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Downhill from Here

Ian Jack: The 1970s, 27 August 2009

When the Lights Went Out: Britain in the Seventies 
by Andy Beckett.
Faber, 576 pp., £20, May 2009, 978 0 571 22136 3
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... Trade unions became an immovable fact of everyday life; they were, as Beckett writes, at their zenith. From friends on unsympathetic newspapers I learned the term of art for the front-page formula that ran a big headline next to a mugshot (‘The man who is stopping your trains tonight!’). They called it the ‘crucifixion layout’. It implied that ...

Attila the Hus

Mary-Kay Wilmers, 4 November 1982

Rules of the Game: Sir Oswald and Lady Cynthia Mosley 1896-1933 
by Nicholas Mosley.
Secker, 274 pp., £8.95, October 1982, 0 436 28849 4
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... several different versions of Mosley’s political career. Fellow politicians, Michael Foot and Richard Crossman among them, took the view that, like themselves, he was interested in power but that, unlike them, unlike Foot and Crossman at any rate, he was too impatient to wait his turn. For Skidelsky, though there are signs that he may now repent ...

The Age of EJH

Perry Anderson: Eric Hobsbawm’s Memoirs, 3 October 2002

Interesting Times: A 20th-Century Life 
by Eric Hobsbawm.
Allen Lane, 448 pp., £20, September 2002, 0 7139 9581 5
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... for more than flashes of self-revelation. More recently, we have the eccentric cameos of Richard Cobb and causeries of A.J.P. Taylor, of which he said they were evidence that he had run out of historical subjects. In all, in the genre for which it seems so well designed, the craft of the historian has yielded perhaps only two classics – Gibbon’s ...

Blood for Oil?

Retort: The takeover of Iraq, 21 April 2005

... believes it is the other side of 2030; and the US Energy Information Administration places the zenith somewhere between 2021 and 2112. For the next half-century, according to the MIT economist Morris Adelman, ‘oil available to the markets is for all intents and purposes infinite.’ The entire question of company oil reserves is murky, and what figures ...

Forgive us our debts

Benjamin Kunkel: The History of Debt, 10 May 2012

Paper Promises: Money, Debt and the New World Order 
by Philip Coggan.
Allen Lane, 294 pp., £20, December 2011, 978 1 84614 510 0
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Debt: The First 5000 Years 
by David Graeber.
Melville House, 534 pp., £21.99, July 2011, 978 1 933633 86 2
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... communism rather than hierarchy, a possibility glimpsed, or anyway named, in the literary theorist Richard Dienst’s recent The Bonds of Debt, which at one point rather vaguely imagines a future ‘radical politics of indebtedness’ fulfilling the slogans of classical Marxism.*) But regular monetised exchanges – completed or incomplete – are a relative ...

Bloody Sunday Report

Murray Sayle: Back to Bloody Sunday, 11 July 2002

... a TV crew reassured us that we were still in the real world. The tall, London-based CNN presenter Richard Quest, in tailored trenchcoat, waited impressively for his gear. CNN was here for some really significant story – the marriage of Sir Paul McCartney and anti-landmine campaigner Heather Mills, perhaps; a shade less probably, the wedding in St Eugene’s ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan, 7 June 2018

... in the flats above and below don’t even know there’s been a fire. This was something else.’ Richard Welsh is a senior officer with the London Fire Brigade. His pager went off at 1.18 a.m. ‘Initially they had six machines there,’ he said. ‘Then they asked for eight, and then ten, and then 15, 20, and then 25. I’m hearing that on the way there, so ...

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