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A Little Holiday

Geoffrey Wheatcroft: Ben Hecht’s Cause, 23 September 2021

A Child of the Century 
by Ben Hecht.
Yale, 654 pp., £16, April 2020, 978 0 300 25179 1
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Ben Hecht: Fighting Words, Moving Pictures 
by Adina Hoffman.
Yale, 245 pp., £10.99, April 2020, 978 0 300 25181 4
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... rather than a newspaperman. In his introduction to the new edition of A Child of the Century, David Denby compares him with Arthur Sullivan, who wanted to be the English Schumann and wrote many now forgotten symphonic works, while everyone remembers Patience and HMS Pinafore. Hecht didn’t become a great novelist or playwright, but he found that he ...

Heroes

Pat Rogers, 6 November 1986

Hume and the Heroic Portrait: Studies in 18th-Century Imagery 
by Edgar Wind, edited by Jaynie Anderson.
Oxford, 139 pp., £29.50, May 1986, 0 19 817371 7
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Augustan Studies: Essays in honour of Irvin Ehrenpreis 
edited by Douglas Lane Patey and Timothy Keegan.
University of Delaware Press, 270 pp., £24.50, May 1986, 9780874132724
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The 18th Century: The Intellectual and Cultural Context of English Literature 1700-1789 
by James Sambrook.
Longman, 290 pp., £15.95, April 1986, 0 582 49306 4
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... life are tellingly invoked. Then there is an amazingly learned search for the sources of David’s Oath of the Horatii. The trail leads through Gluck, Garrick, the ballet-master Noverre, Lavoisier, Beaumarchais and (less of a displaced person now, than when Wind was writing in 1941) Salieri. It is nard to imagine a reader with any developed interest ...

‘Abu Nidal, Abu Shmidal’

Avi Shlaim, 9 May 1991

Israel’s Secret Wars: The Untold History of Israeli Intelligence 
by Ian Black and Benny Morris.
Hamish Hamilton, 603 pp., £20, February 1991, 0 241 12702 5
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... like John le Carré’s The Little Drummer Girl and Agents of Innocence by the American writer David Ignatius. In recent years, however, a number of scandals have badly tarnished the reputation of Israel’s security services and stimulated calls for greater public accountability. One of the most damaging blows was struck by Victor Ostrovsky – like the ...

Spitting, Sneezing, Smearing

Marjorie Garber: Messy Business, 10 August 2000

Cooking with Mud: The Idea of Mess in 19th-Century Art and Fiction 
by David Trotter.
Oxford, 340 pp., £35, February 2000, 0 19 818503 0
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... to immigration to pornography. A forthcoming essay collection edited by Ryan Johnson and William Cohen will be entitled Filth. The interest in ‘waste-theory’ may be seen as a recyclable and non-biodegradable byproduct of a number of related tendencies in contemporary literary studies: 1) the borrowing of critical paradigms from science and social science ...

Make them go away

Neal Ascherson: Grossman’s Failure, 3 February 2011

To the End of the Land 
by David Grossman, translated by Jessica Cohen.
Cape, 577 pp., £18.99, September 2010, 978 0 224 08999 9
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... back in 1959 and first published in 1980. A comparison between the two books, Vasily’s and David’s, does not do the later one much good. As an outpouring of feeling, and as a series of sombre representations of the condition of modern Israel, To the End of the Land is often impressive, sometimes touching. As a novel it simply does not come off. This ...

Kurt Waldheim’s Past

Gitta Sereny, 21 April 1988

Waldheim 
by Luc Rosenzweig and Bernard Cohen.
Robson, 192 pp., £12.95, March 1988, 0 86051 506 0
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Waldheim: The Missing Years 
by Robert Edwin Herzstein.
Grafton, 303 pp., £12.95, April 1988, 0 246 13381 3
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... their right to voice these irrational opinions. I have battled in print against people like David Irving (Hitler’s War), who misuse history to advance their dangerous ideologies, and, at the other end of the scale, men like Martin Gray (For those I loved), who use these appalling events for self-aggrandisement. Interestingly, nobody minds much about ...

More a Voyeur

Colm Tóibín: Elton Took Me Hostage, 19 December 2019

Me 
by Elton John.
Macmillan, 376 pp., £25, October 2019, 978 1 5098 5331 1
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... lit, but the space around him was black. He could easily have been someone’s answer to Leonard Cohen, the songwriter as lonely, fucked-up guy. He looked like a recluse, introspective, overeducated; his voice sounded weird, the accent fake American. At the time, it took me ages to work out that the opening two words of ‘Border Song’ were ‘Holy ...

The Great Lie

Charles Glass: Israel, 30 November 2000

The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World 
by Avi Shlaim.
Allen Lane, 670 pp., £25, April 2000, 9780713994100
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Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-1999 
by Benny Morris.
Murray, 752 pp., £25, January 2000, 0 7195 6222 8
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A Blood-Dimmed Tide: Dispatches from the Middle East 
by Amos Elon.
Allen Lane, 354 pp., £20, August 2000, 0 7139 9368 5
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Fabricating Israeli History: The ‘New Historians’ 
by Efraim Karsh.
Frank Cass, 236 pp., £39.50, May 2000, 0 7146 5011 0
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From Herzl to Rabin: The Changing Image of Zionism 
by Amnon Rubinstein.
Holmes & Meier, 283 pp., £25, October 2000, 0 8419 1408 7
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... After. That work made nonsense of the notion, fostered by Israel’s dynamic first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, and his acolytes, that ‘Israel’s leaders sought desperately to make peace with one or all of the Arab states but the Arabs, hell-bent on the destruction of Israel, turned down these overtures and repaid this goodwill with continued ...

Which Face?

Sheila Fitzpatrick: Emigrés on the Make, 6 February 2020

Cold War Exiles and the CIA: Plotting to Free Russia 
by Benjamin Tromly.
Oxford, 329 pp., £75, September 2019, 978 0 19 884040 4
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The Dissidents: A Memoir of Working with the Resistance in Russia, 1960-90 
by Peter Reddaway.
Brookings, 337 pp., £25.50, February, 978 0 8157 3773 5
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... Bolsheviks’ old opponents in the Marxist revolutionary movement) such as Boris Nikolaevsky, David Dalin and Rafael Abramovich – and Alexander Kerensky, the leader of the Russian Provisional government overthrown by the Bolsheviks in 1917. When Nikolaevsky and Dalin visited the DP camps in Germany, Russian DPs anxiously waiting for US visas saw them as ...

From Pandemonium

Elizabeth Cook: Poetry wrested from mud, 1 September 2005

The Poems and Plays of Isaac Rosenberg 
edited by Vivien Noakes.
Oxford, 427 pp., £90, August 2004, 0 19 818715 7
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... but it did not fundamentally change its course. Like that of his longer lived contemporary David Jones (born five years after Rosenberg, in 1895), Rosenberg’s writing displays a sense of the continuity between a past passionately experienced through poetry and spiritual tradition, and a nearly intolerable present. Rosenberg’s parents were Russian ...

How to Get Screwed

David Runciman, 6 June 2019

The Mueller Report: Presented With Related Materials by the ‘Washington Post’ 
Simon and Schuster, 736 pp., £12.99, May 2019, 978 1 4711 8617 2Show More
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... to betray him in even worse ways than Sessions, above all his one-time lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, whom the Mueller team managed to turn. In the end, Mueller decides that Trump’s style of politics is not a get-out when it comes to obstruction: Many of the president’s acts directed at witnesses, including discouragement of co-operation with the ...

Sink or Skim

Michael Wood: ‘The Alexandria Quartet’, 1 January 2009

Justine 
by Lawrence Durrell.
Folio Society, 203 pp., £19.95, January 2009
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Balthazar 
by Lawrence Durrell.
Folio Society, 198 pp., £19.95, January 2009
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Mountolive 
by Lawrence Durrell.
Folio Society, 263 pp., £19.95, January 2009
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Clea 
by Lawrence Durrell.
Folio Society, 241 pp., £19.95, January 2009
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... Copts on religious grounds.’ The accusation is that the British – the speech is addressed to David Mountolive, later to be his majesty’s ambassador to Egypt – have never understood any of this, and can’t tell one Arab from another. The person killed at the carnival was mistaken for Justine, and the person whose funeral we witness is Nessim’s ...

American Breakdown

David Bromwich, 2 August 2018

... Almost a dozen advisers, helpers, cronies and fixers have been investigated – Manafort, Stone, Cohen, Papadopoulos, Kushner, Trump Jr, Page and Flynn, among others – but Trump may have given them a free hand with Russia while keeping himself plausibly in the dark. We now know that Manafort made $60 million working for the pro-Russian President Yanukovych ...

Still Superior

Mark Greif: Sex and Susan Sontag, 12 February 2009

Reborn: Early Diaries, 1947-64 
by Susan Sontag, edited by David Rieff.
Hamish Hamilton, 318 pp., £16.99, January 2009, 978 0 241 14431 2
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... where they dine with his new colleagues from Brandeis. Sontag has given birth to a son, David. She studies for masters’ degrees in literature and philosophy at Harvard. Herbert Marcuse boards in their house. The tone is one of new maturity in a high-toned world, but there are also floods of tears, feelings of imprisonment, the need to die or ...
... a champion of privatisation, attributes the dropping of the ‘re-’ to a fellow Conservative, David Howell, one of the back-room Tory ideas men tinkering obscurely with economic models while Edward Heath and Harold Wilson squared off against the unions in the 1960s and 1970s. (Howell was Thatcher’s first energy minister. He is now Baron Howell of ...

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