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Enemies of All Mankind

Stephen Sedley: Pirates, 24 June 2010

The Treatment of Prisoners under International Law 
by Nigel Rodley, with Matt Pollard.
Oxford, 697 pp., £85, August 2009, 978 0 19 921507 2
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The Enemy of All: Piracy and the Law of Nations 
by Daniel Heller-Roazen.
Zone, 295 pp., £21.95, November 2009, 978 1 890951 94 8
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The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates 
by Peter Leeson.
Princeton, 271 pp., £16.95, May 2009, 978 0 691 13747 6
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... beyond the title, one recalls that Captain Hook himself, in the prose version, lures the flying Peter Pan into using his foot instead of his dagger to deliver the coup de grâce and tumbles into the crocodile’s jaws with the gratified riposte: ‘Bad form!’ Even better, in the stage version he goes to his death with the words ‘Floreat Etona!’ on his ...

Exasperating Classics

Patricia Craig, 23 May 1985

Secret Gardens 
by Humphrey Carpenter.
Allen and Unwin, 235 pp., £12.95, April 1985, 0 04 809022 0
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Reading and Righting 
by Robert Leeson.
Collins, 256 pp., £6.95, March 1985, 9780001844131
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Pipers at the Gates of Dawn 
by Jonathan Cott.
Viking, 327 pp., £12.95, August 1984, 0 670 80003 1
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... Peter Llewelyn Davies, one of J.M. Barrie’s ‘Lost Boys’, in later life called Peter Pan ‘that terrible masterpiece’. Brigid Brophy, having reread Little Women and its sequels, dried her eyes and blown her nose, resolved that ‘the only honourable course was to come out into the open and admit that the dreadful books are masterpieces ...


Stephen Smith: What’s become of Barings?, 23 March 1995

... The markets were re-opening after the weekend when the world first heard the name of Nicholas Leeson, the man who broke the bank in Singapore. It’s hard to remember how that dawn felt – now that we have reassured ourselves at the building society, peeped with relief beneath the mattress, patted the nest-egg – but the mood then was that the bottom ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 1995, 4 January 1996

... 13 January. One of Peter Cook’s jokes, several times quoted in his obituaries, is of two men chatting. ‘I’m writing a novel,’ says one, whereupon the other says: ‘Yes, neither am I.’ And of course it’s funny and has a point, except that Peter, I suspect, felt that this disposed of the matter entirely ...


John Lanchester: The credit crunch, 3 January 2008

... attempt to understand, control and make money from risk. The best version of this story is told in Peter Bernstein’s Against the Gods (1998), a fascinating account of risk, which makes the point that the study of risk is a humanist project, an attempt to abolish the idea of unknowable fate and replace it with the rational, quantifiable study of chance. The ...

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