Cover of Timothy Garton Ash: Facts are Subversive

Timothy Garton Ash Facts are Subversive

Political Writing from a Decade without a Name

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Atlantic Books










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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