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Facts are Subversive: Political Writing from a Decade without a Name [Hardcover]

Timothy Garton Ash
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 July 2009
One of Britain's most influential and admired commentators presents his latest volume of dispatches from a troubled world. This fascinating collection includes essays from the last ten years on Islam and freedom, Orwell as an informer, the Lives of Others and Gunter Grass in the Waffen-SS. Timothy Garton Ash witnessed the fall of Milosevic in Serbia, visited Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma, watched the Orange revolution in Ukraine and talked to militant mullahs in Iran, and all these are recorded here, alongside critical reflections on the future of Europe, multiculturalism and terroris, all in these last ten years. The literature of fact is a theme that runs through the whole volume. When is it legitimate to cross that heavily mined frontier between fact and fiction? How do we know when a writer (Ryszard Kapuscinski, for example, or Paul Theroux) has strayed across the line? How do we ever know what we can know, given the notorious unreliability of eyewitnesses? We all have a novelist in our heads called Memory, and (s)he starts rewriting the script the minute after something happens. Yet Tim Garton Ash maintains against every post-modernist in the world that there are facts, and that establishing them is both a political and a moral imperative. And an aesthetic one, too. 'I will bring you,' the poet Craig Raine has written, 'the beauty of facts'.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books (1 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848870892
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848870895
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.8 x 4.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 813,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"* 'What sets Garton Ash apart is that he never loses sight of the bigger European picture... he remains the best Anglophone observer of contemporary Europe' - Niall Ferguson, Evening Standard * 'Timothy Garton Ash holds a mirror that magnifies... He writes masterfully and with compassion' - Neal Ascherson, Observer"

About the Author

Timothy Garton Ash is the author of eight books of political writing or 'history of the present' which have charted the transformation of Europe over the last quarter-century. He is Professor of European Studies in the University of Oxford, Isaiah Berlin Professorial Fellow at St Antony's College, Oxford, and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His essays appear regularly in the New York Review of Books and he writes a weekly column in the Guardian which is widely syndicated in Europe, Asia and the Americas. In 2006, he was awarded the George Orwell Prize for political writing.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-written and enlightening 16 Dec 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is a joy to read in terms of both the extremely clear style and the food for thought that it provides. Every few pages I found myself stopping to think carefully about a point just made and how it fits into my existing world-view. Much of the book is based upon the author's own first-hand observations of the situations described, granting it a weight which may not be present elsewhere. Fully recommended, I have learned much in just a few hundred pages!
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5 of 32 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars it's ok, but I binned it eventually 9 Oct 2009
The book is well-written, though i share few of the authors views on the subjects I am most familiar with, he appears to be ego-tripping a lot, which is sad because the guy writes very well, just doesnt really seem to know much about what he is writing about...
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Facts and fiction 8 Jan 2010
By Jacob Kijne - Published on Amazon.com
Timothy Garton Ash is by his own account a historian of modern Europe, a connoisseur of obscure East European conflicts, and writes about contemporary history. His esays are about 'Personalities, events and anecdotes that give life and colour to the narrative'. How true! And how quickly do we forget 'contemporary' history. Today's events are tomorrow's history and his essays about Kosovo and other 'recent' events remind us that once we followed these events closely in the news. Some of the best essays in this book are about the continuing relevance of George Orwell's writing. The last three essays, colllected under the title 'Envoi' are rather contemplative and also worth reading. In short, I recommend this colletion of essays warmely.
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