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Elliot Ross on President Obama in Kenya

Obama’s grandfather, Hussein Onyango Obama, is said to have been detained and tortured by the British in 1949 at Kamiti prison, to the north of Embakasi.
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Andrew O'Hagan on Harper Lee's 'Go Set a Watchman'

'For a novelist, it’s one thing not to destroy a book and another thing to publish it.'
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To have supported Nazism on principle, as a significant number of British aristocrats did, was reprehensible, but to support it out of pique and vanity suggests a moral vacuum.

Rosemary Hill on Edward and Mrs Simpson
George VI was crowned on 12 May 1937, a hundred years, less six weeks, after his great-grandmother Victoria succeeded to the throne. At 18 the new queen had been full of confidence. Her first action was to move her bed out of her mother’s room and have Sir John Conroy, her mother’s . . .
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Glen Newey on the 'Royal Heilnesses' scoop

One waits in vain for her majesty to appear in SS rig to lead the canapé-rodents in a rendering of the Horst Wessel.
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Neda Neynska on the immigrants' wars in Bulgaria

Since 2013, when migrants started to arrive en masse, escaping the wars in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, the Bulgarian governments (there have been three in two years) have opted for a policy of neglect.
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Louis Mackay on Nazi typography

In early 1941, with much of Europe under Nazi control and high expectations of conquest in the East, Hitler banned the use of Fraktur and Sütterlin in favour of Roman type and standard handwriting.
‘Gothic’ or ‘Black Letter’ script was used by monastic scribes in many parts of Europe from the 12th century. Early printer-typefounders, including Gutenberg and Caxton, imitated handwritten Black Letter in the first moveable type. In Italy, Gothic typefaces were soon challenged by Roman or ‘Antiqua’ letters (which owed their forms to classical Latin inscriptions) and […]
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‘What pleases the PUBLIC is always what’s most banal,’ Van Gogh wrote to his brother in 1883. But nowadays Van Gogh pleases the public enormously. So has he become banal?

Julian Barnes on Van Gogh.
Just as there are writers’ writers, so there are painters’ painters: necessary exemplars, moral guides, embodiers of the art. Often they are quiet artists, who lack a shouty biography, who go about their work with modest pertinacity, believing the art greater than the artist. Noisier . . .
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The batteries are said to have cost a hundred million dollars.

Jeremy Bernstein on the New Horizons space probe.
Glenn Seaborg, Joseph W. Kennedy, Edwin McMillan and Arthur Wahl discovered element 94 in Berkeley in 1941. McMillan and Philip Abelson had discovered element 93 the previous year. When Martin Heinrich Klaproth isolated element 92 in pitchblende in 1789, he called it uranium after the recently discovered planet Uranus. The scientists at Berkeley named elements […]
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In the latest issue: Tariq Ali in Athens, Julian Barnes on Van Gogh, Sheila Fitzpatrick on communist architecture, Rosemary Hill on the royal family in the Second World War, and more.
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Alice Spawls on the London Underground's murals

Best of all is Abram Games’s swan at Stockwell: a small orange triangle and a small black one make a swan appear in the zig-zag of white and blue.
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The most serious opposition to the Chinese party leadership today is presented by truly convinced communists.

Slavoj Žižek on Sinicisation
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Gillian Darley on The Art of Bedlam and the architecture of gender segregation.
Plans of the 1815 New Bethlem Hospital in Southwark included in the Richard Dadd exhibition at the Watts Gallery, Compton, show complete segregation between male and female inmates. The ground plan consisted of two identical halves, except for the outlying women’s criminal building, which was considerably smaller than the men’s. There could be no chance […]
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Have them in circles
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Essays on politics, history, art, criticism, international affairs and escalators
Introduction
The London Review of Books publishes a dozen or so long essays and book reviews every fortnight (and a few shorter pieces, too). 

It was founded in 1979, during the year-long lock-out at the Times. For the first six months, it appeared as an insert inside the New York Review of Books. In May 1980, it became fully independent and over the years has published more than 12,000 articles by more than 2000 writers, all available to subscribers in an online archive.

Contributors include Tariq Ali, Perry Anderson, Neal Ascherson, John Ashbery, Julian Barnes, Alan Bennett, Angela Carter, Linda Colley, Jenny Diski, Terry Eagleton, William Empson, Anne Enright, Jorie Graham, Rosemary Hill, Christopher Hitchens, Frank Kermode, August Kleinzahler, John Lanchester, Hilary Mantel, James Meek, Toril Moi, Andrew O'Hagan, Jacqueline Rose, Lorna Sage, Edward Said, James Salter, Iain Sinclair, Colm Tóibín, Jenny Turner, Marina Warner, Raymond Williams, James Wood, Michael Wood and Slavoj Zizek.