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Balfour, Weizmann and the Creation of Israel

Charles Glass: Palestine, 7 June 2001

One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs under the British Mandate 
by Tom Segev, translated by Haim Watzman.
Little, Brown, 612 pp., £25, January 2001, 0 316 64859 0
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Ploughing Sand: British Rule in Palestine 1917-48 
by Naomi Shepherd.
Murray, 290 pp., £12.99, September 2000, 0 7195 6322 4
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... portray the Zionist pioneers waging a war of independence against the British oppressor. Jon and David Kimche provided a good example of the conventional Israeli analysis of British policy in Both Sides of the Hill: Britain and the Palestine War (1960). ‘It was a mixture of ignorance, blundering, indecision and local bias against the Jews, encouraged by ...

Palestinians under Siege

Edward Said: Putting Palestine on the map, 14 December 2000

... The Gaza-based Palestinian Centre for Human Rights has documented the ‘sweepings’ of olive groves and vegetable farms by the Israeli Army (or, as it prefers to be known, Israeli Defence Force) near the Rafah border, for example, and on either side of the Gush Katif settlement block. Gush Katif is an area of Gaza – about 40 per cent – occupied by a ...

Feeling Good about Feeling Bad

Nathan Thrall: Liberal Zionism, 9 October 2014

My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel 
by Ari Shavit.
Scribe, 447 pp., £20, February 2014, 978 1 922247 54 4
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... and in dozens of places Palestinian tenant farmers had been evicted to make way for Jewish orange groves and agricultural settlements. But the arrival of Jewish capital, technology and medicine, Shavit writes, didn’t just benefit the Jews. He cites a 1936 article by the leader of Rehovot’s orange growers: ‘Never did a colonial project bring so much ...

War on Heisenberg

M.F. Perutz, 18 November 1993

Heisenberg’s War: The Secret History of the German Bomb 
by Thomas Powers.
Cape, 610 pp., £20, April 1993, 0 224 03641 6
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Operation Epsilon: The Farm Hall Transcripts 
introduced by Charles Frank.
Institute of Physics, 515 pp., £14.95, May 1993, 0 7503 0274 7
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... evidence to refute Goudsmit’s accusation, confirming the conclusion already reached in David Irving’s The German Atomic Bomb, that the German physicists wanted to build a reactor, but not a bomb. Their secretly recorded comments on Hiroshima have now provided further evidence of their reluctance; Heisenberg apparently regarded it as ...

Into the Southern Playground

Julian Bell: The Suspect Adrian Stokes, 21 August 2003

'The Quattro Cento’ and ‘Stones of Rimini’ 
by Adrian Stokes.
Ashgate, 668 pp., £16.99, August 2002, 0 7546 3320 9
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Art and Its Discontents 
by Richard Read.
Ashgate, 260 pp., £35, December 2002, 0 7546 0796 8
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... ambition rubbed off on critical admirers who grew up reading him in the 1940s and 1950s – David Sylvester, Lawrence Gowing and above all Richard Wollheim. In later life his own understated work as a painter from observation (‘the poor man’s Bonnard’ – he got the crack in first) gathered in conviction, and the showing after his death in 1972 of ...


Neal Ascherson: Hugh Trevor-Roper, 19 August 2010

Hugh Trevor-Roper: The Biography 
by Adam Sisman.
Weidenfeld, 598 pp., £25, July 2010, 978 0 297 85214 8
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... to find witnesses. He enjoyed these ‘delightful journeys, motoring through the deciduous golden groves of Schleswig-Holstein’ along empty roads. But this was September 1945! Trevor-Roper’s lofty indifference to a shattered country whose cities lay in ruins, whose people were approaching starvation, and where millions of homeless refugees and ...

Orwell and Biography

Bernard Crick, 7 October 1982

... on yet another authentic rejection of Animal Farm by a leading publisher. I had thought that Reg Groves, who worked in the Hampstead bookshop immediately before Orwell and was one of the original ‘Balham succession’, the founders of British Trotskyism, was long dead. His testimony strengthens the view that Orwell’s conversion to socialism was far less ...

Should we build a wall around North Wales?

Daniel Trilling: The Refugee Crisis, 13 July 2017

Violent Borders: Refugees and the Right to Move 
by Reece Jones.
Verso, 208 pp., £16.99, October 2016, 978 1 78478 471 3
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Refuge: Transforming a Broken Refugee System 
by Alexander Betts and Paul Collier.
Allen Lane, 288 pp., £20, March 2017, 978 0 241 28923 5
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No Borders: The Politics of Immigration Control and Resistance 
by Natasha King.
Zed, 208 pp., £16.99, October 2016, 978 1 78360 467 8
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... not only for military objectives but to bar Palestinians from access to such resources as olive groves, or land on which to build houses in parts of the West Bank. Australia prevents asylum seekers who arrive by boat from staying on the mainland: it outsources their detention to Papua New Guinea and Nauru, where they are held in prison camps in which ...


Iain Sinclair: Eccentric Pilgrims, 30 June 2016

... extraordinarily rendered into the North Circular Road hinterland, was the Deptford percussionist David Aylward. His strident hi-vis disguise, colour co-ordinated with the favours of the London Overground, had been made for a French hunter who wanted to stand out when the bullets were flying in some seasonal avian cull. Aylward was a veteran of pilgrim ...

After the Revolution

Neal Ascherson: In Georgia, 4 March 2004

... secession war in 1993 (another $600,000 was intercepted before he could pay it into his account). David Mirtskhulava, the former minister of energy, had a mild heart attack when he was charged with pocketing $6 million on its way to pay Georgia’s bill for electricity imports. Georgia is not a sprawling continent, but a poor, steep country about the same ...

Infisal! Infisal! Infisal!

Jonathan Littell: A Journey in South Sudan, 30 June 2011

... he used to start al-Qaida was acquired in Sudan building roads and pipelines, running orange groves and farms, as all the while he was opening training camps for jihadists. For several years now, all we’ve heard about is Darfur, another incomprehensible story. Everyone has forgotten the South, and when they do think about it, they don’t understand a ...

Too Close to the Bone

Allon White, 4 May 1989

... we built a raft from old oil-drums, and, too afraid to sail on it ourselves, we tethered one of David Luck’s hapless chickens to its deck and sent it on a squawking unhappy journey downstream. Another time we constructed an elaborate camp on a small island in the middle of a pond with a rope drawbridge worked by discarded bell-ropes from the Church.I only ...

The End of British Farming

Andrew O’Hagan: British farming, 22 March 2001

... rise in the price of fuel could kill many of them off.’ Before leaving I had rung a pig farmer, David Barker, whose farm is north of Stowmarket in Suffolk. Barker is 50 years old. His family has been farming pigs in Suffolk for four generations; they have lived and worked on the present farm since 1957. He owns 1250 acres and 110 sows, which he breeds and ...

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