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How fishing fed the world

Fishing: How the Sea Fed Civilisation. By Brian Fagan. Yale University Press; 368 pages, $30 and £25. THROUGHOUT history, often for religious reasons, humans have tended to believe the oceans are inexhaustible. An Egyptian pharaoh was assured by his father in about 2010BC that the gods had made fish for …

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Lessons from ancient Greek coinage

THE Greek word for money, chrema, carries a significance its English translation cannot fully convey. “It means ‘to need’ and ‘to use’ together,” explains Nicholas Stampolidis, director of the Museum of Cycladic Art (MoCA) during a recent visit to the museum’s latest exhibition, “Money: Tangible Symbols in Ancient Greece.”  Today’s …

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Those seeking escapism in “The Crown” will find it all too real

FOR all the talk of change in season two of “The Crown”—and there is lots of it—everything feels uncannily familiar. Though things begin in the mid-1950s, there are already grimace-inducing references to the European Economic Community: one character wonders whether Britain should be “in or out”. Just weeks after real-life …

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Retelling the myth of Tonya Harding

THE story of Tonya Harding’s rise and fall is sporting legend. One of the top female figure skaters in America, her career and her reputation was destroyed when she was implicated in a plot to assault her rival, Nancy Kerrigan, shortly before the 1994 Winter Olympics. The attack—a police baton …

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A Japanese trailblazer is set to transform baseball

THE PAST five years have been a golden age for tactical experimentation in Major League Baseball (MLB).  Defensive alignments and bullpen-usage patterns that would have been unthinkable a decade ago have now become commonplace. Yet even the clubs most inclined to think out of the box have never questioned one …

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Books by Economist writers in 2017

The Wealth of Humans: Work, Power and its Absence in the Twenty-First Century. By Ryan Avent. St Martin’s Press; 288 pages, $26.99. Allen Lane; £9.99The world of work is changing fast—and not as you would expect, by our Free Exchange columnist. Year of Wonder: Classical Music for Every Day. By …

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Books of the Year 2017

Politics and current affairs The Retreat of Western Liberalism. By Edward Luce. Grove Atlantic; 234 pages; $24. Little Brown; £16.99Few doubt that something big has happened in Western politics over the past two years, but nobody is sure what. Turmoil in Washington and London contrasts with centrist stability in Paris …

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Russia’s overdue Olympic ban is no cure for anti-doping impotence

IT HAS taken seven investigative reports and seven years. But at long last the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided on December 5th to punish Russia for running a state-sponsored doping programme, by banning the country from taking a team to next February’s winter games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Russian athletes …

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Haruomi Hosono, Japan’s pop pioneer

OUTSIDE Japan, Haruomi Hosono is not a household name. Last month’s release of “Vu Ja De”, his 21st solo album, was not met with much fanfare. But for those who know the 70-year-old’s work, his impact can be felt in everything from pop, electronic music and hip-hop to film soundtracks …

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“The Punisher” is a bloody, thoughtful addition to the Marvel canon

REVENGE is one of the oldest plot devices in history. Nemesis, an ancient Greek goddess, dealt in retributive justice; it is at the heart of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” and “Titus Andronicus”, as well as westerns and films as diverse as “Gladiator” and “Death Wish”. And revenge is the primary motivation of …