Talking Politics x LRB

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 reading list (18 January)

‘Olivier is Tocqueville, yet not Tocqueville.’
– Nicholas Spice reviews Peter Carey’s Parrot and Olivier in America (August 2010)

‘His novels, increasingly, seem to be attempts to come to grips with Australia’s bleak interior, so resistant to literary vocabulary, its brief history so scarred with violent paradoxes.’
– Margaret Walters on Peter Carey (April 1988)

‘Tocqueville stumbled across a simple truth that helps explain the difficulty of knowing how much trouble American democracy is in.’
– David Runciman on Tuesday 8 November, 2072 (March 2013)

‘He was the principal political force in the transition from the mindless if agreeable Fifties to the much more alert, if more dangerously exposed, Australia of today.’
– Michael Davie on Gough Whitlam (September 1986)

‘Queensland in the early 1970s was, according to the narrator of Peter Carey’s new novel, “a police state run by men who never finished high school”.’
– Theo Tait reviews His Illegal Self by Peter Carey (March 2008)

‘Massacres, disease, dislocation, deprivation and forced assimilation, by methods as crude as officially endorsed baby snatching, have not caused the Aboriginal people to die out. Two centuries later, Aboriginality, as a hybrid descendant of those indigenous nations, is probably more powerful than ever.’
– 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)

– Seamus 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.