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A Human Being

Jenny Diski: Karl Marx, 25 November 1999

Karl Marx 
by Francis Wheen.
Fourth Estate, 441 pp., £20, October 1999, 1 85702 637 3
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Adventures in Marxism 
by Marshall Berman.
Verso, 160 pp., £17, September 1999, 9781859847343
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... does not express Marx’s power with anything like the energy, charm and impassioned conviction of Marshall Berman’s collection of essays, Adventures in Marxism. Berman’s clean, personal prose comes as sweet relief after the dreary O-level-set-text style of Wheen’s plodding descriptions of the 1848 ...

Vehicles of Dissatisfaction

Jonathan Dollimore: Men and Motors, 24 July 2003

Autopia: Cars and Culture 
edited by Peter Wollen and Joe Kerr.
Reaktion, 400 pp., £25, November 2002, 1 86189 132 6
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... was the shopping mall. In a section reprinted here from All that is solid melts into air (1982), Marshall Berman describes the building of the expressway through the Bronx in the 1950s, and the consequent destruction of the borough. Directed by the infamous city planner Robert Moses, the Cross-Bronx Expressway cut through a dozen densely populated ...

Think of Mrs Darling

Jenny Diski: Erving Goffman, 4 March 2004

Goffman's Legacy 
edited by Javier Treviño.
Rowman and Littlefield, 294 pp., £22.95, August 2003, 0 7425 1978 3
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... of this accrued history sitting alone in her bath with flashes of me-ness in between performances. Marshall Berman is quoted as writing of Goffman: ‘Although he was magnificent at evoking human situations, he seemed . . . to lack empathy with actual human beings. People seemed to exist for him only as manipulative players in an endless series of games ...
Modernity and Identity 
edited by Scott Lash and Jonathan Friedman.
Blackwell, 448 pp., £45, January 1992, 0 631 17585 7
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Fundamentalisms Observed 
edited by Martin Marty and Scott Appleby.
Chicago, 872 pp., $40, November 1991, 0 226 50877 3
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The Post-Modern and the Post-Industrial 
by Margaret Rose.
Cambridge, 317 pp., £35, July 1991, 0 521 40131 3
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Under God: Religion and American Politics 
by Garry Wills.
Simon and Schuster, 445 pp., £17.99, February 1992, 0 671 65705 4
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... in Weber’s interpretation, the cloak a cage) and what, if anything, lies within. Some, like Marshall Berman, in his naive and strangely inspiring study, All that is solid melts into air (1982), have reversed the paradigm and argued that the process was one of evaporation rather than condensation. But this (as ...

Capitalism’s Capital

Jackson Lears: The Man Who Built New York, 17 March 2016

The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York 
by Robert Caro.
Bodley Head, 1246 pp., £35, July 2015, 978 1 84792 364 6
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... the master builder’s reputation. Indeed there were signs of a shift as early as 1982, when Marshall Berman wrote about Moses in All That Is Solid Melts into Air. Berman had grown up in the 1940s and 1950s in Tremont, the neighbourhood bisected by the Cross-Bronx Expressway, and he bitterly remembered the pain ...

Post-Nationalism

Geoffrey Hawthorn, 3 December 1992

English Questions 
by Perry Anderson.
Verso, 370 pp., £39.95, May 1992, 0 86091 375 9
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A Zone of Engagement 
by Perry Anderson.
Verso, 384 pp., £39.95, May 1992, 0 86091 377 5
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... not for the last time, his judgment proved better than mine’. As late as 1983, in an essay on Marshall Berman, Anderson could still allow himself to imagine ‘a diversity founded on the far greater plurality and complexity of possible ways of living that any free community of equals, no longer divided by class, race or gender, would ...

As Astonishing as Elvis

Jenny Turner: Ayn Rand, 1 December 2005

Ayn Rand 
by Jeff Britting.
Duckworth, 155 pp., £12.99, February 2005, 0 7156 3269 8
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... is not interested in natural beauty, or even in the industrialised and modern sort of sublimity Marshall Berman found in Marx. It’s overpowering that really excites her, depredation and destruction and nature being despoiled. Power, greed, grandeur, beautiful, insatiable people: all this can lead to only one thing. And the sex in Rand’s novels is ...

Moderation or Death

Christopher Hitchens: Isaiah Berlin, 26 November 1998

Isaiah Berlin: A Life 
by Michael Ignatieff.
Chatto, 386 pp., £20, October 1998, 0 7011 6325 9
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The Guest from the Future: Anna Akhmatova and Isaiah Berlin 
by György Dalos.
Murray, 250 pp., £17.95, September 2002, 0 7195 5476 4
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... case teargas canisters were fired in his vicinity. His Marxist graduate students Bert Ollmann and Marshall Berman attended the lecture, ready to defend him against hecklers and if necessary against physical attack. It was not an auspicious time to be a liberal philosopher.Well, I know Bertell Ollmann and ...

In High Stalinist Times

Neal Ascherson: High Stalinist Times, 20 December 2012

Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1945-56 
by Anne Applebaum.
Allen Lane, 512 pp., £25, October 2012, 978 0 7139 9868 9
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... democracy would work in their favour.’ Poland’s communist leaders, Boleslaw Bierut and Jakub Berman, were accordingly staggered when they lost a clumsily weighted referendum in 1946. It wasn’t only the workers and peasants, supposed to be grateful for nationalisations and land reform, who voted against them: even police voters failed in their duty. The ...

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