Matthew Price, writer and book critic
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Neat Freak vs. Clutter King

Which one are you? Marie Kondo be damned, my office is a mess!


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Nature Cure

One of the more remarkable English-language publishing stories in recent years is the success—both critical and commercial—of nature writing from the UK. Helen Macdonald has scored an unlikely hit with H is for Hawk, a phenomenon on both sides of the Atlantic, and writers like Robert Macfarlane have brought new vigor to the country walk, helping to revive a venerable English literary genre. More here. I’m picking up my pen and heading to the woods. (All messages c/o Catskills, NY, NY)


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The Tears of the Rajas

Ferdinand Mount is an unlikely scourge of the British Empire. The former editor of the Times Literary Supplement, Mount is a distinguished member of British Establishment, a liberal-leaning Tory, but a proud conservative nonetheless. Thus the tenor of his new book, about India in the 19th century, and the predatory behavior of the East India Company as it cheated, defrauded and otherwise dishonored various princely states, is a bit of surprise. His ancestors, the Lows of Scotland, were mixed up in this dirty business—there are accusations of war crimes here— and are the focus of his entertaining account. You can find more of my thoughts here in a longer review just out in The National.


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The Bard of Vintage New York

Always nattily turned out in a Brooks Brothers suit, Joseph Mitchell prowled the streets of New York, working the docks of the old waterfront and bringing out the eloquence of dive bar patrons. He wrote beloved articles for the New Yorker, and then he went silent.


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Death, Con’t

Oh yea, and big city dailies continue to roll of the presses. It’s good to be wrong.


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‘They Can Live in the Desert but Nowhere Else’

The evidence is indisputable, argues David Gardner: the great catastrophe that befell the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire in 1915-1916 was nothing less than genocide.


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The Corporation with its own Army

Imagine ExxonMobil with a 260,000 man military force at its disposal. Such was the rapacious power of the East India Company, writes William Dalrymple.


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Farewell to Harry Eyres

For the last ten years, Harry Eyres’ Slow Lane column has graced the back page of the Weekend FT. An elegant, slightly rumpled philosopher of the good life, Eyres mused about culture, music, food and pretty much anything else that caught his fancy. Today was his last column, and he’s moving on. Good luck in your new ventures, Harry. Saturday mornings won’t be quite the same without you.


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The Death of the Metro Daily, Con’t

Several years ago, I laid odds on what big American city would be the first to lose its daily newspaper. It was 2008. The forecasts were dire: one Business Week writer predicted that one or major American markets will lose their daily newspaper within 18 months. In a series of updates, I rejiggered my odds and cited more dire forecasts, including one that had 85% of American newspapers going out of business by 2011.

None of this has come to pass. I had the Boston Herald at 2-1 odds to close up shop, but four years later, it’s still scrappy, still in business, and still in print. The closest I came was my prediction that The Detroit News would have to close down. It hasn’t, though it only does home delivery two days a week. It still prints a daily newspaper.

If we’ve learned one thing, change is coming to the America newspaper incrementally. The print edition is not being killed outright; it’s being phased out over time. And the first big city daily to take this step is one of my favorite regional papers, The New Orleans Times-Picayune, which will be scaling its print edition back to three days a week. I cannot see this as anything but a loss, not only for New Orleans but for American newspapering in general. (Even PCMag thinks so.) Sure, the newspaper industry has to face its digital future, yet the slow demise of the print edition is something only to be mourned.


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My Book of 2011: Into the Silence by Wade Davis

As a critic, you encounter all kinds of books. Some are just awful. Some are worthy, but dull. A few are good; some books even entertain. Then there are books you live in. (They don’t come along very often.) Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest is one of those kind of books. As thrilling as any adventure story, and grounded in awe-inspiring research, this magnificent account of the British Everest expeditions of the 1920s and the doomed attempts of George Mallory to scale the world’s tallest mountain is one of the best books I have ever reviewed.


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RECENT BLOG POSTS

Neat Freak vs. Clutter King
Which one are you? Marie Kondo be damned, my office is a…

Nature Cure
One of the more remarkable English-language publishing stories in recent years is…

The Tears of the Rajas
Ferdinand Mount is an unlikely scourge of the British Empire. The former…

The Bard of Vintage New York
Always nattily turned out in a Brooks Brothers suit, Joseph Mitchell prowled…

Death, Con’t
Oh yea, and big city dailies continue to roll of the presses….

See all recent blog posts »

SELECTED ARTICLES BY
MATTHEW PRICE

Stalin: The Paradoxes of Power
The National, November 6, 2014

Hitler's First Victims
The Boston Globe, October 25, 2014

Midnight at the Pera Palace: Istanbul Between the Wars
The National, October 9, 2014

Rebel Yell: The Life of Stonewall Jackson
Newsday, September 30, 2014

When The United States Spoke French
The Boston Globe, August 16, 2014

See all posted articles »

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Matthew Price, writer and book critic


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