I’ve thrown my planned post out of the window today to highlight the amazing book that accompanies sell-out Broadway success Hamilton. It’s a book that tells the story of how the musical came to exist; shares insights from cast and political pundits alike; and spells out a stark, clear message about the historical prominence of protest, rebellion and revolution in the political legacy of the United States.
I spent a lot of time thinking about America this week. I wrote two short editorials about the election, and I thought that this week’s non-fiction spotlight might pick up on the things I discussed there, but instead I’ve chosen to reflect on the changes that have happened throughout history to the role that the president plays in the US.
Theodore Roosevelt has been much explored for his role as a huge transformative force in US politics: one of the most interesting things to consider is the role that his personal character, one might call it a ‘brand,’ had on how the public viewed him as a person, and how it has since changed the role the president plays in America.
The London Palace Coat of Arms features a Lion and a Unicorn: the two animals that George Orwell used to title a now infamous essay about nationalism, class and Britain’s lack of European identity. I’m writing about it today in a ponderous post that will look at English Socialism, historical understandings of our apparent island-identity, and the way that Orwell always seems to have known what to say.