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Comparisons with Weimar

David Biale, 16 August 1990

The False Prophet. Rabbi Meir Kahane: From FBI Informant to Knesset Member 
by Robert Friedman.
Faber, 282 pp., £14.99, June 1990, 0 571 14842 5
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... not merely a bizarre American product, although he is that too. Perhaps the greatest strength of Friedman’s book is that Kahane is firmly placed in the history of the radical Zionist Right. Kahane’s father was born in Palestine and he was an active member of the American branch of the Revisionists (Jabotinsky once visited the Kahane home). The massacre ...

Ariel the Unlucky

David Gilmour, 5 April 1990

Warrior: The Autobiography of Ariel Sharon 
by Ariel Sharon and David Chanoff.
Macdonald, 571 pp., £14.95, October 1989, 0 356 17960 5
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The Slopes of Lebanon 
by Amos Oz, translated by Maurie Goldberg-Bartura.
Chatto, 246 pp., £13.95, January 1990, 0 7011 3444 5
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From Beirut to Jerusalem 
by Thomas Friedman.
Collins, 541 pp., £15, March 1990, 0 00 215096 4
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Pity the nation: Lebanon at War 
by Robert Fisk.
Deutsch, 622 pp., £17.95, February 1990, 0 233 98516 6
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... it aroused feelings of alienation, the sense of being an exile in his own land. For Thomas Friedman, a Jewish American journalist, the refugee camp atrocities produced ‘something of a personal crisis’ and tore away ‘every illusion’ he had ‘ever held about the Jewish state’. And for Robert Fisk, who no ...

The Retreat from Monetarism

J.R. Shackleton, 6 February 1986

... Fêted by financiers, mobbed by the media, patronised by presidents and prime ministers, Milton Friedman had at last arrived. The doctrine for which he had fought – initially almost single-handedly – for a quarter of a century had become the New Orthodoxy. Monetarism had overthrown discredited Keynesianism, and nowhere was its victory more warmly ...

Like a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader

John Lloyd: Globalisation, 2 September 1999

The Lexus and the Olive Tree 
by Thomas Friedman.
HarperCollins, 394 pp., £19.99, May 1999, 0 00 257014 9
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Global Transformation 
by David Held and Anthony McGrew.
Polity, 515 pp., £59.50, March 1999, 0 7456 1498 1
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... Thomas Friedman is so much the kind of American that the rest of the world likes to despise that it’s a fair assumption he has, at least in part, adopted the pose consciously. He calls himself a ‘tourist with attitude’ and his attitude is that of the know-it-all, ‘wise up, you dumb cluck’ American journalist who is here to tell you your economy is blown, your politics stink and you haven’t a hope in hell of making it in today’s world ...

Keynesian in a Foxhole

Geoff Mann: The Monetarist Position, 13 April 2023

A Fiscal and Monetary History of the United States, 1961-2021 
by Alan Blinder.
Princeton, 432 pp., £35, October 2022, 978 0 691 23838 8
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... November 1968, New York University hosted a debate between the economists Walter Heller and Milton Friedman at the Graduate School of Business, a block from Wall Street. The event was advertised as a confrontation between two men engaged in a war for the soul of American economic policy. In retrospect, it might not sound like a clash of the titans – Milton ...

Achieving Disunity

Corey Robin, 25 October 2012

Age of Fracture 
by Daniel Rodgers.
Harvard, 360 pp., £14.95, September 2012, 978 0 674 06436 2
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... exchange. Like most scholars of the free-market movement, Rodgers assigns great weight to Milton Friedman, ‘the University of Chicago’s most forceful politiciser’, and the right’s answer to J.K. Galbraith. He wrote columns for Newsweek, advised presidents (and dictators), and organised the ten-part PBS series Free to Choose as a counter to ...

Mobsters get homesick too

Misha Glenny: ‘Mafias on the Move’, 30 June 2011

Mafias on the Move: How Organised Crime Conquers New Territories 
by Federico Varese.
Princeton, 278 pp., £24.95, March 2011, 978 0 691 12855 9
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... Robert Friedman’s Red Mafiya: How the Russian Mob Has Invaded America came out in 2000. Two years before that, in June 1998, he received a phone call from Mike McCall, an FBI agent. McCall warned him that his investigation into Russian organised crime was proving dangerous. ‘I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings,’ McCall said, ‘but a major Russian organised crime figure has taken out a contract on your life ...

Mid-Century Male

Christopher Glazek: Edmund White, 19 July 2012

Jack Holmes and His Friend 
by Edmund White.
Bloomsbury, 390 pp., £18.99, January 2012, 978 1 4088 0579 4
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... one of the few contemporary novels he liked. The book was reviewed in the New York Times by Alan Friedman, the author of a forgotten novel called Hermaphrodeity, who described it as ‘a nearly inscrutable mystery’ powered by ‘camp, vamp and very damp wit’. He praised White’s ‘poetic brilliance’ and ‘hard, gem-like style’ but backhandedly ...

Goodness me

Mary-Kay Wilmers, 26 October 1989

Margaret, Daughter of Beatrice: A Politician’s Psycho-Biography of Margaret Thatcher 
by Leo Abse.
Cape, 288 pp., £13.95, September 1989, 0 224 02726 3
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... cowering in their consulting-rooms, and better certainly than any political scientist. Take Robert McKenzie, the television psephologist and master of the swingometer, a figure well-known in the Sixties, but now safely dead – and, as we shall see, without heirs who might want to sue on his behalf. A TV producer once had the idea of filming Abse and ...

The Imagined Market

Donald MacKenzie: Money Games, 31 October 2002

Machine Dreams: Economics Becomes a Cyborg Science 
by Philip Mirowski.
Cambridge, 670 pp., £24.95, February 2002, 0 521 77526 4
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... theory be rejected as a fantasy based on unsound foundations? The classic riposte came from Milton Friedman, who argued that the test of a theory should not be the realism of its assumptions but the precision and success of its predictions. To assume that people are egoists who each maximise what economists call their ‘utility’ (roughly speaking, their ...

Bush’s Useful Idiots

Tony Judt: Whatever happened to American liberalism?, 21 September 2006

... Howe and Eudora Welty. These and other signatories – the economist Kenneth Arrow, the poet Robert Penn Warren – were the critical intellectual core, the steady moral centre of American public life. But who, now, would sign such a protest? Liberalism in the United States today is the politics that dares not speak its name. And those who style ...

11 September 1973

Christopher Hitchens: Crimes against Allende, 11 July 2002

Pinochet in Piccadilly: Britain and Chile’s Hidden History 
by Andy Beckett.
Faber, 280 pp., £15.99, May 2002, 0 571 20241 1
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... the potent verses entitled ‘They Receive Instructions against Chile’ (translated here by Robert Bly):But we have to see behind all these, there is somethingbehind the traitors and the gnawing rats,an empire which sets the table,and serves up the nourishment and the bullets.They want to repeat their great success in Greece.Greek playboys at the ...

The Gatekeeper

Adam Tooze: Krugman’s Conversion, 22 April 2021

Arguing with Zombies: Economics, Politics and the Fight for a Better Future 
by Paul Krugman.
Norton, 444 pp., £13.99, February, 978 0 393 54132 8
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... America’s late 20th-century market revolution originated in Chicago with the likes of Milton Friedman holds true, if at all, for the 1970s and 1980s. But in the last thirty years that story has come to serve more and more as an alibi. In the 1990s the brains behind Clinton and Blair and the Washington consensus were far more likely to be trained at ...


Andrew O’Hagan: Pukey poetry anthologies, 4 November 2004

Poems to Last a Lifetime 
edited by Daisy Goodwin.
HarperCollins, 308 pp., £18.99, October 2004, 0 00 717707 0
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All the Poems You Need to Say I Do 
edited by Peter Forbes.
Picador, 197 pp., £10, October 2004, 0 330 43388 1
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... Children Deal with Death, Divorce, Pet Loss, Moving and Other Losses by John James and Russell Friedman, and Bodylove: Learning to Like Our Looks and Ourselves: A Practical Guide for Women by the punctuation-crazed Rita Freedman. Publishing houses in New York, busy, as usual, looking for the hot new writing talent, will expect to find it in the medical ...

We simply do not know!

John Gray: Keynes, 19 November 2009

Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism 
by George Akerlof and Robert Shiller.
Princeton, 230 pp., £16.95, February 2009, 978 0 691 14233 3
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... a brief postscript to one of the chapters and a few remarks in the preface, George Akerlof and Robert Shiller’s Animal Spirits was written before the current crisis. Yet, based on research undertaken over many years, it can be read as prefiguring the current disillusionment with economics. The trouble with prevailing theories, in Akerlof and Shiller’s ...

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