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Many high achievers, across all disciplines, have troubled and complex relationships with people who pushed them. I would like to pretend that psychological bullying never works, but clearly it can.
Chuck Hagel's resignation - the latest soap opera to hit the Obama adminstration - is a sign of severe dysfunction. The team of rivals has disintegrated, with many of them becoming a thorn in the president’s side as he limps on for a final two years.
Peter Wilby's First Thoughts.
Private schools instil their children with a sense of entitlement and confidence that is lacking among state-school pupils, argues Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett.
Having already trimmed Whitehall of fat, the next government will be forced to cut into bone. But no party will utter this truth.
Richard II’s meeting with the rebels is one of the most astonishing moments in English history, as a 14-year-old boy rides out to meet thousands of his armed and angry people.
The guardians of Fortress Europe are fighting a lost battle: poor migrants will always try to find a better life for themselves, or die in the attempt. Daniel Trilling traces their steps, from the Middle East and Africa to the Kent countryside.
“Nobody buys short stories anyway,” says a character, Richard, in the prologue to Kirsty Gunn’s new collection, Infidelities. “No one thinks there’s enough going on.” The challenge from writer to reader is stark; watch out, there will be plenty going on here.
The central tenet of Hard Times is that the economic slump of 2008 and its aftermath have augmented the schisms already present in two rich, but profoundly unequal societies: the UK and the US.
The task Azar Nafisi sets herself here, to build an argument for fiction in western culture, is one that has driven her personal and professional life.
A seducing documentary used recordings of Orson Welles speaking unguardedly over lunches in a restaurant in Hollywood between 1983 and 1985.
The protagonists of Rose Tremain’s fifth collection of short stories – her first since 2005’s The Darkness of Wallis Simpson – are all operating under some form of constraint: social, sexual, emotional, pressingly immediate or far distant, unrelentingly real or garlanded with imaginative flourishes.
The work of a great artist often appears so fluent, so graceful, that we assume it must have come easily – but nothing in art is worth much if it is not hard won.
Amanda Craig’s round-up of reading to enchant and inspire young minds this Christmas.
Jane Shilling finds a blend of syrup and venom in this kiss-and-tell book by François Hollande’s former partner.
Everyone is white, and everyone is rich – or about to be. Where’s the grit in that? But grit there is: it is stupid to assume that for a drama to be a hit, it must be filled with “people like us”.
This gritty tale of eastern European rent boys in Paris might at first sound like Ken Loach gone gay. But the effect is more redolent of a Gus Van Sant spin on Oliver Twist.
As I stared at the image of Blair’s shopworn grin and straining-still-to-be-boyish features, I felt like Winston Smith, staring up from his table in the Chestnut Tree Café at the poster of Big Brother, his eyes brimming with tears of love.
Why, oh, why, I howl to myself and to the stars, did I ever learn to cook?
Hunter Davies on football.
In the spirit of festive generosity I would like to offer a helping hand when it comes to surviving the onslaught of hot plonk. Here, food, as in so many situations, is your friend.
Suzanne Moore’s Telling Tales.
In the recent viral video footage of a woman being repeatedly catcalled as she walks around New York, the first comments we hear addressed to her are: “Smile! SMILE!” It’s an order, an expectation.
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