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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. De Soto says he was prompted to write ...

Do it in Gaelic

Jeremy Harding: Australia’s Boat-People

26 September 2013
... Kevin Rudd and his campaigners were sure they could see the spending gap. They stuck in a 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 ...

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 the kind now associated with the gîte industry. The man who is more persuasively claimed as the ‘father 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 ...

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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... rhetoric notwithstanding, Factor VIII was an internationally traded commodity and the French bought 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 ...

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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... in states it seems we have always known. Salter was still working out this technique in The Hunters, 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 ...

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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... first spark between them at a picnic at Balmoral in August 1951. At all events, they had known each 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 ...

The Person in the Phone Booth

David Trotter: Phone Booths

28 January 2010
... reported on a wide variety of London booths in which ‘the condition of the apparatus was unsatisfactory, 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 ...

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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... masquerading as a novelist and living off hand-outs from his uncle – who suggests, when Dix says he 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 ...

We Are Many

Tom Crewe: In the Corbyn Camp

10 August 2016
... William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith, Michael Howard and Ed Miliband, all of whom went on to lose general 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 ...

I have not lived up to it

Helen Vendler: Melancholy Hopkins

2 April 2014
The Collected Works of Gerard Manley Hopkins Vols I-II: Correspondence 
edited by R.K.R. Thorton and Catherine Phillips.
Oxford, 1184 pp., £175, March 2013, 978 0 19 965370 6
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...  dangerous; / does set danc- / ing blood’. Hopkins’s youthful practice of drawing (Ruskinian in its careful rendering of differentiating details) helped him to note a host of individual qualities and aspects even in a single creature. When his heart is ‘stirred’ by the non-‘dangerous’ beauty of the kestrel’s flight (in ‘The Windhover’) and he wishes to grasp it as a whole, he must ...
24 May 2018
... The mare on which the slain man was riding galloped back with the decapitated body to the stables on 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 ...

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