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26 September 1991
... The people are exulting’ – narod likuyet. The phrase was spoken with impassive distance – perhaps even irony – by a heavily-armed commando in the White House, as we looked down at the first, still rather scattered and tentative outbursts of revelry among the crowds camped in the night below round the Russian Parliament. There was still no hard news of what had happened in the Crimea, but ...
20 August 1998
... from all its – multifarious – commercial enterprises. The issue has certain historical echoes. In the spring of 1930, 16 years into his service in the Chinese Maritime Customs, my father, James Anderson, was posted to Hong Kong. He remained there two years, technically posted to Kowloon, but living on the Peak. He disliked the place. The setting might be ‘carelessly beautiful’, but the society ...

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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... For the past thirty years, New Left Review has been the most consistently interesting political journal in the country. And PerryAnderson, who used to edit it and still helps direct it, has been its consistently most interesting contributor. Like those who wrote for the two papers it replaced, the Communist New Reasoner and, later ...

Centralisation

Peter Burke

5 March 1981
State and Society in Europe 1550-1650 
by Victor Kiernan.
Blackwell, 309 pp., £12, December 1980, 0 226 47080 6
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... because it worked to the advantage of the nobility. This was the view taken by another Soviet historian of France, the late Boris Porshnev, and, with more qualifications, it is the view taken by PerryAnderson. It is this second option which Victor Kiernan chooses. He describes absolute monarchy as ‘the aristocratic state’, avoiding terminological disputes about the nature of feudalism but ...
17 July 1980
Arguments within English Marxism 
by Perry Anderson.
New Left Books, 218 pp., £3.95, May 1980, 0 86091 727 4
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Capitalism, State Formation and Marxist Theory 
edited by Philip Corrigan.
Quartet, 232 pp., £4.95, May 1980, 0 7043 2241 2
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Writing by Candlelight 
by E.P. Thompson.
Merlin, 286 pp., £2.70, May 1980, 0 85036 257 1
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... of Theory’, Edward Thompson pilloried this stance as being neither materialist nor Marxist, but an epitome of the most arrogant and authoritarian (‘Stalinist’) degenerations of the New Left. PerryAnderson’s book defends the New Left from such charges. Certain Marxist blooms adorn most scholars’ studies. True, a few academic-historians have tried to keep out all blossoms with even a whiff ...

You need a gun

Wolfgang Streeck: The A-Word

14 December 2017
The H-Word: The Peripeteia of Hegemony 
by Perry Anderson.
Verso, 190 pp., £16.99, April 2017, 978 1 78663 368 2
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The Antinomies of Antonio Gramsci 
by Perry Anderson.
Verso, 179 pp., £14.99, April 2017, 978 1 78663 372 9
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... There is no better way to explore them than by tracing the complex career of the concept of hegemony, from the Greeks to today’s ‘international relations’. That is the task undertaken by PerryAnderson in The H-Word and The Antinomies of Antonio Gramsci. The two books are closely connected. The H-Word reconstructs the long history of the concept of hegemony in 12 chapters, moving from ...

A Belated Encounter

Perry Anderson: My father’s career in the Chinese Customs Service

30 July 1998
... the apple of his parents’ eye, killed in the last week of fighting. This death finished off his father. He had punished the wrong son. The institution in which the young James Carew O’Gorman Anderson took up his post in 1914 had been in existence for nearly fifty years. By then it had no parallel anywhere in the world. Its origins lay in the crisis of the Ch’ing Empire in the mid-19th century ...

Diary

Perry Anderson: On E.P. Thompson

21 October 1993
... A Life of Dissent is the affecting film Tariq Ali made of Edward and Dorothy Thompson earlier this year, recently reshown. While it was being shot, there was talk of mutual acquaintances. ‘What’s Perry up to these days?’ he enquired. Tariq mentioned something I’d written on conservatism in this paper. ‘Yes, I know,’ Edward replied. ‘Oakeshott was a scoundrel. Tell him to stiffen his tone ...

Short Cuts

Geoffrey Wheatcroft: Gordon Brown

7 June 2007
... his. I was put in mind of what Evelyn Waugh said about Churchill’s books, which, ‘though highly creditable, for a man with so much else to occupy him, do not really survive close attention’. PerryAnderson has glumly observed that ‘the enormous condescension of posterity’ seem to be the only words of E.P. Thompson’s that anyone now remembers, but even that has eluded Brown, who ...

So it must be for ever

Thomas Meaney: American Foreign Policy

13 July 2016
American Foreign Policy and Its Thinkers 
by Perry Anderson.
Verso, 244 pp., £14.99, March 2014, 978 1 78168 667 6
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A Sense of Power: The Roots of America’s Global Role 
by John A. Thompson.
Cornell, 343 pp., £19.95, October 2015, 978 0 8014 4789 1
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A Superpower Transformed: The Remaking of American Foreign Relations in the 1970s 
by Daniel J. Sargent.
Oxford, 369 pp., £23.49, January 2015, 978 0 19 539547 1
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... from Alexandre Kojève to George Kennan, who preferred a world of bounded empires to one of nation-states. But by war’s end no one was in a position to gainsay the broad shape of the Pax Americana. PerryAnderson, in American Foreign Policy and Its Thinkers, his first sustained critique of US power, concentrates on two unstable compounds in the empire’s image of itself, both of which crystallised ...

Diary

Perry Anderson: In Seoul

17 October 1996
... Stereotypes of the Far East, dominated by images of China and Japan, leave Korea in a vaguer limbo, of acronyms or bestiaries: NICs or Little Tigers. But if the Western traveller does arrive with any idées reçues, they are liable to be soon dispelled. Seoul is now the third largest city in the world, as a municipal unit – bigger than Tokyo or Beijing. Size is no guarantee of modernity, as the desperate ...

Our Man

Perry Anderson: The Inglorious Career of Kofi Annan

10 May 2007
The Best Intentions: Kofi Annan and the UN in the Era of American World Power 
by James Traub.
Bloomsbury, 442 pp., £20, November 2006, 0 7475 8087 1
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Kofi Annan: A Man of Peace in a World of War 
by Stanley Meisler.
Wiley, 384 pp., £19.99, January 2007, 978 0 471 78744 0
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... Of all postwar institutions in the public eye, the United Nations has probably yielded the poorest literature. With the exception of two lucid studies of its foundation, Robert Hildebrand’s Dumbarton Oaks (1990) and Stephen Schlesinger’s Act of Creation (2003), each the work of a serious diplomatic historian, little or nothing of analytic interest exists about the organisation, which has proved ...

Sinomania

Perry Anderson

28 January 2010
When China Rules the World: The Rise of the Middle Kingdom and the End of the Western World 
by Martin Jacques.
Allen Lane, 550 pp., £30, June 2009, 978 0 7139 9254 0
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Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics: Entrepreneurship and the State 
by Yasheng Huang.
Cambridge, 348 pp., £15.99, November 2008, 978 0 521 89810 2
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Against the Law: Labour Protests in China’s Rustbelt and Sunbelt 
by Ching Kwan Lee.
California, 325 pp., £15.95, June 2007, 978 0 520 25097 0
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... These days Orientalism has a bad name. Edward Said depicted it as a deadly mixture of fantasy and hostility brewed in the West about societies and cultures of the East. He based his portrait on Anglo-French writing about the Near East, where Islam and Christendom battled with each other for centuries before the region fell to Western imperialism in modern times. But the Far East was always another ...

Casuistries of Peace and War

Perry Anderson: The assumptions the Bush Administration and its critics share

6 March 2003
... The prospect of a second war on Iraq raises a large number of questions, analytic and political. What are the intentions behind the impending campaign? What are likely to be the consequences? What does the drive to war tell us about the long-term dynamics of American global power? These issues will remain on the table for some time to come, outliving any assault this spring. The front of the stage ...

Sino-Americana

Perry Anderson

9 February 2012
Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China 
by Ezra Vogel.
Harvard, 876 pp., £29.95, September 2011, 978 0 674 05544 5
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On China 
by Henry Kissinger.
Allen Lane, 586 pp., £30, May 2011, 978 1 84614 346 5
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The Generalissimo: Chiang Kai-shek and the Struggle for Modern China 
by Jay Taylor.
Harvard, 736 pp., £14.95, April 2011, 978 0 674 06049 4
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... Books about China, popular and scholarly, continue to pour off the presses. In this ever expanding literature, there is a subdivision that could be entitled ‘Under Western Eyes’. The larger part of it consists of works that appear to be about China, or some figure or topic from China, but whose real frame of reference, determining the optic, is the United States. Typically written by functionaries ...

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