In the latest issue:

Real Men Go to Tehran

Adam Shatz

What Trump doesn’t know about Iran

Patrick Cockburn

Kaiser Karl V

Thomas Penn

The Hostile Environment

Catherine Hall

Social Mobilities

Adam Swift

Short Cuts: So much for England

Tariq Ali

What the jihadis left behind

Nelly Lahoud

Ray Strachey

Francesca Wade

C.J. Sansom

Malcolm Gaskill

At the British Museum: ‘Troy: Myth and Reality’

James Davidson

Poem: ‘The Lion Tree’

Jamie McKendrick


Jenny Turner

Boys in Motion

Nicholas Penny

Jia Tolentino

Lauren Oyler

Diary: What really happened in Yancheng?

Long Ling

Short Cuts: Harry Goes Rogue

Jonathan Parry

Short CutsLucy Prebble

Terms and Conditions

These terms and conditions of use refer to the London Review of Books and the London Review Bookshop website ( — 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.

Listen to this piece read by the author

A big​ part of a producer’s job is getting people to do things they don’t want to do. I thought about this when the open secret about Harvey Weinstein and his treatment of women broke. Everybody has a Harvey story. Mine is unlurid but revealing. I was attending a reading of a new musical for Broadway and afterwards I was introduced to Harvey. I felt a familiar wave of something when he shook my hand. Hard to place but located in my youth somehow, something primal. ‘I invested in your show,’ he grinned. ‘Ah. I can only apologise,’ I replied, referring to the failure of my play Enron on Broadway. I sensed he liked me.

And so it proved. And though I can’t say I liked him, I recognised him, and it can be hard to tell the good from the familiar. High-powered men tend to be conspiratorial by nature: that’s how they become powerful. Deliberate isolation masquerades as trust – an immediate sense of being both inside and outside something. (‘All these people think this but we – you and I – we know that it’s this.’) Often competitive, they are frequently keen on working with young women, who can be pleasing company whom they don’t feel the need to destroy. At least not intentionally.

After hearing my thoughts on the reading, Weinstein declared me bright and said he needed help with a movie he was making. It needed a new voiceover. He and another writer were going to work on it over the weekend. Watch a cut in his office, throw some ideas around. It was going to be fun. I should come. I was free and in town and intrigued. Is this how it worked? Is this how movies are made? My polite sounds became unintended commitments and when my agent found out, he was concerned. ‘When you work for Harvey, it should be a real meeting, in your capacity as a writer. This is a bad idea,’ he warned. I insisted. I insisted because I had implied I would do it to his face. I thought it would be bad form to go back on my word to Harvey Weinstein. I did not want to offend. A familiar feeling.

I was sent the script and the book the film was based on within hours. I read both in a night. The next day, at the office, Harvey never showed up. He was driving upstate as I thrashed out an uninspired voiceover with an incredibly experienced playwright for a presumably fired writer’s film in an office staffed by attractive young women. The women all wore a strange combination of intimidating smarts and flinty fear. Expectations were high and rewards low. We would pitch sections and Weinstein would declare which were good, and which were not, then ring off. Afterwards I was expected to keep working on the project even though I had no time or inclination. The tactics were bullying. The room’s walls were covered with framed photographs of Harvey meeting famous people. Something I remember seeing in footage of Donald Trump’s office and O.J. Simpson’s house. And maybe somewhere else, a long time ago.

After my first play opened in London, when I was 22, I was approached by a much older legend of new writing in the theatre. He said we should meet for dinner. He liked my play. I cautiously agreed. When I mentioned it to others, they seemed either concerned or confused. The man had ‘a reputation’, in both senses that men achieve this. Dinner seemed strange. Did he want to commission me? In which case, why not a meeting?

I realised that I didn’t know what the dinner signified. Had I unintentionally agreed to a date? I worked to change it to a meeting, which was eventually arranged for the end of a working day. The meeting was fine. I declined drinks afterwards and I was not commissioned. But my abiding memory of it was that he had a picture of himself on the wall behind him. I remember my gaze flicking between the two during the meeting: the man, the version of the man, the man. Throughout the next 15 years of my professional life, this man – like others – was referred to as a ‘lech’, sometimes jokingly, often by people who had employed or would employ him.

Here I pause. I’m filled with a feeling I know well. I want to reassure you. I’m talking you through my thought processes, my reactions, my point of view. I’m not outing this man. Why am I reassuring you of that? I don’t want you to think me indiscreet, vicious, uppity. I don’t want you to think I’m so sure of my attractiveness that I would assume that he was making some sort of play for me. I don’t want to brand someone as predatory because of gossip and jokes. I don’t want to hurt anyone who loves him. All the feelings that hold women back from mentioning these things.

But there’s another guilty feeling. Fucking name him! Do that bold favour. Name the showbiz AD who was rumoured to audition, inebriate and touch up young men before turfing them out of his limo at 4 a.m. Or the darling of edgy new writing who asks actresses what colour knickers they are wearing just before they go on stage. I feel bad about this hinting too. It’s withholding, teasing, giving you a bit of something but not as much as you’d like. I am failing to deliver. Maybe I am even letting you down. This is also a feeling I know well.

Weinstein has become a public monster overnight. But he’s not a monster, he’s a man. Today’s monster is yesterday’s ‘character’. And I could easily have liked him (it’s important to say that you can be harassed by people you like). Hollywood is run on charm as well as tantrums. There are elements of machismo that are glorified as an eccentricity of showbiz power. The flare-ups of big producers and agents are legendary, portrayed with great accuracy by Kevin Spacey in the 1990s movie Swimming with Sharks. Ex-assistants will exchange war stories with the relish and nostalgia often reserved for remembering a classic Broadway production.

In the arts, professionalism can be interpreted as a sort of inauthenticity, and those who can’t control themselves are seen as more ‘instinctive’. To be dangerous is to be artistically daring, particularly for men. Sometimes I wonder if being in the ‘feelings business’ pushes weak men to over-compensate with swearing, stunts and sexual conquest.

One of my early assistant jobs introduced me to a real character, a warm, grounded and important artistic figure with addiction issues. Part of the job was putting him in a cab at a certain point so he didn’t get so inebriated that he’d insult the crew. ‘You’ll meet gay directors who won’t show much interest in you,’ he told me (he was broadly right) ‘and straight directors who will try to sleep with you’ (he was broadly right). Despite the inappropriateness of the comment, and the hilarious/depressing omission of the idea that a director could be female, it was useful to me to see the inevitability of the patterns, and to want to avoid them. I didn’t always succeed.

‘Showbusiness’, ‘the casting couch’ – the phrases have a grubby glamour. And what gets hidden is that there are personal vulnerabilities and emotional truths disclosed in artistic work, and those can’t help but be bonding. There’s a sort of mental mating that can spill over. But that’s not what we’re discussing. We’re talking about power, the abuse of power, the power of abuse. But if we’re not honest about what this gets mixed in with, we can’t expose the problem.

There will be plenty of women who will never speak out about Weinstein. Some because of non-disclosure agreements, but some because of their own confusion about their consent. And the shame of that. ‘Surely that’s infantilising, consent is consent,’ I hear. Well, perhaps. But it’s worth watching Michael Fassbender’s convincing performance in Fish Tank for a masterclass in abusing someone you are supposed to protect. When you pursue, intimidate, bully or seduce someone you employ, you are breaking a trust and showing an inherent lack of respect.

Younger, less experienced employees are looking to you to define what their role is, how they should be, whether and how they matter. When you teach them that the way they matter is in how attractive they are to you and the ways they can bolster your sense of power, you don’t only abuse your position professionally and personally, you also alter their sense of self. Men and women new to the industry are incredibly vulnerable to the view and approbation of someone powerful and respected. And their sense of what is and is not appropriate is smashed for their whole professional life. On top of that, there is emotional work in managing a powerful person’s advances. It’s work that many male artists never have to think about. To reject the proposition is to court resentment, to accept it is to compromise your position, to reject but maintain cordiality is a constant balancing act, to submit and then end the assignation is a mess of rumour and secrecy. People find out. And when they do, guess who gets punished.

This is the reason the unseating of Weinstein is meaningful. Powerful abusers are often strangers to consequence. Everybody knows. Nobody speaks. It is only because Weinstein’s influence has waned that women felt able to voice the truth without fearing for their livelihoods. And it is now that we can hear the unusual silence of men. Shamefully, it has never occurred to me to expect male colleagues to say or do anything about their friends’ more shabby behaviour. I have never seen that happen, not once, in my entire life.

Some men’s silence is to protect their careers, but others’ silence is the fear of hypocrisy, knowing they may be guilty of something similar. It’s time to redistribute some of the shame and responsibility women feel around this. It belongs to those men, and their silent friends. Because if, as a boyfriend once put it to me – ‘status is to women what beauty is to men’ – do straight men acquire power partly in order to appeal to women? The professional intimidation and pursuit of women might seem an extension of the natural means of persuading them into bed. When women become powerful, not only do we threaten men as competitors, we also threaten their ability to intimidate and abuse us. It’s a double affront.

When the Weinstein story broke an older male writer said to me: ‘Jesus, if they’re going to go back through every casting couch encounter, we’ll be here for ever.’ Well, I say, as a younger woman: we’ve got time.

Send Letters To:

The Editor
London Review of Books,
28 Little Russell Street
London, WC1A 2HN

Please include name, address, and a telephone number.

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.