Malise Ruthven

Diminishing Powers

The Tail Wags the Dog: International Politics and the Middle East

By Efraim Karsh

Bloomsbury 236pp £25 order from our bookshop

In the 1997 movie Wag the Dog – cowritten by David Mamet and released just a month before the eruption of the Monica Lewinsky scandal – a Washington spin doctor played by Robert De Niro seeks to distract the public’s attention from a sexual scandal involving the president by inventing a war in Albania. The film opens with an explanatory panel:

Why does the dog wag its tail?
Because the dog is smarter than the tail.
If the tail were smarter, it would wag the dog.

Donmar Warehouse


Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Interesting thread by Aki there on inclusivity in publishing. (Read her tweets for full thread.),
    • RT : A conference about inclusivity in publishing is a fantastic idea, but doesn't £200 seem a short-sighted undermining of, well, inclusivity?,
    • Calling all friends of bulbous salutations & the elfin grot: lots of entries to have already come in, but my door’s still open...,
    • 'Why the hell don’t they have more fun with their money?' Patrick Leigh Fermor skewers the super-rich ,
    • When Lenin went interrailing: Catherine Merridale charts his journey in her new book ,
    • Deadline today to win a pair of tickets to The Entertainer starring Kenneth Branagh. To enter, email marketing[at] .,