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Writing Worth Reading

GM’s Greatest Hit: The 1955 Chevrolet

The 1955 Chevrolet was the greatest full-size car ever made in America. “Has a car ever exuded more self confidence, optimism, and all-round competence?” Cars would get better in many technical ways, but never again was a car so perfectly suited to its time and place. The Chevrolets of the mid fifties “achieved a pinnacle”, as did GM, which was the Apple of its day — the most admired and profitable company in the country (2,370 words)

Alexandra Fuller’s African Childhood

Thrilling, lyrical account of Fuller’s memoir Don’t Let’s Go To The Dogs Tonight, about growing up in colonial Rhodesia. The country is at war, the whites are losing, her parents are mostly drunk. “They continue, through war, drought, bad harvests, the birth of their children and the loss of their children, to have fun, to drink and party and play cards, to dance and have another drink, and then drink a whole lot more” (1,900 words)

King Of The Dump Pick of the day

Beguiling portrait of a refugee village atop a garbage dump on the Thai-Burmese border. An elderly Brit has been there for years. NGOs and aid workers come and go offering short-lived programmes and vying for attention. The villagers respond “like children of divorcées playing their parents against one another for better presents”. They treat aid “as a kind of consumable resource that allows them to remain on the trash” (2,860 words)

The Disappeared

Full and atrocious story of the 43 Mexican students kidnapped and murdered in September. Mexico has seen bigger massacres in recent years, but this one provoked unprecedented national anger: “Perhaps it was the scale of the violence, or the sheer brutality, or that the victims were college students, or that the perpetrators were mostly municipal police, or that the mayor and the police chief were probably behind the attack” (6,000 words)

Why Pakistan Shields Terrorists

The slaughter of school children in Peshawar ought surely be enough to persuade Pakistan that it cannot go on harbouring the Taliban. And yet, Pakistan will probably not change its behaviour. Its generals are determined to maintain the Taliban as a weapon against India. The Pakistani government will find it easier to ride out public outrage over this massacre than to take on its own army and intelligence services (1,050 words)

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