Tag Archives: History

Stroke of Genius: review

If you’re reading this, you’ll know the picture. You’ll probably know it by the name of its subject: Victor Trumper, for the image and the man have become melded in the cricketing imagination, reduced and enlarged to encompass each other. … Continue reading

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What If and If Only

The sad news of James Taylor’s retirement due to a heart condition has cast a shadow over the start of the English season. Spring should be a time for optimism and bright beginnings, not elegies and endings. Taylor’s retirement is … Continue reading

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Wounded Tiger: review

Cricket in Pakistan has always been that bit different. The brilliance, the madness, the controversy; all seemed to a foreign observer to be exaggerated, defining features of the nation’s cricketing style. Where else could have produced Shahid Afridi or Shoaib … Continue reading

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Field of Shadows: review

From Brazil to Qatar, via Sochi, what price – and there, perhaps, is the crux of the matter – sport free from political interference, corruption and general distastefulness? Sport than can be enjoyed without guilt felt over the lives lost, … Continue reading

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Let Our Fame Be Great and The Last Man in Russia: review

On the surface, Sochi and Vorkuta have little in common except lying within Russia’s borders. Sochi is a Black Sea holiday resort, currently receiving billions of roubles in investment before the Winter Olympics is held there next year. Vorkuta is … Continue reading

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Return of a King: review

To say we have failed to learn from the past would be an understatement. As William Dalrymple demonstrates in his wonderful new book, Return of a King, British foreign policy, especially towards Central Asia and the Middle East, is making … Continue reading

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Dollar Fellow Travellers

Another Zahir article, this time inspired by Gerard Depardieu claiming Russian citizenship and my dissertation on Sidney and Beatrice Webb visiting the USSR. Gerard Depardieu lumbered around the stage of a provincial Russian town, brandishing his new Russian passport, before … Continue reading

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Tony Judt Remembered

An article commemorating the fantastic historian Tony Judt, written last summer. For those of us missing the historian Tony Judt’s brilliant scholarship, this year has brought a fine treat. Judt died of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a form of motor … Continue reading

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Mountains of the Mind (with apologies to Robert Macfarlane)

Zahir article number three, this time on mountains in culture. It is difficult to define what makes climbing a mountain so exhilarating. Perhaps it is simply the relief of the summit, the rest after a long slog uphill. More likely … Continue reading

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The Limits of Human Rights

I wrote this in November 2010 for The Zahir, the University of York’s culture magazine. It’s about the limitations of the idea of human rights and the dangers of applying them dogmatically. Some of the examples are dated, but their … Continue reading

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