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22 August 1996
A Perfect Execution 
by Tim Binding.
Picador, 344 pp., £15.99, May 1996, 0 330 34564 8
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... TimBinding is a confident writer. His paragraphs, lengthy but under control, take swift possession of the thick sheaf of pages, imposing form. The narrative voice is modestly assertive. There is a tale to be ...
8 March 1990
The Uses of Adversity 
by Timothy Garton Ash.
Granta, 352 pp., £5.99, September 1989, 0 14 014018 2
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... these words: No one ... is naive enough to believe that there will be an early and easy return in Czechoslovakia to common sense, dignity and democracy. Nevertheless, in systems which lack really binding rules, ‘even the impossible is possible.’ Should such an impossibility occur, there would be, I suspect, a substantial drive in the country to have, after more than fifty years, a personality of ...

The Darth Vader Option

Colin Kidd: The Tories

24 January 2013
The Conservatives since 1945: The Drivers of Party Change 
by Tim​ Bale.
Oxford, 372 pp., £55, September 2012, 978 0 19 923437 0
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The Conservative Party from Thatcher to Cameron 
by Tim​ Bale.
Polity, 471 pp., £14.99, January 2011, 978 0 7456 4858 3
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Reconstructing Conservatism? The Conservative Party in Opposition, 1997-2010 
by Richard Hayton.
Manchester, 166 pp., £60, September 2012, 978 0 7190 8316 7
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... were aimless sybarites. To the Tory journalist Frank Johnson they were just as zealous in their own way as Maoists – ‘a ruthless organisation dedicated to one fanatical aim: marriage’. Tim Bale’s latest book, The Conservatives since 1945, examines the motors of change within the party at every level from the high politics of leadership and factional dominance to the minutiae of party ...

Beyond the Ballot Box

Tim​ Barker: Occupy and Bernie

7 September 2016
Necessary Trouble: Americans in Revolt 
by Sarah Jaffe.
Nation, 352 pp., £20, August 2016, 978 1 56858 536 9
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... where symbolic one-day strikes by non-union workers and civil disobedience by sympathisers forced the idea onto the platform of the Democratic Party. (Platforms, for what it’s worth, are hardly binding: the platform of the victorious Democrats in 1976 committed the party to ‘national economic planning’.) But this process of tacit co-operation is only one potential outcome. Another is that ...
17 March 1988
Politics: A Work of Constructive Social Theory 
by Roberto Mangabeira Unger.
Cambridge, 256 pp., £25, January 1988, 0 521 32974 4
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The Critical Legal Studies Movement 
by Roberto Mangabeira Unger.
Harvard, 128 pp., £15.25, October 1986, 0 674 17735 5
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W.A. Mozart: ‘Le Nozze di Figaro’ 
by Tim​ Carter.
Cambridge, 180 pp., £27.50, February 1988, 0 521 30267 6
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... of their own. To see any social milieu as sharply as Beaumarchais, Da Ponte and Mozart contrived between them to portray the Almaviva house-hold is to see it in many different ways at once – Tim Carter’s useful Cambridge Handbook focuses, in its closing pages, on this aspect of the work’s achievement. Above all, it is to see clearly both the flimsy arbitrariness and the tense patterns of ...

Purple Days

Mark Ford

12 May 1994
The Pugilist at Rest 
by Thom Jones.
Faber, 230 pp., £14.99, March 1994, 0 571 17134 6
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The Sorrow of War 
by Bao Ninh, translated by Frank Palmos.
Secker, 217 pp., £8.99, January 1994, 0 436 31042 2
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A Good Scent from Strange Mountain 
by Robert Olen Butler.
Minerva, 249 pp., £5.99, November 1993, 0 7493 9767 5
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Out of the Sixties: Storytelling and the Vietnam Generation 
by David Wyatt.
Cambridge, 230 pp., £35, February 1994, 9780521441513
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... are normally told by survivors about others – friends or enemies – who didn’t make it. Often the story itself becomes part of the process of surviving. One of the purest examples of this is Tim O’Brien’s ‘The Man I Killed’, a preternaturally lucid description of a young Vietnamese soldier blown up by the narrator’s grenade. O’Brien’s precise, almost entranced detailing of the ...

Colloquially Speaking

Patrick McGuinness: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945

1 April 1999
The Penguin Book of Poetry from Britain and Ireland since 1945 
edited by Simon Armitage and Robert Crawford.
Viking, 480 pp., £10.99, September 1998, 0 670 86829 9
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The Firebox: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945 
edited by Sean O’Brien.
Picador, 534 pp., £16.99, October 1998, 0 330 36918 0
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... modern poetry reader’ and creating something more than a stepping-stone between us and several dozen Collected Poems. Armitage and Crawford entitle their introduction ‘The Democratic Voice’, binding the last fifty years of poetry into its wider social and cultural contexts – education acts, decolonisation, immigration – while Sean O’Brien, author of The Deregulated Muse, a fine critical ...

How can we live with it?

Thomas Jones: How to Survive Climate Change

23 May 2013
The Carbon Crunch: How We’re Getting Climate Change Wrong – and How to Fix It 
by Dieter Helm.
Yale, 273 pp., £20, September 2012, 978 0 300 18659 8
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Earthmasters: The Dawn of the Age of Climate Engineering 
by Clive Hamilton.
Yale, 247 pp., £20, February 2013, 978 0 300 18667 3
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The City and the Coming Climate: Climate Change in the Places We Live 
by Brian Stone.
Cambridge, 187 pp., £19.99, July 2012, 978 1 107 60258 8
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... Of the world’s eight biggest national emitters of carbon dioxide, which between them account for more than 66 per cent of global emissions, only Germany (2.4 per cent) has agreed to legally binding reductions in the second commitment period (2013-20). Canada (1.7 per cent) has withdrawn from the protocol; the United States (16 per cent) never ratified it; China (29 per cent), India (5.9 per ...

The Great British Economy Disaster

John Lanchester: A Very Good Election to Lose

11 March 2010
... the force which determines what happens in this area – I can’t stress that enough) would probably let the government get away with 4 per cent inflation. Slight problem: the 2 per cent figure is a binding target, to which both parties are committed. Hmm. What all this adds up to is a set of constraints so clear they are almost a diagram. The government has to cut the deficit. That involves raising ...

Moral Lepers

John Banville: Easter 1916

15 July 2015
Vivid Faces: The Revolutionary Generation in Ireland, 1890-1923 
by R.F. Foster.
Allen Lane, 433 pp., £10.99, May 2015, 978 0 241 95424 9
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... martyrdom that many of them had sought. Indeed, even the victims of that ‘blood sacrifice’, as it came to be considered, might have been consigned harmlessly to what the historian and journalist Tim Pat Coogan used to call the ‘pantechnicon’ of Irish heroes, but for the fact that in the period immediately following the Rising, most of Europe entered a critical period of revolutionary change ...

Warmer, Warmer

John Lanchester: Global Warming, Global Hot Air

22 March 2007
The Revenge of Gaia 
by James Lovelock.
Allen Lane, 222 pp., £8.99, February 2007, 978 0 14 102597 1
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Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis Summary for Policymakers: Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 
IPCC, February 2007Show More
Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning 
by George Monbiot.
Allen Lane, 277 pp., £17.99, September 2006, 0 7139 9923 3
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The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies 
by Richard Heinberg.
Clairview, 320 pp., £12.99, October 2005, 1 905570 00 7
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The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review 
by Nicholas Stern.
Cambridge, 692 pp., £29.99, January 2007, 978 0 521 70080 1
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... process over nuclear power, and further away, at a conference in Washington, an ‘informal agreement’ marking a new commitment to ‘tackling climate change’ and resulting in a ‘non-binding’ declaration which reflected ‘a real change of mood’. Just what the world needs – more hot air. And then the news moves on to other things, to contaminated Anglo-Hungarian turkeys and gang ...
27 September 2018
How to Survive a Plague: The Story of How Activists and Scientists Tamed Aids 
by David France.
Picador, 624 pp., £12.99, September 2017, 978 1 5098 3940 7
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Patient Zero and the Making of the Aids Epidemic 
by Richard A. McKay.
Chicago, 432 pp., £26.50, November 2017, 978 0 226 06395 9
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Modern Nature: The Journals of Derek Jarman, 1989-90 
by Derek Jarman.
Vintage, 314 pp., £9.99, May 2018, 978 1 78487 387 5
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Smiling in Slow Motion: The Journals of Derek Jarman, 1991-94 
by Derek Jarman.
Vintage, 388 pp., £9.99, August 2018, 978 1 78487 516 9
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The Ward 
by Gideon Mendel.
Trolley, 88 pp., £25, December 2017, 978 1 907112 56 0
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... and it’s going to get worse before it gets better, because you know so many people who are positive. Anyone living in metropolitan London is living that life around the clock.‘I didn’t cry when Tim died,’ Moore wrote: To be honest, I was relieved. He couldn’t see. He couldn’t hold his own cigarette. He could barely hold his own water. He knew I was there and he became flustered by my ...

The Satoshi Affair

Andrew O’Hagan

29 June 2016
... years before bitcoin. What was happening that would later have an influence? I want to know about all the precursors, all the previous attempts to solve the problem.’ ‘Back in 1997 there was Tim May’s BlackNet …’ May was a crypto-anarchist, who had been operating and agitating in the cypherpunk community since the mid-1980s. ‘Computer technology is on the verge of providing the ...

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