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Who’s sorry now?

Andrew O’Hagan: Michael Finkel gets lucky, 2 June 2005

True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa 
by Michael Finkel.
Chatto, 312 pp., £15.99, May 2005, 0 7011 7688 1
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Burning Down My Master’s House 
by Jayson Blair.
New Millennium, 288 pp., $24.95, March 2004, 9781932407266
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The Journalist and the Murderer 
by Janet Malcolm.
Granta, 163 pp., £8.99, January 2004, 1 86207 637 5
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... from Michael Finkel streaks across a firmament already glittering with apologetic precedents. Stephen Glass, once a popular and ambitious young thing at the New Republic, invented email addresses and whole companies to hide his deceit, and later went on to invent a novel about the affair, The Fabulist, which features a not-entirely-well-concealed ...

What sort of traitors?

Neal Ascherson, 7 February 1980

The Climate of Treason 
by Andrew Boyle.
Hutchinson, 504 pp., £8.95, November 1980, 9780091393403
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... of reconciliation with his friends. Newspapers are ‘they’ and we, after all, are ‘we’. As Andrew Boyle relates, it turned out that a great many old acquaintances of Burgess and Maclean were much more horrified – felt, indeed, much more betrayed – by the fact that the late Goronwy Rees gave a version of their flight to the People than by the flight ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: 10,860 novels, 23 August 2001

... the perennial murmur swelling to a growl – is currently in crisis (again). Earlier this year, Andrew Marr certified it dead. (He was announcing the shortlist for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction at the time. His verdict may prove to be no less premature than Johnson’s pronouncement on Sterne: ‘Nothing odd will do long. Tristram Shandy did not ...

SH @ same time

Andrew Cockburn: Rumsfeld, 31 March 2011

Known and Unknown: A Memoir 
by Donald Rumsfeld.
Sentinel, 815 pp., £25, February 2011, 978 1 59523 067 6
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... their way to the crash site, but there are more interesting lapses. According to the note his aide Stephen Cambone made of the conversation, at 2.40 p.m., still in the command centre, Rumsfeld told General Richard Myers, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to find the ‘best info fast … judge whether good enough [to] hit SH @ same time – not only ...

In Pyjamas

R.W. Johnson: Bill Deedes’s Decency, 17 November 2005

Dear Bill: A Memoir 
by W.F. Deedes.
Macmillan, 451 pp., £14.99, July 2005, 9781405052665
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... rise to an executive level where they only boss around those who write – and particularly about Andrew Knight, the former Economist editor brought in as chief executive of the Telegraph by Conrad Black. Part of the deal was that Hastings should replace Deedes as editor, a changing of the guard that led Thatcher to throw a party for him at Number Ten. Knight ...

Short Cuts and Half Cuts

Luke Kennard: ‘Early Work’, 20 June 2019

Early Work 
by Andrew Martin.
Picador, 256 pp., £14.50, July 2019, 978 1 250 21501 7
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... Andrew Martin​ ’s Early Work functions simultaneously as a celebratory autofiction about literary life in the United States and an indictment of the generation that populates it. ‘Most of the people I associated with considered themselves exceptional,’ says Pete, the protagonist, and we may take this to mean above average or, simply, those to whom normal rules don’t apply: ‘So you work from, uh, home?’ ‘Yeah, I’m a bum,’ she said ...

Iraq, 2 May 2005

Andrew O’Hagan: Two Soldiers, 6 March 2008

... combat zones – ‘and turned into an area known to us as “India”,’ says Lance Sergeant Stephen Phipps. ‘We then made our way through the al-Mukatil al-Araby district. I’m not sure if we drove to Green 5 – the streets were getting quieter.’ The patrol was about forty kilometres from Camp Abu Naji and the vehicles trundled along a dimly lit ...

Dear Mohamed

Paul Foot, 20 February 1997

Sleaze: The Corruption of Parliament 
by David Leigh and Ed Vulliamy.
Fourth Estate, 263 pp., £9.99, January 1997, 1 85702 694 2
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... by the Tory Whips office, in particular by two young MPs, David ‘Two Brains’ Willetts and Andrew Mitchell, whose father, David Mitchell, is also a Tory MP, and once chose Neil Hamilton to be his Parliamentary Private Secretary. The Guardian had told a bit of the story. Parliament had uncovered none of it. And that might have been an end to ...

At Tottenham Court Road

Andrew O’Hagan, 24 September 2015

... has risen by 30 per cent since 2000. ‘It is plain that lights have an important role to play,’ Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC, told the Evening Standard in 2011. ‘But with ever more congested streets they need to be very finely tuned to ensure they are not doing more harm than good – and that means they must react to changing traffic ...

Karel Reisz Remembered

LRB Contributors, 12 December 2002

... immediately there was only one way to make it work – by getting the people who knew him talking. Andrew O’Hagan Michael Wood (film critic): Those working-class lads seemed to be everywhere in British films of the 1960s, grunting and sweating their way through the class system, using sex as a narrow and repressed form of guerrilla warfare. We are often told ...

Diary

Sean French: Fortress Wapping, 6 March 1986

... and, in retrospect, boring and pointless: all that matters is that the management and our editor, Andrew Neil, told us nothing of their true intentions. By contrast, the crisis itself was simple. Rupert Murdoch demanded a level of compulsory redundancies of his Sogat 82 and NGA employees that he knew they would not accept. The two unions took the bait and on ...

Eating Jesus

Andrew O’Hagan, 8 July 1993

Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha 
by Roddy Doyle.
Secker, 282 pp., £12.99, June 1993, 0 436 20135 6
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... all when he came into the kitchen. – Fuck off, Jimmy Sr shouted. One of the aces brought off by Stephen Frears in his recent film of The Snapper was to capture this household madness: a chaotic glue in which all matters – serious or trivial – are suspended. Cupboards are jammed with linen, damp towels cover the bathroom floor, siblings are torturing ...

Lenin Shot at Finland Station

Slavoj Žižek: Counterfactuality and the conservative historian, 18 August 2005

What Might Have Been: Imaginary History from 12 Leading Historians 
edited by Andrew Roberts.
Phoenix, 208 pp., £7.99, May 2005, 0 7538 1873 6
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... Marxists, who allegedly believe in historical determinism. Take this latest instalment, edited by Andrew Roberts, who has himself contributed an essay on the bright prospects that would have faced Russia in the 20th century had Lenin been shot on arriving at the Finland Station. One of Roberts’s arguments in favour of this kind of history is that ...

Top People

Luke Hughes: The ghosts of Everest, 20 July 2000

Ghosts of Everest: The Authorised Story of the Search for Mallory & Irvine 
by Jochen Hemmleb and Larry Johnson.
Macmillan, 206 pp., £20, October 1999, 9780333783146
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Lost on Everest: The Search for Mallory and Irvine 
by Peter Firstbrook.
BBC, 244 pp., £16.99, September 1999, 0 563 55129 1
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The Last Climb: The Legendary Everest Expeditions of George Mallory 
by David Breashears and Audrey Salkeld.
National Geographic, 240 pp., £25, October 1999, 0 7922 7538 1
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... mountaineer who died on the mountain in 1924, close to the summit, which he and his companion, Andrew Irvine, may or may not have reached. Since then there has been an unseemly rush to cash in on the discovery with at least six books, a poor film made by the BBC, several websites and the syndication of photographic rights across the globe. Peter ...

Turning on Turtles

Stephen Sedley: Fundamental values, 15 November 2001

Fundamental Values 
edited by Kim Economides et al.
Hart, 359 pp., £40, December 2000, 1 84113 118 0
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... even if it costs their client the case; or that justice and not law should have the last word? Andrew Tettenborn’s essay addresses the last of these in pithy and discomfiting terms, inspecting the impasse into which the law has been backed by the expanding range of claims for damages for negligence, each increment predicated on the previous one, and ...

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