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Like a boll weevil to a cotton bud

A. Craig Copetas, 18 November 1993

New York Days 
by Willie Morris.
Little, Brown, 400 pp., £19.45, September 1993, 0 316 58421 5
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... Lyndon Johnson is alive. James Jones is alive. Jim Morrison and Robert Penn Warren are alive. Richard Nixon is dead; and a Soviet-bloc skier named Ivana Trump – someone overhears Sixties psychic Jeanne Dixon saying – will assign her name to a novel she does not write with the full and worldwide backing of one of ...

Death in Belgravia

Rosemary Hill, 5 February 2015

A Different Class of Murder: The Story of Lord Lucan 
by Laura Thompson.
Head of Zeus, 422 pp., £20, November 2014, 978 1 78185 536 2
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... for whom ‘the threat of levelling tendencies’ and ‘the encroachment of Lucky Jim Dixon’ had yet to loom, is as crude a caricature as anything in the press coverage of the Lucan affair.From this historical distance it is not only broad trends that are easier to see: details are also emerging in the memoirs of people, especially women, who ...

Outcasts and Desperados

Adam Shatz: Richard Wright’s Double Vision, 7 October 2021

The Man Who Lived Underground 
by Richard Wright.
Library of America, 250 pp., £19.99, April, 978 1 59853 676 8
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... When​ Richard Wright sailed to France in 1946, he was 38 years old and already a legend. He was America’s most famous black writer, the author of two books hailed as classics the moment they were published: the 1940 novel Native Son and the 1945 memoir Black Boy. By ‘choosing exile’, as he put it, he hoped both to free himself from American racism and to put an ocean between himself and the Communist Party of the United States, in which he’d first come to prominence as a writer of proletarian fiction only to find himself accused of subversive, Trotskyist tendencies ...

Diary

Sean Wilsey: Going Slow, 17 July 2008

... He had said that he ‘used to live in the Paradise Valley in Montana with my literary friends Richard Ford and Thomas McGuane’. Some weeks later, I met Richard Ford at a wedding, and I asked him about Harris. Ford squinted and said: ‘Don Harris . . . Don Harris . . .’ Then he raised his hands and ...

The Authentic Snarl

Blake Morrison: The Impudence of Tony Harrison, 30 November 2017

The Inky Digit of Defiance: Selected Prose 1966-2016 
by Tony Harrison, edited by Edith Hall.
Faber, 544 pp., £25, April 2017, 978 0 571 32503 0
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Collected Poems 
by Tony Harrison.
Penguin, 464 pp., £9.99, April 2016, 978 0 241 97435 3
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... policeman say, ‘Move along there,’ the kind of colloquialism you’d hear on the street or in Dixon of Dock Green; the Latin teacher crossed it out and suggested ‘Vacate the thoroughfare’ instead. Harrison had his revenge on him – and on everyone else for whom the word ‘Classics’ was and is synonymous with ‘posh’ – when he translated ...

Howzat?

Stephen Sedley: Adversarial or Inquisitorial?, 25 September 2003

The Origins of Adversary Criminal Trial 
by John Langbein.
Oxford, 376 pp., £30, February 2003, 0 19 925888 0
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Archbold: International Criminal Courts 
edited by Rodney Dixon, Richard May and Karim Khan.
Sweet and Maxwell, 1000 pp., £125, December 2002, 0 421 77270 0
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... on populations, such a stance is time-consuming but indispensable. The South African jurist Richard Goldstone, the tribunal’s second appointed prosecutor, who saved it from an early demise and made it a court to be reckoned with, remarks in his foreword to Archbold: ‘There were no precedents on which we could rely. We came from many legal ...

A Surfeit of Rank

Simon Akam, 10 March 2022

The Habit of Excellence: Why British Army Leadership Works 
by Langley Sharp.
Penguin, 320 pp., £20, October 2021, 978 0 241 50750 6
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... In​ August and September 1990, Richard Sale, a lieutenant colonel from the Light Infantry regiment of the British army, toured the UK and West Germany – then just months away from reunification – with a primitive Zenith Supersport laptop. Sale had commanded a company, some 120 men, in Northern Ireland in the early 1980s and later a battalion of 650 ...

More Pain, Better Sentences

Adam Mars-Jones: Satire and St Aubyn, 8 May 2014

Lost for Words 
by Edward St Aubyn.
Picador, 261 pp., £12.99, May 2014, 978 0 330 45422 3
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Books 
by Charlie Hill.
Tindal Street, 192 pp., £6.99, November 2013, 978 1 78125 163 8
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... new book, The Grass Is Greener, causes a fatal synaptic meltdown in anyone who reads it, and only Richard Anger, maverick bookseller, and Lauren Furrows, emotionally timid neurologist, can stop the epidemic. Balancing the figure of Gary, for whom subject matter is everything (he admires the Monet on his wall because the artist ‘painted pictures of flowers ...

Our Slaves Are Black

Nicholas Guyatt: Theories of Slavery, 4 October 2007

Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World 
by David Brion Davis.
Oxford, 440 pp., £17.99, May 2006, 0 19 514073 7
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The Trader, the Owner, the Slave 
by James Walvin.
Cape, 297 pp., £17.99, March 2007, 978 0 224 06144 5
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The Forging of Races: Race and Scripture in the Protestant Atlantic World, 1600-2000 
by Colin Kidd.
Cambridge, 309 pp., £16.99, September 2006, 0 521 79324 6
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The Mind of the Master Class: History and Faith in the Southern Slaveholders’ Worldview 
by Elizabeth Fox-Genovese and Eugene Genovese.
Cambridge, 828 pp., £18.99, December 2005, 0 521 85065 7
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... the fascinating account of the colonisation of Barbados published in 1657 by the English agent Richard Ligon. Many planters remained nervous about bringing religion to their slaves in the 18th century. Even as some argued that Africans were naturally inferior to whites, planters feared they would lose their powers to enslave when their workers became ...

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