Reviews

Twilight of the Gods

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Review of 'Berlin: The Downfall', Antony Beevor, Penguin £25.00

Antony Beevor's new book, 'Berlin', is a follow up to his bestseller 'Stalingrad'. The book outlines the last apocalyptic months of Hitler's Reich. Germany was all but destroyed under the weight of the Red Army's attack on Berlin. Stalin threw over 2.5 million men, 41,000 guns and more than 6,000 tanks into the campaign to seize the German capital.

Just Like My Dreams They Fade and Die

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Review of 'The Boom and the Bubble', Robert Brenner, Verso £15.00

Amid the dismal picture global capitalism has presented since its supposed 'triumph' in 1989, there has been one apparent success story--the United States. The boom of the second half of the 1990s was hailed as the emergence of a 'New Economy' powered by information technology that was no longer subject to the normal ups and downs of the capitalist cycle.

Denied the Pleasure of Life

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Review of 'Dreaming and Scheming', Hanif Kureishi, Faber and Faber £8.99

This collection by Hanif Kureishi is divided into two parts--'Politics' and 'Culture and Films'. The latter section records how Kureishi's films--'My Beautiful Laundrette', 'Sammy and Rosie Get Laid', 'My Son The Fanatic' and 'Intimacy'--got to the silver screen. Kureishi says that he wrote 'My Son The Fanatic' as a response to the 'fatwa' on Salman Rushdie after the publication of 'The Satanic Verses'. Most of the protests against it took place in the northern towns now stalked by the BNP.

An Artful Business

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Review of 'Privatising Culture', Chin-tao Wu, Verso £20.00

The immediate appeal of this book is that it has the nerve to look behind the glossy facades of modern high culture and see what's going on in the murky backrooms. Better still, Chin-tao Wu tries to use the insights she gets to work out what high culture is for in modern capitalist society.

Glossing Over the Problems

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Review of 'The World We're In', Will Hutton, Little Brown £17.99

Will Hutton's new book is a hymn of praise to Europe. Despite supporting the US war in Afghanistan, Hutton does not like the way the US has become an unchallenged 'global hyperpower' since the end of the Cold War. In particular he does not like the way the new US dominance is politically shaped by US conservatism. 'The most salient political event of our times has been the rise of the American right over the last 25 years and the collapse of American liberalism,' writes Hutton.

Making Sacrifices

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Review of 'The Myth of the Holy Cow', Dwijendra Narayan Jha, Verso £16.00

Hinduism is associated with the cow as a sacred animal and to be a Hindu is synonymous with not eating meat. But like all religious doctrine there is plenty of mythmaking and mysticism that goes with this. This excellent new book by D N Jha challenges the sanctity of the holy cow and exposes the mumbo jumbo surrounding this.

Beyond the Border

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Review of 'From Immigration Controls to Welfare Controls', eds. Steve Cohen, Beth Humphries and Ed Mynott, Routledge £17.99

The plight of asylum seekers and refugees is normally associated with immigration controls, border police, home office procedures, deportation snatch squads and detention centres. Yet behind these vicious measures is another equally brutal system of internal controls that ensures asylum seekers continue to suffer even when they have managed to enter the country. As Ed Mynott says in the opening chapter, 'There is more to the process of tightening controls than closing borders.

Blast from the Past

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Review of 'Love Me or Kill Me', Graham Saunders, Manchester University Press, £14.99

Anyone who is seriously interested in contemporary British theatre should read this stimulating, well written and very well researched book. Sarah Kane had a very short theatrical career which began with the controversial 'Blasted' in January 1995, when she was only 23, and ended with Kane's suicide in February 1999. In the main part of the book Saunders examines the development of Kane as a writer and a director and provides a detailed analysis of Kane's plays 'Blasted', 'Phaedra's Love', 'Cleansed', 'Crave' and '4:48 Psychosis'.

Sleaze, Lies and Lobbygate

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Review of 'The Best Democracy Money Can Buy', Greg Palast, Pluto £18.99

This is a fascinating collection of essays from the 'Observer' and 'Newsnight' journalist who in recent years has done an impressive job of exposing the lies and hypocrisy of the rich and powerful. It is a tragedy therefore that Palast has attacked those who have criticised the war in Afghanistan.

Ripe for Revolt

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Review of 'Against Global Apartheid', Patrick Bond, University of Cape Town Press £14.99

In 1995 after Chad, a country in West Africa, had been destroyed by war, an IMF official commented that at last there was an environment that they could work with. Structural adjustment and neoliberalism could proceed unhindered, as the country was now 'ripe for the development of a free market economy'.

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