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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 ...

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 ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Alice in Wonderland’, 25 March 2010

Alice in Wonderland 
directed by Tim Burton.
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... The title of Tim Burton’s new film plays an elegant and dizzying little game, entirely in keeping with its tone and theme. This movie shows us Alice in Wonderland but it is not a film of Alice in Wonderland, or indeed of Through the Looking-Glass, although most of its characters are drawn from these two books. The screenplay is by Linda Woolverton ...

Dirty Money

Paul Foot, 17 December 1992

A Full Service Bank: How BCCI stole millions around the world 
by James Ring Adams and Douglas Frantz.
Simon and Schuster, 381 pp., £16.99, April 1992, 0 671 71133 4
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Bankrupt: The BCCI Fraud 
by Nick Kochan and Bob Whittington.
Gollancz, 234 pp., £4.99, November 1991, 0 575 05279 1
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The BCCI Affair: A Report to The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations 
by Senators John Kerry and Hank Brown.
US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 800 pp., September 1992
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Inquiry into the Supervision of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International 
by Lord Justice Bingham.
HMSO, 218 pp., £19.30, October 1992, 0 10 219893 4
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... the most important people have their price. The price for Bert Lance, a close friend of President Carter, and briefly a member of Carter’s Administration, was obvious. Poor Bert had got into trouble with his own bank at home in Georgia and owed about three million dollars. Abedi lent him the three million. It was never ...

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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... of its opponents. ‘It is not mollified because John Kerry prays,’ Hedges notes, ‘or Jimmy Carter teaches Sunday school.’ By the end of the book, Hedges is pleading with liberal readers to give up ‘naive attempts to reach out to the movement’. This is a call to arms: it’s time for liberals to meet intolerance with intolerance. After ...

Pulp

Scott Bradfield, 14 December 1995

Jim Thompson Omnibus: The Getaway, The Killer inside Me, The Grifters, Pop. 1280 
Picador, 570 pp., £7.99, November 1995, 3 303 34288 1Show More
Savage Art: A Biography of Jim Thompson 
by Robert Polito.
Knopf, 543 pp., $30, October 1995, 0 394 58407 4
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... and talking like Gomer Pyle even when he’s taking vengeful instructions from the Lord. And Carter ‘Doc’ McCoy of The Getaway uses his face like currency, swapping smiles for confidences while plotting the murders of his business associates, or negotiating the sale of his girlfriend, Carol, to cannibals. Like the long and short-con operators of The ...

Diary

Christian Lorentzen: The Democratic Convention, 10 August 2016

... to go to jail. He’s a retired truck driver and has been cool on the national Democrats since the Carter administration passed the Motor Carrier Act of 1980, which decreased the prices of consumer goods as well as the income of truck drivers. I’ve put many arguments against Trump to him, and suggested he vote for the Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, or ...

Darling, are you mad?

Jenny Diski: Ghost-writing for Naim Attallah, 4 November 2004

Ghosting 
by Jennie Erdal.
Canongate, 270 pp., £14.99, November 2004, 1 84195 562 0
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... publishing house were girls with names, double and triple barrelled: Heathcote-Amery, Bonham-Carter, Sackville-West, Vane-Tempest-Stewart. And mostly their forenames ended, as well-bred girls’ forenames must, in ‘a’: Nigella, Cosima, Candida, Sophia, Samantha, Sabrina, Lucinda. ‘Famous Englishmen write to me about their daughters,’ Attallah ...

Save it for HBO

Jenny Diski: Stanley Fish and ‘The Fugitive’, 17 March 2011

The Fugitive in Flight: Faith, Liberalism and Law in a Classic TV Show 
by Stanley Fish.
Pennsylvania, 152 pp., £16.50, November 2010, 978 0 8122 4277 5
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... of his restless movement is often not mentioned. The Harrison Ford movie and the TV remake with Tim Daly as Kimble both begin with an on-screen show-and-tell of the murder and the real culprit’s escape, and make the quest for the bad guy central, so that Kimble is wherever he is in order to get closer to his goal. One clue leads to another. Progress is ...

I don’t even get bananas

Madeleine Schwartz: Christina Stead, 2 November 2017

The Man Who Loved Children 
by Christina Stead.
Apollo, 528 pp., £10, April 2016, 978 1 78497 148 9
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Letty Fox: Her Luck 
by Christina Stead.
Apollo, 592 pp., £14, May 2017, 978 1 78669 139 2
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... as you please.’Stead’s ability to copy mannerisms and sound is in full view in Letty Fox, as Tim Parks notes in his introduction. The book is a long satirical account of the life of a young woman in 1940s Manhattan, drawn from the world Stead knew through Blake and the years she spent living with him on 14th Street. We know exactly where we are as soon ...

The Great British Economy Disaster

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

... position in 1981, Reagan never missed an opportunity to criticise the economic legacy of the Carter administration.) The Tories might well reset the inflation target, on a desperate-times-demand-desperate-measures basis, and assuming there will never again be as clear-cut a window of political opportunity. Inflation might not be far off 4 per cent ...

The God Squad

Andrew O’Hagan: Bushland, 23 September 2004

... Vote for a real American. Vote for Barry Goldwater. In your heart you know he’s right. Jimmy Carter, in 1980, sold himself on television as a man of peace who knows about war: ‘It’s good for the nation’s security when the commander-in-chief is himself an experienced military man. Jimmy Carter, Annapolis ...

‘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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... the Nixon-Kissinger commitment to détente. But the contrast between the virile Reagan and doveish Carter in the election of 1980 pushed these Democrat hawks – the so-called neoconservatives – into the Republican camp, though not all of them formally switched their party registrations. Richard Perle, a leading figure in the Republican defence establishment ...

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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... curve’ – clearly showed that levels of atmospheric CO2 were rising sharply. In 1979, Jimmy Carter asked the National Academy of Sciences to look into the question. The Ad Hoc Study Group of Carbon Dioxide and Climate did that, and reported that they had ‘no reason to doubt that climate change will result and no reason to believe that these changes ...

The End of British Farming

Andrew O’Hagan: British farming, 22 March 2001

... I asked him who paid for the Sainsbury’s packaging. ‘Oh, we do,’ he said. That afternoon Tim Yeo, the shadow agriculture spokesman, said that the Government had responded in chaotic fashion to a chain of farming crises. ‘I wish he would shut up and go away,’ Nick Brown replied. ‘He is trying to make political capital out of a terrible ...

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