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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'"The Last Colony" is, among other things, part of the campaign to shift the British position through political pressure. As with all good propaganda, Sands’s case is based in truth, if not the whole of it.'
'To her enemies she was the alien temptress who led Charles I away from the "true religion" of Protestantism and towards royal absolutism.'
Lucy Hughes-Hallett reviews @LeandadeLisle's 'colourful', 'persuasive' new biography of Henrietta Maria.
'Empathy is our moral portal gun, and it jams from underuse.'
Don Paterson on Portal 2, catching Covid on the Eurostar, and rereading Ian Hamilton’s 'Against Oblivion'.