Wizard’s Wilson beats Rover’s Alf | Brief letters

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Rob Canon’s assertion (Letters, 14 March) that Alf Tupper of the Rover had “the odd fag” is wrong. Alf never smoked. Furthermore, John O Machin’s point (Letters, 13 March) that Alf was the first to do the four-minute mile is also wrong because William Wilson of the Wizard ran the mile in exactly three minutes in 1943, running four metronomic laps of 45 seconds. In the amended repeat of The Truth About Wilson in 1949, Wilson’s time was changed to 3:48, presumably to make the time more realistic, but still impossible to achieve. However, Seb Coe beat it in 1981, and El Guerrouj ran 3.43 in 1999.
Derek Marsden
Maghull, Merseyside

• The residents of Gillingham might have something to say about being referred to as villagers (Villagers told to ...

The Killing Season; The Army and the Indonesian Genocide reviews – timely and forceful orthodoxy demolished

Two books crush the official version of 1960s anti-leftist massacres in Indonesia, implicate the US and UK and revise how we define genocideTwo books, by Geoffrey Robinson and Jess Melvin, reveal why one of the worst blood-lettings of the 20th century took place and who was responsible

Joshua Oppenheimer’s 2012 documentary The Act of Killing follows a cabal of ageing hoodlums around the city of Medan, in north-west Indonesia. Between 1965 and 66, they had enthusiastically joined militias across the country that garrotted, stabbed and mutilated to death at least half a million suspected leftists. Almost half a century later, they bragged openly about their exploits to Oppenheimer, for state propaganda since the late 60s has lionised the killers as heroes, and demonised the victims as godless communist traitors to the nation.

This polemically cinematic film – the first of two he made about the massacres – has transformed awareness of ...

Val Mulkerns obituary

Novelist and poet who became an important female voice in the literary canon of Ireland

Val Mulkerns, who has died aged 93, was a unique figure in the world of Irish literature. Very few women, let alone young ones, played any sort of role in literary, academic or public life in the Ireland of the 1950s, but she thrived and enjoyed success.

Her first novel, A Time Outworn (1951), a tragic love story that deals with issues of the time including partition and the Irish language revival, was published in London when she was 26. From 1952 to 1954 she was an associate editor of the Dublin literary journal the Bell, befriending writers including its founder, Seán O’Faoláin, its then editor, Peadar O’Donnell, and the literary editor David Marcus.

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Tomi Adeyemi: ‘We need a black girl fantasy book every month’

Author of Children of Blood and Bone says her debut novel was a response to genre fiction in which the characters were always white

It has been called the biggest fantasy debut novel of 2018, drawing comparisons with everything from Game of Thrones to Black Panther, and has netted a movie deal reported to be worth seven figures.

But Tomi Adeyemi, the 24-year-old Nigerian-American author of Children of Blood and Bone, says that such success was the last thing on her mind when she sat down to write her epic tale of an oppressive world where magic has been outlawed.

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Mary Wollstonecraft must finally have her statue | Letters

Please join our call to break the ‘bronze ceiling’ and celebrate the extraordinary life and legacy of Mary Wollstonecraft, write men including Jeremy Corbyn, Andrew Adonis, Tom Watson and Vince Cable, actors Jason Isaacs and Sam West and John Hannett of Usdaw

We are joining the call made last International Women’s Day, by over 80 female politicians, academics and public figures, for the pioneering human rights champion Mary Wollstonecraft to be memorialised. Wollstonecraft was the first to call for gender equality, over 250 years ago, when she challenged the male philosophers and politicians of the time, including Burke and Rousseau. She called for women not “to have power over men but over themselves”.

As a key Enlightenment philosopher, her ideas on justice and education have become core values here in Britain and beyond. Her words directly informed Gladstone’s plans for state education in 1870. Mary Wollstonecraft was neither ...

Political Tribes review – an unreliable guide to the American Dream

Tiger mother Amy Chua is adept at spotting tribal behaviour, but less clear about what it all means

To most readers who recognise the name, Amy Chua is the author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, the bestselling memoir about bringing up children under a strictly traditional regime of Chinese parenting. The book seemed to repel and inspire in equal measure. But leaving aside its personal testimony, it was a work that dared to tread on disputed and dangerous terrain: the advantage of certain ethno-cultural traits.

It’s an issue that can be found to varying degrees in all five of Chua’s books, including her latest, Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations. Chua, a professor of law at Yale Law School, believes that ethnic and tribal identity plays a more powerful role in national politics than has been previously acknowledged, at least by American foreign policy.

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The Long Hangover by Shaun Walker – review

This account of how Putin’s new Russia rose from the ruins of the Soviet Union is judicious, humane and highly entertaining

Everyone’s talking about Russia again, troll farms, sanctions, money laundering, and all the rest of it. In a way, whatever the topic of the day, we’re just trying to answer one simple question, which is: WTF? There has been a wide acceptance among officials in both Europe and North America that we have collectively allowed our focus to slip since the end of the cold war. Our governments’ lack of interest has led us to misunderstand Russia’s development, misinterpret its economy, and misjudge its leaders. The results of these errors are all around us, most notably in the question of whether Putin was able to hijack the American ship of state, and hand the tiller to a popinjay.

Many people are to blame for this slipped focus, but one ...