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Brief Encounters

Andrew O’Hagan: Gielgud and Redgrave, 5 August 2004

Gielgud's Letters 
edited by Richard Mangan.
Weidenfeld, 564 pp., £20, March 2004, 0 297 82989 0
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Secret Dreams: A Biography of Michael Redgrave 
by Alan Strachan.
Weidenfeld, 484 pp., £25, April 2004, 0 297 60764 2
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... audiences howling into their tumblers for years. To someone like me who grew up thinking Kenneth Williams was the perfect English gentleman (and imagining Russell Harty and Lily Savage to be the perfect Northern blokes), the words of Norman Tebbit are not just mad in the way you’d expect from him, but also profoundly at odds with something ...

At Hyde Park Corner

Jonathan Meades: The Bomber Command Memorial , 25 October 2012

... John Frayn Turner’s Prisoner at Large and Richard Pape’s Boldness Be My Friend; of black and white films whose retrospective propaganda might have been designed to blunt the privations of rationing and the ennui of stasis. It is that simplistic and often infantile postwar evocation of the Second World War which infects this memorial. We live in the Age ...

At the V&A

Peter Campbell: Penguin’s 70th birthday, 2 June 2005

... has had a long life, in art college reading lists in particular; a more active one certainly than Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation, to which it was an indirect riposte. Schmoller’s anger was misplaced. He might have loathed the look, but here at least was a book which was all of a piece. In 1972, the battle for the visual integrity of Penguin paperbacks was ...

First Puppet, Now Scapegoat

Inigo Thomas: Ass-Chewing in Washington, 30 November 2006

State of Denial: Bush at War 
by Bob Woodward.
Simon and Schuster, 560 pp., £18.99, October 2006, 0 7432 9566 8
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... been so. Woodward’s first Watergate article wasn’t about the scandal named after the huge, white, swirling 1960s complex beside the Potomac. It was about one of the building’s better-known residents, Martha Mitchell, wife of then US attorney general John Mitchell, soon to leave that post to become head of Nixon’s Committee to Re-Elect the ...

God’s Own

Angus Calder, 12 March 1992

Empire and English Character 
by Kathryn Tidrick.
Tauris, 338 pp., £24.95, August 1990, 1 85043 191 4
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Into Africa: The story of the East African Safari 
by Kenneth Cameron.
Constable, 229 pp., £14.95, June 1990, 0 09 469770 1
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Burton: Snow upon the Desert 
by Frank McLynn.
Murray, 428 pp., £19.95, September 1990, 0 7195 4818 7
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From the Sierras to the Pampas: Richard Burton’s Travels in the Americas, 1860-69 
by Frank McLynn.
Barrie and Jenkins, 258 pp., £16.99, July 1991, 0 7126 3789 3
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The Duke of Puddle Dock: Travels in the Footsteps of Stamford Raffles 
by Nigel Barley.
Viking, 276 pp., £16.99, March 1992, 0 670 83642 7
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... of decolonised Harare is remarkable testimony to the charisma attached to the myth of the doughty white man worming into the core of a dark continent. Uganda, which Speke ‘discovered’, had indeed been remote from European knowledge. On the other hand, when he and Burton went to Lake Tanganyika, they had been on a track well beaten by Arab slavers, and ...

Watch this man

Pankaj Mishra: Niall Ferguson’s Burden, 3 November 2011

Civilisation: The West and the Rest 
by Niall Ferguson.
Allen Lane, 402 pp., £25, March 2011, 978 1 84614 273 4
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... The Rise of the Colored Empires by this man Goddard? … The idea is if we don’t look out the white race will be – will be utterly submerged.’ ‘Tom’s getting very profound,’ his wife Daisy remarks. Buchanan carries on: ‘This fellow has worked out the whole thing. It’s up to us, who are the dominant race, to watch out or these other races ...

The Common Touch

Paul Foot, 10 November 1994

Hanson: A Biography 
by Alex Brummer and Roger Cowe.
Fourth Estate, 336 pp., £20, September 1994, 1 85702 189 4
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... these matters his new partner, who has stayed with him for the whole of his business life, Gordon White, boasted to a Sunday Mirror gossip columnist: ‘Why should I marry? I don’t need anyone to look after me. I’ve got a good housekeeper to darn my socks, sew on my buttons and cook my meals.’ White managed to ...

Beauty + Terror

Kevin Kopelson: Robert Mapplethorpe, 30 June 2016

Robert Mapplethorpe: The Archive 
by Frances Terpak and Michelle Brunnick.
Getty Research Institute, 240 pp., £32.50, March 2016, 978 1 60606 470 2
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Robert Mapplethorpe: The Photographs 
by Paul Martineau and Britt Salvesen.
Getty Museum, 340 pp., £40, March 2016, 978 1 60606 469 6
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... for you; and awe, if not also envy, of the almost impossible beauty of these men – all of them white men – shown naked on the page. Self-portrait for the ‘Don’t Touch Here’ exhibition announcement by Robert Mapplethorpe (1973) If you were also very shy, as Robert Mapplethorpe was (born in 1946, he was in the 1960s still a very young artist ...

Mendacious Flowers

Martin Jay: Clinton Baiting, 29 July 1999

All too Human: A Political Education 
by George Stephanopoulos.
Hutchinson, 456 pp., £17.99, March 1999, 0 09 180063 3
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No One Left to Lie to: The Triangulations of William Jefferson Clinton 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Verso, 122 pp., £12, May 1999, 1 85984 736 6
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... over the cynical spinmeister. The impeachment scandal, he confesses, made his entire time at the White House ‘seem more like an experience to be explained than an adventure to be celebrated’. Although his fallen idol, unlike Hitchens’s entirely ignoble demon, still has some virtues to balance his flaws and ought not to be accused of abusing his ...

Give me the man

Stephen Holmes: The pursuit of Clinton, 18 March 1999

Sexual McCarthyism: Clinton, Starr and the Emerging Constitutional Crisis 
by Alan Dershowitz.
Basic Books, 275 pp., £15.95, January 1999, 0 465 01628 6
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The Case against Lameduck Impeachment 
by Bruce Ackerman.
Seven Stories, 80 pp., $8, February 1999, 1 58322 004 6
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... opponent without the slightest regard for the intentions of the Framers. The Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr accused Clinton of prurience and abuse of power when it often seemed that he, Starr, was guiltier of both than Clinton. And religious conservatives who usually complain bitterly about the way smut is made promiscuously available to children eagerly ...

At Pallant House

Rosemary Hill: Victor Pasmore, 20 April 2017

... With Coldstream he became a founder of the Euston Road School, and financial support from Kenneth Clark, then the innovative young director of the National Gallery, allowed him to give up the day job. This is where the Pallant House exhibition begins. Pasmore’s Post-Impressionist canvases have titles, Window, Finsbury Park or The Palace ...

Hogshit and Chickenshit

Michael Rogin, 1 August 1996

Washington Babylon 
by Alexander Cockburn and Ken Silverstein.
Verso, 316 pp., £31.95, May 1996, 1 85984 092 2
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... fall of George (‘Desert Storm’) Bush, the collapse that put the Arkansas Governor in the White House in the first place. Newt Gingrich rode the Contract with America to victory in 1994, giving Republicans their first control of the House of Representatives under a Democratic president since 1946, and their first control of both houses of Congress ...

Sweetly Terminal

Edward Pearce, 5 August 1993

Diaries 
by Alan Clark.
Weidenfeld, 421 pp., £20, June 1993, 0 297 81352 8
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... of touch’ (yeah) I am, will lose my seat, SDP wave of the future, usual balls. Actually, little White (Ambassador to Chile) isn’t so bad. A bit guarded, but that’s probably down to the secret FCO biog. which precedes me at all destinations. I am not getting on with his wife though. There is this certain type of woman who simultaneously demands that you ...

Short Cuts

Inigo Thomas: At the Ladbroke Arms, 22 February 2018

... Some of the men who incited the riots in Notting Hill in 1958 were placed in them – those young white men known as Teddy Boys. The riots were the inspiration for Oswald Mosley to run as a candidate for North Kensington in the 1959 general election, and he spoke during the campaign about the repatriation of the West Indians living in Notting Hill. He lost ...

At the V&A

Rosemary Hill: Constable , 23 October 2014

... of Constable that flatters posterity by seeming to point to Post-Impressionism and abstraction. Kenneth Clark also thought that the sketches had a ‘force of sensation’, but found the finished oils a ‘bore’. John Berger took the opposite view, that the completed works were rich in brilliant light effects, but the sketches were weakened by vague ...

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