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Coats of Every Cut

Michael Mason, 9 June 1994

Robert Surtees and Early Victorian Society 
by Norman Gash.
Oxford, 407 pp., £40, September 1993, 0 19 820429 9
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... him in that dress, he would be seen cantering away on a long-tailed white barb, in a peagreen duck-hunter, with cream-coloured leather and rose-tinted tops. The Surtees novels are so densely populated by costumes, in such a variety of fashions, fabrics, colours, states of wear and degrees of cleanliness, that they may be experienced as a kind of dream-like ...

Enabler’s Revenge

David Runciman: John Edwards, 25 March 2010

The Politician: An Insider’s Account of John Edwards’s Pursuit of the Presidency and the Scandal That Brought Him Down 
by Andrew Young.
Thomas Dunne, 301 pp., $24.99, January 2010, 978 0 312 64065 1
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Race of a Lifetime: How Obama Won the White House 
by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin.
Viking, 448 pp., £25, January 2010, 978 0 670 91802 7
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... to Young’s role, which by the end included going on the run with Edwards’s mistress Rielle Hunter and their love-child (with Young’s own wife and three children in tow), having allowed Edwards to tell the press that he – Young – was the father of Hunter’s baby. How does anyone get into the position of ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Django Unchained’, 24 January 2013

Django Unchained 
directed by Quentin Tarantino.
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... cart waving a giant tooth above it. It belongs to Dr King Schultz, a German dentist turned bounty hunter, who wants to buy one of the slaves to help him identify felons. The actor is Christoph Waltz, who was so impeccably, horridly charming as a Nazi officer in Inglourious Basterds; here, as a whimsical adventurer, deeply cynical before he turns morally ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘No Country for Old Men’, 21 February 2008

No Country for Old Men 
directed by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen.
January 2008
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... tell us what can’t be told. The man whose thoughts we have just seen draining down the wall is a hunter and hitman for a high-powered drug outfit, caught by the killer he has been hired to catch. He knows Chigurh from previous encounters and says he’s not an ordinary criminal and not really interested in money or drugs. ‘He’s a peculiar man. You can ...


Michael Davie, 6 June 1985

The Airman and the Carpenter: The Lindbergh Case and the Framing of Richard Hauptmann 
by Ludovic Kennedy.
Collins, 438 pp., £12.95, April 1985, 0 00 217060 4
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... he did not commit; Wicked beyond Belief (1980) was followed by the release of David Cooper and Michael McMahon, also detained for a murder they did not commit. Few readers of Mr Kennedy’s latest book will finish it thinking he has spoiled his immaculate record. The reader may be left with lingering doubts about whether Hauptmann had no connection ...

Not My Fault

John Lanchester: New Labour’s Terrible Memoirs, 17 July 2008

Speaking for Myself: The Autobiography 
by Cherie Blair.
Little, Brown, 421 pp., £18.99, May 2008, 978 1 4087 0098 3
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Prezza, My Story: Pulling No Punches 
by John Prescott, with Hunter Davies.
Headline, 405 pp., £18.99, May 2008, 978 0 7553 1775 2
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A Question of Honour: Inside New Labour and the True Story of the Cash for Peerages Scandal 
by Michael Levy.
Simon and Schuster, 310 pp., £18.99, May 2008, 978 1 84737 315 1
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... A pity, since she seems not to have had a ghost, unlike John Prescott, who was ventriloquised by Hunter Davies; Michael Levy credits a journalist friend, Ned Temko, for his ‘invaluable help, talent and patience’. You certainly don’t hear the Cherie described by ...

Dressed as an Admiral

Michael Wood: Neruda’s Hocus Pocus, 2 September 2004

by Pablo Neruda, translated by Hardie St Martin.
Souvenir, 370 pp., £12.99, June 2004, 9780285648111
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Isla Negra: A Bilingual Edition 
by Pablo Neruda, translated by Alastair Reid.
Souvenir, 416 pp., £14.99, June 2004, 0 285 64913 2
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The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems 
edited by Mark Eisner.
City Lights, 199 pp., $16.95, April 2004, 0 87286 428 6
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... it probably wasn’t. Isla Negra has a whole section, originally a separate volume, called ‘The Hunter after Roots’, and Neruda is not the sort of poet who hunts for things he can’t find, or indeed for things he hasn’t already found. ‘It’s true,’ Neruda wrote. ‘The frontier regions sank their roots into my poetry and these roots have never ...

Short Cuts

David Bromwich: Alexander Hamilton’s Worst Idea, 24 October 2019

... the once active but now dormant investigation of the energy firm Burisma, which gave Biden’s son Hunter a seat on its board at a high rate of remuneration. This could, of course, be presented as an ordinary international request, but it happened to be in pursuit of damaging facts about a likely political rival in the next election; and Trump made unavoidably ...

They would have laughed

Ferdinand Mount: The Massacre at Amritsar, 4 April 2019

Amritsar 1919: An Empire of Fear and the Making of a Massacre 
by Kim A. Wagner.
Yale, 325 pp., £20, February 2019, 978 0 300 20035 5
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... account. He quotes at length from Dyer’s own evidence to the commission of inquiry led by Lord Hunter, who had been solicitor general for Scotland in the Asquith government. Again and again, Dyer convicts himself out of his own mouth. As his friend Major General Nigel Woodyatt later told him, ‘he was bound to get the worst of it; not so much for what he ...

Doing blow

Michael Wood, 25 July 1991

You’ll never eat lunch in this town again 
by Julia Phillips.
Heinemann, 650 pp., £15.99, June 1991, 0 434 58801 6
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... toys and obsessions. They made The Godfather, 1972, 1974; Mean Streets, 1973; Jaws, 1975; The Deer Hunter, 1978. Then they themselves grew up and made kiddy ...

Something an academic might experience

Michael Neve, 26 September 1991

The Faber Book of Madness 
edited by Roy Porter.
Faber, 572 pp., £14.99, September 1991, 0 571 14387 3
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... the character of delusion and delusional states. Without aspiring to the achievement of Richard Hunter and Ida Macalpine’s Three Hundred Years of Psychiatry, an anthology of psychiatric texts, Porter wants to give a voice to the patient, the sufferer, and especially to those inhabiting a borderland, a borderland of disconnection, of isolation and ...

A Perfect Eel

Elaine Showalter: ‘Lady Audley’s Secret’, 21 June 2012

Lady Audley’s Secret 
by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, edited by Lyn Pykett.
Oxford, 448 pp., £9.99, January 2012, 978 0 19 957703 3
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... she escapes from the ‘dull slavery’ of her job by becoming the trophy wife of the elderly Sir Michael Audley and the mistress of his magnificent house, Audley Court. Although she is a helpless-looking blonde, the epitome of the Victorian ‘Angel in the House’, Lady Audley is strong and determined, and when her position is threatened by her first ...


Michael Burns, 23 February 1995

Animals and Human Society: Changing Perspectives 
edited by Aubrey Manning and James Serpell.
Routledge, 199 pp., £35, February 1994, 0 415 09155 1
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The Beast in the Boudoir: Pet-Keeping in 19th-Century Paris 
by Kathleen Kete.
California, 200 pp., £22.50, August 1994, 0 520 07101 8
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... Fuego to the Cree Indians of Northern Canada, Ingold explores the highly developed respect that hunter-gatherer societies have always held for animals, and the ways in which a variety of beliefs, including metempsychosis, influence the hunters’ treatment of their prey; in Cree lore, for example, ‘animals will not return to hunters who have treated them ...

Ultimate Choice

Malcolm Bull: Thoughts of Genocide, 9 February 2006

The Dark Side of Democracy: Explaining Ethnic Cleansing 
by Michael Mann.
Cambridge, 580 pp., £17.99, January 2005, 0 521 53854 8
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Genocide in the Age of the Nation State. Vol. I: The Meaning of Genocide 
by Mark Levene.
Tauris, 266 pp., £24.50, August 2005, 1 85043 752 1
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Genocide in the Age of the Nation State: Vol. II: The Rise of the West and the Coming of Genocide 
by Mark Levene.
Tauris, 463 pp., £29.50, August 2005, 1 84511 057 9
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... which thereby excluded the mass killings of Stalin and Pol Pot, has been criticised by many. Michael Mann chooses to call such massacres ‘classicide’ or ‘politicide’, and reserves ‘genocide’ for the destruction of ethnic or religious groups. Mark Levene, on the other hand, includes all of these within his definition of genocide as ‘the ...

Let’s not overthink this

Michael Wood, 9 September 1993

... relations with his orang-utang co-star; and his excursions into biography, Bird and White Hunter, Black Heart, are brave if lumbering. But what makes and keeps him a star, as actor and director, is a certain intimacy with screen violence, or with ways of representing violence. His Westerns and his cop movies are what continue to matter, and they ...

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