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St Malcolm Martyr

Michael Wood, 25 March 1993

Malcolm X 
directed by Spike Lee.
May 1993
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By Any Means Necessary: The Trials and Tribulations of the Making of ‘Malcolm X’ 
by Spike Lee and Ralph Wiley.
Vintage, 314 pp., £7.99, February 1993, 0 09 928531 2
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Malcolm X: The Great Photographs 
compiled by Thulani Davis and Howard Chapnick.
Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 168 pp., £14.99, March 1993, 1 55670 317 1
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... a phrase, a little high culture, but it has eerie undertones if you think about it. The soon-to-be Richard III had a very particular discontent in mind, and he had extreme solutions for it. Right at the end of the movie, a group of children in a classroom rise in turn, each saying, ‘I am Malcolm X,’ and of course this is attractive in terms of the fairy ...

Gotterdämmerung

Christopher Hitchens, 12 January 1995

... talked to anyone in the past week or so who doesn’t believe that this was and is true of Richard Gott. I don’t say this with any sense or intention of accommodating to the prevailing wind, since Gott has disliked me intensely for more than twenty years and last January wrote a loopy letter to this journal, blaming James Fenton and myself for once ...

The Project

O.A. Westad: The Downtrodden Majority, 24 January 2008

The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World 
by Vijay Prashad.
New Press, 364 pp., £16.99, January 2007, 978 1 56584 785 9
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... significance simply in terms of the magnitude of what was happening. The African-American writer Richard Wright reported: I’d no sooner climbed into the press gallery and looked down upon the vast assembly of delegates, many of them clad in their exotic national costumes, than I could sense an important junction of history in the making. In the early and ...

The God Squad

Andrew O’Hagan: Bushland, 23 September 2004

... was giving an award to Republican Senator Amo Houghton for being a good egg. I spoke to Richard Kind, who plays the press secretary in the sitcom Spin City, and his chum Tim Blake Nelson, who was very funny in O Brother, where art thou? ‘It’s a fair trade issue,’ said ...

Women against Men

Anita Brookner, 2 September 1982

The Golden Notebook 
by Doris Lessing.
Joseph, 638 pp., £9.95, July 1982, 0 7181 0970 8
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... man. In the opening chapter of the book their chosen victim is Molly’s former husband, Richard, a vaguely plutocratic figure. They laugh at him: he, quite simply, fails to understand them. And who could? They both exist at the fag-end of a number of exhausted possibilities. They have both been members of the Communist Party. They have both ...

Keep your eye on the tide, Jock

Tom Shippey: Naval history, 4 June 1998

The Safeguard of the Sea: A Naval History of Britain, Vol. I, 660-1649 
by N.A.M. Rodger.
HarperCollins, 691 pp., £25, September 1997, 0 00 255128 4
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Weapons and Warfare in Renaissance Europe 
by Bert Hall.
Johns Hopkins, 300 pp., £25, June 1997, 0 8018 5531 4
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... even now by memories from school. Till I read N.A.M. Rodger’s book I could not have placed Richard Grenville and the Revenge within twenty years, nor had any idea what he was doing ‘at Flores in the Azores’; nor do I know even yet (for Rodger is certainly not going to mention it) who wrote the poem about him, but I can remember whole stanzas of ...

Self-Made Women

John Sutherland, 11 July 1991

The Feminist Companion to Literature in English: Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present 
edited by Virginia Blain, Isobel Grundy and Patricia Clements.
Batsford, 1231 pp., £35, August 1990, 0 7134 5848 8
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The Presence of the Present: Topics of the Day in the Victorian Novel 
by Richard Altick.
Ohio State, 854 pp., $45, March 1991, 0 8142 0518 6
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... entry. Beauvoir’s book on her mother’s death is cited, but not Adieux, her farewell to Sartre. Nelson Algren, the man she called ‘husband’ and ‘the only truly passionate love of my life’, is wholly unmentioned. Beatrice Harraden’s excessively glum romances (Ships that pass in the night was the best-known) are usually seen as a traumatic response ...

Olivier Rex

Ronald Bryden, 1 September 1988

Olivier 
by Anthony Holden.
Weidenfeld, 504 pp., £16, May 1988, 0 297 79089 7
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... and poor at sums. He gives the age of Olivier, born in 1907, as 39 when he achieved his triumph as Richard III in 1944. Tarquin Olivier, born in 1936, is credited with a visit at the age of seven to Notley Abbey, bought by his father in 1945. Nor has Holden checked all the stories he takes over from previous biographers. Like most of them, he tells how Olivier ...

Flight to the Forest

Richard Lloyd Parry: Bruno Manser Vanishes, 24 October 2019

The Last Wild Men of Borneo: A True Story of Death and Treasure 
by Carl Hoffman.
William Morrow, 347 pp., £14.74, March 2019, 978 0 06 243905 5
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... King, Chico Mendes). Elected office can put the seal on a career or soil it for ever: for every Nelson Mandela, there is an Aung San Suu Kyi. Greta Thunberg at 16 is one thing, but it is hard to picture her going at it with the same intensity at 45. People get tired and lonely, or lazy and corrupt. Awareness of complexity and nuance blurs to grey the ...

I sizzle to see you

John Lahr: Cole Porter’s secret songs, 21 November 2019

The Letters of Cole Porter 
edited by Cliff Eisen and Dominic McHugh.
Yale, 672 pp., £25, October 2019, 978 0 300 21927 2
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... a dilettante and in the doldrums about cracking the code of American musical success, Porter told Richard Rodgers: ‘I’ll write Jewish tunes.’ In Porter’s shift to the heavily chromatic minor key with its unmistakable Mediterranean flavour, he found a rhythmic correlative which engineered the crossover to Broadway. ‘It is surely one of the ironies of ...

Aux sports, citoyens

Douglas Johnson, 3 December 1981

Sport and Society in Modern France 
by Richard Holt.
Macmillan, 256 pp., £20, July 1981, 0 333 25951 3
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... Richard Holt begins his book on French sport with two misleading observations. In the one, he recalls that when, in the course of his research, a pile of books on football or on cycling arrived on his desk at the Bibliothèque Nationale, his neighbours were bemused by his reading material. How extraordinary that he never seems to have found himself sitting next to one of those readers who begins his day’s work with a careful perusal of L’Equipe or Paris-Turf ...

Lace the air with LSD

Mike Jay: Brain Warfare, 4 February 2021

Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control 
by Stephen Kinzer.
Henry Holt, 384 pp., £11.99, November 2020, 978 1 250 76262 7
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... men were caught breaking into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in June 1972, Richard Helms, then director of the CIA, refused to help with the cover-up. In February 1973, after his re-election, Nixon fired Helms and replaced him with James Schlesinger. In an initiative to regain public trust as the crisis escalated, Schlesinger announced ...

Blite and Whack

Paul Seabright, 19 January 1984

A Pocket Popper 
edited by David Miller.
Fontana, 479 pp., £4.95, August 1983, 0 00 636414 4
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The Postscript to the Logic of Scientific Discovery. Vol. I: Realism and the Aim of Science 
by Karl Popper, edited by W.W. Bartely.
Hutchinson, 420 pp., £20, March 1983, 0 09 151450 9
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The Philosophy of Popper 
by T.E. Burke.
Manchester, 222 pp., £16, July 1983, 0 7190 0904 9
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In Pursuit of Truth: Essays in Honour of Karl Popper’s 80th Birthday 
edited by Paul Levinson.
Harvester, 337 pp., £25, May 1983, 0 7108 0424 5
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Science and Moral Priority 
by Roger Sperry.
Blackwell, 135 pp., £12.50, February 1983, 9780631131991
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Art, Science and Human Progress 
edited by R.B. McConnell.
Murray, 196 pp., £12.50, June 1983, 0 7195 4018 6
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... has to make’. But there is a second doubt that is harder to dismiss. It is the doubt raised by Nelson Goodman’s famous paradox, and we can express it by saying that the ability even to pick out some theories as simpler (never mind truer) than others itself rests on an inductive principle. In the case of our swans, someone might have a theory that all ...

Be interesting!

John Lanchester: Martin Amis, 6 July 2000

Experience 
by Martin Amis.
Cape, 401 pp., £18, May 2000, 0 224 05060 5
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... me some. Oh I see. You can’t.      No answer: only the extreme hooded-eye treatment. Richard Avedon would need a studio’s worth of lights and reflectors to rig up this expression on an unsuspecting Salman. At the moment, though, a passing waiter with an Instamatic could have easily bettered it. Nobody spoke. Not even Christopher Hitchens. And I ...

In Your Guts You Know He’s Nuts

Thomas Sugrue: Barry Goldwater, 3 January 2008

The Conscience of a Conservative 
by Barry Goldwater.
Princeton, 144 pp., £8.95, June 2007, 978 0 691 13117 7
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... the moderation of its leaders, among them President Eisenhower and the New York governor Nelson Rockefeller, and built a formidable counter-establishment infrastructure that extended from local school boards to state capitols to think tanks. Leading the rightist rising were the conservative intellectuals in the orbit of William F. Buckley’s ...

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