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Ballooning

J.I.M. Stewart, 5 June 1986

The Unknown Conan Doyle: Letters to the Press 
by John Michael Gibson and Richard Lancelyn Green.
Secker, 377 pp., £15, March 1986, 0 436 13303 2
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... deal with public affairs, there must be much in them which is no longer readily understood. John Michael Gibson and Richard Lancelyn Green have prudently decided against annotation, preferring to provide 13 notes on selected topics. They provide, also, a ‘Categorical Index’, excellent alike in conception and ...

Ethnic Cleansers

Stephen Smith, 8 October 1992

Four Hours in My Lai: A War Crime and its Aftermath 
by Michael Bilton and Kevin Sim.
Viking, 430 pp., £17.99, May 1992, 0 670 83233 2
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Tiger Balm: Travels in Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia 
by Lucretia Stewart.
Chatto, 261 pp., £10.99, June 1992, 0 7011 3892 0
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... and its Metaphors’. In their attempt to answer the intractable ‘why’ of the massacre, Michael Bilton and Kevin Sim sense that the contributory factors they painstakingly assemble don’t quite amount to a reason, and reach for the viral theory. ‘Atrocity,’ they opine, ‘is like a virus known to strike soldiers in combat.’ Charlie Company of ...

You Have A Mother Don’t You?

Andrew O’Hagan: Cowboy Simplicities, 11 September 2003

Searching for John Ford: A Life 
by Joseph McBride.
Faber, 838 pp., £25, May 2003, 0 571 20075 3
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... the idea that Bush’s delivery is really an impersonation of Ronald Reagan impersonating James Stewart and John Wayne, but I think that elevates him too much: his mentality is clouded with lesser subtleties, occluded with hungers of a more brutal, mercenary, low-budget kind. He has the effective salesman’s knowledge of how to play with people’s sense ...

Grail Trail

C.H. Roberts, 4 March 1982

The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail 
by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln.
Cape, 445 pp., £8.95, January 1982, 0 224 01735 7
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The Foreigner: A Search for the First-Century Jesus 
by Desmond Stewart.
Hamish Hamilton, 181 pp., £9.95, October 1981, 0 241 10686 9
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Satan: The Early Christian Tradition 
by Jeffrey Burton Russell.
Cornell, 258 pp., £14, November 1981, 0 8014 1267 6
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... of scholarship and more than a dash of fiction or imaginative reconstruction. The late Desmond Stewart’s book (which Alan Neame, who introduces it, neatly describes as an ‘intuitive biography’) belongs to the second class. Though it draws on scholarship, it is not a book for scholars; his reading, though wide, was patchy (nothing written in German ...

After the Movies

Michael Wood: Godard’s Histoire(s) du cinéma, 4 December 2008

Histoire(s) du cinéma 
directed by Jean-Luc Godard.
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... Ambersons; Ivan the Terrible and Stalin; Hitler in one frame immediately followed by James Stewart in another, focusing his camera in Rear Window; an extraordinary bit of cross-cutting between a dance scene in An American in Paris and a black-and-white film of an execution, followed by a repeated shot of an engraving, a Rembrandt self-portrait, black ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Force Majeure’, ‘Clouds of Sils Maria’, 7 May 2015

Force Majeure 
directed by Ruben Östlund.
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Clouds of Sils Maria 
directed by Olivier Assayas.
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... denies her worries about age. Her relationship with her American assistant, Valentine (Kristen Stewart), is the best thing in the movie, full of affection and aggression, and written with a throwaway elegance that much of the rest of the film sadly lacks. We might think that in this relation between an older woman and a younger one we see the story that ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘De Palma’, 20 October 2016

... music over the title, followed by a clip from the beginning of Hitchcock’s Vertigo – James Stewart climbing onto the roof from which his colleague is about to fall to his death. De Palma’s voice says: ‘I saw Vertigo in 1958. I saw it at Radio City Music Hall. I will never forget it.’ As he speaks the last sentence his image appears on ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: Katharine Hepburn, 5 March 2015

... movie comedies of this period, an impeccably boring fellow. Fortunately, a semi-romance with James Stewart teaches Hepburn that she is fallible too, and she returns to Grant. Like her counterpart in Holiday, she is intrigued by the idea that some people have to earn a living – ‘a room and food’, she muses – but doesn’t need to bother about it ...

Politics and the Prophet

Malise Ruthven, 1 August 1996

Lords of the Lebanese Marches: Violence and Narrative in an Arab Society 
by Michael Gilsenan.
Tauris, 377 pp., £14.95, February 1996, 1 85043 099 3
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The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World 
edited by John L. Esposito.
Oxford, 480 pp., £295, June 1995, 0 19 506613 8
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Unfolding Islam 
by P.J. Stewart.
Garnet, 268 pp., £25, February 1995, 9780863721946
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Islam and the Myth of Confrontation: Religion and Politics in the Middle East 
by Fred Halliday.
Tauris, 256 pp., £35, January 1996, 1 86064 004 4
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... that Islam was somehow ‘different’ from the West. A more fruitful approach is taken by Michael Gilsenan in Lords of the Lebanese Marches, based on field work he conducted in a Sunni Muslim rural area of North Lebanon during the early Seventies, before the recent civil war. This beautifully written book describes the culture of masculinity in ...

Clues

J.I.M. Stewart, 5 May 1983

A Talent to Deceive: An Appreciation of Agatha Christie 
by Robert Barnard.
Collins, 203 pp., £7.95, April 1980, 0 00 216190 7
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The Agatha Christie Hour 
by Agatha Christie.
Collins, 190 pp., £6.50, September 1982, 0 00 231331 6
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The Penguin Complete Sherlock Holmes 
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Allen Lane, 1122 pp., £7.95, August 1981, 0 7139 1444 0
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The Quest for Sherlock Holmes 
by Owen Dudley Edwards.
Mainstream, 380 pp., £12.50, November 1982, 0 906391 15 6
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The Unknown Conan Doyle: Essays on Photography 
by John Michael Gibson and Richard Lancelyn Green.
Secker, 128 pp., £8.50, November 1982, 0 436 13302 4
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The Unknown Conan Doyle: Uncollected Stories 
by John Michael Gibson and Richard Lancelyn Green.
Secker, 456 pp., £8.95, November 1982, 0 436 13301 6
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The Life and Crimes of Agatha Christie 
by Charles Osborne.
Collins, 256 pp., £9.95, September 1982, 0 00 216462 0
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... In the opening chapter of A Study in Scarlet Dr Watson is introduced to Sherlock Holmes. Holmes says, ‘How are you?’ and adds: ‘You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.’ Watson asks in astonishment: ‘How on earth did you know that?’ and Holmes, ‘chuckling to himself’, answers: ‘Never mind.’ In the following chapter the two men observe through a window ‘a stalwart, plainly dressed individual’ walking down the street with a letter in his hand ...

Midges

J.I.M. Stewart, 15 September 1983

M.R. James: An Informal Portrait 
by Michael Cox.
Oxford, 268 pp., £14.50, June 1983, 0 19 211765 3
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... that final shifting of tents. Yet Monty’s scholarship was a puzzle to some. One of these, as Michael Cox recounts, was Lord Acton: ‘You know Montague James?’ he asked a King’s man. ‘Yes, I know him.’ ‘Is it true that he is ready to spend every evening playing games or talking with undergraduates?’ ‘Yes, the evenings and more.’ ‘And ...

Badoompa-doompa-doompa-doom

Graham Coster, 10 January 1991

Stone Alone 
by Bill Wyman and Ray Coleman.
Viking, 594 pp., £15.99, October 1990, 0 670 82894 7
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Blown away: The Rolling Stones and the Death of the Sixties 
by A.E. Hotchner.
Simon and Schuster, 377 pp., £15.95, October 1990, 0 671 69316 6
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Are you experienced? The Inside Story of the Jimi Hendrix Experience 
by Noel Redding and Carol Appleby.
Fourth Estate, 256 pp., £14.99, September 1990, 1 872180 36 1
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I was a teenage Sex Pistol 
by Glen Matlock and Pete Silverton.
Omnibus, 192 pp., £12.95, September 1990, 0 7119 2491 0
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Bare 
by George Michael and Tony Parsons.
Joseph, 242 pp., £12.99, September 1990, 0 7181 3435 4
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... group is any better than its drummer,’ the Rolling Stones’ late piano player Ian Stewart tells A.E. Hotchner. ‘Drummers are the heart of a group,’ confirms Noel Redding of the Jimi Hendrix Experience: ‘a good one is worth his weight in gold.’ And here is the Sex Pistols’ Glen Matlock on drummer Paul Cook: ‘that steady rhythm of ...

The Great Copyright Disaster

John Sutherland, 12 January 1995

Authors and Owners: The Invention of Copyright 
by Mark Rose.
Harvard, 176 pp., £21.95, October 1993, 0 674 05308 7
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Crimes of Writing: Problems in the Containment of Representation 
by Susan Stewart.
Duke, 353 pp., £15.95, November 1994, 0 8223 1545 9
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The Construction of Authorship: Textual Appropriation in Law and Literature 
edited by Martha Woodmansee and Peter Jaszi.
Duke, 562 pp., £42.75, January 1994, 0 8223 1412 6
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... the brink of those works entering the public domain, the public whose domain it is was informed by Michael Black of Cambridge University Press that the standard Lawrence texts were culpably imperfect. A new authorised edition was put in hand – and a new copyright thereby created. As I recall, the Lawrence estate’s agents, Laurence Pollinger, initially ...

Downland Maniacs

Michael Mason, 5 October 1995

The Village that Died for England 
by Patrick Wright.
Cape, 420 pp., £17.99, March 1995, 0 224 03886 9
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... Thomas Hardy, D.H. Lawrence, James Meade Falkner (who wrote Moonfleet), Gerald Brenan, John Stewart Collis, Fritz Schumacher, John Eliot Gardiner (son of Rolf) and via him Roger Norrington, Lord Hinchinbrooke, Jimmy Edwards, Kenneth Allsop, Tariq Ali, Fenner Brockway, J.R.R. Tolkien, Bill Douglas (who made a film about the Tolpuddle Martyrs in a ...

Good at Being Gods

Caleb Crain: Buckminster Fuller’s Visions, 18 December 2008

Buckminster Fuller: Starting with the Universe 
edited by K. Michael Hays and Dana Miller.
Yale, 257 pp., £35, July 2008, 978 0 300 12620 4
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... completely were they forgotten that last year, when the environmental consultants Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger rebuked the environmental movement for neglecting the resources of economic growth and human ingenuity, they seemed unaware that there had once been a movement in America that championed both. Nordhaus and Shellenberger wrote Break ...

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