Thomas Meaney

Thomas Meaney became the editor of Granta in 2023. Before that, he taught at the Institute of Asian and African Studies at the Humboldt University in Berlin.

The conquest​ of most of the North American continent by Anglophone settlers took roughly three hundred years, from the first stake at Jamestown to the last bullet at Wounded Knee. The Spanish had subdued a much vaster population of Indigenous peoples in Mexico and Peru in just under half a century and expected to repeat the formula, mobilising the Indigenous tributaries against the...

At the Staatsgalerie: George Grosz

Thomas Meaney, 16 February 2023

In​ 1948, George Grosz sat for a portrait by Stanley Kubrick, then a young photographer for Look magazine. Grosz sits astride a backwards desk chair in the middle of light pedestrian traffic on Fifth Avenue. Neatly dressed in a suit and shiny black shoes, with a very slight smile, Grosz looks as though he’s conquering New York, as he did Berlin. His autobiography had appeared two years...

I am grateful to Lea Ypi for her corrections concerning the funding for her scholarship in Italy in the 1990s, the details of her book launch and her receipt of the Lumo Skëndo prize (Letters, 7 July). But the main point stands. The post-communist memoir is, unavoidably, a political genre, and not simply an exercise in auto-fiction. While praising its wit, sharp prose and evocative descriptions,...

Albania​ was Stalin’s favourite example of total insignificance in world politics. Its fate was barely discussed at the wartime conferences of the Allied powers. Against considerable odds, and with little outside help, the partisans and communists led by Enver Hoxha and Mehmet Shehu forced the German army from their country in 1944, and afterwards held off a series of US and British...

Like Ordering Pizza: Before Kabul

Thomas Meaney, 9 September 2021

The corruption of the Afghan government is dwarfed only by that of the American operation itself, which constituted a massive wealth transfer to US defence industries. Will the Taliban behave? They have entered a very different Kabul – one with beauty salons and shopping malls – from the one they left twenty years ago. In the interim, they have developed the ambition to run a state, which will require a basis of legitimacy outside their own constituency in the country, and international support of some kind. In the first days after they took Kabul, the Taliban made a show of paying respects to Shia Afghans on the holy day of Ashura, taking questions from female journalists at press conferences, relaying their offer of an amnesty to the opposition despite having apparently executed some Afghan soldiers earlier in August, and setting up checkpoints to counter spoiler attacks, which were not long in coming (IS and its local affiliate IS-K are major liabilities for the core of the Taliban leadership that wants to take the reins of what passes for the state). 

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences