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Growing Pains

Laleh Khalili: New Silk Roads, 18 March 2021

The Emperor’s New Road: China and the Project of the Century 
by Jonathan E. Hillman.
Yale, 294 pp., £20, October 2020, 978 0 300 24458 8
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... In​ a short story called ‘The Chinese Road’ written in the 1970s by the Yemeni-Ethiopian Mohammad Abdul-Wali, a Yemeni man befriends a Chinese construction worker on the new road from the port of Hodeida on the Red Sea, ‘cutting through the mountain’, to the capital, Sanaa, more than two hundred kilometres away. Abdul-Wali describes the competent and friendly Chinese labourers who live in tents with the Yemenis ...

How to Get Rich

Laleh Khalili: Who owns the oil?, 23 September 2021

The World for Sale: Money, Power and the Traders Who Barter the Earth’s Resources 
by Javier Blas and Jack Farchy.
Random House Business, 410 pp., £20, February, 978 1 84794 265 4
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... Rotterdam​ city centre sits a few miles inland from the North Sea, its skyscrapers and office buildings lining the New Meuse River, a tributary of the Rhine. A ferry tour takes you past ship repair yards, grain silos, terminals receiving coal and iron ore for Ruhr Valley industries, and even a massive orange juice storage facility that receives its cargo from Latin America ...

Gargantuanisation

John Lanchester, 22 April 2021

Sinews of War and Trade: Shipping and Capitalism in the Arabian Peninsula 
by Laleh Khalili.
Verso, 368 pp., £20, April 2020, 978 1 78663 481 8
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... has played a role in world-historical conjunctures and disjunctures. In Sinews of War and Trade, Laleh Khalili tells the story of the canal and of the historical and economic currents which have flowed through it and been enabled by its presence. The book focuses on the Saudi peninsula, whose centrality to questions of trade between east and west is ...

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