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Talking Politics

Corbyn! Trump! Brexit! Politics has never been more unpredictable, more alarming or more interesting. Brought to you in partnership with the London Review of Books, Talking Politics is the podcast that tries to make sense of it all. Every Thursday, David Runciman discusses pressing political questions – and their longer-term causes and effects – with his regular panel of colleagues from the Cambridge University politics department, as well as novelists, comedians, historians, philosophers, LRB contributors and even a few politicians. Find the latest episode below, along with a reading list of relevant writing from the LRB archive; or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Acast or your preferred player.

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This week’s relevant reading (20 June: The Party Splits!)

‘In the British case, there are particular reasons why national history has proved challenging, progressively so over the centuries.’
– Linda Colley reviews A Mad, Bad & Dangerous People?: England 1783-1846 by Boyd Hilton (July 2010)

‘Peel’s difficulty over the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846 stemmed in large measure from the fact that the Conservative majority elected in 1841 came overwhelmingly from the English shires and the small, “rural” boroughs.’
– Robert Stewart on Sir Robert Peel (January 1987)

‘Most importantly, Peel avoided disillusioning his many supporters outside Parliament by being lucky in the issues that he faced and by dying early. ’
– Linda Colley on Peel and the Victorians (March 1988)

‘Everybody agrees that the British, and especially the English, are suffering from an identity crisis.’
– Boyd Hilton on free trade and liberal England (August 1998)

‘Richard Cobden is not a man for all seasons, but his life, career and values have been interpreted in widely different ways at different times.’
– Linda Colley on the life of Richard Cobden (July 1987)

‘Disraeli saw himself as Byron resurrected, and Gladstone saw him as Byron travestied. ’
– John Pemble on Disraeli and Gladstone (December 2013)

‘It may lie in the relationship between catastrophe and analytic narrative. How do you write about the Famine? What tone do you use?’
– Colm Tóibín on the Great Irish Famine (July 1998)


Relevant reading for 6 June (Constitutional Breakdown)

– George Letsas on Brexit and the Constitution (March 2017)

– Sionaidh Douglas-Scott on the constitutional implications of Brexit (May 2018)

– Stephen Sedley reviews The New British Constitution by Vernon Bogdanor (October 2009)

– Perry Anderson on constitutional reform and Thatcherism (October 1992)

– Stephen Sedley with a brief introduction to constitutional affairs (September 2013)

– Colin Kidd on Scotland and the constitution (April 2014)


Relevant reading for 30 May (Jared Diamond)

– Armand Marie Leroi reviews Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond (September 1997)

– Partha Dasgupta reviews Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive by Jared Diamond (May 2005)

– R.W. Johnson on Charles de Gaulle and political leadership (September 1986)

– Adam Tooze on the end of the American century (April 2019)

– Nathaniel Rich on New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina (November 2012)

– Meehan Crist on Rachel Carson and ecological breakdown (June 2019)


Relevant reading for 23 May (The Next PM)

– David Runciman on Theresa May (March 2017)

– Jonathan Coe on the wit and wisdom of Boris Johnson (July 2013)

– Tom Crewe on Corbyn and Labour (18 May 2017)

– Peter Pulzer on the Conservative Party from Peel to Thatcher (June 1985)

– Tom Nairn on Australian politics (November 2004)


Relevant reading for 16 May (Death of the Republic)

– James Davidson reviews Dictator by Robert Harris (October 2015)

– Michael Kulikowski reviews SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard (January 2016)

– Emma Dench on the Roman Cultural Revolution (February 2010)

– Denis Feeney on Virgil and the Aeneid (June 2017)

– Hugh Lloyd-Jones on Ronald Syme's Roman Revolution (January 1980)

– Miriam Griffith on Cicero the statesman and Cicero the politician (February 1992)

– Mary Beard on the turbulent life of Cicero (August 2001)

– Sean Willentz on ‘America's Rome’ (April 1990)

– Fergus Millar on The Gracchi and Roman history (June 1980)

– Tony Wood on Putin and power (February 2015)


Relevant Reading for 9 May (President Bernie?)

– Jackson Lears on US Socialism (July 2015)

– Tim Barker on Americans in revolt (September 2016)

– Aaron Bastani on Bernie Sanders' 2016 campaign (Blog, February 2016)

– Eric Foner on New York and its labour market (June 2000)

– Steve Fraser on America in the 1970s (March 2011)

– Andy Beckett on anti-globalisation and protest (April 2002)

– David Runciman on the origins of The New Deal (April 2013)

– Sam Kinchin-Smith on Bernie in Brixton (Blog, June 2017)

– Owen Hatherley on post-capitalism and the future of work (June 2016)


Relevant Reading for 18 April (The Copernican Principle)

– Tom Shippey on Stonehenge and Neolithic man (December 1996)

– J.E. McGuire on Copernicus (June 1989)

– Erika Hagelberg on the journey of man (November 2003)

– Roy Porter on population and the Malthusian model (March 1998)

– Steven Shapin reviews Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari (July 2017)

– Colin Kidd asks how democracy ends (September 2018)

– John Lanchester on Facebook (August 2017)

– Paul Kingsnorth on capitalism v. climate change (October 2014)

– Rebecca Solnit on how we (mis)use water (December 2009)

– Benjamin Kunkel on the dawn of the Anthropocene (March 2017)


Reading list for 13 March (Brexit Impasse)

– Ferdinand Mount on the Brexiteers (March 2019)

– Nicholas Spice on loathing Rees-Mogg (February 2019)

– Phillipe Sands on the Iraq War inquiry (July 2016)

– Blair Worden on the causes of the English Civil War (August 1991)

– Ian Jack on how we got where we are (June 2017)


Reading List for 28 February (Political Novels)

– William Davies on the ethos of the Home Office (April 2013)

– David Runciman on Theresa May (March 2017)

– Ross McKibbin on Charles Moore's biography of Margaret Thatcher (March 2004)

– Thomas Jones reviews The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst (May 2004)

– Julian Loose reviews The Information by Martin Amis (May 1995)

– John Sutherland on Anthony Trollope (January 1992)

– Michael Wood reviews The Plot Against America by Philip Roth (November 2004)

– Elaine Showalter reviews American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld (November 2008)


Reading list for 21 February (Green New Deal)

– Jackson Lears on Franklin Delano Roosevelt (February 2019)

– Naomi Klein on the violence of othering in a warming world (June 2016)

– David Runciman on the climate change impasse (September 2015)

– David Runciman reviews Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time (April 2013)

– Walter Patterson on nuclear Power and its opponents (January 1987)

– Rebecca Solnit in Fukushima (May 2012)


Reading list for 6 February (John Lanchester)

– John Lanchester on global warming and global inertia (March 2007)

– David Runciman on the climate change impasse (September 2015)

– ‘Love Island’, a story by John Lanchester (August 2018)

– John Lanchester on Elon Musk (September 2015)

– John Lanchester on Game of Thrones (August 2009)

– John Lanchester on the Crash (October 2008)


Reading list for 31 January

– David Runciman on Tony Blair and the language of risk (April 2004)

– Owen Bennett-Jones reviews Jonathan Powell’s Talking to Terrorists: How to End Armed Conflicts (January 2015)

– Linda Colley on Richard Cobden’s Anti-Corn Law League (July 1987)

– Geoffrey Hawthorn on Max Weber (August 2009)

– R.W. Johnson on Clement Attlee (September 2014)

– David Runciman on Weber and Blair (May 2003)


Reading list for 17 January

– William Davies on the Brexit mentality (January 2019)

– David Runciman writes about the Brexit puzzle (January 2019)

– What Europeans Talk about when They Talk about Brexit (January 2019)

– Swati Dhingra and Josh De Lyon on the realities of a No Deal Brexit (November 2018)

– James Meek on Brexit and myths of Englishness (October 2018)

– David Runciman on what’s wrong with Theresa May (March 2017)


Reading lists for the latest Talking Politics Guides

Martin Rees on Existential Risk (10 Jan)

‘In his book Our Final Century, Martin Rees puts the chances of the human race surviving the next hundred years at 50:50. The list of things that could go horribly wrong ranges from the highly unlikely (a giant asteroid strike) to the frankly bizarre (rogue scientific experiments rolling the cosmos up into a tiny ball) to the all too familiar – global warming, viral mutation, and nuclear or biological terrorism. In the light of this, it is hard to dispute Blair’s claim that considerations of how to deal with catastrophic risks are far more important than any of the questions that are still being asked about who said what to whom in the immediate run up to war. But that is just why it has proved so hard to take him at his word.’
– David Runciman on Tony Blair and the language of risk (April 2004)

‘Gloriously prolonged futures would never materialise if we succumbed to a pollution crisis, say, or to biological warfare. Can we be confident, Martin Rees asks, that there is less than a 10 per cent chance of human extinction in the coming century? And if intelligent life were wiped from our planet, mightn’t this be the extinction of all the intelligence which would ever have evolved within reach of our telescopes? In his eyes, this consideration supplies strong grounds for learning how to send humans far away from an endangered Earth.’
– John Leslie reviews Before the Beginning by Martin Rees (January 1998)

‘An x-risk, as defined by the Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom, who popularised the concept, is an event that would “permanently and drastically curtail humanity’s potential” – total annihilation is the obvious case. Given the number of people who might live in the future if not for such an event, the expected value of preventing an x-risk dwarfs the value of, say, curing cancer or preventing genocide. This is so even if the probability of being able to do anything about an x-risk is vanishingly small.’
– Amia Srinivasan on effective altruism (September 2015)

Helen Thompson on Bretton Woods (6 Jan)

‘The American dollar was enthroned as the global currency of reserve, and the Bretton Woods institutions built in such a way as to ensure the US would have the greatest say in how they operated. Keynes was right in Savannah in 1946 to worry that these bodies would come to function less as internationalist institutions than as tools for ensuring US dominance.’
– Jamie Martin on John Maynard Keynes v. Harry Dexter White (November 2013)

‘Describing Nixon as “the only president with an original mind in foreign policy”, Perry Anderson counts his decision to sever gold from the dollar and his declaration of the end of the Bretton Woods system as a remarkable coup de main.’
– Thomas Meaney reviews American Foreign Policy and Its Thinkers (July 2016)

‘If you’re open to the charge that you’re performing conjuring tricks in the public’s name, maybe it’s safest to fess up and explain how such tricks are managed.’
– William Davies on central banks and banking (February 2017)

Matthew Taylor on Deliberative Democracy (3 Jan)

‘One political theorist after another has come out in favour of “deliberative democracy”, in which citizens arrive at “rational” policies through respectful debate and on the basis of expert advice. People are asked to be impartial and to refrain from clinging to what John Stuart Mill called “fractional truths” – i.e. anything like a party line.’
– Jan-Werner Müller on the hollowing of western democracy (May 2014)

‘The authors think that we have a “need” for these iconic images, and often suggest that democracy is all the better for them. But it is a fine line (if there is a line) between the vigorous, deliberative debate conducted by empowered citizens, of the sort championed by political scientists like Jon Elster and Amy Gutmann, and the consumption of patriotic propaganda in the interests of the state.’
– David Simpson on iconic photographs (November 2007)

‘The idea of the nation-state is under threat, from broader political and social interests. The question no one has yet resolved is whether it is possible to transcend national politics while still retaining the coherence of a popularly constituted representative system. Contemporary democratic theory has for the most part studiously avoided this question, preferring to concentrate on academic schemes of deliberative democracy and international justice. But this is the question that matters.’
– David Runciman rediscovers the Abbé Sieyès (October 2003)

Ella McPherson on Human Rights in the Digital Age (30 Dec)

‘It is now nearly a decade since the European Commission launched its data protection strategy, but it is the courts that will have to continue to weigh the balance between privacy and freedom of expression.’
– Jo Glanville on GDPR (July 2018)

‘If power today depends largely on data – on invisible information harvested, searched, surveilled and acted on by corporations, governments, insurance companies, credit agencies and police departments – how are we to track it, let alone challenge it?’
– Hal Foster on Trevor Paglen (October 2018)

‘As the Supreme Court judges noted, either anonymised data is protected by the right to privacy or it isn’t, and if medical researchers are to be allowed to access such data, clearly it isn’t.’
– Paul Taylor on the trade in medical records (February 2018)

John Naughton on Facebook (27 Dec)

‘We just don’t know what’s next, but we know it’s likely to be consequential, and that a big part will be played by the world’s biggest social network. On the evidence of Facebook’s actions so far, it’s impossible to face this prospect without unease.’
– John Lanchester on how and why we are the product (August 2017)

‘As with the financial crisis, the circus risks distracting from the real institutional and political questions, in this case concerning companies such as Facebook and the model of capitalism that tolerates, facilitates and even celebrates their extensive and sophisticated forms of data harvesting and analysis.’
– William Davis on the Cambridge Analytica scandal (April 2018)

‘This is just a grand old American story after all. Nice guys finish last and assholes finish rich.’
– Michael Wood reviews The Social Network (November 2010)

Diane Coyle on Economic Wellbeing (23 Dec)

‘Suppose you believe that a central aim of public policy in a democratic society should be improving the welfare of its citizens. Even when resources are plentiful, this is a challenging task because of the difficulty of determining what “welfare” consists in.’
– Barry Schwartz considers the challenge of affluence (March 2007)

‘Facebook’s capacity for surveillance may be unparalleled, but its interest in measuring, monitoring and managing our feelings isn’t.’
– Katrina Forrester infiltrates the ‘happiness industry’ (October 2015)

‘There is enough evidence here that equality is a good thing to be able to take it on faith, and to move away from evidence-based politics towards a politics that is, for want of a better word, more ideological.’
– David Runciman reviews The Spirit Level (October 2009)

Gary Gerstle on the American Constitution (20 Dec)

‘The very existence of a written constitution has profoundly shaped American political culture, transforming political questions into legal ones.’
– Eric Foner on the making of the US constitution (February 1997)

‘Where self-restraint does have real meaning is in keeping appellate judges from deciding constitutional questions that they do not need to determine in order to decide the case before them.’
– Stephen Sedley struggles with originalism in American politics (August 2012)

‘The victory of the Constitution, and hence of the Federalists, gave the word its new and positive meaning: instead of centralisation, federalism implied a composite system that delegates authority (and hence sovereignty) to the lowest feasible level of government.’
– David Armitage on the constitution’s struggle for ratification (June 1994)


Reading list for 13 December

– Jeremy Harding on the gilets jaunes (November 2018)

– David Runciman on what’s wrong with Theresa May (March 2017)

– Helen Thompson on who speaks for Europe (June 2018)

– David Runciman on Brexit (May 2018)

– Didier Fassin on Macronisme (July 2018)

– Franziska Augstein on Angela Merkel (July 2011)

– Neal Ascherson on England’s preparations (November 2016)


Reading list for 6 December

– David Runciman on the boundaries of the British state (May 1996)

– David Runciman on what constitutes a superstate (July 2001)

– David Runciman on what referendums are for (July 2003)

– David Runciman on the wisdom of crowds (August 2004)

– David Runciman on British constitutional politics (February 2008)

– David Runciman reviews Democracy and Knowledge: Innovation and Learning in Classical Athens by Josiah Ober (January 2009)

– David Runciman on the British oligopoly (June 2012)

– David Runciman on American democracy (March 2013)

– David Runciman on how democracy ends (December 2016)

– David Runciman on Brexit (May 2018)


Reading list for 29 November

– Martha Nussbaum on what a good theory of global political justice might look like (September 1997)

– Stephen Mulhall on Martha Nussbaum on disgust, shame and the law (July 2004)

– Bernard Williams reviews The Therapy of Desire: Theory and Practice in Hellenistic Ethics by Martha Nussbaum (October 1994)

– Elizabeth Spelman on sex and social justice (November 2000)

– David Bromwich reviews Poetic Justice: The Literary Imagination and Public Life (October 1996)

– Rebecca Solnit on Donald Trump’s fear of women (January 2017)


Reading list for 22 November

– Swati Dhingra and Josh De Lyon on the realities of a No Deal Brexit (November 2018)

– Sionaidh Douglas-Scott on the constitutional implications of Brexit (May 2018)

– William Davies is puzzled by the Conservative Party (March 2018)

– Colin Kidd on a year of political mayhem (January 2018)


Reading list for 15 November

– Thomas Jones on the 2018 Italian election (March 2018)

– Didier Fassin on the contradictions of Emmanuel Macron (July 2018)

– Thomas Jones on the M5S–Lega coalition (June 2018)

– Susan Watkins on the political structure of the EU (August 2013)


Reading list for 12 November

– Perry Anderson on the crisis in Dilma's presidency (April 2016)

– Perry Anderson on Lula's Brazil (March 2011)

– Greg Gandin with tales of the Latin American Left (October 2009)

– Perry Anderson on the Cardoso presidency (December 2002)

– Simon Collier on Latin America's struggle for independence (August 2001)


Reading list for 7 November

– David Runciman on the US Midterms (November 2018)

– Eliot Weinberger on ten days in Trump's America (October 2018)

– Jan Werner-Müller on the ‘Populist Moment’ (December 2016)

– Maggie Doherty on millenials and memoir in the age of Trump (September 2018)

– David Bromwich on the ‘American Breakdown’ (August 2018)


Reading list for 1 November

– Colin Kidd on how democracies die (September 2018)

– Richard J. Evans on Mussolini's Italy (February 2013)

– David Kennedy on the history of American immigration (February 2001)

– Meehan Crist on how DNA doesn't define us (October 2018)

– Ian Hamilton on the secrets of the Ku Klux Klan (September 1999)

– Pankaj Mishra on the ‘Wilsonian Moment’ (February 2008)

– Edward Said on Walter Lippmann and the American Century (March 1981)

– Michael Wood reviews The Plot Against America by Philip Roth (November 2004)


Reading list for 25 October

– David Runciman on How to Stop Brexit (and Make Britain Great Again) by Nick Clegg (May 2018)

– Julian Barnes on why people will hate us again (April 2017)

– Swati Dhingra and Nikhil Datta on how (not) to do trade deals (September 2017)

– David Edgar on England’s Brexit and America’s Trump (April 2018)

– Helen Thompson on the EU, and whether it will hold (June 2018)

– James Meek in Athens (December 2011)


Reading list for 18 October (Francis Fukuyama)

– M.F. Burnyeat reviews Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History and the Last Man (July 1992)

– Stephen Holmes on After the Neocons: America at the Crossroads (October 2006)

– Jackson Lears on Hillary Clinton (February 2015)

– Ed Miliband on Robert Putnam (February 2016)

– Pankaj Mishra on identity politics (September 2017)


Reading list for 11 October (Alan Rusbridger and Martin Moore)

– Alan Rusbridger, down among the press lords (March 1983)

– Peter Bradshaw reviews Speaking for Themselves: The Personal Letters of Winston and Clementine Churchill (September 1999)

– Richard Seymour on trolls and trolling (December 2016)

– Deborah Friedell on Jeff Bezos (March 1981)

– Qi Gua on Xi Jinping Thought (November 2017)

– John Lanchester on why you are the product (August 2017)


Reading list for 4 October

– Lorna Finlayson on Corbyn in context (September 2018)

– Lynsey Hanley on the Labour Party Conference (September 2018)

– Lorna Finlayson on media coverage of the Labour Party Conference (September 2018)

– Harold Lever on a previous generation of Labour moderates (March 1981)

– William Rodgers on Labour and the unions (October 1990)

– Seumas Milne on New Labour (June 1997)

– James Meek on Brexit and myths of Englishness (October 2018)


Reading list for 27 September (Oliver Bullough and Jason Sharman)

– John Lanchester on the crash, ten years on (July 2018)

– John Christensen on offshore finance (October 2005)

– David Runciman on tax havens (April 2011)

– Peter Pomerantsev on a murder in Mayfair (March 2016)

– Wendy Doniger on The Prisoner of Azkaban (February 2000)


Reading list for 20 September (Dan Snow)

– Bee Wilson on Mussolini’s last lover (March 2017)

– Richard J. Evans on Hitler’s brownshirts (February 2018)

– Colin Kidd on Thomas Jefferson (October 1997)

– Jacqueline Rose on l’affaire Dreyfus (June 2010)

– Kim Phillips-Fein on Reagan and Gorbachev (October 2006)

– Geoffrey Hawthorn on Max Weber (August 2009)

– Isabel Hull on the price of peace (April 2018)


Reading list for 13 September (Bronwen Maddox)

– Inigo Thomas on Bob Woodward (November 2006)

– Ronald Dworkin on Bob Woodward (June 1980)

– David Bromwich’s seasonal report on the Trump presidency (August 2018)

– Rebecca Solnit on Donald Trump’s fear of women (January 2017)


Reading list for 6 September

– Frank Field on Robert Kilroy-Silk (November 1986)

– Stephen Sedley on Labour and anti-Semitism (May 2018)

– Tom Crewe on Labour’s prospects (May 2017)

– Jean McNicol on Harriet Harman (December 2017)

– Paul Myerscough on Corbyn in the media (October 2015)

– David Marquand on what the SDP should try to achieve (May 1981)

– William Davies on reasons for Corbyn (July 2017)


Reading list for 30 August (Adam Tooze)

– John Lanchester on the crash, ten years on (July 2018)

– Adam Tooze on Heinrich August Winkler (November 2015)

– Adam Tooze on Wolfgang Streeck (January 2017)

– Margaret MacMillan on Adam Tooze (February 2015)

– John Lanchester on the crash (October 2008)


Reading list for 9 August (Wilderness Festival)

– Joanna Biggs at the food bank (December 2013)

– Margaret Visser on the fish that changed the world (April 1998)

– Swati Dhingra and Nikhil Datta on how not to do trade deals (September 2017)

– Steven Shapin on Big Food (August 2002)

– Bee Wilson on how much meat is too much (March 2014)

– James Meek on farms and farming (June 2016)

– Angela Carter on the new cult of foodism (January 1985)

– Jeremy Harding on the future of food and its supply (May 2010)


Reading list for 29 July (Summer Reading)

– ‘The Excavation’, a story by Joseph Roth, translated by Michael Hofmann (January 2001)

– Elaine Showalter reviews American Wife (November 2008)

– Colin Burrow on translations of The Odyssey, including Emily Wilson’s (April 2018)

– Margaret MacMillan on Adam Tooze (February 2015)

– Pankaj Mishra on the wrong human rights (June 2018)

– Adam Shatz on Patrick Modiano (September 2016)


Reading list for 19 July

– Deborah Meyler on why ‘the true goal is Pence’ (February 2017)

– Bruce Ackerman on the Supreme Court (February 2005)

– Deborah Friedell on Fred Trump (October 2015)

– Arthur Snell on the Steele Dossier (April 2018)

– Colin Kidd on the Republicans (November 2004)


Reading list for 5 July

– David Runciman on Russia 2018 (June 2018)

– Sam Kinchin-Smith on Fifa and the FBI (May 2018)

– Martin Amis on intellectual football-lovers (December 1981)

– Helen Thompson on West Ham United (April 2018)

– Andrew O’Hagan on hating football (June 2002)


Reading list for 28 June (The Politics Festival, Kings Place)

– Helen Thompson on the EU and whether it will hold (June 2018)

– Didier Fassin on Macronisme (July 2018)

– Thomas Meaney on the last German election (September 2017)

– Christopher Clark on the pope who would be king (May 2018)


Reading list for 21 June (Andrew O’Hagan)

– Andrew O’Hagan on Grenfell Tower (June 2018)

– Film: Anthony Wilks considers the culture of Kensington and Chelsea Council, and where it came from (June 2018)

– Tom Crewe on the strange death of municipal England (December 2016)

– James Meek on the housing crisis (January 2014)

– Andrew O’Hagan on The Daily Mail (June 2017)

– Andrew O’Hagan on the manifestos killers leave behind (October 2015)

– Andrew O’Hagan on Julian Assange (March 2014)

– Andrew O’Hagan’s notes on a notebook (September 1999)

– Andrew O’Hagan on our paedophile culture (January 1998)

– Andrew O’Hagan on Jon Venables (March 1993)


Reading list for 14 June

– Bruce Cumings on a murderous history of Korea (May 2017)

– Patrick Wright on Nixon in China (August 2007)

– Peter Riddell on Vienna, 1961 (October 1991)

– Alan Milward on Munich, 1938 (January 1989)

– Kim Phillips-Fein on Geneva, 1985 (October 2006)

– Gavin Francis on Yalta, 1945 (June 2016)

– Justine Burley on Everest (January 1998)


Reading list for 7 June

– Thomas Jones on a week in Italian politics (June 2018)

– Claudio Segrè on democracy, Italian style (June 1988)

– Thomas Jones on another week in Italian politics (June 2018)

– Perry Anderson on the Italian disaster (May 2014)

– Stephen Smith in Rome (March 1994)

– Tessa Hadley on Iris Origo (May 2018)


Reading list for 24 May

– Adam Shatz on the drift towards war (May 2018)

– David Patrikarakos on Iran’s nuclear programme (December 2011)

– Isabel Hilton on North Korea (June 2010)

– Tim Barker on oil prices (June 2017)

– David Bromwich on Barack Obama (July 2014)


Reading list for 17 May

– David Runciman reviews The Spirit Level by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett (October 2009)

– Judith Shklar on Jean-Jacques Rousseau (August 1983)

– Jean McNicol on mental health care (February 1995)

– Alan Finlayson on Brexitism (May 2017)

– Mike Jay on Franco Basaglia (September 2016)

– James Meek on the NHS (April 2018)


Reading list for 10 May (Stephen Toope)

– Malcolm Gaskill on strike (April 2018)

– Stefan Collini on the marketisation doctrine (May 2018)

– Marina Warner on the disfiguring of higher education (March 2015)

– David Runciman on how to undo Brexit (May 2018)

– Stefan Collini on the costs of university privatisation (April 2016)

– Marina Warner on why she quit (September 2014)


Reading list for 3 May (Diane Coyle)

– John Lanchester on the ECB (September 2014)

– A letter by Diane Coyle, from August 2000

– William Davies on central banks and banking (February 2017)

– Wynne Godley on why the budget was interesting (April 1993)

– John Lanchester on money (April 2016)

– Melanie Phillips (!) on the dole (July 1982)

– Simon Wren-Lewis on magic money trees (July 2017)


Reading list for 26 April (James Williams)

– Katrina Forrester on the happiness industry (October 2015)

– Hal Foster on Bruce Mau (April 2001)

– Owen Hatherley on postcapitalism (June 2016)

– Barry Schwartz on self-control and wellbeing (March 2007)

– John Lanchester on why you are the product (August 2017)


Reading list for 19 April (Tim Shipman)

– Colin Kidd on Fall Out: A Year Of Political Mayhem by Tim Shipman (January 2018)

– Martin Hickman on the tabloids and how they got away with it (January 2016)

– Ian Jack reviews All Out War alongside books by Daniel Hannan and Arron Banks (June 2017)

– Jan-Werner Müller on the populist moment (December 2016)

– David Runciman on the last election, and its aftermath (June 2017)


Reading list for 12 April

– Colin Kidd on popular conservatism (October 2017)

– John Gray on what will happen to the Tories (April 2010)

– Douglas Hurd’s Tamworth Manifesto (March 1988)

– Anne Sofer on Militant (August 1984)

– Ross McKibbin makes the case for confrontation as opposed to consensus (February 1996)

– David Marquand writes on the eve of the SDP’s first Party Conference (October 1981)

– Barbara Wootton on the future of the Labour Party (December 1980)


Reading list for 5 April (James Meek)

– James Meek on the NHS, and the end of an idea (April 2018)

– James Meek on the privatisation of the NHS (September 2011)

– James Meek follows Cadbury to Poland (April 2017)

– James Meek on farms and farmers (June 2016)

– James Meek on the great train robbery (May 2016)

– James Meek reports from Grimsby (April 2015)

– James Meek in Farageland (October 2014)

– James Meek on the housing disaster (January 2014)

– James Meek on how we happened to sell off our electricity (September 2012)

– James Meek in the sorting office (April 2011)

– James Meek on England’s water (July 2008)


Reading list for 29 March

– William Davies on Cambridge Analytica (April 2018)

– John Lanchester on why you are the product (August 2017)

– Stephanie Burt on Facebook (June 2010)

– Thomas Jones on Facebook (July 2014)

– Joanna Biggs on Facebook feminism (April 2013)

– Tom Crewe on why post-truth is a place of opportunity (August 2017)

– Katrina Forrester on the happiness industry (October 2015)


Reading list for 22 March (Bridget Kendall)

– Tony Wood on the new Cold War (March 2017)

– Neal Ascherson on Putin’s Russia (May 2004)

– Peter Pomerantsev reviews A Very Expensive Poison by Luke Harding (March 2016)

– Sheila Fitzpatrick on Svetlana Alexievich (October 2016)

– Keith Gessen on Khodorkovsky’s rise and fall (February 2010)

– Daniel Soar on Putin on judo (April 2007)

– Jackson Lears on what we don’t talk about when we talk about Russian hacking (January 2018)

– Peter Pomerantsev on Putin’s Rasputin (October 2011)

– Mary-Kay Wilmers in Moscow (August 1994)


Reading list for 15 March (George Monbiot)

– Paul Foot on George Monbiot and Naomi Klein (February 2001)

– John Lanchester on global warming (March 2007)

– George Letsas on Brexit and the Constitution (March 2017)

– William Davies on Theresa May (November 2016)

– Linda Colley on the problem with winning (March 2018)

– Joseph Stiglitz on Keynes (April 2010)

– Aaron Bastani on Jón Gnarr, mayor of Reykjavík (September 2014)

– Wes Enzinna on Murray Bookchin (May 2017)

– Amia Srinivasan on William MacAskill’s Centre for Effective Altruism (September 2015)

– Steven Mithen reviews Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States by James C. Scott (November 2017)

– David Runciman on climate change (September 2015)


Reading list for 8 March

– Thomas Jones on the Italian election (March 2018)

– Wolfgang Streeck on the German exception (May 2017)

– Jan-Werner Müller on the populist moment (December 2016)

– Christopher Clark on Bismarck (March 2011)

– Perry Anderson on the Italian disaster (May 2014)

– Nora Berend and Christopher Clark on the Hungarian government’s attempts to rewrite the country’s past (November 2014)


Reading list for 1 March (Ed Miliband)

– Ed Miliband on the inequality problem (February 2016)

– Jan-Werner Müller on the hollowing of western democracy (May 2014)

– Hettie O’Brien on UBI (January 2018)

– Peter Jenkins on the seventies (May 1980)


Reading list for 22 February

– Paul Myerscough on Corbyn in the media (October 2015)

– Tariq Ali on Corbyn’s progress (March 2016)

– Lorna Finlayson on the case for keeping Corbyn (June 2016)

– Tom Crewe in the Corbyn camp (August 2016)

– Dawn Foster at the Labour Party Conference (September 2016)

– Tom Crewe before the election (May 2017)

– David Runciman after the election (June 2017)

– William Davies on reasons for Corbyn (July 2017)


Reading list for 15 February (Tara Westover)

– Sidney Blumenthal on Trump and the mob (February 2017)

– John Bayley on Umberto Eco (October 1989)

– Namara Smith reviews Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood (July 2017)

– David Haglund on Mormonism (May 2003)

– Alan Finlayson on Brexitism (May 2017)

– Deborah Friedell on the missionaries she met in a lift (September 2016)

– Pankaj Mishra on Ta-Nehisi Coates (February 2018)

– M.J. Hyland on her two years as a Mormon (May 2004)

– Anthony Pagden on 19th-Century Millenarianism and Utopianism (October 1987)

– David Bromwich on free speech and what we’re allowed to say (September 2016)


Reading list for 8 February

– James Meek on the housing disaster (January 2014)

– Tom Crewe on the strange death of municipal England (December 2016)

– Onora O’Neill on Jürgen Habermas (November 1990)

– John Lanchester on the banks (May 2009)

– Jamie Martin on the rise of mass poverty (April 2015)

– Benjamin Kunkel on Thomas Piketty (July 2014)

– James C. Scott reviews The Great Leveller by Walter Scheidel (October 2017)

– Christina Gombar on Kate Jennings’s Moral Hazard (August 2002)


Reading list for 1 February

– David Runciman on what’s wrong with Theresa May (March 2017)

– Eric Hobsbawm on the question of leadership (March 1991)

– Franziska Augstein on Angela Merkel (July 2011)

– Peter Clarke on Gordon Brown and HM Treasury (April 2004)

– John Lanchester on Alastair Campbell (August 2007)

– Ian Gilmour on the Tory Leadership through the ages (October 2005)


Reading list for 25 January (Nadia Urbinati)

– Perry Anderson on the Italian disaster (May 2014)

– Stephen Smith in Rome (March 1994)

– Jan-Werner Müller on the populist moment (December 2016)

– Claudio Segrè on democracy, Italian style (June 1988)

– Jan-Werner Müller on the crisis of western democracy (May 2014)

– Thomas Jones on Wu Ming (July 2013)

– George Letsas on Brexit and the constitution (March 2017)


Reading list for 18 January (Peter Carey)

– Nicholas Spice reviews Peter Carey’s Parrot and Olivier in America (August 2010)

– Margaret Walters on Peter Carey (April 1988)

– David Runciman on Tuesday 8 November, 2072 (March 2013)

– Michael Davie on Gough Whitlam (September 1986)

– Theo Tait reviews His Illegal Self by Peter Carey (March 2008)

– Nicholas Jose on indigenous Australians (February 1998)


Reading list for 11 January (John Naughton)

– Diarmaid MacCulloch on Martin Luther’s intervention (August 2016)

– Blair Worden on the printing revolution in early modern Europe (August 2000)

– John Naughton on the nuclear question (September 1980)

– John Naughton on Prime Ministers and television (November 1988)

– Hilary Mantel on Bloody Mary (September 2009)

– Sherry Turkle on Tamagotchi love (April 2006)


Reading list for 4 January

– James Meek on Helen Dunmore’s The Siege, and several other books about the Second World War (September 2001)

– Patrick Collinson on Diarmaid MacCulloch’s writing about the Reformation (June 2004)

– Carolyn Steedman on a new world for women (October 2017)

– Josephine Quinn on the Empress Theodora (May 2017)

– Richard Lloyd Parry on Victor Cha’s The Impossible State (May 2013)


Reading list for 21/28 December 2017: 12 pieces from the past 12 months

– Rebecca Solnit on Donald Trump’s fear of women (January 2017)

– David Bromwich on the difference between resisting and opposing Trump (February 2017)

– David Runciman on what’s wrong with Theresa May (March 2017)

– Julian Barnes on why Brexit means people will hate us again (April 2017)

– Tom Crewe on Labour’s pre-election prospects (May 2017)

– Colin Kidd and Malcolm Petrie on our national hodgepodge (June 2017)

– William Davies on reasons for Jeremy Corbyn’s success (July 2017)

– Sionaidh Douglas-Scott on the EU (Withdrawal) Bill (August 2017)

– Swati Dhingra and Nikhil Datta on how not to do trade deals (September 2017)

– Tom Crewe on the party conferences (October 2017)

– Adam Shatz on the President and the Bomb (November 2017)

– Jackson Lears on what we don’t talk about when we talk about Russian hacking (December 2017)


Reading list for 14 December 2017

– Stephen Sedley on the confidence and supply agreement (December 2017)

– Wolfgang Streeck on the future of the Euro (March 2016)

– David Runciman on superstates (July 2001)

– John Hume on the end of the Unionist veto in Ulster (February 1989)

– Susan McKay on the post-Brexit borderlands (March 2017)

– Vernon Bogdanor on democracy at the polls (June 1982)


Reading list for 7 December 2017

– David Runciman on how democracy ends (December 2016)

– Richard J. Evans on Il Duce (February 2013)

– Thomas Meaney reviews On Tyranny (May 2017)

– William Davies on banking alchemy (February 2017)

– Danny Dorling on life expectancy (November 2017)

– Alexander Clapp on the Golden Dawn (December 2014)

– R.T. Murphy on Japanese democracy (January 2002)

– James C. Scott on The Great Leveller (October 2017)

– John Lanchester on Mark Zuckerberg (August 2017)


Reading list for 30 November 2017 (Jess Phillips)

– Lucy Prebble on Harvey Weinstein (November 2017)

– Tom Crewe on politics and the press (August 2017)

– William Davies on reasons for Corbyn (July 2017)

– Richard Seymour on trolling (December 2016)

– Stefan Collini on social mobility (January 2016)

– Mary Beard on the public voice of women (March 2014)


Reading list for 23 November 2017 (David Miliband)


– Frances Stonor Saunders on border crossings (March 2016)

– Daniel Trilling on the refugee crisis (July 2017)

– Naomi Klein on the violence of othering in a warming world (June 2016)

– Jeremy Harding on Candidate Macron (March 2017)

– Edward Said on Eric Hobsbawm’s Age of Extremes (March 1995)

– Eric Hobsbawm on war and peace (February 2002)

– David Runciman reviews A Journey (October 2010)

– Seumas Milne on New Labour (April 1996)

– Tony Blair, writing in the LRB in October 1987

– Ed Miliband on the inequality problem (February 2016)


Reading list for 16 November 2017 (Jan-Werner Müller)


– Jan-Werner Müller on Verhofstadt’s vision (June 2017)

– Jan-Werner Müller on the populist moment (December 2016)

– Jan-Werner Müller on Europe’s sullen child (June 2016)

– Jan-Werner Müller on the problems of the Eurozone (August 2015)

– Jan-Werner Müller on what Germans think about when they think about Europe (2012)

– Adam Shatz on the President and the Bomb (November 2017)

– Edward Luttwak on why fascism is the wave of the future (1994)


The LRB also has its own, fortnightly podcast. Recent episodes have featured Alan Bennett, Richard Lloyd Parry, Lucy Prebble, Olivier Roy, Carmen Callil, Wallace Shawn and Julian Barnes and you can listen to them all here.