Considered - Politics
Andrew Stuttaford

Considered - Politics


Voters Rating 4 / 1000



Andrew’s writing on contemporary culture brings to mind the Platonic dictum that one can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. The international and US political commentator is cerebrally amused and amusing.

Andrew retains a crisp English accent, but after a quarter of a century in midtown Manhattan has become very much the New Yorker, a model citizen of the self-proclaimed attitude capital of the world.

And what pleasure he takes in attitudes – those of others, and his own. His political writings on the nuances of US domestic politics display a deep understanding and an engaged amusement - sometimes tender and approving, sometimes teetering on the sardonic. His subject matter is typically the doings of the American Right and its battle with the liberal Left. Sometimes his commentary on US foreign policy betrays impatience with a recidivist American trait – that of isolationism. But underpinning all his work is a profound respect for the still-discernible American spirit of positivity, practicality and the United States’ democratic devotion to human rights, with freedom of expression up front and centre.

You will find wit, wisdom, and genuine erudition in Andrew’s work. Read this compilation, and you will come to know a fine, but as yet inadequately appreciated, voice.

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Years ago I travelled to a faraway place - it doesn’t matter where - with a well-known writer - it doesn’t matter who - to do some research work for his next book. After four or five days in that remote northern place, we boarded a train for the long, long journey back to something approaching civilization. My friend handed me a small notebook in which he had jotted down what he had noticed in the course of a few days in conversation with officials, and the opposite of officials, and what he had seen wandering the broken-down streets of a broken-down town, travelling to the sites of past atrocity and staying in a hotel so strapped for cash that any requests for drinks involved a visit by the staff to, in the English phrase, the local off-licence. ‘Had he missed anything?’

No, he had not. As I read that notebook, I was amazed by what he had written. By what he had noticed. By what I had missed.

I hope I learnt something from that. This collection of pieces, written for the most part on the fly in evenings and weekends (having a day job is handy, but it comes with its complications), is in some ways a collection setting out what I have noticed. Sometimes these observations have come from a chair - comfortably commenting on books, television, films and theatre. And sometimes they have come from journeys deep into the America that is open to anyone with a rental car, the willingness to ask a question or two, and a curiosity about some of the strangeness that is out there in the country that - even after quarter of a century - entrances me still.  

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