On American Insularity: Munich – The Edge of War.

Political Observer comments.

How telling that in America the novel and film version of the Robert Harris’ book ‘Munich’ has attracted no real attention, that I am aware of! A symptom of American insularity… it is available on NETFLIX.


Read Harris’ January 1, 2022 essay at the Times :

Headline: Robert Harris: my mission to redeem Britain’s most-reviled prime minister Neville Chamberlain

Sub-headline: The novelist has long been obsessed with Neville Chamberlain — then he lunched with Jeremy Irons and a gripping spy drama was born.


The Time’s usual sang-froid is missing in this sentence fragment ‘ a gripping spy drama was born’. Harris’ essay is what The Reader in America most needs to explore – a well written essay by a novelist, who can address the evolution of an idea, a collection of thoughts and suggestive fragments, as they occur. The evolution of a novel as the author talks to The Reader: a narrative self-report.

Susannah Butter follows up the Harris essay with this :

Headline: How accurate is Munich: The Edge of War? The historian’s verdict


Butter interviews various Historians on the plausibility of some of the characters in Harris’s fiction. All of the questions and answers are worthy of the readers attention. In an American context, I can only recall two instances of an historical novel, causing controversy and wide coverage in the popular press. Those being two books by Gore Vidal, ‘Burr’ of 1973 and ‘Lincoln’ of 1984.

With The New Cold Wars against China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela… and the collapse of America’s whole Political Class- this Melodrama and its various protagonists occupy the the time of American Corporate Mass Media. And its collection of Soothsayers and Charlatans, endlessly chattering about the pressing question of, where ‘we’ are, and where ‘we’ are going- the pressing question of our fate in 2022 leaves little time for commentaries on popular fiction? Recall the Soviet popular fiction of ‘Children of the Arbat’ published in 1988?

Political Observer

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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