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Preview: London Review of Books

London Review of Books



Literary review publishing essay-length book reviews and topical articles on politics, literature, history, philosophy, science and the arts by leading writers and thinkers



Copyright: © LRB Limited 2017
 



Marina Warner: Literary Diplomacy

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0000




Adam Shatz: The President and the Bomb

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0000

America’s wartime transformation, and the emergence of the national security state, has cast a long, seemingly infinite shadow over peacetime. Perhaps the question we should be asking is not whether Trump can be stopped, but whether the system as a whole can be overhauled. ‘We have elevated the president to the position of a demigod, and then when he turns out to be Donald Trump, we’re shocked,’ Andrew Bacevich said to me. ‘But since Roosevelt we have vastly enhanced the power and prerogatives exercised by the president, and his ability to execute the nuclear war plan is just part of the package. Why have we entrusted this one imperfect individual with the power to blow up the planet?’



Thomas Jones: X marks the self

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0000

Before it was co-opted as the pocketwatch of late capitalism – a gift from the US government – GPS was developed as a way to help the US air force drop its bombs just where it wanted with as little risk as possible to American lives. As with any technological breakthrough, it took decades, with false starts, moments of inspiration, patient refinements, scepticism from the brass (‘We’re the navy, we know where we are’), inter-service rivalry and a more or less steady influx of government cash. Within days of Sputnik’s launch in 1957, two young engineers at Johns Hopkins University were using the Russian satellite’s radio signal to plot and then predict its position. GPS came of age in the 1991 Gulf War.



T.J. Clark: The Art of the Russian Revolution

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0000

I have been trying to forget the shows in London commemorating the Bolsheviks, in particular the Royal Academy’s Revolution: Russian Art 1917-32. But I haven’t been able to: some things, some spaces and images, have stuck in the mind like shards of glass. In particular, I’ve found myself from time to time back in a small dark room at the end of the Royal Academy’s exhibition, on the walls of which were projected mugshots of entrants to the Gulag. The room was manipulative, and I was manipulated like everyone else. There would have been a kind of obscenity in trying to resist.



Alice Spawls: The Brontës

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0000

I should make the first of what I hope need be only a few confessions. We are in the business of history, but also of opinion, of trying to read the characters of the dead. I am not a 19th-century scholar, a Brontë expert, a Brontë fan even. A year ago, I was not interested in Charlotte, or her mysterious sisters or feckless brother, or their eccentric father, and I was certainly not interested in her charming publisher or her upright critics. I was not interested in hearing what the Brontës were, what they have become, or what they were definitely, almost certainly, assuredly, not. I did not want to visit Haworth.



Caroline Shenton: Fixing Westminster

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0000




Danny Dorling: Life Expectancy

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0000




Tom Crewe: Roger Fenton

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0000




Letters

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0000

The letters page from London Review of Books Vol. 39 No. 22 (16 November 2017)



Table of contents

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0000

Table of contents from London Review of Books Vol. 39 No. 22 (16 November 2017)