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My Israel, Right or Wrong

Ian Gilmour, 22 December 1994

War and Peace in the Middle East: A Critique of American Policy 
by Avi Shlaim.
Viking, 147 pp., $17.95, June 1994, 0 670 85330 5
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... its 1967 borders. Kissinger, however, was never interested in such an agreement. Ostensibly, his aim was to wage the Cold War and expel the Soviets from the Middle East. He therefore undercut Rogers’s efforts to procure a fair settlement and, on succeeding him as Secretary of State, made no attempt to get one himself. Shlaim is surely right in saying that ...


Marilyn Butler, 22 January 1981

Three-Quarter Face 
by Penelope Gilliatt.
Secker, 295 pp., £7.95, September 1980, 9780436179587
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Show People 
by Kenneth Tynan.
Weidenfeld, 317 pp., £8.95, October 1980, 0 297 77842 0
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When the lights go down 
by Pauline Kael.
Boyars, 592 pp., £8.95, August 1980, 0 7145 2726 2
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... of Mencken, not to mention Svetonius’s Lives of the Caesars; and into the garbage goes Samuel Johnson’s Lives of the Poets, perhaps the finest book of profile-essays ever written ... I am not, of course, claiming a place for myself among the masters I have named above. (Although, when Lamb is at his most whimsical, I sometimes think I could go a couple ...
Northern Antiquity: The Post-Medieval Reception of Edda and Saga 
edited by Andrew Wawn.
Hisarlik, 342 pp., £35, October 1994, 1 874312 18 4
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Heritage and Prophecy: Grundtvig and the English-Speaking World 
edited by A.M. Allchin.
Canterbury, 330 pp., £25, January 1994, 9781853110856
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... is, had only the ‘Brutus legend’ to guide him to his own history; four centuries later, Dr Johnson was little better informed. Some antiquarians may have noted that the names of the days of the week bore witness to a pagan history (though an Anglo-Saxon, not a Scandinavian one). But neither Vikings nor sagas existed in learned or popular ...

Capitalism in One Family

Jan-Werner Müller: The Populist Moment, 1 December 2016

... son of a bitch. He may be a sinner, but he is not the Antichrist.’ Just as Farage needed Johnson and Gove, Trump crucially relied on men who were willing to gamble with the polity as a whole. The fact that Mitt Romney – a cartoon plutocrat – became the main face of opposition to Trump within the party probably helped him further. But some ...


Dani Garavelli: Salmond v. Sturgeon, 1 April 2021

... I stood outside the High Court in Edinburgh, listening to Salmond again. It was the day that Boris Johnson and Nicola Sturgeon, Salmond’s chosen successor as SNP leader and Scotland’s first minister, announced the start of the UK-wide lockdown. Salmond, who had just been acquitted of thirteen charges of sexual assault against nine women, appeared to be ...

What does she think she looks like?

Rosemary Hill: The Dress in Your Head, 5 April 2018

... Chanel and Jeanne Lanvin. Schiaparelli’s sporty, dress-yourself look suited women of action. Amy Johnson, who flew solo to Australia, was one, and, in a rather different vein, Mae West in Every Day’s a Holiday. West – whose billowing curves billowed a little more at each fitting, causing the somewhat snappish couturière considerable annoyance – was in ...

Watching Me Watching Them Watching You

Andrew O’Hagan: Surveillance, 9 October 2003

... know the image by heart and they watch the door.I don’t mean to marshal these thoughts, as Johnson said, into a school and call it an academy, but I believe people in Britain experienced an entanglement with technology and reality during that trial which had an effect on the nation’s character. Many of the great tabloid-frenzied dramas to follow were ...

Obama v. Clinton: A Retrospective

Eliot Weinberger: A Tale of Two Candidates, 3 July 2008

... who had voted for her must be ‘respected’, as though she were a warlord and they her private army, while some in the crowd chanted ‘Den-ver! Den-ver!’ – meaning that she should take the fight all the way to the Democratic convention in August. And then there was John McCain, in what seemed to be a high school auditorium somewhere in Louisiana (even ...


Marilyn Butler, 18 November 1982

The Trouble of an Index: Byron’s Letters and Journals, Vol. XII 
edited by Leslie Marchand.
Murray, 166 pp., £15, May 1982, 0 7195 3885 8
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Lord Byron: Selected Letters and Journals 
edited by Leslie Marchand.
Murray, 404 pp., £12.50, October 1982, 0 7195 3974 9
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by Frederic Raphael.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £8.95, July 1982, 0 500 01278 4
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Byron’s Political and Cultural Influence in 19th-Century Europe: A Symposium 
edited by Paul Graham Trueblood.
Macmillan, 210 pp., £15, April 1981, 0 333 29389 4
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Byron and Joyce through Homer 
by Hermione de Almeida.
Macmillan, 233 pp., £15, October 1982, 0 333 30072 6
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Byron: A Poet Before His Public 
by Philip Martin.
Cambridge, 253 pp., £18.50, July 1982, 0 521 24186 3
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... character in English literature, unmitigated by the humour and grudging respect that breaks out in Johnson on the Scots. Among the small would-be nations Byron also tried to help was Armenia, not mentioned in this book. After arriving in Venice in 1816, he provided money for an Armenian dictionary, and did some work on it himself. Is there a statue to him, or ...

Musical Chairs with Ribbentrop

Bee Wilson: Nancy Astor, 20 December 2012

Nancy: The Story of Lady Astor 
by Adrian Fort.
Cape, 378 pp., £25, October 2012, 978 0 224 09016 2
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... the Thames. Waldorf and Nancy hosted epic house parties there, welcoming, among others, Shaw, Amy Johnson, Roosevelt (F.D.), Henry Ford, Asquith, Charlie Chaplin, J.M. Barrie, Churchill, Henry James, Edith Wharton, kings and queens and Mahatma Gandhi. The Archduke Franz Ferdinand spent a weekend there not long before his assassination. By the 1930s, the guest ...


Tariq Ali: Richard Sorge’s Fate, 21 November 2019

An Impeccable Spy: Richard Sorge, Stalin’s Master Agent 
by Owen Matthews.
Bloomsbury, 448 pp., £25, March 2019, 978 1 4088 5778 6
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... severely every time they dare to take advantage of their position to deceive the citizens or to arm bigotry and royalism against the Republic.’Fouché went on the offensive and helped topple Robespierre, imagining he would replace him. But the events of 9 Thermidor (27 July 1794) marked a turning point in the revolution. What had initially appeared to be ...

Where are we now?

LRB Contributors: Responses to the Referendum, 14 July 2016

... was different this time was that he wasn’t able to take the key players in his party with him. Johnson’s defection was perhaps to be expected – though Cameron does not appear to have prepared for it – but Gove’s was not. Had Cameron known that his decision would split the Tory Party at the very top, including his own inner circle, it might have ...

Loafing with the Sissies

Colm Tóibín: The Trials of Andy Warhol, 10 September 2020

Warhol: A Life as Art 
by Blake Gopnik.
Allen Lane, 931 pp., £35, March, 978 0 241 00338 1
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... him to the work of artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Robert Motherwell, Cy Twombly and Ray Johnson.Opinion is divided about his appearance. ‘He thought of himself as ugly,’ a boyfriend from the early 1960s said. ‘But when you saw Andy naked, he looked like a beautiful boy.’ Another lover from the same period describes him as ‘almost repulsive ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan, 7 June 2018

... the Jordanian border, and were civil engineering students. After Daraa was besieged by the Syrian army in April 2011, the brothers fled to London, where they continued their studies. Mohammad went to the University of West London. They also worked part-time – Mohammad did shifts in a shoe shop and in Harrods – and they moved into a private rental in ...

Between Mussolini and Me

Lawrence Rainey: Pound’s Fascism, 18 March 1999

... catalogues of rare-book dealers. Her bust of Mussolini gathers dust in the basement of the Herbert Johnson Museum at Cornell University.) The whole affair is not without comic touches – Pound offers ‘my support’ to Mussolini, as though it might be of momentous significance to him – and an element of absurdity: consider a number of the Transatlantic ...

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