Space to Think, a new book celebrating ten years of the Dublin Review of Books More Information 

    Beyond Anger

    John Fanning
    If the centre-left is to regain some influence in politics it will have to become more interesting. Accepted wisdom on becoming more interesting these days seems to revolve around finding the right “personality”. But let us not forget the importance of policies and ideas.
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    In Love With Death

    Eugene Brennan
    Is Islam a violent or a peaceful religion? Rather than cherrypicking the sacred texts, we might be better served by sociology and reception studies: rather than trying to decipher what the Quran says, that is, one might usefully listen to what Muslims think and say it says.
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    Leading from the Left

    Jeremy Kearney
    The remarkable rise of Jeremy Corbyn has changed the nature of the political debate in the UK. By highlighting the failure of the austerity agenda and the neoliberal ideology that underpinned it, he has returned left-wing ideas to the centre of political discourse.
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    The Bully and the ‘Beast’

    Jon Smith
    The Bully and the ‘Beast’
    Shouting and tantrums are common in Fleet Street newsrooms, but it is only at the ‘Daily Mail’ that swearing and abuse have been elevated to a culture. Its editor makes no secret of this behaviour, apparently believing that ‘shouting creates energy and energy creates great headlines’.
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    The Ascent of Women

    Ann Kennedy Smith
    ‘The average standard of mental power in man must be above that of women,’ Charles Darwin asserted. The opinion was perhaps surprising given the number of talented and active women he knew personally, as well as the wide-ranging social disadvantages they faced as a sex.
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    The Pity of War

    Andy Pollak
    A study of war across the ages argues that our propensity to engage in such conflicts is not genetically determined but a matter of culture and can be combated by integration, mutual linkages of a practical and beneficial kind, and the elimination of boundaries between interests.
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    Understanding the Alt-Right

    Oisín O’Neill Fagan
    Online culture is a strangely proportioned new world, and it needs a map. Into this space comes Angela Nagle’s persuasive essay ‘Kill All Normies’, which charts the frenetic online culture wars of the last decade, marking and delineating their evolving political mutations.
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    Sharing the Island

    John Swift
    In the difficult and protracted Cypriot peace talks both sides need to take a cooler and more imaginative look at what they have chosen to remember, and, most importantly, what they have chosen to forget. Each in fact has much to regret as well as to commemorate in their common history.
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    The Business of America

    Emmet Oliver
    A history of US capitalism and its dealings with governments suggests that Americans have a love-hate relationship with their business elites. It also suggests that the power of business has ebbed and flowed over time in response to popular demands to tame its excesses.
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    Majoritarian Futures

    Ivan Krastev
    Majoritarian Futures
    Europe’s migration crisis involves not just the movement of people from outside Europe to the old continent, or from poorer states to richer ones, but also the movement of voters away from the centre, and of the displacement of the left-right division by one between internationalists and nativists.
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    Businesses of the World Unite!

    John Fanning
    In the midst of growing despair over ‘precariousness’ and shifts in political support to the extremes, one oasis of progressive thinking has emerged. That it has been widely ignored is not surprising, since it comes from the consumer goods sector of the business world.
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    Hidden Persuaders

    Farrel Corcoran
    Hidden Persuaders
    We can have democracy or we can have great concentrations of wealth, but not both, ‘people’s attorney’ Louis Brandeis warned. A new study shows the extent to which the super-rich were prepared to go to block Obama’s ambition to foster progressive change through government action.
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    Real Americans

    Daniel Geary
    Liberals in the US have been told they must understand the grievances of Trump voters. Yet it is difficult to conclude that many of them are anything other than the political enemies of social solidarity, who believe that only ‘winners’ deserve the basic necessities of a good life.
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    Poisoned Apple

    Martin O’Malloney
    Claims that the European Commission is picking on little Ireland in the Apple taxation case fail to take into account that we are talking about the richest company in the world. Ireland will also ignore at its peril the rising tide of popular indignation over wholesale tax avoidance by multinationals.
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    Republic of Lies

    Tom Hennigan
    Brazil’s Workers Party is smarting after losing its president through impeachment, accusing its enemies of mounting a coup. It would be better off engaging in stringent self-criticism and renewal, as it is still the country’s best bet for much-needed progress on social justice.
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    That’s It, Folks

    John Fanning
    The last book from the late German sociologist Ulrich Beck offers a grim prognosis for our future as a society, with traditional political institutions helpless before the power of capital and the reactions of right and left devoid of intellectual content, functioning only to let off steam.
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    It Looks Like You’re Writing a Novel

    Tim Groenland
    Home computing and word processing are now so taken for granted that it’s hard to recreate how big a deal their first appearance was. One writer compared the cost of his device to his daughter’s school fees. Another had to have the machine lifted into his house by a crane.
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    Spring Forward, Fall Back

    Padraig McAuliffe
    The optimism that attended the ‘Arab Spring’ of 2011, and the inflated hopes invested in youth and social networks, have fallen away, replaced by a realisation that autocratic forces, particularly if they can buy military support, still have a future ahead of them.
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    Let’s Shop

    Caoilfhionn Ní Bheacháin
    An historical study of consumer culture across several centuries provides fascinating insights, but its desire to be value-free and non-judgmental leaves unresolved many important questions about the sometimes appalling human costs of global capitalism.
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    The View from the Tower

    John Banville
    The View from the Tower
    Philosophers had interpreted the world, but the point was surely to change it, Marx asserted. But with socialist change seeming to lead to disappointing or even frightening results, many twentieth century intellectuals turned Marx’s dictum on its head, seeking refuge in theory.
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    The Ends of History

    Ciaran Brady
    The figure of the Polish-born historian Lewis Namier is at the centre of an entertaining and hugely informative new study of intellectuals and of practising historians ‑ not always a synonymous set ‑ in the post-1945 atmosphere of the Cold War.
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    The Malevolence of Occupation

    David Lloyd
    Palestine was once the hub of ideas, goods and people circulating through West Asia and North Africa: as a Bethlehem professor reminded us, the ancient caravan route used to pass nearby. Now he cannot even travel the twenty minutes to his former family home in Jerusalem without a special permit.
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    Brothers in Arms

    Jeremy Kearney
    The British Labour Party is in deep crisis, with the majority in the constituency parties, many of them recently joined-up members or supporters, strongly in support of new leader Jeremy Corbyn while the majority of the party’s MPs are equally opposed and keen to replace him.
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    Small is Beautiful

    Siniša Malešević
    Much of the rhetoric of Irish nationalism focused on the idea of a small nation, oppressed by a larger one. The nationalism of the Balkan states, in contrast, tended to emphasise the idea of ‘greatness’, though in many important senses these were smaller polities than Ireland.
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    Which Doll is the Nice One?

    Thomas Christie Williams
    Empirical research has been employed in pursuit of moral goals, by demonstrating that a cultural practice is harmful to its victims. But should scientific evidence by accorded more weight than moral principles, for example the principle of the equality of all before the law?
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    What Is To Be Done?

    Paul O’Mahoney
    The philosopher Slavoj Žižek challenges what he sees as a facile left-liberal consensus, asking how many immigrants from Islamic countries really want to be integrated into the norms and practices of Western societies. What if the obstacle to integration is not Western racism?
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    Press Button B

    A raft of books from the US suggests that as a society we have made a Faustian pact with the tech giants and there is now no getting out of it. But have we really lost all freedom of action? Could we not, individually, just turn off our phones for a few hours and go to the library?
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    Brexit: 1649 or 1688?

    A review of the Brexit debate as reflected in the pages of the Guardian newspaper from May 1st, 2016
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    Response to James Moran

    David Barnwell
    A reader takes issue with remarks on Donald Trump and his politics included in the essay ‘We Know Nothing’ published in the May issue.
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    Red, Pink and Blue

    Samuel Freeman in 'The New York Review of Books' finds Roger Scruton’s inclusion of American progressive liberal thinkers in his general denunciation of hard left theorists unconvincing.
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    On The Money

    In the London Review of Books John Lanchester envisages the possible disappearance, facilitated by new secure technologies, of money and banks. Would this be a good thing or would it make it even more difficult than it already is to recycle corporate profits for public goods in the shape of schools, hospitals, roads and police services?
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    Follow the Money

    John Bradley
    We would like to think that finance is the handmaiden of politics and can be bent to the will of benign policy-makers. But forces inherent in the financial system, national and international, have often historically pre-determined political and economic outcomes.
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    Leading on Climate Change

    Paul Gillespie
    The outlook after the COP21 summit is certainly better than after Copenhagen in 2009. But there is still a mismatch between the EU’s declaration of climate leadership and the resources it devotes to exercising that with the huge states of China and India.
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    Kafka on Thames

    Adrian Hardiman
    The injustice done to British broadcaster Paul Gambaccini as part of the Yewtree investigation leads one to wonder if the presumption of innocence can survive in a legal system which permits the police and media to destroy a person’s reputation in advance of any trial.
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    Body And Soul

    Kevin Stevens
    Ta Nehisi Coates contends that white supremacy is a force so fundamental to America that it is difficult to imagine the country without it. Marilynne Robinson argues that moral revival, though its results are never enough, is also central to the American tradition and that we should not despair.
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    Getting the Left on Track

    Michael McLoughlin
    A new book that argues that the way forward for social democracy is more state, more tax, more spending fails to convince. If these were recipes likely to be favoured by the electorate there would be social democratic governments thriving all over the Western world.
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    Spiritual Security

    Pádraig Murphy
    To the extent that Russia’s project of joining the Western developed world has failed, and it has failed, its search for a distinctive world stance appears urgent; the paradigm of a united state and church, defined against a decadent, liberal and atheist West, is much favoured.
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    The Road to Paris

    Diarmuid Torney
    Wind energy is now cost-competitive without supports with fossil fuels in several countries, and solar energy too is closing the cost gap. Partly as a result of these developments, global climate politics is more complicated ‑ but also arguably more positive ‑ than ten or even five years ago.
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    Capitalism’s Futures

    John Bradley
    Despite a long period of what has seemed to be constant crisis, predictions of the death of capitalism may still be off the mark. This is not by any means to say that it is in good health. We must address its pathologies, and this is a task that should not be left to economists alone.
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    Truculent Priest

    Seamus O’Mahony
    In a series of radical critiques published in the 1970s Ivan Illich questioned educational practice, managerialism and the medical profession. Though he could be arrogant, inconsistent and even plain silly, Illich had important things to say about modernity.
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    Take That

    Angela Nagle
    The bursting forth of user-generated content was supposed to dethrone the captains of the culture industry still languishing in dreary, elitist old media formats. Instead, much of what is reported as mass opinion on social media represents less a 'democratic revolution' than the niche cultural interests of a few hundred young underemployed knowledge economy workers. 
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    Red Star Over China

    Caroline Hurley
    Mao Zedong’s vision in the late 1940s was to replicate Soviet communism, whatever the cost for his people. The espousal of values of freedom and equality offered hope to war-weary citizens, but the new regime ran an intensely invasive and catastrophic tyranny from the start.
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    Bands of Brothers

    Marc Mulholland
    The Third International, or Comintern, maintained for many years a vast international organisation none of its left-wing rivals could match. When the purges came in the 1930s, however, its members suffered to a proportionately greater extent than any other category.
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    The Others

    John Swift
    The Others
    Edward Said can be called the father of postcolonial studies, but it could be argued that his political commentaries were as important as his theories and that, more than a decade after his death, they are still relevant to the contemporary situation in the region of his birth.
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    The American Nightmare

    James Wickham
    A new book by Robert Putnam, whose ‘Bowling Alone’ popularised the concept of social capital, examines growing income inequality in the United States and argues that the affluent and the poor now increasingly live in worlds completely isolated from one another.
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    Ireland’s Disappeared

    Michael Cronin
    In ‘the new entrepreneurialism’, workers are expected to be their own timekeepers (automated flexi-time systems), secretaries (word processing tools), accountants (automated payroll systems, online banking, revenue online services) and travel agents (online ticketing).
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    Married to the Mob

    David McKechnie
    Married to the Mob
    The moral compass of much of traditional journalism can look quaint when the outraged vigilante democracy of Twitter is unleashed. As Jon Ronson’s new book makes clear, these vicious contemporary bullyings and shamings are not driven by ‘them’ but by ‘us’.
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    Why Kill Charlie?

    Max McGuinness
    Why Kill Charlie?
    Stéphane Charbonnier (‘Charb’), the murdered editor of ‘Charlie Hebdo’, was a distinctly old-fashioned leftist – of the kind which has no hang-ups about hurting people’s feelings. For him, ridicule was a quasi-religious cause, one for which he was prepared to sacrifice himself.
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    A Bit of Help, Comrade?

    John Mulqueen
    Throughout the 1980s, two left-wing parties, the increasingly ambitious and successful SFWP, later WP, and the Communist Party of Ireland (CPI) competed for the favour and financial support of the Soviet bloc. But at the end of the decade it all came tumbling down.
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    'Them Poor Irish Lads' in Pennsylvania

    Breandán Mac Suibhne
    The late nineteenth and early twentieth century in America was a time of great confrontation between workers and bosses over wages, working conditions and unionisation. In these circumstances there grew up in the Pennsylvania coalfields a secret militant organisation with close ties to the Irish community.
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    Blood On Their Hands

    Linda Melvern
    Blood On Their Hands
    Inside a few months in 1994 up to a million people were massacred in Rwanda. There have since been trials of fugitives in Germany, Norway, Finland, Netherlands and Sweden, but in France, where a large number of senior suspects appears to be sitting comfortably, there is little activity.
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    White Terror

    Hugh Gough
    The repression that followed the defeat of the left-wing revolt known as the Paris Commune led to almost four times as many deaths in ten weeks as the revolutionary terror had achieved in the city in eighteen months. Pope Pius IX called the victims “men escaped from hell”.
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    A War Without End

    David Blake Knox
    Steam locomotive C5631 is proudly displayed in the museum at the Yasukuni Shrine in Japan, where prime ministers come to honour war criminals. There is no mention there of the hundreds of thousands of prisoners who died building the WWII railway on which it ran.
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    End of an Era

    Pádraig Murphy
    The Ukraine crisis has demonstrated, if further demonstration was required, that Russia will pursue its interests aggressively in what it regards as its legitimate sphere of interests around its borders ‑ and that Europe and the West have no agreed policy on how to react to this.
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    Getting the Sauce Right

    Paschal Donohoe
    The conventional wisdom is that small states have little power in the face of globalisation and must do the bidding of larger states, multinational companies and international organisations. Other evidence, however, suggests that it is small states which perform best in the globalised world.
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    The Borrowers

    Ian Maleney
    As corporate profits soar, the working poor are increasingly driven into the hands of unscrupulous ‘payday’ lenders charging extortionate interest. Regulation can have some positive effect but the real solution, for individuals and the economy, is to pay a living wage.
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    Slaying the Octopus

    Tom Hennigan
    Brazilians have decided that the Workers Party’s efforts to improve the lives of tens of millions of the poor trump the fact that after twelve years in power it is now as corrupt as the regimes that preceded it. But corruption itself is an obstacle to pursuing the equality agenda.
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    Becoming a Conservative ... and After

    Frank Freeman
    Political journeys are not always one-directional. For some people neither the right nor the liberal left is an entirely satisfying place and it becomes necessary, if one is motivated by a desire for the common good, to endorse values from one and the other.
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    Hair of the Dog?

    Michael O’Sullivan
    Hair of the Dog?
    Europe is a conglomeration of different economic models, whose various recessions have been provoked by disparate causes requiring distinct remedies. As in a hospital ward where one patient suffers from a broken leg, another gout and another cancer, a common treatment will fail to cure the majority of patients.
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    Unhappy Warrior

    Ivor Roberts
    Unhappy Warrior
    George Kennan formulated the key strategy of containment of Russia which guided the West through the Cold War but he became increasingly out of step with the interventionist instincts of successive US presidents. While he was greatly honoured, his desire for a more modest, inward-looking America did not find an echo among policy-makers.
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    Erdoğan Passes the Symplegades

    Joseph Burke
    Turkish writers remain vitally engaged with politics as the nation is reshaped and the population divided by the polarising President Erdoğan. Their analyses go deeper than Western interpretations of Erdoğan as simply another Islamist demagogue, and they protest in the hope of reconciliation and the restoration of secularism.
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    Is the Pope a Communist?

    Angela Nagle
    Some people are impressed by the apparent humility of Pope Francis and his objections to market capitalism. But should the left regard him as an ally or is socialism not more about production and plenty than simplicity and austerity?
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    The Modernist Moment

    Tom Hennigan
    Brazil, in the mid-twentieth century, saw a spectacular flourishing of architecture and town planning, associated with names like Niemeyer and Costa. But since then chaos and venality have returned, with builders rather than architects in the driving seat and recent hopes that the World Cup could be a game-changer disappointed.
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    The Quintessence of the Balkans

    Maria Falina
    A brave and admirable attempt to explain the history of a little known part of an often misunderstood region is rendered problematic by the sheer complexity of the subject matter, with its multiple identities, contending occupying forces, obscure motivations and often complex loyalties.
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    Freedom Smells Like French Perfume

    Angela Nagle
    Freedom Smells Like French Perfume
    Many feminists abhor Femen for its naked protests and apparent acceptance of conventional or trashy ideas of beauty, but there is also a more basic clash at work here between a direct confrontation with injustice and a new feminism which finds itself too embarrassed to oppose non-Western or Islamic forms of oppression of girls and women.
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    Muddling Through

    Andreas Hess
    The surface noise of democratic politics can make leaders slow to recognise a crisis. The knowledge that previous crises have been overcome encourages delay; delay encourages drift; fear of drift encourages precipitate action; precipitate action encourages mistakes; mistakes encourage caution. And so the cycle wobbles on; we survive but don’t really go anywhere.
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    Spies and Gentlemen

    Maeve Flanagan
    A new book focusing on Kim Philby, the Cambridge spies and the rivalry between MI5 and its more upper class sister service, MI6, argues that an astute Russian policy of penetration and the loyalties embedded in the class system combined to undermine the British intelligence services.
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    Janus-Faced Europe

    It is now in the interests of the EU to set about calming the bear at its door, convincing the Russians that mutual respect and trade is in everyone’s interest and that no one will benefit from a new great game conducted in Eastern Europe.
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    Look! No Wheels!

    The Cold War, or at least the First Cold War, is now long over. Curiously, it ended without a war. Afterwards, the US global hegemony that some predicted failed to materialise. As in other areas, victories in history don’t always amount to as much as was expected. Meanwhile the debate seeking a credible explanation for the implosion of the Soviet Union continues.
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    On the Necessary Execution of a Prince

    Was the recent arrest, trial and execution of North Korea's number two politician just another sign of the madness of the regime? Or was it perhaps a sign to the people that things could actually change for the better and that no one - none of 'them' - was necessarily too powerful to evade punishment?
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    Easy Does It

    Liam Hennessy
    Angela Merkel’s style, which is based on caution, analysis and calm calculation married with a commitment to tolerance in the public sphere, has seen her win three successive election victories. Will she be able to add political imagination to these virtues in the final phase of her career and so transform European politics?
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    HAVE A NICE DAY, DAY, DAY ...

    Fast food workers in the States don’t earn enough to eat ... fast food. Too bad, say the employers, what they do can easily be done by machines.
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    Defying Big Brother

    Tom Garvin
    Defying Big Brother
    In the decades following the end of the Second World War, western Europe experienced the greatest long boom the world has ever known. This period of prosperity and security was not based on the rickety notion of “anti-fascism” but rather on liberty, constitutional freedoms and the solidarity of democratic nations uniting against the threat of the Soviet bloc.
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    Warts And All

    Brian Cooney
    LBJ, the man the baby boomer generation loved to hate, was, even one of his political enemies has admitted, ‘for all his towering ego, his devastating instinct for the weakness of others, his unlimited capacity for self-pity ... a man of brilliant intelligence, authentic social passion and deep seriousness’.
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    Slim Pickings for the Soft Left

    France has long been a beacon for social democrats but we may be looking at the beginning of the fall of social France. The political elites of right and left increasingly conform to Peter Mair’s idea of the cartel party, but the politically crucial fact is that they conform on the right of the spectrum.
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    Cold War Reinvented

    It is more than a little depressing to contemplate the possibility that the old cold war narrative which restricted the potential of so many  individuals and peoples over the latter half of the twentieth century has given way to a new overarching narrative ‑ equally laden with oppressive potential for anyone in the way ‑ that of multipolarity versus unipolarity.
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    Hope in Guatemala

    The overthrow of Árbenz in 1954 was among the most ill-conceived CIA operations. In the hypercharged atmosphere of the early cold war, President Dwight Eisenhower, secretary of state John Foster Dulles, and his brother, CIA director Allen Dulles, decided that Guatemala threatened the United States.
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    The Road to Genocide

    The ancient Christian communities of Syria, having survived the rise of Islam in the seventh century and the fall of Constantinople in the fifteenth may be driven into the sea in the twenty-first.
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    Iran and Realpolitik

    In the West people generally think of the Islamic world as very ideological, and indeed it is, but the world is complex and realpolitik plays a dominant role in the Muslim sphere just as it does everywhere else.
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    Syria, Goodbye to Diversity

    Authoritarian but relatively secularist regimes in the Middle East have often been protectors of diversity. If they are destroyed, where will the region's minorities go?
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    Rich Folks’ Politics

    As Wasps and similar types decline as a percentage of the US population, things don’t look great for the Republican party. But its creation of safe seats through gerrymandering has facilitated a takeover by extremists, against whom the traditional ‘country club’ moderates seem to be helpless.
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    Neighbours

    Pádraig Murphy
    Neighbours
    Germany and Russia have had a relationship over the centuries that has more often been businesslike than hostile. The business being conducted, however, and the deals that have been struck, have seldom much benefited the countries in between.
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    Keeping It Together

    Matthew Kelly
    Belgium was saved from disintegration in the immediate postwar period by the pragmatism and farsightedness of its centrist political parties and their leaders. Do its politicians still retain those qualities?
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    Inventing the Working Class

    Marc Mulholland
    It is unfortunate that the academy dismisses the bulk of those who learned their politics from Marx, from Karl Kautsky to Léon Blum, preferring endless dalliance instead with shades of Leninism.
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    Understanding the Serbs

    Peter Brooke

    David Ralph’s recent essay on the war in Bosnia merely added to the mountain of incomprehension that British journalists raised about the region’s war.
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    FIGHTING CORRUPTION

    John Swift

    Developed Western states have a multitude of interests in Africa and the Middle East and balancing human rights concerns with other economic, ecological and political interests will never be easy.
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    SYRIA'S UPRISING

    Mary Russell

    Concord between various ethnic groups in Syria appeared evident until acts of obscene violence began to be carried out by both the regime and anti-regime forces. But few people in the future will want to live alongside those they suspect of destroying their homes and families.
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    LETTER FROM PHILADELPHIA

    Brendan O'Leary
    The Republicans are an alliance of the super-rich and degree-less whites, topped with an upper crust of hypercapitalists, a misalliance cemented by pan-Protestant evangelism.
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    All Or Nothing

    Joschka Fischer
    A union of solidarity will never work if some people retire at sixty-seven and others at fifty-five or sixty; if some duly pay their taxes and others do not; if some increase their competitiveness while others do not; if some save while others amass increasing debt. Recent events will either lead to a profound encroachment on member state sovereignty, or the actions taken will not work. In the latter case, the euro as a common currency will also cease to function.
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    The Melting Centre

    Eckhard Jesse
    The electoral decline of the large parties has been accompanied by a massive fall in party membership. Since the early 1990s the SPD has lost over 400,000 members and the CDU nearly 300,000. They have also become less attractive to younger people and this has led to a marked aging of party structures. Almost 50 per cent of the membership of both the CDU and SPD is now over sixty.
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