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16 August 1990
The False Prophet. Rabbi Meir Kahane: From FBI Informant to Knesset Member 
by Robert Friedman.
Faber, 282 pp., £14.99, June 1990, 0 571 14842 5
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... ideas has managed to use this argument to make itself look respectable by contrast. Yet Kahane is not merely a bizarre American product, although he is that too. Perhaps the greatest strength of Friedman’s book is that Kahane is firmly placed in the history of the radical Zionist Right. Kahane’s father was born in Palestine and he was an active member of the American branch of the Revisionists ...

Like a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader

John Lloyd: Globalisation

2 September 1999
The Lexus and the Olive Tree 
by Thomas Friedman.
HarperCollins, 394 pp., £19.99, May 1999, 0 00 257014 9
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Global Transformation 
by David Held and Anthony McGrew.
Polity, 515 pp., £59.50, March 1999, 0 7456 1498 1
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... Thomas Friedman is so much the kind of American that the rest of the world likes to despise that it’s a fair assumption he has, at least in part, adopted the pose consciously. He calls himself a ‘tourist with ...
6 February 1986
... from Chicago became for the moment one of the most influential private individuals in the world. Fêted by financiers, mobbed by the media, patronised by presidents and prime ministers, Milton Friedman had at last arrived. The doctrine for which he had fought – initially almost single-handedly – for a quarter of a century had become the New Orthodoxy. Monetarism had overthrown discredited ...

Ariel the Unlucky

David Gilmour

5 April 1990
Warrior: The Autobiography of Ariel Sharon 
by Ariel Sharon and David Chanoff.
Macdonald, 571 pp., £14.95, October 1989, 0 356 17960 5
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The Slopes of Lebanon 
by Amos Oz, translated by Maurie Goldberg-Bartura.
Chatto, 246 pp., £13.95, January 1990, 0 7011 3444 5
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From Beirut to Jerusalem 
by Thomas Friedman.
Collins, 541 pp., £15, March 1990, 0 00 215096 4
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Pity the nation: Lebanon at War 
by Robert​ Fisk.
Deutsch, 622 pp., £17.95, February 1990, 0 233 98516 6
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... Israeli novelist Amos Oz, it was the year ‘the Land of Israel’ died in Lebanon, while for him personally it aroused feelings of alienation, the sense of being an exile in his own land. For Thomas Friedman, a Jewish American journalist, the refugee camp atrocities produced ‘something of a personal crisis’ and tore away ‘every illusion’ he had ‘ever held about the Jewish state’. And for ...

Mobsters get homesick too

Misha Glenny: ‘Mafias on the Move’

30 June 2011
Mafias on the Move: How Organised Crime Conquers New Territories 
by Federico Varese.
Princeton, 278 pp., £24.95, March 2011, 978 0 691 12855 9
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... RobertFriedman’s Red Mafiya: How the Russian Mob Has Invaded America came out in 2000. Two years before that, in June 1998, he received a phone call from Mike McCall, an FBI agent. McCall warned him that his ...
25 October 2012
Age of Fracture 
by Daniel Rodgers.
Harvard, 360 pp., £14.95, September 2012, 978 0 674 06436 2
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... and sold. The only thing holding it all together was the magnetic energy of these individual acts of exchange. Like most scholars of the free-market movement, Rodgers assigns great weight to Milton Friedman, ‘the University of Chicago’s most forceful politiciser’, and the right’s answer to J.K. Galbraith. He wrote columns for Newsweek, advised presidents (and dictators), and organised the ten ...

Mid-Century Male

Christopher Glazek: Edmund White

19 July 2012
Jack Holmes and His Friend 
by Edmund White.
Bloomsbury, 390 pp., £18.99, January 2012, 978 1 4088 0579 4
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... been read appreciatively by eminent friends, including Ashbery and Nabokov, who once listed it as one of the few contemporary novels he liked. The book was reviewed in the New York Times by Alan Friedman, the author of a forgotten novel called Hermaphrodeity, who described it as ‘a nearly inscrutable mystery’ powered by ‘camp, vamp and very damp wit’. He praised White’s ‘poetic brilliance ...

Goodness me

Mary-Kay Wilmers

26 October 1989
Margaret, Daughter of Beatrice: A Politician’s Psycho-Biography of Margaret Thatcher 
by Leo Abse.
Cape, 288 pp., £13.95, September 1989, 0 224 02726 3
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... he is quite certain that he’s better than everyone else: better than the professional psychoanalysts cowering in their consulting-rooms, and better certainly than any political scientist. Take Robert McKenzie, the television psephologist and master of the swingometer, a figure well-known in the Sixties, but now safely dead – and, as we shall see, without heirs who might want to sue on his ...

Bush’s Useful Idiots

Tony Judt: Whatever happened to American liberalism?

21 September 2006
... and businessmen: among them Daniel Bell, J.K. Galbraith, Felix Rohatyn, Arthur Schlesinger Jr, Irving Howe and Eudora Welty. These and other signatories – the economist Kenneth Arrow, the poet Robert Penn Warren – were the critical intellectual core, the steady moral centre of American public life. But who, now, would sign such a protest? Liberalism in the United States today is the politics ...

The Imagined Market

Donald MacKenzie: Money Games

31 October 2002
Machine Dreams: Economics Becomes a Cyborg Science 
by Philip Mirowski.
Cambridge, 670 pp., £24.95, February 2002, 0 521 77526 4
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... personal cost, by rejection of unfair offers. If people are not homines economici, should economic theory be rejected as a fantasy based on unsound foundations? The classic riposte came from Milton Friedman, who argued that the test of a theory should not be the realism of its assumptions but the precision and success of its predictions. To assume that people are egoists who each maximise what ...

Flossing

Andrew O’Hagan: Pukey poetry anthologies

4 November 2004
Poems to Last a Lifetime 
edited by Daisy Goodwin.
HarperCollins, 308 pp., £18.99, October 2004, 0 00 717707 0
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All the Poems You Need to Say I Do 
edited by Peter Forbes.
Picador, 197 pp., £10, October 2004, 0 330 43388 1
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... Your Life Sucks: And What You Can Do about It by Alan Cohen, When Children Grieve: For Adults to Help Children Deal with Death, Divorce, Pet Loss, Moving and Other Losses by John James and Russell Friedman, and Bodylove: Learning to Like Our Looks and Ourselves: A Practical Guide for Women by the punctuation-crazed Rita Freedman. Publishing houses in New York, busy, as usual, looking for the hot new ...
6 June 1985
The Conservative Party from Peel to Thatcher 
by Robert​ Blake.
Methuen/Fontana, 401 pp., £19.95, May 1985, 0 413 58140 3
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Westminster Blues 
by Julian Critchley.
Hamish Hamilton, 134 pp., £7.95, May 1985, 0 241 11387 3
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... may not love the common rooms of Oxford and Cambridge, but she does not think of the intelligentsia as Baldwin did – as ‘an ugly name for an ugly thing’. Where would she be without Hayek and Friedman, Burns and Minford, the Institute of Economic Affairs or even the Conservative Philosophy Group? Ironically, the zealots of the Conservative Party (or arditi, as Critchley calls them, which is more ...

Bible Stories

John Barton

16 February 1989
The Book of God: A Response to the Bible 
by Gabriel Josipovici.
Yale, 350 pp., £18.95, November 1988, 0 300 04320 1
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Who wrote the Bible? 
by Richard Elliott Friedman.
Cape, 299 pp., £12.95, June 1988, 0 224 02573 2
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... and to see these authors as highly diverse, even incompatible in their intentions. In a very straightforward, unliterary, yet, I believe, convincing way, this is demonstrated in Richard Elliott Friedman’s book Who wrote the Bible? He shows that the critics’ questions about date, authorship and original use of the various Biblical books are sometimes answerable and, what is more, worth answering ...

11 September 1973

Christopher Hitchens: Crimes against Allende

11 July 2002
Pinochet in Piccadilly: Britain and Chile’s Hidden History 
by Andy Beckett.
Faber, 280 pp., £15.99, May 2002, 0 571 20241 1
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... his politics, and have allowed this to infect his poetry, but he was writing as a patriot when he composed the potent verses entitled ‘They Receive Instructions against Chile’ (translated here by Robert Bly): But we have to see behind all these, there is something behind the traitors and the gnawing rats, an empire which sets the table, and serves up the nourishment and the bullets. They want to ...

We simply do not know!

John Gray: Keynes

19 November 2009
Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism 
by George Akerlof and Robert​ Shiller.
Princeton, 230 pp., £16.95, February 2009, 978 0 691 14233 3
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... few of those who urge that we go back to him seem to have understood why he believed this. Apart from a brief postscript to one of the chapters and a few remarks in the preface, George Akerlof and Robert Shiller’s Animal Spirits was written before the current crisis. Yet, based on research undertaken over many years, it can be read as prefiguring the current disillusionment with economics. The ...

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