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Utterly in Awe

Jenny Turner: Lynn Barber, 5 June 2014

A Curious Career 
by Lynn Barber.
Bloomsbury, 224 pp., £16.99, May 2014, 978 1 4088 3719 1
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... have emerged. Her very best interviews are with men, the puffed-up sort – Bragg, Jimmy Savile, Jeffrey Archer and, more recently, Sir Alan Sugar. She likes artists, especially the erstwhile Young British Artists, and above all, Tracey Emin, who knows how to lay on a juicy spread: the offerings for their first encounter in 2001 included a used condom left ...

Their Affair and Our Affair

R.W. Johnson, 23 April 1987

The Affair: The Case of Alfred Dreyfus 
by Jean-Denis Bredin, translated by Jeffrey Mehlman.
Sidgwick, 628 pp., £20, March 1987, 0 283 99443 6
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Neither Right nor Left: Fascist Ideology in France 
by Zeev Sternhell, translated by David Maisel.
California, 416 pp., £38.25, December 1986, 0 520 05207 2
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... Europe, had to face the fact that Prussia had comprehensively vanquished them in just a few weeks in 1870, inflicted huge reparations payments, and detached the sacred lands of Alsace and Lorraine from the motherland. Worse, the new and mighty state of united Germany continued to outstrip France in wealth, production, population and power at a quite ...

High Taxes, Bad Times

John Pemble: Late Georgian Westminster, 10 June 2010

The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1820-32 
by D.R. Fisher.
Cambridge, 6336 pp., £490, December 2009, 978 0 521 19314 6
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... still: Canning, Castlereagh, Peel, O’Connell, Brougham, Ricardo, Macaulay, Bulwer Lytton, Jeffrey, Wilberforce, Mackintosh. The huge expansion of Parliament’s responsibilities had brought a five-fold increase in its business. In the 1820s alone, 3806 bills were enacted. Since mornings were set aside for correspondence and consultation, and ...

Going Flat Out, National Front and All

Ian Hamilton: Watch your mouth!, 14 December 2000

Diaries: Into Politics 
by Alan Clark.
Weidenfeld, 389 pp., £20, October 2000, 0 297 64402 5
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The Assassin’s Cloak: An Anthology of the World’s Greatest Diarists 
edited by Irene Taylor and Alan Taylor.
Canongate, 684 pp., £25, November 2000, 0 86241 920 4
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The Journals of Woodrow Wyatt. Vol. III: From Major to Blair 
edited by Sarah Curtis.
Macmillan, 823 pp., £25, November 2000, 9780333774069
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... indeed she was at times portrayed as even more cynical and snobbish than he was. Somewhat in the Jeffrey Archer mode, Clark plays the naughty boy, and turns his wife into a parent – strict but merciful, the custodian of his best self. Since Clark’s death last year, his widow has paid tribute to his sensitive prowess as an adulterer. He caused her much ...

Diary

Jason Burke: In Kurdistan, 19 September 2002

... a journalist from the New Yorker was in Sulaimaniya, Shahab told him, too. The resulting story, by Jeffrey Goldberg, was published in March under the headline ‘The Threat of Saddam’. It announced that ‘the Kurds may have evidence’ of Saddam’s ‘ties to Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network’. The main link was Shahab. Hawks in Washington are keen ...

One Long Scream

Jacqueline Rose: Trauma and Justice in South Africa, 23 May 2019

... of the murders; his older sister, Dorothy, was ten; his younger sister, Tumani, was born a few weeks after the funeral. Lukhanyo grew up with no conscious memory of his father. At the end of My Father Died for This, the remarkable book he has produced with his wife, Abigail Calata (they took it in turns to write different sections), he can offer only an ...

Dark and Deep

Helen Vendler, 4 July 1996

Robert Frost: A Biography 
by Jeffrey Meyers.
Constable, 424 pp., £20, May 1996, 0 09 476130 2
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Collected Poems, Prose and Plays 
by Robert Frost, edited by Richard Poirier and Mark Richardson.
Library of America, 1036 pp., $35, October 1995, 9781883011062
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... the biographical facts, and then centre attention on the poetry, giving Frost’s art its due. Now Jeffrey Meyers has appeared, crowing that ‘the heart of Thompson’s biography was based on [a] lie.’ He proposes to reveal the truth – to wit, that when Frost was 64, after the death of his wife, he had a long affair with his ‘secretary’, Kathleen ...

Why do white people like what I write?

Pankaj Mishra: Ta-Nehisi Coates, 22 February 2018

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy 
by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
Hamish Hamilton, 367 pp., £16.99, October 2017, 978 0 241 32523 0
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... and Make America Great Again’. ‘It’s time to think of torture,’ Newsweek declared a few weeks after 9/11. ‘Focused brutality’, Time recommended. Vanity Fair praised Rumsfeld for his ‘oddly reassuring ruthlessness’. As the invasion of Iraq got underway, the Atlantic, described as ‘prestigious’ by Coates in his new book, walked its readers ...

Don’t wear yum-yum yellow

Theo Tait: Shark Attack!, 2 August 2012

Demon Fish: Travels through the Hidden World of Sharks 
by Juliet Eilperin.
Duckworth, 295 pp., £18.99, January 2012, 978 0 7156 4291 7
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... the lemon shark maestro, Sonny Gruber; Boris Worm, doyen of fisheries conservation ecology; and Jeffrey Carrier, who has, ‘most likely, viewed more shark sex than any other researcher in the world’. Each of these people, as the convention requires, is given a perky little pen portrait: ‘Maclean is a blunt-spoken, stocky bleached blonde who’s spent ...

Having Fun

Ben Jackson: Online Shaming, 9 April 2015

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed 
by Jon Ronson.
Picador, 277 pp., £16.99, March 2015, 978 0 330 49228 7
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... deduced that ‘she clearly has the objective of coming here to open her vagina … Stupid hoe.’ Weeks later, one tweeter looked back fondly: ‘Man, remember Justine Sacco? #HasJustineLandedYet. God that was awesome. millions of people waiting for her to land.’ The word ‘cunt’ is practically a punctuation mark in these outbursts; the language of ...

Would I have heard of you?

Lauren Oyler: ‘The Female Persuasion’, 21 June 2018

The Female Persuasion 
by Meg Wolitzer.
Chatto, 464 pp., £14.99, June 2018, 978 1 78474 236 2
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... male.’ She doesn’t disguise that she too wants a spot up there. When novelists like Jeffrey Eugenides – who was in a writing workshop with Wolitzer at Brown – cover ‘perceived female subject matter’, they are taken seriously; their seriousness is signalled by the length of their novels as well as by the large letters on their covers and ...

Seventy Years in a Colourful Trade

Andrew O’Hagan: The Soho Alphabet, 16 July 2020

Tales from the Colony Room: Soho’s Lost Bohemia 
by Darren Coffield.
Unbound, 364 pp., £25, April 2020, 978 1 78352 816 5
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... swapped addresses. I later wrote to her, asking if she could get me into the movies. Within a few weeks I got a letter from Lola Moore, for forty years the biggest kids’ agent in Hollywood. She represented Tommy Rettig, who was in River of No Return, Jon Provost, who played Timmy in Lassie, Karolyn Grimes, who played Jimmy Stewart’s daughter in It’s a ...

Big G and Little G

Paul Laity, 6 February 1997

The British Electricity Experiment 
edited by John Surrey.
Earthscan, 329 pp., £40, July 1996, 1 85383 370 3
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... between the interests of shareholders, customers and employees’. Last November, Tim Eggar, only weeks after resigning his post as Energy Minister in charge of regulation, called for a radical overhaul of utility regulation. A more democratic alternative to the present system, suggested in Surrey’s volume, would be a Select Committee overseeing regulation ...

Incendiary Devices

Daniel Soar: The Edward Snowden Story, 20 February 2014

The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man 
by Luke Harding.
Guardian Faber, 346 pp., £12.99, February 2014, 978 1 78335 035 3
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... step back into the shadows, that the charge that he was a ‘narcissist’ (made, among others, by Jeffrey Toobin at the New Yorker) was hard to make stick. But his performance had also been so compelling that everyone now wanted a piece of him. In Britain, they wanted a piece of him much more badly than they wanted any aspect of the complicated and ongoing ...

Diary

Tom Paulin: Trimble’s virtues, 7 October 2004

... the district master’s remarks were of greater significance. ‘Be it days, hours or weeks, we will stay until we walk our traditional route,’ he had told the crowd. At this point Godson, who was until recently chief leader writer for the Daily Telegraph, articulates the position that joins the British right to the Unionists: ‘It was now to ...

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