Best of the Moment
Andrew Adonis | New Statesman | 2nd May 2013
Book review. As the foreign secretary who took Britain into the First World War, Grey may qualify as the worst public servant anywhere, ever, in tandem with his prime minister, Herbert Asquith. They could have kept Britain out of the war; they might have prevented it entirely, by persuading Germany not to ally with Austria. Instead they delivered Europe to decades of "communism, fascism, genocide, the Holocaust, slavery and partition"
Mary Dejevsky | Spectator | 2nd May 2013
"Post-Soviet Russia is self-taught in today’s diplomacy and badly needs to be socialised. Russians still find it difficult to share space. If Moscow applied more effort to noticing what others were doing and anticipating what they might do next, and if it allowed outsiders a better insight into its own thinking, while studying the rules and working on its style, it might find the waters of international diplomacy more welcoming"
S Abbas Raza | Aeon | 1st May 2013
Couple fast for seven days. Water only. No dramatic outcomes, at least in physical terms, but a distinct effect on mental performance: "My reactions were slowed down very noticeably by evening. If my wife asked me a question, it took about five seconds for it to register and another five before I could formulate and deliver a reply". Biggest surprise: the amount of time freed up by no meals and much less shopping
Paul Reyes | Oxford American | 30th April 2013
Beguiling tale of meticulous renovation and mysterious fate of historic house in Little Rock. With more than a touch of John Berendt. "I swooned in there, surrounded by a rich marriage between the brick walls and Spanish cedar paneling. That wood had a Mentholatum-like charge to it, fresh and sharp. A tin ceiling glinted eighteen feet above us. The south brick wall stood exposed, rustic, and with the authority of a hundred and twenty years"
Ryan Loughlin | 1st May 2013
Life in a community of Old Believers whose ancestors left Russia in 1666, settled in China until 1949, moved to Brazil, gained asylum in America in 1960s, built a village to Alaska, and prospered from fishing but argued over religion, provoking a schism. Now there are two villages, still isolated, where 17C Russian is spoken at home, but old culture is eroding. The girls go to school, the young speak English by choice
Thought for the day:
"This is not a free country, and it will be an evil day for the legal profession when it is"— A.P. Herbert