MixedThe London Review of BooksIf it sounds like pornography, it often reads like it, but there is more to Platform than porn. Amid the cynicism, self-loathing and hermetic fucking, love emerges ... There is much polemic here, and much about race and religion, but sex is the theme which, as far as any in this rambling work, pulls the strings together. This is a book which subordinates the clash of civilisations (uncivilisations, in Platform’s view) to sexual longing ... Houellebecq’s earnest wish to idealise sex as a balm for Western ills leads him to make some dodgy narrative moves ... Houellebecq’s books are not as good as everybody else’s. When they are good, they are as good as nobody else’s. To those who prefer to watch good athletes trying and failing to jump over a bar set too high, rather than watching mediocre athletes hop over an easy height, I commend Platform. It has enough of the curt wit and cruel, aphoristic truth seen in his previous books...to make it worth reading to the end ...
MixedLondon Review of Books\"There is a tension in Breaking News between the book as, on the one hand, an autobiographical account of a career journey from local reporter in Cambridge to helmsman of the new, globalised Guardian and, on the other, as a broader examination of the crisis of ‘news’ in the hyperconnected age. There are reasons to weave the strands together. Rusbridger’s career happened to coincide with vertiginous disruption ... If at times the book does read like a retelling of the greatest hits of the Guardian under Rusbridger’s editorship, this could be justified, too, as a ledger of the kind of public service journalism that might not have been pursued had the Guardian and its like not been around, from the investigation into Jonathan Aitken, who ended up being jailed for perjury, to Nick Davies’s exposure of tabloid phone-hacking, which led to the closure of the News of the World ... There are odd moments of cognitive dissonance when Rusbridger drifts from the simple truth that, no matter how much a paper builds its readership, that readership will always be a public rather than the public ... At times, Rusbridger evokes the pre-internet era of news media as if it were a golden age compared to today’s post-truth maelstrom.\
PositiveThe London Review of Books\"One of the darker choruses of this excellent work of journalism is the success that three of those allied governments, the Saudi Arabian, Pakistani and Egyptian, have had in diverting the fundamentalist warriors away from their original prime target – them – and towards the West ... Though Wright never avoids bin Laden’s responsibility for the deaths of thousands of civilians, his portrait of the master terrorist is oddly engaging. Where Zawahiri comes across as a cold, treacherous, jealous exploiter of others, bin Laden is vain, naive, generous and idealistic – which, combined with the fact that he is a mass murderer, makes him the more sinister character ... For all O’Neill’s foresight, I get the feeling that Wright chose to follow the thread of his tragedy more for the sake of a readable, oppositional narrative than because O’Neill genuinely sat facing bin Laden across the chessboard of global terrorism, his counter-terror counterpart.\