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CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS ISSUE
PHILIP BALL is a science writer
IAN BENSON is a working mathematician and computer scientist
HUGH BROGAN is a research professor of history at the University of Essex
MARK COUSINS is a film critic
JASON COWLEY is a senior editor at the Observer
JONATHAN DERBYSHIRE is a writer and critic based in London
MEGHNAD DESAI is an economist
THOMAS DE WAAL works for the Institute for War and Peace Reporting
TREVOR DOLBY was until recently MD and publisher of HarperEntertainment
ROBERT DRUMMOND is a psychiatrist
STEPHEN EVERSON is writing a book on metaphysics and the mind
CHRISTOPHER HIRD is joint managing director of Fulcrum Productions
PHILIP HUNTER is a science writer
WILL HUTTON is chief executive of the Work Foundation
TIM KING is a writer living in France
GERALD KNAUS is the founding director of ESI, a Berlin-based think tank
DAN KUPER is a writer
JOSHUA KURLANTZICK is a special correspondent for the New Republic
CHARLES LEADBEATER is the author of We-think (Profile, forthcoming)
BEN LEWIS presents BBC4’s Art Safari
ALEXANDER LINKLATER is associate editor of Prospect
BENJAMIN MARKOVITS ’s novel Imposture (Faber) will be published in January
FERDINAND MOUNT is the author of Mind the Gap (Short Books)
FINTAN O’TOOLE is the author of White Savage (Faber)
JONATHAN POWER is a journalist
MICHAEL PREST is a freelance writer
ALEX RENTON won the 2006 Glenfiddich award for best food writer
IAN STEWART is a professor of mathematics at Warwick University
ERIK TARLOFF is a writer and journalist
PETER SHAWN TAYLOR is an editorial writer at Maclean’s magazine
JACK THURSTON is a fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the US
ROSE TREMAIN is a writer and novelist
4PROSPECT January 2007
contents Issue one hundred and thirty January 2007
OPINIONS 12A good Grade
CHRISTOPHER HIRD Michael Grade’s defection could be good for British television.
GERALD KNAUS Can Islamic states foster an entrepreneurial ethic?
PETER SHAWN TAYLOR The country that once embraced soft power is becoming more muscular.
IAN BENSON The US is changing the way it teaches kids maths. So should Britain.
17Anna and Alexander
THOMAS DE WAAL The killings of Litvinenko and Politkovskaya are vastly different.
JOSHUA KURLANTZICK The Democrats need a new approach to foreign policy.
22Books ofthe year The most over and underrated of2006.
26Does the future really belong to China?
WILL HUTTON VS MEGHNAD DESAI
If China does not abandon one party rule will it stumble under the stresses of state capitalism? Or will it show that there can be a successful authoritarian road to modernity?
ESSAYS 32Lost legitimacy
FERDINAND MOUNT The end of the cold war removed the moral justiﬁcation for US military intervention. As the Iraq war shows, a new source of legitimacy has yet to be found.
38The DIY state
CHARLES LEADBEATER When it comes to public service reform, extra money and top-down rules can only achieve so much. A new ethos of self-help is needed—and its prophet is Ivan Illich.
BENJAMIN MARKOVITS English writers have achieved success in the US by selling an elite image of the country based on Oxbridge and public schools. Can any other vision of English life strike a chord with Americans?
PORTRAIT 48Alexis de Tocqueville
HUGH BROGAN The French aristocrat wrote the ﬁrst great account of American democracy. We should see him as a travel writer and historian, not a philosopher. www.prospect-magazine.co.uk
SPECIAL REPORT 54Can ageing be stopped?
PHILIP HUNTER Can the human lifespan be expanded beyond 120 years?
COLUMNS 10Out ofmind
ROBERT DRUMMOND &
ALEXANDER LINKLATER Should I release my patient?
TUMBLER Condi keeps losing her men.
FINTAN O’TOOLE The cure for Anglophobia.
ALEX RENTON Why you should tip in secret.
MICHAEL PREST The decline of the stock exchange.
TIM KING The Porto Alegre approach to lycées.
PHILIP BALL Why use polonium?
MANNEKEN PIS Farewell Javier Solana.
80Notes from underground
DAN KUPER They ﬁnally sacked me.
REGULARS 6Letters 8News & Curiosities plus Enigmas & puzzles IAN STEWART 13Mini interview JONATHAN POWER 15Numbers game THE CRUNCHER 78The generalist DIDYMUS 79The list
FICTION 5821st century Juliet
ROSE TREMAIN If I marry Perry Paris, the family estate will be saved—but I love a builder boy.
REVIEWS 66Publishing confessions
TREVOR DOLBY After some spectacular ﬂops in 2006, the celebrity memoir has been declared dead. The man who helped to create the genre reckons we shouldn’t write it off yet.
68The executioner’s voice
JONATHAN DERBYSHIRE Jonathan Littell’s Goncourt-winning novel raises questions about history, morality and luck.
69The fat ofthe land
JACK THURSTON Individuals may not own countries any more, but land and how it is taxed still matters.
70A kind ofgenius
ERIK TARLOFF Pynchon’s new novel is full of great jokes and gorgeous writing—but it is also incoherent and emotionally distancing. Is the journey worth it?
MARK COUSINS Mainstream cinema goes dark.
BEN LEWIS The Chinese contemporary art boom.
72Between the lines
JASON COWLEY Word-of-mouth successes.
STEPHEN EVERSON Saving Brahms.
Harvey Cole responds to Adair Turner on climate economics
Ben Rogers on the school burden
Nick Crowe on background music
Charlotte Eagar on women in Afghanistan
David Soskiceon PR and the left
John Kay on tampering with national statistics
THE NEXT ISSUE OF PROSPECT IS PUBLISHED ON 25TH JANUARY
PROSPECT January 2007 5