Cyber Snake Oil

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Most of us will never have been to a Tupperware party, but we’ll still have an idea of what that phrase means: it’s a form of ‘multi-level marketing’ (MLM) in which top salesmen recruit ‘downlines’ of other salesmen, who recruit local agents to sell a product, whatever it may be, direct to consumers, who are […]

Comrade versus Comrade

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Patrick Diamond and Giles Radice begin their thought-provoking book with the biblical adage that ‘if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand’. They assert that this ‘provides essential counsel for any political party that aspires to win elections and govern in a liberal democracy’. This axiom, of course, holds true for all political parties. However, there is no doubt that ever since 1929, when for the first time in its history the Labour Party won the largest number of seats in Parliament, it has

The Credit Trap

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

The period between putting a book to bed and its publication date is a time of high anxiety for an author, especially one writing about politics or the economy. There is always the fear that one’s analysis and argument will be rendered irrelevant by events, or even entirely invalidated. Edward Chancellor can sleep easily. His […]

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Margaret Thatcher As I Knew Her

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Nothing about this book is more remarkable than the fact that its author is in his hundredth year. Henry Kissinger is an extraordinary survivor. As a Jewish teenager he fled Nazi Germany, returning there with the US army during the war. He became a professor at Harvard but succumbed to the lure of Washington, where […]

My Grievance is Bigger Than Yours

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

In his whistlestop tour of authoritarian leaders, the Financial Times correspondent Gideon Rachman asks what the world’s strongmen have in common and why so many of them now exist. His archetype is the founding father of modern despotism, Vladimir Putin, in whose wake have come to power a dozen or so cruel, socially conservative nationalists, […]

Anyone for Fraud?

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

With the gradual but remorseless roll-out of sanctions against those ‘oligarchs’ who have enriched themselves over the past decades largely through their political connections to the Kremlin, the scale of their luxury lifestyles has been definitively exposed. Megayachts have been seized, bank accounts frozen and entire football clubs effectively impounded. Roman Abramovich, probably the most […]

Tomorrow Belongs to Us

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

In the introduction to the first volume of Democracy in America (1835), Alexis de Tocqueville famously declared that an ‘irresistible revolution’ was sweeping America and would eventually convulse Europe and the world. That powerful movement had been under way for centuries, he believed, and had as its consequence an ever-expanding ‘equality of conditions’, the progress […]

Age of the Pangolin

Posted on by Frank Brinkley

When sociologists and political theorists write history, the effect is often like drinking skimmed milk instead of the full-fat variety. The quirks of history are absent, rather like the cream. In The Great Recoil, however, the sociologist Paolo Gerbaudo provides a rich helping of recent history. His brilliant book should be essential reading for those […]

Fortune Favours the Passive

Posted on by Frank Brinkley

There has been a tectonic shift in the world of investment in the past half-century. It has probably passed the average lay person by, but trillions of pounds of investors’ cash has flowed out of so-called ‘active’ funds – ones that are overseen by handsomely rewarded fund managers, who are supposed to use their brain […]

Business as Unusual

Posted on by Frank Brinkley

This book appears to owe its existence to Amazon, surely one of the world’s greatest monuments to capitalism. At a conference in Seattle in the autumn of 2018, Martin Vander Weyer was offered a choice of recreational trips and plumped for a visit to Amazon’s headquarters. After all, he relished the astonishing convenience the company […]

Currency Chaos

Posted on by David Gelber

The events of Black Wednesday described in this fascinating book happened twenty-five years ago. They had serious repercussions for the political path of Europe and the UK, as well as for the careers of the people involved. Certainly for Norman Lamont, who had taken over as Chancellor of the Exchequer from John Major two years […]

Labour Pains

Posted on by Tom Fleming

My Life, Our Times is a Big Clunking Fist of a political autobiography. It demonstrates Gordon Brown’s strengths and exposes his frailties. The book is well written, sometimes drily humorous and at moments gripping, not least when he turns to the subject of his personal tragedies. It makes a powerful case for the positive contributions […]

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