Notes From the Margins…
Posts for Writers and Writing Category

In Praise of George Clare

  • August 17, 2012
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I”ve just got back from a Central European holiday with my family.   We flew to Slovakia and then travelled by train from Bratislava to Vienna, followed by a long train journey to Kosice, the second city of Slovakia, in the eastern borderland area near Poland and Ukraine.

Internet access was intermittent and the frequent change of cities and hotels meant that I was rarely in front of a computer for long enough to blog.   But now I”m back in the UK,   and this is as good a time as any to celebrate...

In praise of Ronald Fraser

  • April 21, 2012
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I’m currently reading Napoleon’s Cursed War (2008)  by the incomparable British historian Ronald Fraser, who died this February at the age of 81.  I previously knew Fraser’s work from Blood of Spain, his peerless oral history of the Spanish Civil War, which I read many years ago.

This is a very different, but no less...

Himadeep Muppidi and the Colonial Gaze

  • March 21, 2012
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I’ve just read Himadeep Muppidi’s astonishing  The Colonial Signs of International Relations, which is published by my publisher Hurst & Co.  Muppidi is a political scientist and Associate Professor of International Studies at Vassar College, New York, and his book is a compelling reflection on the intellectual impact of colonialism on his own discipline.


Scandinavia: Our Imaginary Hell

Scandinavia: Our Imaginary Hell

  • January 29, 2012
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Things are getting fraught in Borgen,  the new series by the Danish company DR productions, which produced The Killing.     The corrupt and amoral political shark Laugesen has published a tell-all memoir which dishes the dirt on the sex-lives of some of the ministers in Birgitte Nyborg’s coalition government.

The Special Branch have been bugging...

Saint Hitchens

  • December 18, 2011
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Clearly atheists cannot be saints, but the media response to Christopher Hitchens’ death doesn’t fall far short of a kind of secular canonisation.   I’m not going to comment on those who knew him as friends, because friendship generates its own priorities, but enough already, of this brave seeker after truth/new George Orwell/contrarian business.


The death of Christa Wolf

  • December 03, 2011
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The German writer Christa Wolf died this week, aged 82.   For much of her career she was known as an East German writer of course.   During the Cold War she wasn’t pro-Western enough to be considered a dissident, but she was too individual and idiosyncratic to fit within the...

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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