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Let’s talk class again

Thomas Frank: Demons on the Left!, 21 March 2002

Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes how the Media Distort the News 
by Bernard Goldberg.
Regnery, 234 pp., $27.95, December 2001, 0 89526 190 1
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... has disappeared from all but a handful of American newspapers. Foreign affairs reporters (led by Thomas Friedman, the influential columnist for the New York Times) increasingly accept free-market globalisation theory, automatically blaming the problems of other countries on their failure to be more like the entrepreneurial US. Wall Street stock ...

Over the Rainbow

Slavoj Žižek: Populist Conservatism, 4 November 2004

... who drive foreign cars, mock patriotism and advocate abortion and homosexuality on the other: so Thomas Frank argues in What’s the Matter with America? The main economic interest of populist conservatism is to get rid of the strong state, which taxes the population in order to finance regulatory interventions, and to introduce an economic programme ...

Taking back America

Anatol Lieven: The right-wing backlash, 2 December 2004

What’s the Matter with America? The Resistible Rise of the American Right 
by Thomas Frank.
Secker, 306 pp., £12, September 2004, 0 436 20539 4
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... don’t just loathe each other culturally: they also have radically clashing economic interests. Thomas Frank’s important and fascinating book on the Republican base in the Midwestern heartland anticipates and tries to answer the riddle posed by the election: why did so many poor white Americans vote for a Republican Party which has become more and ...

Memories of Frank Kermode

Stefan Collini, Karl Miller, Adam Phillips, Jacqueline Rose, James Wood, Michael Wood and Wynne Godley, 23 September 2010

... writes: ‘Yes, I’d like that very much. That really would be something to look forward to.’ Frank was already weakened and wasted by throat cancer, but my suggestion that we go to watch some cricket at Fenner’s did seem genuinely to appeal to him. There wasn’t much to look forward to by this point. On the appointed day the weather was kind, and ...

If Goofy Could Talk

Frank Cioffi, 6 April 1995

When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals 
by Jeffrey Masson and Susan McCarthy.
Cape, 268 pp., £14.99, September 1994, 0 224 03554 1
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The Hidden Life of Dogs 
by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas.
Weidenfeld, 148 pp., £12.50, May 1994, 0 297 81461 3
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The Tribe of Tiger 
by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas.
Weidenfeld, 240 pp., £12.99, October 1994, 0 297 81508 3
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... being slaughtered to those of the victims of the Holocaust, and of a steer being spared to Anne Frank being spared. They also suggest that there might be an equivalent of Yad Va Shem’s Avenue of Righteousness among the whales: ‘Perhaps whales sing sagas of great acts of sacrifice by whale cows of days gone by.’ Elizabeth Marshall ...

‘My God was bigger than his’

Colin Kidd: The Republicans, 4 November 2004

The Right Nation: Why America Is Different 
by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge.
Allen Lane, 450 pp., £14.99, August 2004, 0 7139 9738 9
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Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet 
by James Mann.
Penguin, 448 pp., $16, September 2004, 0 14 303489 8
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Nixon’s Shadow: The History of an Image 
by David Greenberg.
Norton, 496 pp., £9.99, November 2004, 0 393 32616 0
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America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism 
by Anatol Lieven.
HarperCollins, 274 pp., £18.99, October 2004, 0 00 716456 4
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... ideological lineage going back to the Republican Party of the 1790s, a radical organisation led by Thomas Jefferson. The first party system gave way around 1830 to the battles of the Whigs and the Jacksonian Democrats. The emergence of today’s Republican Party during the 1850s as an open adversary of Southern ‘Slave Power’ and the advent of the Civil War ...

Blackberry Apocalypse

Nicholas Guyatt: Evangelical Disarray, 15 November 2007

American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America 
by Chris Hedges.
Cape, 254 pp., £12.99, February 2007, 978 0 224 07820 7
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... been plenty for evangelicals to complain about even since the triumphs of Bush and Karl Rove. As Thomas Frank argued in 2004 in his book What’s the Matter with Kansas?, the striking thing about the Republican alliance with evangelicals has been the thinness of their legislative achievements: abortion is still legal, campaigners for gay rights have ...

Frank Auerbach’s London

T.J. Clark: Frank Auerbach, 10 September 2015

... That marvellous line from Thomas Hardy’s ‘At the Railway Station’: ‘And the man in the handcuffs suddenly sang/With grimful glee …’ Frank Auerbach to William Feaver And the man in the handcuffs suddenly sang With grimful glee: ‘This life so free Is the thing for me!’ And the constable smiled, and said no word ...

Can the poor think?

Malcolm Bull: ‘Nervous States’, 4 July 2019

Nervous States: How Feeling Took Over the World 
by William Davies.
Cape, 272 pp., £16.99, September 2018, 978 1 78733 010 8
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... form a substantial electoral bloc that did not consistently pursue its own economic interests. As Thomas Frank noted fifteen years ago in What’s the Matter with Kansas?, such issues have been the Holy Grail of conservative politics for some time. None of the things the culture wars were fought over stuck, until immigration finally did the ...


Frank Kermode: Doubting Thomas, 5 January 2006

Doubting Thomas 
by Glenn Most.
Harvard, 267 pp., £17.95, October 2005, 0 674 01914 8
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... The story of Doubting Thomas, examined at length in this learned and fascinating book, has its origin in a brief passage near the end of St John’s Gospel. After the crucifixion, when the disciples were assembled behind locked doors ‘for fear of the Jews’, Jesus appeared among them and displayed the wounds in his hands and side ...

Lucchesi: His Life in Art

Frank Lentricchia: Four Fictions, 12 November 1998

... living with his parents in the great American heartland, seeing no one but family. He alone, Thomas Lucchesi, the relentless reader and rumoured writer among them, would journey beyond his small city’s environs, often to distant and remote parts of the country, but only to succour dying friends – chums he’d not seen since college days, who had long ...

There is no alternative to becoming Leadbeater

Nick Cohen: Charles Leadbeater, 28 October 1999

Living on Thin Air: The New Economy 
by Charles Leadbeater.
Viking, 244 pp., £17.99, July 1999, 0 670 87669 0
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... a celebration of hip and chaotic capitalism. It is written in the regulation giddy style that Thomas Frank and the Baffler school in Chicago have dissected so well. Once again we are presented with the lives of the saints of middle management, Leadbeater’s magnificent pilgrims are full of daring. They struggle for personal fulfilment and venture ...

Everything Must Go!

Andrew O’Hagan: American Beauties, 13 December 2001

The Corrections 
by Jonathan Franzen.
Fourth Estate, 568 pp., £17.99, November 2001, 1 84115 672 8
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Ghost World 
directed by Terry Zwigoff.
August 2001
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directed by Todd Solondz.
November 2001
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... that Bill Gates earned more than the lowest-paid 40 per cent of Americans combined. ‘Once,’ Thomas Frank writes in his terrific book One Market under God :2 Americans imagined that economic democracy meant a reasonable standard of living for all – that freedom was only meaningful once poverty and powerlessness had been ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Adopt a Book, 22 June 2000

... or more you can choose which book you get (comedian, football fan and former English teacher Frank Skinner has apparently made an early bid for Johnson’s Dictionary). You also get a certificate and the chance to attend an annual ‘meet your book’ event. Thousands of books are slowly turning to dust, and current funding for conservation is so low ...

Women’s Fiction

Margaret Walters, 13 October 1988

The Beginning of Spring 
by Penelope Fitzgerald.
Collins, 187 pp., £10.95, September 1988, 0 00 223261 8
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A Wedding of Cousins 
by Emma Tennant.
Viking, 167 pp., £11.95, September 1988, 0 670 81502 0
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The Skeleton in the Cupboard 
by Alice Thomas Ellis.
Duckworth, 138 pp., £9.95, September 1988, 0 7156 2269 2
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... with broken ice and rubbish. Penelope Fitzgerald’s hero is a quiet, thoughtful Englishman, Frank Reid, born and brought up in the city and running a small printing business inherited from his father. The tragi-comedy of Frank’s domestic difficulties is played out, often ironically, against this enormous, turbulent ...

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