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Has US power destroyed the UN?

Simon Chesterman and Michael Byers: International Relations, 29 April 1999

... to have turned the tide against ethnic cleansing. Here, then, was a role that the Western powers could play, using superior technology to force the participants in ethnic warfare to come to their senses. This interpretation of events in Bosnia conveniently overlooked the fact that Croatia had recently launched a ground offensive, and that most ...

The World according to Cheney, Rice and Rumsfeld

Michael Byers: American isolationism, 21 February 2002

... law might provide the means for the Federal Government of the US, whose constitutional powers in the field of foreign relations are considerable, to override the otherwise careful delimitation between its powers and those of the 50 constitutive states. Concern about the aggrandisement of Federal ...

Doctor in the Dock

Stephen Sedley, 20 October 1994

Medical Negligence 
edited by Michael Powers and Nigel Harris.
Butterworth, 1188 pp., £155, July 1994, 0 406 00452 8
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... for use in court; and by Paul Knapman, an experienced coroner, who describes carefully the powers and procedures of his office – a useful source of evidence for lawsuits and often the only formal inquiry into a iatrogenic death – but omits to mention that an inquest verdict is not even prima facie evidence of the cause of death in a court of ...

Questions of Chic

Michael Mason, 19 August 1993

City of Dreadful Delight: Narratives of Sexual Danger in Late Victorian London 
by Judith Walkowitz.
Virago, 353 pp., £16.99, November 1992, 1 85381 517 9
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Cruelty and Companionship: Conflict in 19th-century Married Life 
by James Hammerton.
Routledge, 236 pp., £37.50, November 1992, 0 415 03622 4
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Victorian Scandals: Representations of Gender and Class 
edited by Kristine Ottersen Garrigan.
Ohio, 337 pp., $34.99, August 1992, 0 8214 1019 9
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... the odds this burly two-volume compilation of essays, brought together by Jim Dyos in England and Michael Wolff in America, became a classic. Against the odds, because these essays were, in origin, conference proceedings, and there were nearly forty of them. Conventional publishing wisdom would hope for only a modest success from such a formula, but The ...

Stony Ground

Peter D. McDonald: J.M. Coetzee, 20 October 2005

J.M. Coetzee and the Ethics of Reading: Literature in the Event 
by Derek Attridge.
Chicago, 225 pp., £13.50, May 2005, 0 226 03117 9
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Slow Man 
by J.M. Coetzee.
Secker, 265 pp., £16.99, September 2005, 0 436 20611 0
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... In a respectful but chary review of The Life and Times of Michael K (1983) in the New York Review of Books, Nadine Gordimer wrote about J.M. Coetzee’s ‘conscious choice’ of allegory as a literary mode in his first three novels. The reasons for this, she speculated, were temperamental: It seemed he did so out of a kind of opposing desire to hold himself clear of events and their daily, grubby, tragic consequences in which, like everyone else living in South Africa, he is up to the neck, and about which he had an inner compulsion to write ...

Roll Call

Michael Stewart, 5 September 1985

Crowded Hours 
by Eric Roll.
Faber, 254 pp., £15, July 1985, 0 571 13497 1
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... Six weeks? The book is more than 500 pages long. No wonder successive governments found his powers of application so valuable. But in addition to this, he always fitted in – the roundest of pegs in a series of round holes. Wherever he was, he always managed to make himself useful and agreeable to those set in authority over him. There are some good ...

People’s Friend

Michael Brock, 27 September 1990

Lord Grey: 1764-1845 
by E.A. Smith.
Oxford, 338 pp., £37.50, March 1990, 9780198201632
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... became a whig by accident, and a reformer by miscalculation.’ Grey possessed no great powers of foresight or reflection. As late as February 1830 he was warning his eldest son not to take up Reform, ‘which will always be opposed by the crown, and on which you cannot rely on the support of the people’. In September 1837 he wrote to his ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Captain America: Civil War’, 16 June 2016

Captain America: Civil War 
directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo.
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... guys and gals can’t lose, and this is surely what the fantasy is about. Not power in itself, or powers in themselves, not making America great again or reminding us how great it always was, not being right about everything or saving the world, but turning every scramble, crisis or mishap into a fight we can and will win. The new film tracks this fantasy ...

UN in the Wars

Michael Howard, 9 September 1993

The Evolution of UN Peacekeeping: Case Studies and Comparative Analysis 
edited by William Durch.
St Martin’s, 509 pp., £29.95, May 1993, 0 312 06600 7
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... favour by providing a textbook case of aggression at one of those rare moments when the major powers had not only the capacity but the unanimous will to deal with it. But the years between presented the world with an entirely different set of problems for which the Charter gave little, if any guidance. When the Charter was drafted, it was assumed that the ...

The Battle of Manywells Spring

Bernard Rudden: Property and the Law, 19 June 2003

Private Property and Abuse of Rights in Victorian England: The Story of Edward Pickles and the Bradford Water Supply 
by Michael Taggart.
Oxford, 235 pp., £45, October 2002, 9780199256877
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... and we have forgotten the actual matter of the dispute. Now, however, we can relive the tale, for Michael Taggart has been back to the archives of West Yorkshire and the House of Lords to find the local and personal details, as well as the state of the law at the time of litigation. His readable book also sets the problem in the wider contexts of public ...

Oque?

John Bayley, 30 November 1995

Byrne 
by Anthony Burgess.
Hutchinson, 150 pp., £14.99, October 1995, 0 09 179204 5
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... causing it to lose any of the immediacy and gaiety which makes it an ephemeral form. When Earthly Powers was passed over for the Booker Prize in favour of the first volume of William Golding’s seafaring trilogy, the choice was between a ‘serious’ work, which time may or may not agree to be a masterpiece, and a light novel on a heroic scale, which seems ...

How Not to Invade

Patrick Cockburn: Lebanon, 5 August 2010

Beware of Small States: Lebanon, Battleground of the Middle East 
by David Hirst.
Faber, 480 pp., £20, March 2010, 978 0 571 23741 8
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The Ghosts of Martyrs Square: An Eyewitness Account of Lebanon’s Life Struggle 
by Michael Young.
Simon and Schuster, 295 pp., £17.99, July 2010, 978 1 4165 9862 6
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... transforming Lebanon, one of the ‘small’ states of the Middle East, into one of its ‘great powers’. But he has no doubt that Israel, having gone to war to re-establish its own power, ended up undermining it. It is scarcely news that small states are more dangerous than they look. Hirst takes his title from Mikhail Bakunin, who told a friend in 1870 ...

Famous Last Screams

Michael Howard, 5 December 1991

On Future War 
by Martin van Creveld.
Brassey, 254 pp., £22.50, October 1991, 0 08 041796 5
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... in the spring of 1914 that there was no longer any serious danger of war between the Great Powers of Europe. At the beginning of 1939, Sir Samuel Hoare happily declared that the world was entering an Age of Gold. So when Martin van Creveld tells us, not, admittedly, that war as such is about to cease, but that ‘large-scale conventional war ... may ...

Decent Insanity

Michael Ignatieff, 19 December 1985

The Freud Scenario 
by Jean-Paul Sartre, edited by J.-B. Pontalis, translated by Quintin Hoare.
Verso, 549 pp., £16.95, November 1985, 0 86091 121 7
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... the picture would send his audience out into the street ‘in a state of doubt as to their own powers of conscious choice or free will’. For his part, Sartre had once dismissed Freud as a doctrinaire mediocrity, but the neurotic trajectory of genius traced by Jones was, curiously enough, to raise Freud in Sartre’s estimation. ‘That Freud of yours, I ...

Ready for a Rematch

Michael Byers: The Bushes and Saddam Hussein, 8 February 2001

... face of a greatly emboldened and aggressive United States, the policy approaches adopted by middle powers such as the UK become more important. One option would be to demur to the Bush Administration on Iraq, missile defence, the Kyoto Protocol and other critical issues. This might work in the short term: avoiding arguments with the single superpower is a ...

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