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Running and plotting: Armando Iannucci’s ‘The Death of Stalin’

The international release of Armando Iannucci’s The Death of Stalin was attended by two fitting ironies. The first was that Vladimir Putin’s Russia—after this month’s election result, it remains undoubtedly his—banned it outright on the grounds of its “extremism”. (Yelena

‘Slow Burn’: Trump, Nixon and the art of the podcast

It is a truth universally acknowledged—well, acknowledged by everyone but the man himself—that Donald Trump is obsessed with the news media and its coverage of him. Among US presidents, only Richard Nixon has hated the media more, or been more

Two Book Reviews

The following book reviews were written for The Weekend Australian back in 2016. For whatever reason — probably the fact that I didn’t file them on time — they were never published. I’m putting them out there now for posterity’s sake. From the review

Why read ‘The Flashman Papers’ today?

When George MacDonald Fraser sat down to pen Flashman, the first volume of what would eventually become a thirteen-book series known as ‘The Flashman Papers’, one doubts he knew how enduring his titular character would become. A minor figure in Thomas Hughes’ Tom Brown’s

‘Saga Land’ brings Iceland’s historic stories to life

I didn’t know much about the Icelandic sagas—or indeed much about Iceland itself, as it turned out—before opening Richard Fidler and Kari Gislason’s Saga Land. I’d be surprised if I’m alone in learning something new in its pages. I’d made

Anthony Bourdain, the anti-foodie foodie

Did anyone see it coming? Did Anthony Bourdain himself? How did a man who made his name with a book that largely glamourised the swinging-dick bro culture of professional kitchens—a book whose cover showed him and a couple of other

Seeing both sides in Ken Burns’ ‘The Vietnam War’

The Vietnam War begins like so many Ken Burns films before it: by listing, in the inimitable voice of Burns’ go-to narrator Peter Coyote, a series of dichotomies that the ten-part, eighteen-hour behemoth will inevitably toggle between, and struggle with, for the

‘Bojack Horseman’s fourth season spins its wheels

In its four seasons on the air—or at least online, where the best stuff increasingly resides—Bojack Horseman has cemented itself as one of the best shows on television, animated or otherwise. There is almost too much that can be said for