Dominic Sandbrook

History of the Present

Facts Are Subversive: Political Writing from a Decade Without a Name

By

Atlantic Books 441pp £25 order from our bookshop

On the last day of May 2001, The Guardian columnist Timothy Garton Ash went to see George W Bush at the White House. Preparing for his first official trip to Europe, the new President had invited a smattering of eminent thinkers for an informal seminar. ‘Quite tall. Square-set, tanned. Dark suit. Quite formal greetings. Clipped style’, Garton Ash recorded in his journal. Their conversation ranged over the future of the EU, the Kyoto treaty and Bush’s plans for a missile shield; among the subjects not mentioned at all were Islam, Iraq and Osama bin Laden. There had been far too many half-baked American military interventions abroad, Bush said at one point: ‘I ain’t going to get into no Somalia.’

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • With our February issue about to go to press, enjoy a slice of LR history - Hilary Mantel on Joan Haslip's biograph… ,
    • What did London look like in the 6th Century? Rory Naismith's 'Citadel of the Saxons' tries to answer that questi… ,
    • Start your week with a dose of Russian Revolutionary zeal. Donald Rayfield reviews Tobie Mathew's 'Greetings From t… ,
    • A treat from the LR Archive: exactly 20 years ago, Malcolm Bradbury reviewed John Updike's 'Bech at Bay' ,
    • ‘When bullets come close, the noise they make as they go past changes from a zing to a crack’ John Lanchester's dy… ,
    • Man with a Bloody Paintbrush: Robin Simon on Lucian Freud ,
    • Jane Ridley reviews The Diaries of Kenneth Rose (ed. D R Thorpe) ,