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Fraud Squad

Ferdinand Mount: Imposters, 2 August 2007

The Tichborne Claimant: A Victorian Sensation 
by Rohan McWilliam.
Continuum, 363 pp., £25, March 2007, 978 1 85285 478 2
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A Romanov Fantasy: Life at the Court of Anna Anderson 
by Frances Welch.
Short Books, 327 pp., £14.99, February 2007, 978 1 904977 71 1
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The Lost Prince: The Survival of Richard of York 
by David Baldwin.
Sutton, 220 pp., £20, July 2007, 978 0 7509 4335 2
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... Sir Roger Tichborne is my name, I’m seeking now for wealth and fame, They say that I was lost at sea, But I tell them ‘Oh dear, no, not me.’ This ballad, sung in procession when the Tichborne Claimant appeared at the Grand Amalgamated Demonstration of Foresters at Loughborough in August 1872, neatly compresses the story of the most celebrated of all late Victorian causes ...

The Bad News about the Resistance

Neal Ascherson: Parachuted into France, 30 July 2020

A Schoolmaster’s War: Harry Rée, British Agent in the French Resistance 
edited by Jonathan Rée.
Yale, 204 pp., £14.99, March, 978 0 300 24566 0
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... to carry out sabotage in the Franche-Comté, up against the Swiss border. Marie was married to Roger Fouillette, a schoolteacher like Harry. They lived near Montbéliard, and belonged to the secret circle of his loyal helpers and friends.The Gestapo arrested Roger in 1943. Then they brought him, chained, battered and ...

Taking leave

Mark Edmundson, 2 March 1989

Borrowed Time 
by Paul Monette.
Collins Harvill, 342 pp., £12.50, October 1988, 0 00 271057 9
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... and grief in many, if not most, gay people. Borrowed Time is Paul Monette’s elegy for his lover, Roger Horwitz, who died of illnesses stemming from Aids on 22 October 1986, and though the book contains its complement of anger and fear, it is chiefly a labour of grief. Monette pursues a pair of related objectives. He struggles, first, to record every critical ...

The Strange Case of John Bampfylde

Roger Lonsdale, 3 March 1988

... the poetry and the story of ill-fated love are inextricably woven together. Eventually, the young poet confronts us, as he did his embarrassed contemporaries, with disconcerting immediacy. Bampfylde was born in 1754, into a long-established Devonshire family. Generations of judicious marriages had brought the Bampfyldes extensive property and political ...

Dogs

Fiona Pitt-Kethley, 13 June 1991

... Young men, like pups, can be somewhat unformed. Unless you’re certain of their pedigree, it’s hard to see how they’ll mature and grow. (Alsatians will fuck dachshunds now and then.) A man who has some mileage on the clock in theory would be best. You know the worst – how much his hair is likely to recede, his face to fold, as ‘character’ comes out ...

How Do You Pay?

Bee Wilson: Falling for Michael Moore, 1 November 2007

Citizen Moore: An American Maverick 
by Roger Rapoport.
Methuen, 361 pp., £8.99, July 2007, 978 0 413 77649 5
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Manufacturing Dissent 
directed by Rick Caine and Debbie Melnyk.
October 2007
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Sicko 
directed by Michael Moore.
October 2007
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... grew up in the more affluent suburb of Davison, ‘a city known for its churches’, according to Roger Rapoport.) He was taught by the Sisters of Saint Joseph and was known at school for his singing voice and his ability to make the nuns giggle. One of the nuns remembers him as the ‘brightest student’ she’d encountered in her entire teaching career. It ...

A Man of No Mind

Colm Tóibín: The Passion of Roger Casement, 13 September 2012

The Dream of the Celt 
by Mario Vargas Llosa and Edith Grossman.
Faber, 404 pp., £18.99, June 2012, 978 0 571 27571 7
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... explored the route, the novelist Joseph Conrad, and the Irish patriot and human rights activist Roger Casement. It was Casement and a Frenchman living in England, E.D. Morel, who first drew attention to the crimes committed in the Congo in the name of progress and trade. Mario Vargas Llosa wrote about them in an essay published in 2001: ‘Both deserve the ...

How China Colluded with the West in the Rise of Osama Bin Laden

Roger Hardy: International terrorism, 2 March 2000

Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism 
by John Cooley.
Pluto, 276 pp., £20, June 1999, 0 7453 1328 0
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... in the Middle East, veterans of the Afghan war – including the shadowy ‘Khattab’, a ruthless young Arab fighter in Chechnya who may be linked to the Bin Laden network and hence to Saudi money – have played their part in the post-Soviet turmoil. Before and during the recent offensive in Chechnya, there was a surge of crude ‘Islamophobia’ of the kind ...

Where Colombia screwed up

Roger Garfitt, 13 June 1991

... case of a family who were asked by an army patrol for the loan of a cooking-pot. The soldiers were young conscripts who had been out in the hills for three days. They lent them the pot and gave them two plantains to put in the soup. Next morning the ELN appeared. They took the father of the family, tied him to a tree, and tortured him in front of his wife and ...

The Name of the Beast

Armand Marie Leroi, 11 December 1997

Buffon 
by Jacques Roger.
Cornell, 492 pp., £39.50, August 1997, 0 8014 2918 8
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The Platypus and the Mermaid and Other Figments of the Classifying Imagination 
by Harriet Ritvo.
Harvard, 274 pp., £19.95, November 1997, 0 674 67357 3
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... the taxon that we know today, containing all the creatures from shrews to whales that suckle their young. It was, as Linnaeus himself admitted, an artificial method of classification because the critical characters were chosen for the convenience of the classifier. Yet he believed that the characters somehow defined the essence of the plants and animals laid ...

A Single Crash of the Cymbals

Roger Parker, 7 December 1989

Franz Liszt. Vol. II: The Weimar Years 1848-1861 
by Alan Walker.
Faber, 626 pp., £35, August 1989, 0 571 15322 4
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Franz Liszt: A Chronicle of his Life in Pictures and Documents 
by Ernst Burger, translated by Stewart Spencer.
Princeton, 358 pp., £45, October 1989, 0 691 09133 1
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... Mendelssohn. Clara Schumann never forgave him and, a decade later, ranged herself with the young Brahms and the violinist Joseph Joachim, who had declared Liszt’s New German School ‘contrary to the innermost spirit of music’ and ‘strongly to be deplored and condemned’. The ensuing war dragged on into the 1880s, but by then – with Brahms and ...

A Whale of a Time

Colm Tóibín, 2 October 1997

Roger Casement’s Diaries. 1910: The Black and the White 
edited by Roger Sawyer.
Pimlico, 288 pp., £10, October 1997, 9780712673754
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The Amazon Journal of Roger Casement 
edited by Angus Mitchell.
Anaconda, 534 pp., £40, October 1997, 9781901990010
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... Jessie Conrad remembered his visit: Sir Roger Casement, a fanatical Irish protestant, came to see us, remaining some two days our guest. He was a very handsome man with a thick, dark beard and piercing, restless eyes. His personality impressed me greatly. It was about the time when he was interested in bringing to light certain atrocities which were taking place in the Belgian Congo ...

The Shock of the Pretty

James Meek: Seventy Hours with Don Draper, 9 April 2015

... a wealthy client, a 21-year-old Euro-drifter he met in Los Angeles, a flight attendant, and his young daughter Sally’s teacher. Betty suffers from chronic depression at a time when neither the diagnosis nor the pills to smother it are easy to come by. But what, here, is undermining what? What if, with or against our will, we aren’t shocked by the ...

Just like Rupert Brooke

Tessa Hadley: 1960s Oxford, 5 April 2012

The Horseman’s Word: A Memoir 
by Roger Garfitt.
Cape, 378 pp., £18.99, April 2011, 978 0 224 08986 9
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... study to be written about Oxford undergraduates of the 1960s – or perhaps this book is it. Roger Garfitt in his daffodil-yellow pinstripe suit and silver-topped cane – mingling with the other ‘heads’, boiling up asthma drugs for a hit, talking of samsara and Kropotkin – seems a type as exotic as an Elizabethan dandy: We would split an amp of ...

Tacky Dress

Dale Peck, 22 February 1996

Like People in History: A Gay American Epic 
by Felice Picano.
Viking, 512 pp., $23.95, July 1995, 0 670 86047 6
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How Long Has This Been Going On? 
by Ethan Mordden.
Villard, 590 pp., $25, April 1995, 0 679 41529 7
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The Facts of Life 
by Patrick Gale.
Flamingo, 511 pp., £15.99, June 1995, 0 602 24522 2
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Flesh and Blood 
by Michael Cunningham.
Hamish Hamilton, 480 pp., £14.99, June 1995, 9780241135150
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... fallen crane, a traffic pile-up and, finally, a death – and the 36 years of acquaintance between Roger Sansarc, the novel’s narrator, and his cousin Alistair Dodge, which lead up to that night. Picano’s story pauses in 1954, 1961, 1969, 1974, 1979 and 1985; these pauses are meant to reveal not just significant moments in the lives of the characters ...

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