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The Great Sorting

Ben Rogers: Urban Inequality

25 April 2018
The New Urban Crisis: Gentrification, Housing Bubbles, Growing Inequality and What We Can Do about It 
by Richard Florida.
Oneworld, 352 pp., £20, September 2017, 978 1 78607 212 2
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... RichardFlorida​ has been having second thoughts. In 2002 he argued in The Rise of the Creative Class that the future of advanced economies lay not in manufacturing but in high-skilled areas of the service sector ...
30 November 2000
... look around, dazed and confused, and wonder: how did this happen? What is this country that elected this man as its President? (That is, if it did elect him: we still don’t know what happened in Florida, and we may never really know.) Back then, even if you despised Reagan for his politics, you had to acknowledge his charisma, or at least that others felt its sway. It’s the same with Clinton today ...
4 December 1980
The Girl in a Swing 
by Richard​ Adams.
Allen Lane, 397 pp., £5.95, October 1980, 0 7139 1407 6
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... The remarkable literary career of Richard Adams began only eight years ago, but it has already reached substantial dimensions. Watership Down in 1972 was followed by two other works of mystery and imagination, relying more or less heavily on ...


Richard​ Rudgley: Plant obsessions

15 July 1999
The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession 
by Susan Orlean.
Heinemann, 348 pp., £12.99, April 1999, 0 434 00783 8
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The Tulip 
by Anna Pavord.
Bloomsbury, 438 pp., £30, January 1999, 0 7475 4296 1
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Plants of Life, Plants of Death 
by Frederick Simoons.
Wisconsin, 568 pp., £27.95, September 1998, 0 299 15904 3
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... sometimes religious. These three books explore the nature of this more subtle relationship between the vegetable kingdom and ourselves. Susan Orlean approaches the shadowy world of orchid fanatics in Florida as an outsider, but one mindful of the inherent danger in her attempt to understand the nature of obsession. She is quick to pass on orchids given to her by addicts in case she, too, comes under ...

The Candidates

Chris Lehmann: Scott, Rick, Ted, Marco and Jeb

17 June 2015
... a position now seen as insane even by most Republicans, he tried to retreat from it with a series of flailing clarifications. Jeb Bush’s own track record is terrible. He was elected as governor of Florida in 1998, touting his ambitious plan to ‘reform’ – i.e. privatise – the state’s underperforming schools. The actual returns of his ‘education miracle’ are equivocal at best: it’s hard ...

A Kind of Gnawing Offness

David Haglund: Tao Lin

21 October 2010
Richard​ Yates 
by Tao Lin.
Melville House, 206 pp., £10.99, October 2010, 978 1 935554 15 8
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... The title of Tao Lin’s sixth book and second novel is an act of mild provocation. Richard Yates belongs to a biography, not a novel – certainly not one in which Yates himself doesn’t appear. One character in the book steals a copy of The Easter Parade; another reads Disturbing the ...

Southern Comfort

Claude Rawson

16 April 1981
Jefferson Davis gets his citizenship back 
by Robert Penn Warren.
Kentucky/Transatlantic Book Service, 114 pp., £4.85, December 1980, 0 8131 1445 4
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Being here: Poetry 1977-1980 
by Robert Penn Warren.
Secker, 109 pp., £4.95, October 1980, 0 436 36650 9
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Ways of light: Poems 1972-1980 
by Richard​ Eberhart.
Oxford, 68 pp., £5.95, January 1981, 9780195027372
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... with intimations of mortality or the harsh tang of a real death. One such poem, ‘Recollection in Upper Ontario, From Long Before’, is dedicated to that other Grand Old Man of American Letters, Richard Eberhart, almost exactly Warren’s coeval (Eberhart was born in 1904, Warren in 1905), who has also published a new book of poems. Eberhart, unlike Warren, loves highways: If I drive a thousand ...

Dangerously Insane

Deyan Sudjic: Léon Krier

7 October 2010
The Architecture of Community 
by Léon Krier.
Island, 459 pp., £12.99, February 2010, 978 1 59726 579 9
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... and the author of the introduction to Krier’s latest book, is the architect of the presidential library of George W. Bush, now under construction in Texas. And Krier has disciples everywhere from Florida to Romania. He is the father of what his American followers call the New Urbanism, of which the Prince of Wales’s development project at Poundbury outside Dorchester is the prime British example ...

Guess what? It’s raining

Deborah Friedell: Murder in Florida

5 July 2012
Injustice: Life and Death in the Courtrooms of America 
by Clive Stafford Smith.
Harvill Secker, 376 pp., £18.99, July 2012, 978 1 84655 625 8
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... bills. Or maybe Maharaj was undone by his foreignness: Americans know that when you’re indicted for murder, it’s time to sell everything you have. ‘Have you been saving up for a rainy day?’ Richard Gere as the defence attorney asks in Primal Fear. ‘Guess what? It’s raining.’ In the course of his many appeals, Stafford Smith claimed that Maharaj had received ‘ineffective assistance at ...

I have not heard her voice in a long, long time

Thomas Powers: Edna and Parker Ford

4 October 2017
Between Them 
by Richard​ Ford.
Bloomsbury, 175 pp., £12.99, May 2017, 978 0 06 266188 3
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... can seem of a piece observed from across the room or across a table or on the next pillow but clarity disappears when you look inward. The chaos within is one of the major themes in the fiction of Richard Ford. What engages him is the churning of the conscious self, as changeable as the weather on an iffy day. What kind of a day is such a day? Soft or threatening? What kind of people were Ford’s ...

On the Beaches

Richard​ White: In Indian Country

21 March 2002
Facing East from Indian Country: A Native History of Early America 
by Daniel Richter.
Harvard, 317 pp., £17.95, January 2002, 0 674 00638 0
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... involve when we have no report from her or any of her companions? For starters, it involves a Walter Cronkite surrogate. The time is ‘Sunday, 25 May 1539’. The place is Tampa Bay on the Gulf of Florida. In my mind, I can hear the narrator: ‘What kind of a day was it? A day like all days . . .’ ‘We barely see,’ Richter writes, ‘the sails of nine Spanish ships anchored three miles or so off ...
17 July 1997
Rituals of Retribution: Capital Punishment in Germany 1600-1987 
by Richard​ J. Evans.
Oxford, 1014 pp., £55, March 1996, 0 19 821968 7
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... opinion in the Seventies. Stasi officers and others convicted of spying were still executed up to 1981, and the death penalty was not formally abolished until 1987. This is the capsule version of Richard Evans’s important new book, trying to do justice to which makes one feel like a hapless contestant in Monty Python’s summarising-Proust competition. The central theme is clear enough: capital ...

Short Cuts

Daniel Soar: Sokal 2.0

25 October 2018
... outlet have never panned out, but you can visit the one in Nottingham any Saturday night – a sign by the loos plaintively reads: MIAMI, 4378 MILES —>.) The ethnography of Hooters culture by ‘Richard Baldwin’ – one of the collaborators’ pseudonyms, actually the borrowed name of one of their friends, a 71-year-old former champion bodybuilder and emeritus professor of the humanities at Gulf ...
11 March 1993
Wide Body: The Making of the 747 
by Clive Irving.
Hodder, 384 pp., £17.99, February 1993, 0 340 53487 7
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... if Stirling crews weren’t shot out of the sky over Europe they were all too often killed back at their home airfield when the undercarriage gave way on landing. When the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richard talks dismissively about ‘Brabazon bands’ he is alluding to an ill-fated post-war British airliner. A rock band can be beautiful to look at, sound as sleek and smooth as you like, the gnarled ...

Biting Habits

Hugh Pennington: The Zika Virus

18 February 2016
... the US surgeon general with a transparent plastic block containing the embedded corpses of the ‘last two Aedes aegypti in Mexico’.) An eradication programme started in 1964 in Texas and southern Florida, but little enthusiasm was shown by politicians, public health professionals or the public: the money, they said, could be better spent. The programme was finally brought to an end after the election ...

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