Books

How the oligarchy wins: lessons from ancient Greece

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Ganesh Sitaraman looks at what two recent books – Classical Greek Oligarchy by Matthew Simonton and Oligarchy by Jeffrey Winters – can teach us about defending democracy from oligarchs Ganesh Sitaraman The Guardian A few years ago, as I was doing research for a book on how economic inequality threatens democracy, a colleague of mine asked if America was really at risk of becoming an oligarchy. Our political system, he said, is a democracy. If the people don’t want to ... Read More »

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee taken off Mississippi school reading list

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<link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=”https://assets.guim.co.uk/stylesheets/3182ded386486b8933feafdc9cbe6aff/content.css”/> Official: ‘some language in the book makes people uncomfortable’ Story of racism in the US south has been removed from schools before Guardian staff and agencies To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee’s classic novel about racism and the American south, has been removed from a junior-high reading list in a Mississippi school district because the language in the book “makes people… The Sun Herald reported that administrators in Biloxi pulled the novel from the 8th-grade curriculum ... Read More »

10 books about the politics of now: from the left-behinds to reborn radicals

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Brexit Britain, racial strife in the US and a crisis of capitalism: today’s political world is turbulent Read the rest of the Observer’s 100 political books series here All Out War by Tim Shipman (2016) An essential primer for anyone seeking to understand the politics of the Brexit referendum Julian Coman  The Guardian Shipman, the political editor of the Sunday Times, gives a vivid and compelling account of the Westminster gambles, compromises and miscalculations that unleashed social forces that prime minister ... Read More »

Benjamin Zephaniah: ‘I’m almost 60 and I’m still angry. Everyone told me I would mellow’

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The celebrated dub poet might grow his own vegetables in the shires – but he is still in a revolutionary mood. From carnival surveillance to the abandonment of the Grenfell families, he says Britain needs radical political change – now Stephen Moss The Guardian Benjamin Zephaniah’s 1998 poem Carnival Days is a lyrical love letter to the Notting Hill carnival, where “We dance like true survivors / We dance to the sounds of our dreams.” Or, more accurately, it’s a ... Read More »

Rasmussen scrutinizes not only Hume and Smith’s personal relationship, but also the indispensable part that they played in shaping the Scottish Enlightenment.

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Rasmussen scrutinizes not only Hume and Smith’s personal relationship, but also the indispensable part that they played in shaping the Scottish Enlightenment. Jacob Heilbrunn The National Interest Dennis C. Rasmussen, The Infidel and the Professor: David Hume, Adam Smith, and the Friendship that Shaped Modern Thought (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2017), 336 pp., $29.95. IN AUGUST 1776, a large crowd gathered in front of a grand neoclassical mausoleum. It was designed by Scotland’s greatest architect, Robert Adam, and stood on Calton Hill in ... Read More »

Ruth Davidson ‘is next Margaret Thatcher’, says Jeffrey Archer

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He knows a thing or two about power and ambition, has seen them up close as a friend of Margaret Thatcher’s and captured them in the novel that gave him his literary breakthrough nearly 40 years ago. Paris Gourtsoyannis The Scotsman Jeffrey Archer, who returns to the Edinburgh Festival to mark the 100th edition of Kane And Abel, said he sees Thatcher’s steely determination in another leading woman in the Conservative Party – but it isn’t Theresa May. Archer said ... Read More »

Tasoula Hadjitofi – from refugee to icon hunter

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A refugee’s quest to reclaim her nation’s stolen heritage Tasoula Hadjitofi will discuss her experiences of war and injustice; her ongoing campaign to preserve cultural heritage worldwide and her tireless work to combat art trafficking. In 1974 Tasoula Hadjitofi and her family were forced to flee their home in Famagusta, Cyprus during the Turkish invasion. As a refugee living in the Netherlands, Tasoula devoted her life to infiltrating and exposing the shady underworld of art traffickers. It all began when ... Read More »

A short story based on the death of Savita Halappanavar

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Madame Zero review: Sarah Hall excels in murky territory in this short-story collection Sara Baume The Irish Times A page into the third story of Madame Zero, I started to experience deja vu. The setting of Theatre 6 is a hospital in London; the point of view is second person, and the “you” being addressed is Dr Rosinski, an anaesthetist. It begins with the… A short story… Read More »

“Who Is Rich?” and the Literature of Infidelity

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No human behavior presents a literary problem quite as obviously as an extramarital affair. Sex, love, and illicit instincts are horrendously cliché in the abstract, but they feel—and this is the… Jia Tolentino The New Yorker And so, in a way, affairs and fiction often circle the same question: how we might frame something that is entirely quotidian as a delirious, enveloping, existential… Matthew Klam, the author of the short-story collection “Sam the Cat,” has a… •“Who Is Rich… Read More »

Together, Closer review: Why we are a mystery to ourselves

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Giovanni Frazzetto creates his own art – eight stories that run alongside the latest discoveries of neuroscience, exploring humanity’s relationship with… Martina Evans The Irish Times Together, closer: The Art and Science of Intimacy in Friendship, Love, and Family is an ambitious project. Giovanni Frazzetto marries science with art, the most recent discoveries of neuroscience with… Stories are part of our make-up and… Together, Closer review… Read More »

Watching Out

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reflections on justice and injustice Julian Burnside Praise for Watching Brief‘A fascinating read for anyone who burns with a passion for human decency and an interest in ethics.’ Sunday Telegraph ‘As we look up from the political abyss in these appalling times, Burnside is a glowing light on a distant hill. His writing is lucid, poignant, powerful. He distinguishes between law and justice, urging us to be both compassionate and analytical, collecting evidence, making rational conclusions, acting on them courageously, ... Read More »

Tachjian’s ‘Daily Life in the Abyss: Genocide Diaries, 1915-1918’ Published by Berghahn Books

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NEW YORK—Vahé Tachjian’s book, Daily Life in the Abyss: Genocide Diaries, 1915-1918, was recently published by Berghahn Books. TheArmenianWeekly Tachjian is the project director and the chief editor of the Berlin-based Houshamdyan website, which aims to reconstruct Ottoman Armenians’ local history and life stories. Historical research into the Armenian Genocide has grown tremendously in recent years, but much of it has focused on large… Tachjian’s ‘Daily Life… Read More »

The Steady but Unremarkable Clement Attlee

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Neither patriotism nor pragmatism necessarily mark one out for greatness. Dov S. Zakheim The National Interest CLEMENT ATTLEE was blessed by good fortune. Wounded at Gallipoli, he survived the military disaster while many of his comrades never left the… When an ailing George Lansbury relinquished the leadership of the Labour Party in 1935, Attlee—virtually alone among Labour’s senior front-benchers to survive the… The Steady but… Read More »

Ironists of a Vanished Empire

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Edge of Irony: Modernism in the Shadow of the Habsburg Empire by Marjorie Perloff The New York Review University of Chicago Press, 204 pp., $30.00 Marjorie Perloff is one of America’s leading critics of poetry, having spent a long career writing on the work of avant-garde poets from Frank O’Hara to Charles Bernstein. But though she is the author of many books, she wrote in her 2004 memoir, The Vienna Paradox, “when I see [my] name in print…there is always ... Read More »

Japan warns Russia not to conduct survey in EEZ without permission

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Tokyo has asked Russia not to conduct marine surveys or resource exploration within Japan’s exclusive economic zone without permission, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said Tuesday. the japan times Kyodo On the morning of June 5, the Japan Coast Guard spotted a Russian vessel hanging what appeared to be a wire within Japan’s EEZ near the Soya Strait, which lies between Hokkaido and the Russian island of Sakhalin, Kishida told a news conference. The Foreign Ministry told the Russian Embassy in ... Read More »

Bernard-Henri Levy: ‘I’ve always found it quite shocking and beautiful to speak to one’s enemy’

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Interview / ‘Coming to the aid of the other is an unconditional commandment’ On recent trip to Israel, French-Jewish intellectual promoted his new book on Judaism and explained what it’s like to be a modern-day Jonah By PIERRE-SIMON ASSOULINE The Times of Israel French-Jewish celebrity intellectual Bernard Henri-Levy was in Israel recently for a whirlwind of events which included the promotion of his new book on Judaism and the presentation of a new documentary on the Iraqi city of… Bernard-Henri ... Read More »