Close

Terms and Conditions

These terms and conditions of use refer to the London Review of Books and the London Review Bookshop website (www.lrb.co.uk — hereafter ‘LRB Website’). These terms and conditions apply to all users of the LRB Website ("you"), including individual subscribers to the print edition of the LRB who wish to take advantage of our free 'subscriber only' access to archived material ("individual users") and users who are authorised to access the LRB Website by subscribing institutions ("institutional users").

Each time you use the LRB Website you signify your acceptance of these terms and conditions. If you do not agree, or are not comfortable with any part of this document, your only remedy is not to use the LRB Website.


  1. By registering for access to the LRB Website and/or entering the LRB Website by whatever route of access, you agree to be bound by the terms and conditions currently prevailing.
  2. The London Review of Books ("LRB") reserves the right to change these terms and conditions at any time and you should check for any alterations regularly. Continued usage of the LRB Website subsequent to a change in the terms and conditions constitutes acceptance of the current terms and conditions.
  3. The terms and conditions of any subscription agreements which educational and other institutions have entered into with the LRB apply in addition to these terms and conditions.
  4. You undertake to indemnify the LRB fully for all losses damages and costs incurred as a result of your breaching these terms and conditions.
  5. The information you supply on registration to the LRB Website shall be accurate and complete. You will notify the LRB promptly of any changes of relevant details by emailing the registrar. You will not assist a non-registered person to gain access to the LRB Website by supplying them with your password. In the event that the LRB considers that you have breached the requirements governing registration, that you are in breach of these terms and conditions or that your or your institution's subscription to the LRB lapses, your registration to the LRB Website will be terminated.
  6. Each individual subscriber to the LRB (whether a person or organisation) is entitled to the registration of one person to use the 'subscriber only' content on the web site. This user is an 'individual user'.
  7. The London Review of Books operates a ‘no questions asked’ cancellation policy in accordance with UK legislation. Please contact us to cancel your subscription and receive a full refund for the cost of all unposted issues.
  8. Use of the 'subscriber only' content on the LRB Website is strictly for the personal use of each individual user who may read the content on the screen, download, store or print single copies for their own personal private non-commercial use only, and is not to be made available to or used by any other person for any purpose.
  9. Each institution which subscribes to the LRB is entitled to grant access to persons to register on and use the 'subscriber only' content on the web site under the terms and conditions of its subscription agreement with the LRB. These users are 'institutional users'.
  10. Each institutional user of the LRB may access and search the LRB database and view its entire contents, and may also reproduce insubstantial extracts from individual articles or other works in the database to which their institution's subscription provides access, including in academic assignments and theses, online and/or in print. All quotations must be credited to the author and the LRB. Institutional users are not permitted to reproduce any entire article or other work, or to make any commercial use of any LRB material (including sale, licensing or publication) without the LRB's prior written permission. Institutions may notify institutional users of any additional or different conditions of use which they have agreed with the LRB.
  11. Users may use any one computer to access the LRB web site 'subscriber only' content at any time, so long as that connection does not allow any other computer, networked or otherwise connected, to access 'subscriber only' content.
  12. The LRB Website and its contents are protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights. You acknowledge that all intellectual property rights including copyright in the LRB Website and its contents belong to or have been licensed to the LRB or are otherwise used by the LRB as permitted by applicable law.
  13. All intellectual property rights in articles, reviews and essays originally published in the print edition of the LRB and subsequently included on the LRB Website belong to or have been licensed to the LRB. This material is made available to you for use as set out in paragraph 8 (if you are an individual user) or paragraph 10 (if you are an institutional user) only. Save for such permitted use, you may not download, store, disseminate, republish, post, reproduce, translate or adapt such material in whole or in part in any form without the prior written permission of the LRB. To obtain such permission and the terms and conditions applying, contact the Rights and Permissions department.
  14. All intellectual property rights in images on the LRB Website are owned by the LRB except where another copyright holder is specifically attributed or credited. Save for such material taken for permitted use set out above, you may not download, store, disseminate, republish, post, reproduce, translate or adapt LRB’s images in whole or in part in any form without the prior written permission of the LRB. To obtain such permission and the terms and conditions applying, contact the Rights and Permissions department. Where another copyright holder is specifically attributed or credited you may not download, store, disseminate, republish, reproduce or translate such images in whole or in part in any form without the prior written permission of the copyright holder. The LRB will not undertake to supply contact details of any attributed or credited copyright holder.
  15. The LRB Website is provided on an 'as is' basis and the LRB gives no warranty that the LRB Website will be accessible by any particular browser, operating system or device.
  16. The LRB makes no express or implied representation and gives no warranty of any kind in relation to any content available on the LRB Website including as to the accuracy or reliability of any information either in its articles, essays and reviews or in the letters printed in its letter page or material supplied by third parties. The LRB excludes to the fullest extent permitted by law all liability of any kind (including liability for any losses, damages or costs) arising from the publication of any materials on the LRB Website or incurred as a consequence of using or relying on such materials.
  17. The LRB excludes to the fullest extent permitted by law all liability of any kind (including liability for any losses, damages or costs) for any legal or other consequences (including infringement of third party rights) of any links made to the LRB Website.
  18. The LRB is not responsible for the content of any material you encounter after leaving the LRB Website site via a link in it or otherwise. The LRB gives no warranty as to the accuracy or reliability of any such material and to the fullest extent permitted by law excludes all liability that may arise in respect of or as a consequence of using or relying on such material.
  19. This site may be used only for lawful purposes and in a manner which does not infringe the rights of, or restrict the use and enjoyment of the site by, any third party. In the event of a chat room, message board, forum and/or news group being set up on the LRB Website, the LRB will not undertake to monitor any material supplied and will give no warranty as to its accuracy, reliability, originality or decency. By posting any material you agree that you are solely responsible for ensuring that it is accurate and not obscene, defamatory, plagiarised or in breach of copyright, confidentiality or any other right of any person, and you undertake to indemnify the LRB against all claims, losses, damages and costs incurred in consequence of your posting of such material. The LRB will reserve the right to remove any such material posted at any time and without notice or explanation. The LRB will reserve the right to disclose the provenance of such material, republish it in any form it deems fit or edit or censor it. The LRB will reserve the right to terminate the registration of any person it considers to abuse access to any chat room, message board, forum or news group provided by the LRB.
  20. Any e-mail services supplied via the LRB Website are subject to these terms and conditions.
  21. You will not knowingly transmit any virus, malware, trojan or other harmful matter to the LRB Website. The LRB gives no warranty that the LRB Website is free from contaminating matter, viruses or other malicious software and to the fullest extent permitted by law disclaims all liability of any kind including liability for any damages, losses or costs resulting from damage to your computer or other property arising from access to the LRB Website, use of it or downloading material from it.
  22. The LRB does not warrant that the use of the LRB Website will be uninterrupted, and disclaims all liability to the fullest extent permitted by law for any damages, losses or costs incurred as a result of access to the LRB Website being interrupted, modified or discontinued.
  23. The LRB Website contains advertisements and promotional links to websites and other resources operated by third parties. While we would never knowingly link to a site which we believed to be trading in bad faith, the LRB makes no express or implied representations or warranties of any kind in respect of any third party websites or resources or their contents, and we take no responsibility for the content, privacy practices, goods or services offered by these websites and resources. The LRB excludes to the fullest extent permitted by law all liability for any damages or losses arising from access to such websites and resources. Any transaction effected with such a third party contacted via the LRB Website are subject to the terms and conditions imposed by the third party involved and the LRB accepts no responsibility or liability resulting from such transactions.
  24. The LRB disclaims liability to the fullest extent permitted by law for any damages, losses or costs incurred for unauthorised access or alterations of transmissions or data by third parties as consequence of visit to the LRB Website.
  25. While 'subscriber only' content on the LRB Website is currently provided free to subscribers to the print edition of the LRB, the LRB reserves the right to impose a charge for access to some or all areas of the LRB Website without notice.
  26. These terms and conditions are governed by and will be interpreted in accordance with English law and any disputes relating to these terms and conditions will be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales.
  27. The various provisions of these terms and conditions are severable and if any provision is held to be invalid or unenforceable by any court of competent jurisdiction then such invalidity or unenforceability shall not affect the remaining provisions.
  28. If these terms and conditions are not accepted in full, use of the LRB Website must be terminated immediately.
Close

Letters

Vol. 33 No. 12 · 16 June 2011

Search by issue:

How is anarchy possible?

In his review of John Hall’s Ernest Gellner: An Intellectual Biography Stefan Collini says that Hall is unable to explain why Gellner stopped publishing philosophy and began doing fieldwork in Morocco (LRB, 2 June). But Gellner was pursuing that classic issue of Central European political philosophy: how is anarchy possible? Following E.E. Evans-Pritchard and Robert Montagne, he professed to have found the answer in the segmentary tribal structure of the Berbers of the High Atlas. Though the claimed solution never convinced those of us working with Clifford Geertz, it should also be noted that Gellner never held our views against us and was as generous to those who disagreed with him as to students of his own.

Lawrence Rosen
Princeton

Ernest Gellner was two years above me at St Albans County School, an institution distinguished during those war years mainly by an eccentric and largely incompetent staff, two of whom, however, went on to professorships after they escaped. The history teacher referred to, who was also the deputy head, was a lazy sod who would set classes some reading and then disappear to smoke in his small stockroom. I remember often seeing Gellner reading, alone in the library. He didn’t mix much, which was understandable since I doubt there were any boys in his year he would have been interested to talk to. The head was a humourless, prim man, fond of the cane, who refused to allow us to have the New Statesman in the library. It makes Gellner’s achievement in getting a scholarship to Balliol even more impressive.

Maurice Plaskow
Edgware

AV, PR, FPTP

Supporters of electoral reform in Liverpool would say that we’ve already been given PR, and it didn’t work, but this isn’t something that Ross McKibbin acknowledges (LRB, 2 June). Under first past the post, the Conservatives won the inaugural European constituency of Liverpool in 1979. In 1984 the constituency was dissolved and Labour won the seats of Merseyside East and Merseyside West. Labour held these until 1999, when PR was introduced for the new constituency of North-West England. There were already concerns about FPTP: in 1979, the city’s Labour (38 per cent of turnout) and Liberal (16 per cent) voters were represented by a Conservative MEP (45 per cent), just as the significant Liberal and Conservative minorities found themselves represented by Labour from 1984 to 1999. PR, it was hoped, would go some way towards giving these minorities more of a voice, and creating a more participatory democracy.

In Liverpool, however, electoral reform has had the opposite effect. By locating the city within a wider regional constituency, the centre-left parties steadily lost out even as electoral support for them grew. In the 2009 European elections, with a low turnout and on a bad day for the left, progressive parties (Labour, Liberal Democrats, Green and Socialist Labour) accounted for 63 per cent of Liverpool’s votes, yet the constituency as a whole returned three Conservative MEPs (with just 10 per cent of Liverpool votes), one UKIP (12 per cent), one BNP (7 per cent), one Lib Dem (17 per cent) and two Labour (31 per cent). The Green Party polled more Liverpool votes than the Conservatives and the BNP, but got no MEPs at all. Right-wing MEPs currently outnumber the centre left by five to three in a city whose electorate is becoming increasingly single-mindedly Labour.

By the 2011 local elections, Labour (63 per cent) and Liberal Democrat (18 per cent) votes accounted for more than 80 per cent of the Liverpool total, with the next biggest parties being Conservative (6 per cent), Green (6 per cent) and Liberal (4 per cent). UKIP secured just over 1 per cent of the vote, with the BNP less than 1 per cent. Liverpool has not elected a Conservative MP since 1979, or a Conservative councillor since 1997. Liverpool and Manchester – the two largest cities in North-West England – currently elect no Conservatives at local or national level under FPTP, but under PR have somehow contrived to send to Brussels three Conservatives, one UKIP, and Nick Griffin.

The AV referendum may well have killed the idea of electoral reform for a generation, but when the possibility of reform does re-emerge, perhaps more representative ways can be found to avoid counter-democratic disasters such as the 2009 European Elections under PR.

Tim Allen
Liverpool

It seems not to be generally understood (and might so easily have been explained by the Yes campaign) that there is no requirement under AV to rank candidates in order of preference. A mark against a single candidate’s name is admissible, and there is no reason for that designated mark not to be a cross. Given that, the pro-AV campaign could then have made sure to get across that those who wished to vote as they had always done could, under AV, continue to do so. Since those of us who wished to order our preferences would have been free to do so, AV could have been touted as a free-choice system that no one could rationally oppose.

John Hipkin
Cambridge

Mao Vindicated

You could say I had been one of Lenin’s ‘useful idiots’, as described by Neal Ascherson (LRB, 19 May). A card-carrying member of the Communist Party, I went to China to work for the Chinese government as a sub-editor in February 1965. A year later, I chose not to renew my membership, and was incarcerated in a small hotel room with my wife and son for two years from 1967 to 1969, the early years of the Cultural Revolution.

Ascherson’s review of Patrick Wright’s book even so left me with the feeling that both were a bit harsh in their account of China’s achievements up to 1954, when our politicians and artists visited the country. When I arrived in Peking 16 years after the Communists took over, it was clear there had been enormous infrastructural achievements. Large parts of the city had been rebuilt, complete with schools and universities, and similar building programmes had been conducted in other cities that I visited. There had been attempts to tackle illiteracy in the countryside, and to provide medical services (at a crude level) for urbanites and parts of the farmlands. I had seen shortages in the Soviet Union on my way to China, but in Peking the food shops were pretty busy. Rice and meat were rationed, but vegetables were piled high in the streets and consumer goods filled the shops.

All this is far too easily ignored by Western commentators today. The Cultural Revolution brought chaos but in its first two years, when I was at large, food supplies to Peking and to other cities remained plentiful. I have visited China several times over the years, and have witnessed the country’s enormous transformation. But the basis of today’s economy was partly laid in the 1950s and 1960s.

Eric Gordon
Camden New Journal, London NW1

Yes, it did

Stephen Smith writes that democracy isn’t something that ‘breaks out’, and that it didn’t ‘break out’ in sub-Saharan Africa after the end of the Cold War (LRB, 19 May). But democracy did do something very like it in sub-Saharan Africa in the early to mid 1990s: right across the continent, one-party regimes were removed, multi-party politics (which had disappeared in many places in the 1960s) re-emerged – fuelled, it is said, by images of Ceausescu’s fate in Romania. It was an urban phenomenon, but there was an open political debate about what democracy might mean in places where it hadn’t been seen for a very long time. Elections were and are being held. The idea of any popular say on economic policy may have been scuppered by a combination of ministries of finance, multilateral donors, international financial institutions, and elite civil society organisations dedicated to the implementation of more or less severe ‘structural adjustments’, but democracy did ‘break out’.

Eoin Dillon
Dublin

Stephen Smith writes that the Ivory Coast holds a ‘world record’ for the largest foreign population. The honour surely goes to Qatar, where 85 per cent of a population of 1.3 million comes from outside the emirate. The UAE, which has a larger citizen population, is perhaps a more equal contender: 70 per cent of its population is foreign-born. With Kuwait at 69 per cent, Jordan at 46 per cent, Singapore at 41 per cent and Israel at 40 per cent, the Ivory Coast would have to welcome an additional three million people to make the final five.

Kristin Surak
Montorsoli, Italy

The Insubordinate General

Jackson Lears writes that ‘in October 1861, when General John C. Fremont freed the slaves in the parts of Missouri his troops had occupied, Lincoln publicly repudiated him and the larger goal of abolition’ (LRB, 19 May). Fremont issued his abolition decree in August 1861 not October. It applied only to the slaves of rebels and only in areas over which Fremont had no control. Lincoln sent a private letter urging Fremont to rewrite his order to conform to the Confiscation Act passed by Congress a few weeks earlier. Under instructions implementing that act issued by Lincoln’s War Department on 8 August 1861, all slaves voluntarily entering Union lines in the seceded states were emancipated. Thus in his letter to Fremont, Lincoln was hardly ‘repudiating’ abolition. On the contrary, his order extended emancipation to a loyal state for the first time. Lincoln explicitly told Fremont that he did not disagree with the ‘principle’ on which the general’s edict was issued. Fremont refused to do what Lincoln asked unless directly ordered. Only then did Lincoln publicly require the insubordinate general to rewrite his order. The issue was civilian rule over the military, not emancipation.

James Oakes
New York

Don’t look to the Ivy League

Howard Hotson draws attention to the government’s reliance on the THE-QS World University Rankings, but doesn’t emphasise how heavily biased they are in favour of US and English institutions (LRB, ). In most of the rest of the world students tend to go to the university near their home, so that there is no possibility of concentrating the brightest professors and students in a few elite institutions. In Switzerland, for instance, there is a deliberate policy of sharing resources among the different regions and language groups. This makes it all the more remarkable that the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule in Zurich ranks 18th in the THE-QS rankings.

That academic rankings depend a lot on research performance creates a further bias in favour of anglophone institutions, partly because the rest of the world is less obsessed with bibliometric measures of research output. Also, since English is the language of research publications, and the main academic journals tend to be US or UK-based, non-anglophone academics find it harder to get their work published in so-called top journals.

Tom Smith
University of Basel

Disillusioned

Penelope Woolfit claims that in your illustration of the Müller-Lyer illusion, one line was drawn nearly two millimetres longer than the other (Letters, 2 June). That isn’t fair to the printers. The definition of the length of a line is the distance between its endpoints, and both lines are very close to 36 mm long. Because the lines are drawn quite thickly (about 0.3 mm), there is, however, a difference between their ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ length. In fairness to Müller-Lyer, the illusion would be better experienced using narrow lines.

Alan Williamson
Burgess Hill, West Sussex

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.