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One of the Guardian Unlimited Books' top 10 literary blogs: "A home-grown treasure ... smart, serious analysis"

The Bookaholics' Guide to Book Blogs: "Mark Thwaite ... has a maverick, independent mind"

Blog entries on '31 May 2007'

Thursday 31 May 2007

Yo, Blair!

I just did a wee, capsule review of Geoffrey Wheatcroft's Yo, Blair! over at The Book Depository:


Geoffrey Wheatcroft's Yo, Blair! is a caustic, bitter satire of Tony Blair and his ten terrible years in power: "a blast on the trumpet about the most disastrous premiership of modern times." The title, of course, refers to that totemic moment when the American President George Bush greeted Blair with those eponymous words at the St. Petersburg summit in 2006. Spun as merely a friendly acknowledgement, the phrase seemed to indicate so much more: Blair was subservient to Bush in every way. The ruinous war in Iraq, that Blair backed knowing full well it was illegal, showed that when the Americans said jump, Blair blindly rushed forward to shout how high. Wheatcroft shows that the "calamitous Blair decade" has been defined by absurd foreign adventures: "While Blair is not a fascist himself ... he and his party have continually if unconciously echoed the language of fascism." This is an often funny book, but the humour is black and the tone is angry. Yo, Blair! is very well done; biting satire is the very least Blair deserves.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Thursday 31 May 2007

Separated by a common language

Nice: separated by a common language -- "Observations on British and American English by an American linguist in the UK." (I can now spell "separate" correctly each time I type it because Mrs Book, a teacher, told me t'other day that "there is a rat in separate" -- genius!)

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Serendipoetry

Memorial Tablet

Squire nagged and bullied till I went to fight,
(Under Lord Derby’s Scheme). I died in hell—
(They called it Passchendaele). My wound was slight,
And I was hobbling back; and then a shell
Burst slick upon the duck-boards: so I fell
Into the bottomless mud, and lost the light.

At sermon-time, while Squire is in his pew,
He gives my gilded name a thoughtful stare:
For, though low down upon the list, I’m there;
‘In proud and glorious memory’... that’s my due.
Two bleeding years I fought in France, for Squire:
I suffered anguish that he’s never guessed.
Once I came home on leave: and then went west...
What greater glory could a man desire?

-- Siegfried Sassoon
Collected Poems (Faber and Faber)

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Word of the Day

The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or two

Pre-order Anu Garg's new book: The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or Two: The Hidden Lives and Strange Origins of Common and Not-So-Common Words (ISBN 9780452288614), published by Penguin more …

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October's Books of the Month

The New Spirit of Capitalism The New Spirit of Capitalism
Luc Boltanski; Eve Chiapello
Horizons Touched: The Music of ECM Horizons Touched: The Music of ECM
Steve Lake, Paul Griffiths

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