. The American Abbott Thayer (1849-1921) was well known for his ‘angel’ paintings, in which he added feathery white wings to portraits of girls and young women. His influence in the early days of strategic camouflage derived from the fact that this New Hampshire ...

Trust me

Steven Shapin: French DNA, 27 April 2000

French DNA: Trouble in Purgatory 
by Paul Rabinow.
Chicago, 201 pp., £17.50, October 1999, 0 226 70150 6
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... and distributed their share of contaminated stocks. When the American pharmaceutical company Abbott Laboratories developed its antibody test for HIV, the French cabinet delayed a licence, buying time for the Pasteur Institute’s own test, at the cost, as it turned out, of French haemophiliacs’ lives. Protection of the French market and scientific ...

Memories We Get to Keep

James Meek: James Salter’s Apotheosis, 20 June 2013

All That Is 
by James Salter.
Picador, 290 pp., £18.99, May 2013, 978 1 4472 3824 9
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Collected Stories 
by James Salter.
Picador, 303 pp., £18.99, May 2013, 978 1 4472 3938 3
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... set among American air-force pilots dogfighting Communist MiGs in the skies over Korea. ‘In June came ponderous heat and mornings like eggshells, pale and smooth,’ one chapter begins; the paragraph continues in the same mode. But the next paragraph starts with the conventional ‘It was on such a morning that’. Ten years later, the opening paragraph ...

Always the Same Dream

Ferdinand Mount: Princess Margaret, 4 January 2018

Ma’am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret 
by Craig Brown.
Fourth Estate, 423 pp., £16.99, September 2017, 978 0 00 820361 0
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... other for nine years by the time she was spotted picking fluff from his lapel on Coronation Day, 2 June 1953. The version in Townsend’s memoir is that it was only after his divorce from Rosemary in December 1952 that their love had been allowed to blossom. Brown is forgivably sceptical: ‘Had this impetuous young woman really managed to hide her feelings ...

The Person in the Phone Booth

David Trotter: Phone Booths, 28 January 2010

... the vulcanite mouthpieces frequently containing debris with a more or less bad odour.’ In June, Dr Francis Allan, a medical officer of the City of Westminster, reported the results of tests done on swabs taken from the mouthpieces of transmitters in public call boxes. One had attached to it a ‘mass of whitish-grey viscid substance’. The viscid ...

The Right to Murder

Gaby Wood: ‘In a Lonely Place’, 22 March 2018

In a Lonely Place 
by Dorothy B. Hughes.
NYRB, 224 pp., $14.95, August 2017, 978 1 68137 147 4
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In a Lonely Place 
directed by Nicholas Ray.
Criterion Collection, £14.99
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... needs medical attention, that he visit the ‘veterans’ hospital’. As the crime writer Megan Abbott writes in the afterword to this edition of In a Lonely Place, ‘Hughes understood implicitly how such trauma connects to gender and a dangerously beset masculinity – and how it can explode into sexual violence.’ ‘The war years were the ...

We Are Many

Tom Crewe: In the Corbyn Camp, 11 August 2016

... elections by significant margins, or did not get to contest them. There are 230 Labour MPs; on 28 June, 172 of them voted in favour of a no confidence motion in Corbyn, and only forty against. (He wouldn’t have been able to stand for the leadership in the first place if several of his colleagues hadn’t voted for him in order to encourage ...

The Suitcase: Part Three

Frances Stonor Saunders, 10 September 2020

... oranges?), a journey that must have been mostly by train. They were definitely in Cairo by 26 June 1941, because the day and place are on Joe’s army record. He was granted an emergency commission as second lieutenant to his old regiment, the Royal Engineers, and was soon posted to Palestine.Joe, now 47, wasn’t obliged to sign up, but there were no ...

Loafing with the Sissies

Colm Tóibín: The Trials of Andy Warhol, 10 September 2020

Warhol: A Life as Art 
by Blake Gopnik.
Allen Lane, 931 pp., £35, March, 978 0 241 00338 1
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... Charlotte Brontë and stretch to Scott Joplin, Alan Turing, Sylvia Plath and Diane Arbus.On 26 June this year, the paper ran a belated obituary of Valerie Solanas, who died in 1988 and is famous for having shot Andy Warhol twenty years earlier. The year before the shooting, Solanas published the SCUM Manifesto, which began: ‘Life in this society ...

That was the year that was

Tariq Ali, 24 May 2018

... his estate. The feud started there. The widow immediately despatched an appeal for help to General Abbott’s encampment about forty miles away (later it became a cantonment town called Abbottabad on whose outskirts Bin Laden would seek and receive refuge). She was seriously worried that her five boys might be massacred by their uncle, but further tragedy was ...

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