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The Grey Boneyard of Fifties England

Iain Sinclair, 22 August 1996

A Perfect Execution 
by Tim Binding.
Picador, 344 pp., £15.99, May 1996, 0 330 34564 8
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... Tim Binding 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 told. The taleteller, having caught your attention, will not let go. No tricks, no mannerisms, no eye-catching Modernist flourishes: that’s the trick of it ...

Who would have thought it?

Neal Ascherson, 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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... 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 Masaryk’s calibre in the highest office again. Looking ...

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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... 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 elected officials, and the party organisation behind ...

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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... 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 organisation, such as attempts to boost the membership of ...

Doing something

John Dunn, 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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... 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 force that enable it for the most part to retain its shape ...

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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... 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 star-shaped hole where one of the man’s eyes used to ...

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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... 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 panorama of contemporary poetry, commends ‘the emergence ...

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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... 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 cent), Russia (5.4 per cent), Japan (3.7 per cent) and ...

The Great British Economy Disaster

John Lanchester: A Very Good Election to Lose, 11 March 2010

... 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 taxes and cutting spending. The government can’t do it ...

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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... 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. There was the October Revolution in Russia in 1917, and in ...

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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... 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 shootings and potential schisms in the Anglican ...

Here was a plague

Tom Crewe, 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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... 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 silence. But what can you say about your own life to someone on ...

The Satoshi Affair

Andrew O’Hagan, 29 June 2016

... 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 ability for individuals and groups to communicate and interact ...

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