Tony Blair's one-time press officer Alastair Campbell's confessions of a Svengali at the court of King Blair are mind-bogglingly tedious. A great diary should be true to its moment. Censor it into a work of political propaganda and it ceases to be a first rough draft of history, and becomes a first rough distortion.
The global image of the American school was once of wholesome youths laden with books and cheerleader pompoms. More recently it has become one of over-armed and overweight policemen racing to take up firing positions while students run screaming with terror.
So what now? North Korea is the fourth, possibly fifth, state to have rejected the 1970 non-proliferation treaty and proceeded towards a nuclear arsenal. The others are India, Pakistan, Israel and perhaps Iran. That makes five states in the old nuclear club (the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China) and five in the new one.
Forty years after Alfred Nobel's invention of dynamite, Russian terrorists tried to pack a plane with the stuff and fly it into the tsar's palace. In 1883, Chicago-financed Fenians exploded bombs on the London underground. There has been little change in the preferred weapon of terror, the explosive device, or in the psychopathology of the bomber. The causes remain the same. What has changed, grotesquely, is the aftershock.