Notes From the Margins…
Posts for Books Category
2018:  What I Read and What I Watched

2018: What I Read and What I Watched

  • January 01, 2019
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In dark times, books and films bring more than consolation or escape.  In a world gone stale and out of kilter they can provide oxygen that helps you to breathe.  They help you understand what is going on and remind you of what could be going on.

I read a lot of great books last year.  My stand out novel is Walter Kempowski’s All for Nothing – an epic and mournful depiction of the apocalyptic collapse of East Prussia at the end of World War 2 seen through the eyes of a landed Prussian family. ...

The Devils of Cardona paperback

  • June 19, 2017
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My first novel The Devils of Cardona was published in the US in June last year.  This year it’s just come out in paperback.  Here’s an extract from a piece that I wrote for the Literary Hub website to mark the occasion:

As a writer who has written a lot of non-fiction in my...

Oscar Martinez: A History of Violence

  • July 28, 2016
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Many years ago, in 1993 I visited the bombed out ruins of the town of Aguacayo,   the former ‘capital’ of the FMLN-held liberated zone in Guazapa Province during much of   El Salvador’s 12-year civil war.   It was just only one year after the guerrillas had disarmed in   the town   as...

Karl Schlögel’s Moscow

  • February 28, 2016
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There have been many books, both fiction and non-fiction, written about Stalin’s purges, but there is nothing quite like Karl  Schlögel’s monumental Moscow 1937, which I’ve just finished.  As the title suggests, the book is a portrait of Moscow in the year in which the Stalinist terror reached a horrific pitch of self-destruction on...

Alistair Campbell’s winners

  • March 02, 2015
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There is a story some years back, it might have been in one of Nick Cohen’s books, that   Peter Mandelson and various New Labour luminaries attended a politicians-meet-businessmen functions, where they were reportedly so wide-eyed and awestruck by   by the presence of Sky executives that one of the execs contemptuously dubbed them  ...

Remembering Sherman’s ‘March to the Sea’

  • December 01, 2014
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It has passed virtually unnoticed in the UK, but this year is the hundred and fiftieth anniversary of one of the most famous military campaigns in history:   William Tecumseh Sherman’s ‘March to the Sea’ from Atlanta to Savannah.     I have a particular interest in this anniversary, having written a book on...

About Me

I’m a writer, campaigner and journalist.  My latest book is The Savage Frontier: The Pyrenees in History and the Imagination (New Press/Hurst, 2018).  The Infernal Machine is where I write on politics, history, cinema and other things that interest me.

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