Winter/Spring 2008

Politically Incorrect Tales of the EU Bureaucracy

Reviewed by Michael D. Mosettig

Life of a European Mandarin

By Derk-Jan Eppink. Ianoo. 386 pages.

Two decades ago television viewers in Britain and the United States were alternately amused and appalled as they laughed through episodes of “Yes, Minister,” a British situation comedy about the way government bureaucracies really work at the top among insiders. In the series, a clever, glib high-ranking civil servant named Sir Humphrey would run circles around his Cabinet minister, aware that his power came from institutional memory and career longevity while the minister, an elected Member of Parliament, would soon be off on other pursuits.

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Writer Ryszard Kapuscinski: An Optimist in the Heart of Darkness

Tomasz ZalewskiThe word “charisma” is much over-used these days, but in the case of Ryszard Kapuscinski it fits perfectly. By the time of his death last year at 74, the Polish reporter and non-fiction writer Kapuscinski had developed a worldwide following for his work, gaining an international stature unrivaled by any other journalist from central Europe. As a person, he also radiated warmth and love for people – not only those he studied and wrote about but also individuals he met and mentored in the course of his distinguished career.

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Global highlights and local sidelights culled from the media (January-March 2008)

ROME: Italy’s Malaise: Not So Dolce Vita

Taken aback by critical depictions of their country’s “collective funk,” Italians are currently engaged in considerable hand-wringing over the condition of their national psyche. It started with a broadside from across the Atlantic by Ian Fisher in the New York Times on December 13, 2007. “Italy seems not to love itself,” wrote Fisher. Analyzing the country’s malaise, he detailed a litany of woes: an anemic economy, a low birth rate, corrupt politicians, mobsters.

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