More books on Guantanamo Bay? Surely the subject has been completely covered by now, with Obama in the White House, Afghanistan with the Afghans and austerity posing a threat to our wellbeing in a way that Osama bin Laden (for all the noise of his al-Qaeda gang) never truly did? In his marvellously readable and well-researched book Jess Bravin shows convincingly why this is not the case. The Terror Courts is about how a small group of men at the centre of the Bush presidency sought to use the attacks of 11 September 2001 to redefine the American constitution so that the executive branch would enjoy dictatorial powers for the duration of a ‘war on terror’ that was designed never to come to an end. From this distance it is easy to forget the breathtaking ambition of those early years: the president could do absolutely what he wanted, as commander-in-chief, just as Lincoln was supposed to have done in the Civil War or Roosevelt after Pearl Harbor. Congress was never needed or heeded – asking
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'Catastrophe' as a category 'is too large and miscellaneous ... if there is a "correct" response to an earthquake, it is unlikely to have much in common with the "correct" response to an epidemic'.
Jonathan Sumption on Niall Ferguson's 'Doom'.
'He has been arrested in the past and upon his release, he has cheerfully persisted in his activism. His courage is exemplary.’
@lucyjpop investigates Zargana, the renowned Burmese satirist recently arrested as part of a widespread military crackdown.
A new biography of the archaeologist and explorer Charles Masson provides a 'tale of intrigue, espionage, blackmail, disguise, rebellion, treasure and the discovery of lost civilisations', says @BijanOmrani.