Vulpes Libris

A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.

The personal is political is professional? Niall Ferguson, libel and the LRB.

NB: You can read Pankaj Mishra’s review and the associated letters on the LRB website here.   Since I read Niall Ferguson’s letter in the LRB of 17 November 2011, … Continue reading

December 6, 2011 · 9 Comments

Trotsky: past, present… future? An interview with Tariq Ali

(Originally published: 3rd September 2010) Today’s guest contributor, Tariq Ali, is a writer, activist and political commentator. A leading figure of the Trotskyist movement in the sixties and seventies, Ali’s … Continue reading

November 28, 2011 · 3 Comments

The War According to Castro: La victoria estratégica/La contraofensiva estratégica

In the summer of 2010, a longstanding question was finally resolved. Fidel Castro had then been living in seclusion for almost four years, since the acute intestinal illness which struck … Continue reading

November 23, 2011 · 6 Comments

They eat horses, don’t they? Pasajes de la guerra revolucionaria/Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War by Ernesto Che Guevara

Well, this is embarrassing.  I had planned to bring you a review of The Black Jacobins, CLR James’ classic Marxist study of the Haitian Revolution, and I’d love to tell … Continue reading

October 8, 2011 · 7 Comments

Civilization: the West and the Rest by Niall Ferguson

I’ve come over all “killer app” today and recorded my review of Niall Ferguson’s Civilization in podcast form.  If you’d rather stick with the written word, click here for a … Continue reading

August 30, 2011 · 14 Comments

Trotsky Q&A: Gabriel García Higueras

Gabriel García Higueras is a Lima-based historian and the author of Trotsky en el espejo de la historia (Trotsky in the mirror of history).  Today he’s talking to Kirsty about … Continue reading

July 12, 2011 · 4 Comments

Dispatches from the Little World: an interview with Alberto and Carlotta Guareschi

Giovanni Guareschi (1908-1968) is perhaps best known in the English-speaking world for his stories about the village priest Don Camillo and his rival, the Communist mayor Peppone.  His prolific output … Continue reading

June 3, 2011 · 6 Comments

Literary Theory: an introduction by Terry Eagleton

Literature from [Matthew] Arnold onwards is the enemy of ‘ideological dogma’… Arnold himself had beliefs, of course, though like everybody else he regarded his own beliefs as reasoned positions rather … Continue reading

May 27, 2011 · 12 Comments

The Bay of Pigs by Howard Jones

As regular readers will know by now, I am given to arguing with myself, especially about history.  This makes me either a bad conversationalist or an entertaining one, depending on … Continue reading

March 24, 2011 · 8 Comments

An Interview with Brother Guy Consolmagno: Part II

For Part I, click here.  For Kirsty’s review of God’s Mechanics, click here. The idea of a religious university as they exist in the US is not a familiar one … Continue reading

November 11, 2010 · 9 Comments

God’s Mechanics: How scientists and engineers make sense of religion, by Brother Guy Consolmagno, SJ

If there’s one thing I hate about religion books, it’s that arrogant attitude of smug satisfaction that we get when we think we’ve produced the ultimate answers to all the … Continue reading

November 9, 2010 · 12 Comments

Introducing the Lubitz TrotskyanaNet/Closing remarks

The Lubitz TrotskyanaNet: An invaluable Trotsky resource The Lubitz TrotskyanaNet is a labour of love.  Online since 2004, the site is the product of forty years spent collecting and cataloguing … Continue reading

September 4, 2010 · 4 Comments

Trotsky: past, present… future? An interview with Tariq Ali

Today’s guest contributor, Tariq Ali, is a writer, activist and political commentator.  A leading figure of the Trotskyist movement in the sixties and seventies, Ali’s engagement with Trotsky goes far … Continue reading

September 3, 2010 · 16 Comments

Reading Trotsky: an interview with Chris Ward

Chris Ward is Senior Lecturer in Slavonic Studies at the University of Cambridge.  His contagious enthusiasm for Trotsky’s writing kick-started my own Trotsky obsession (so now you know who to … Continue reading

September 2, 2010 · 10 Comments



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  • (The header image is from Aesop's Fables, illustrated by Francis Barlow (1666), and appears courtesy of the Digital and Multimedia Center at the Michigan State University Libraries.)