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Cooking it up

Rupert Christiansen, 19 January 1989

Maria: Callas Remembered 
by Nadia Stancioff.
Sidgwick, 264 pp., £13.95, April 1988, 0 283 99645 5
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Callas at Juilliard: The Master Classes 
by John Ardoin.
Robson, 300 pp., £16.95, April 1988, 0 86051 504 4
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Callas as they saw her 
edited by David Lowe.
Robson, 264 pp., £6.95, April 1988, 9780860514961
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The Great Caruso 
by Michael Scott.
Hamish Hamilton, 322 pp., £16.95, June 1988, 0 241 11954 5
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Chaliapin 
by Victor Borovsky.
Hamish Hamilton, 630 pp., £25, April 1988, 0 241 12254 6
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... Opera became a sensitive field of ideological possibilities: the traditions associated with Richard Wagner, in particular, had to be reassessed in the withering light of Nazism, while in Italy the revival – begun under Mussolini as part of a nationalist cultural policy – of an apparently dead repertory of early 19th-century works led to a vogue for ...

During Her Majesty’s Pleasure

Ronan Bennett, 20 February 1997

... before seen in this country. At times, indeed, it was going up by a thousand a month, which, as Richard Tilt, the director general of the Prison Service, has pointed out, requires a new prison every three weeks to house the intake. If Howard’s Crime (Sentencing) Bill goes through Parliament, it will add between 10,000 and 30,000 prisoners to the present ...

Bebop

Andrew O’Hagan, 5 October 1995

Jack Kerouac: Selected Letters 1940-56 
edited by Ann Charters.
Viking, 629 pp., £25, August 1995, 0 670 84952 9
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... Elvis Presley’s top half on the Ed Sullivan Show; John F. Kennedy’s live debate with a melting Richard Nixon; an early episode of I Love Lucy; a dinner-table scene from The Waltons; Neil Armstrong’s One Small Step; the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald; the pilot show of Roseanne. Each viewer wore headphones; all you could hear was the giggles and gasps. On ...

The Last Witness

Colm Tóibín: The career of James Baldwin, 20 September 2001

... unpatriotic act – that the American boy evolve into the complexity of manhood.’ In an essay on Richard Wright, published in 1951, he wrote: And there is, I should think, no Negro living in America who has not felt briefly and for long periods, with anguish sharp or dull, in varying degrees or to varying effect, simple, naked and unanswerable hatred; who ...

A Traveller in Residence

Mary Hawthorne, 13 November 1997

... escalated, quietly retreated to Rhinebeck, upstate, only to resurface down-river, across the Hudson in Sneden’s Landing, the model for the wealthy community of Herbert’s Retreat, where Maeve set some of her early stories – deft, wicked, satirical pieces about the lives of its pretentious, disagreeable inhabitants. Just before Christmas, in ...

Afloat with Static

Jenny Turner: Hey, Blondie!, 19 December 2019

Face It 
by Debbie Harry.
HarperCollins, 352 pp., £20, October 2019, 978 0 00 822942 9
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... So the baby was put up for adoption, and Angela became Deborah, with parents called Cathy and Richard Harry, also known as Caggie and Dick. Caggie’s family had once owned a bank in Ridgewood, New Jersey; Dick worked as a salesman for Alkan Silk Woven Labels in Paterson. A sister, Martha, arrived six years later. ‘My little accidental family’ gets ...

A Short History of the Trump Family

Sidney Blumenthal: The First Family, 16 February 2017

... million,’ said Trump. ‘Who the hell knows what it is worth?’) His casino empire across the Hudson River in Atlantic City, his Taj Mahal, went belly up. (‘The most spectacular hotel-casino anywhere in the world’.) He declared bankruptcy four times in order to stiff his contractors and workers. Every financial house in the city spurned his plea to ...

From the Other Side

David Drew, 18 July 1985

... the function of a religion, and its efficacy is of a religious character.’ Dr Wayne Hudson, author of The Marxist Philosophy of Ernst Bloch, the first and so far the only full-length study of Bloch’s philosophy in any language, avoids mentioning Kolakowski’s critique until he has reached his own epilogue. ‘Obviously,’ he writes, ‘Bloch ...

Had he not run

David Reynolds: America’s longest-serving president, 2 June 2005

Franklin Delano Roosevelt 
by Roy Jenkins.
Pan, 208 pp., £7.99, May 2005, 0 330 43206 0
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Franklin D. Roosevelt 
by Patrick Renshaw.
Longman, 223 pp., $16.95, December 2003, 0 582 43803 9
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Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom 
by Conrad Black.
Weidenfeld, 1280 pp., £17.99, October 2004, 0 7538 1848 5
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... extended essay, unfinished on his death in 2003 – the pages about 1944-45 have been written by Richard Neustadt. There is much to be gained from Jenkins’s insights but Patrick Renshaw’s study, though equally succinct, is much more substantial. Renshaw is a specialist in American economic and labour history, and, as might be expected, his book has most ...

Warmer, Warmer

John Lanchester: Global Warming, Global Hot Air, 22 March 2007

The Revenge of Gaia 
by James Lovelock.
Allen Lane, 222 pp., £8.99, February 2007, 978 0 14 102597 1
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Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis Summary for Policymakers: Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 
IPCC, February 2007Show More
Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning 
by George Monbiot.
Allen Lane, 277 pp., £17.99, September 2006, 0 7139 9923 3
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The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies 
by Richard Heinberg.
Clairview, 320 pp., £12.99, October 2005, 1 905570 00 7
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The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review 
by Nicholas Stern.
Cambridge, 692 pp., £29.99, January 2007, 978 0 521 70080 1
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... apparent eagerness to wage nuclear war. Their campaign had a considerable impact, and when Richard Nixon got to the White House four years later he was convinced that scientists were a dangerously anti-Republican political lobby. Nixon shut down the Office of Science and Technology, and kicked the presidential science adviser out of the cabinet – an ...

The Israel Lobby

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt: The Israel Lobby, 23 March 2006

... of the Israeli cause as Elliot Abrams, John Bolton, Douglas Feith, I. Lewis (‘Scooter’) Libby, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and David Wurmser. As we shall see, these officials have consistently pushed for policies favoured by Israel and backed by organisations in the Lobby. The Lobby doesn’t want an open debate, of course, because that might lead ...

Places Never Explained

Colm Tóibín: Anthony Hecht, 8 August 2013

The Selected Letters of Anthony Hecht 
edited by Jonathan Post.
Johns Hopkins, 365 pp., £18, November 2012, 978 1 4214 0730 2
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... but none in a way that is easy to interpret. Perhaps the very act of bombing from a plane – what Richard Eberhart called ‘The Fury of Aerial Bombardment’, the gap between, in J.M. Synge’s phrase, ‘a gallous story and a dirty deed’ – made it impossible for anyone, including Yeats in ‘An Irish Airman Foresees His Death’, a poem which seems to ...

Little England

Patrick Wright: The view through a bus window, 7 September 2006

Great British Bus Journeys: Travels through Unfamous Places 
by David McKie.
Atlantic, 359 pp., £16.99, March 2006, 1 84354 132 7
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... an Arriva bus and quits Leeds via Hunslet, which also appears more or less obliterated since Richard Hoggart, who described its working-class culture so memorably in The Uses of Literacy, grew up there. Next comes Woodlesford, where McKie gazes round for any trace of the rhubarb for which the place was once well known, and we chug onwards to ...

Enemies For Ever

James Wolcott: ‘Making It’, 18 May 2017

Making It 
by Norman Podhoretz.
NYRB, 368 pp., £13.98, May 2017, 978 1 68137 080 4
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... of the modernist canon. Protective of its cub, Partisan Review runs a judicious appreciation by Richard Poirier (one of Mailer’s early academic champions), but no chorus rises to proclaim Podhoretz the bold young successor to Alfred Kazin, Edmund Wilson, Malcolm Cowley, Stanley Edgar Hyman and Mary McCarthy in the Quality Lit Crit Biz. He is needled as a ...

Magnifico

David Bromwich: This was Orson Welles, 3 June 2004

Orson Welles: The Stories of His Life 
by Peter Conrad.
Faber, 384 pp., £20, September 2003, 0 571 20978 5
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... slow swing replaced by a nocturne. The station cut in again with a learned authority, ‘Professor Richard Pierson, famous astronomer’, direct from the Princeton observatory to explain the discharge and point out that Mars could not support intelligent life. Pierson, however, confessed that he could not explain the regularity of the emissions. More ...

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