Shane Harris, an author and journalist who covers intelligence, surveillance and cybersecurity for a number of publications, says that the revelations about the NSA from Edward Snowden are nothing new, and that such programs have a significant recent history in the United States.
» E-Mail This » Add to Del.icio.us
Thirty years ago, the old deal that held US society together started to unwind, with social cohesion sacrificed to greed. Was it an inevitable process – or was it engineered by self-interested elites?
In or around 1978, America's character changed. For almost half a century, the United States had been a relatively egalitarian, secure, middle-class democracy, with structures in place that supported the aspirations of ordinary people. You might call it the period of the Roosevelt Republic. Wars, strikes, racial tensions and youth rebellion all roiled national life, but a basic deal among Americans still held, in belief if not always in fact: work hard, follow the rules, educate your children, and you will be rewarded, not just with a decent life and the prospect of a better one for your kids, but with recognition from society, a place at the table.
This unwritten contract came with a series of riders and clauses that left large numbers of Americans – black people and other minorities, women, gay people – out, or only halfway in. But the country had the tools to correct its own flaws, and it used them: healthy democratic institutions such as Congress, courts, churches, schools, news organisations, business-labour partnerships. The civil rights ...
The Long List
This emotionally taut novel of family dynamics and the limits of sacrifice presents a woman on the verge of giving up everything -- including her marriage -- to help her impassive brother fight his obesity.
Click here to buy: Big Brother
The Long List
A newly fired 20-something becomes an assistant to a filmmaker chronicling people’s failed ambitions in Alina Simone's sharp meditation on internet addiction, celebrity worship, and digital narcissism.
Click here to buy: Note to Self
The word "sociopath" often brings to mind criminals, killers, and people who are cruel and heartless. But writer and diagnosed sociopath M.E. Thomas wants to challenge that conventional wisdom. She says sociopaths are not inherently evil, and can be incredibly productive to society.
» E-Mail This » Add to Del.icio.us
Sally Gardner wins the most prestigious children's books prize with dystopic novel Maggot Moon and uses the prize-giving ceremony to slam Gove's 'outdated' new curriculum
Dyslexic author Sally Gardner, who today won the Carnegie medal for her dystopian story of a boy standing up to a totalitarian state, has slammed Michael Gove's new curriculum for "exclud[ing] rather than embrac[ing]" those like her, "with a different way of seeing and thinking".
Gardner, branded "unteachable" as a child and expelled by one of the numerous schools she attended, was 12 when she was diagnosed with severe dyslexia. The hero of her Carnegie-winning teen novel Maggot Moon, Standish Treadwell, is also dyslexic and is written off by teachers and bullied by his peers, who chant "Standish Treadwell / Can't read, can't write / Standish Treadwell / Isn't bright". But when his best friend Hector is arrested, Standish decides to take action against the oppressive power of the "monstrous Motherland" - an alternate version of 1950s England - where he lives.
Gardner has dedicated the book to "you the dreamers, overlooked at school, never won prizes ... You who will own tomorrow", and at the Carnegie's prize-giving ceremony she launched a stinging attack on Gove's ...
Our guest today: Kim Barnouin
Why we love her: She’s sassy and knows how to eat right–what’s not to love?!
Her latest: Skinny Bitch in Love
The scoop: Clementine Cooper is a born vegan, committed in every way to the healthy lifestyle she was raised with on her father’s organic farm. But how bad could a little butter be? Bad enough to get the ambitious and talented sous chef fired when an influential food critic discovers dairy in Clem’s butternut squash ravioli with garlic sage sauce. Though she was sabotaged by a backstabbing coworker, Clem finds herself unceremoniously blackballed from every vegan kitchen in L.A.
Like any vegan chef worth her salt, however, Clem knows how to turn lemons into delicious, cruelty-free lemonade cupcakes. She launches the Skinny Bitch Cooking School in hopes of soon opening her own café in an empty space near her apartment. But on the first day of class, sexy millionaire restaurateur Zach Jeffries puts a fork in her idea with his own plans for the space—a steakhouse. Clem is livid. For a carnivore, Zach is more complicated than she anticipated. He’s also a very good kisser. But could dating one of the most ...
What makes the C of E special? This account of Anglicanism is full of cliches and misrepresentations
I begin this review with a declaration of interest. Roger Scruton and I are rather alike. When very young, we watched our present queen's coronation on small black-and-white televisions, our first experience of the medium. We are both church organists, both distrust confident religious dogma and clerical pretensions, both love the Church of England in a grumpy fashion, and we have both been known to cultivate a fogeyish image on occasion.
Because of these congruities, I find Scruton's latest book, a paean to Anglicanism, deeply irritating and unsatisfactory. It attempts to disarm criticism by styling itself "a personal history"; but that's no substitute for real history. Instead of history, it provides a catalogue of Victorian cliches and misrepresentations, from "the church of the catacombs" through to an Anglo-Saxon church proudly independent of Rome to a Thomas Cranmer influenced by John Calvin, and beyond. A similar historical farrago of half-truths and wishful thinking helped convert TS Eliot to high church Anglicanism in the 1920s, so there's one brownie point for it, but as an account of the English past, it won't wash. Over ...
The danger of conformity.
The Brilliant Disaster: JFK, Castro, and America's Doomed Invasion of Cuba's Bay of Pigs
By Jim Rasenberger
The 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion -- America's clandestine initiative to overthrow Fidel Castro -- was the classic example that led psychologist Irving Janis to originate his theory of groupthink: a phenomenon of otherwise competent people making bad decisions in the name of group harmony -- and in this case, saving face. Using recently declassified CIA documents, Jim Rasenberger reveals that President Kennedy, long viewed as the naïve party in the bungled operation, had huge misgivings regarding its success, yet the mission went forward nonetheless. Relying on the CIA's assurances about the weakness of the Cuban military, Kennedy dispatched over 1,000 troops to Cuba's southern coast -- where they were swiftly defeated, as the Bay of Pigs invasion earned its reputation as one of the most embarrassing foreign policy fiascos in history.
Life Goes On: A Novel
By Hans Keilson
Banned in Nazi Germany in 1934, this autobiographical novel tells the story of a Jewish textile shop owner, Herr Seldersen, and his son, Albrecht, as they struggle with hyperinflation and anti-Semitism during ...
- UNIVERSITY PRESSES
By ALDO SCHIAVONE
Reviewed by Adam Kirsch
The reputation of Spartacus, like so much of what we know about the leading figures of the ancient world, can be compared to an upside-down pyramid: a huge structure of legend and speculation sustained by a tiny foundation of text. There is no doubt that Spartacus really existed or that, in the years 73–71 B.C., he led a major slave rebellion in southern Italy. But everything we know about him and his military campaigns, which for a moment threatened to bring down the Roman Republic, comes from two historians, Plutarch and Appian, who lived some 200 years after Spartacus; taken together, both devote no more than ten pages to him. Earlier historians, such as Sallust and Livy, also wrote about Spartacus, but only scraps of the relevant works survive; and there are some scattered references in other historians, including Julius Caesar.
Yet on this slender basis, Spartacus became a powerful symbol -- the slave who stood up to an empire, the liberator who turned a rabble into an army. In 1918, when Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg founded a new revolutionary Communist party in Germany, they ...