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Father Figures

Marguerite Alexander, 1 September 1983

A Journey in Ladakh 
by Andrew Harvey.
Cape, 236 pp., £8.50, May 1983, 0 224 02056 0
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All of us There 
by Polly Devlin.
Weidenfeld, 200 pp., £7.95, June 1983, 9780297782247
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The Far Side of the Lough: Stories from an Irish Childhood 
by Polly Devlin and Ian Newsham.
Gollancz, 118 pp., £5.50, June 1983, 0 575 03244 8
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... region under Kashmiri control which lies between India, Tibet and Pakistan, becomes the object of Andrew Harvey’s quest after he is told by a young Frenchman in Delhi that ‘the mountains of Ladakh have been the setting for Buddhist meditation since three centuries before Christ was born.’ Less spoiled than more accessible Buddhist centres like ...

Turf Wars

Andrew Sugden: Grass, 14 November 2002

The Forgiveness of Nature: The Story of Grass 
by Graham Harvey.
Vintage, 372 pp., £7.99, September 2002, 0 09 928366 2
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... and the history of the lawnmower, and firmly rooted in tradition and organic farming. Graham Harvey quite possibly contributes more to agricultural awareness than any other person in Britain. It is through him that many of us learn about rotations with red clover, the pros and cons of subsidies, even the health benefits of conjugated linoleic acids in ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: The Oscars, 26 February 2009

... Sean Penn, who is also nominated for Best Actor) is about the San Francisco gay rights martyr Harvey Milk; The Reader is a Holocaust drama laced with a coming-of-age narrative; Slumdog Millionaire, as Michael Wood said rather beautifully in the last issue, is about the ‘war on error’, revealing the desperate but ultimately triumphant lives of a group ...


Andrew O’Hagan, 14 December 1995

Oswald’s Tale: An American Mystery 
by Norman Mailer.
Little, Brown, 791 pp., £25, September 1995, 0 316 87620 8
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... anything but slow on the uptake, knew they might tell us something we needed to know about Lee Harvey Oswald, perhaps the most mysterious and most tragic American figure in the age of Schiller. If the gods of reason were attentive, it would make sense for him to be reunited with his sparring partner and sometime mate, Norman Mailer. Surely, if he was to ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: Jeffrey Epstein’s Little Black Book, 15 August 2019

... Epstein as her abuser but claiming she’d also been told to have sex with his friends Prince Andrew and Alan Dershowitz. Who were the ‘potential co-conspirators’ granted immunity under the Florida plea bargain? All the named parties have denied the allegations, but the question of ‘Jeffrey’s friends’ is now at the heart of the case. The ...

On and Off the Scene

Jessamy Harvey, 6 February 1997

edited by Mark Simpson.
Cassell, 163 pp., £9.99, September 1996, 0 304 33144 9
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... hanging out and what to talk about once I got there. Now I keep meeting – to borrow the title of Andrew Sullivan’s book – virtually normal men and women and wondering what all the fuss was about. Sometimes we have things in common, and sometimes we don’t. Mark Simpson, along with most of the media, portrays a gay collective which can be defined in a ...

Coughing Out Slogans

Andrew O’Hagan: DeLillo tunes out, 3 December 2020

The Silence 
by Don DeLillo.
Picador, 117 pp., £14.99, October, 978 1 5290 5709 6
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... fictions. Last spring, the New Yorker ran a story called ‘White Noise’ by Emma Cline, in which Harvey Weinstein is staying at a friend’s house in Connecticut. It is the day before his trial and he pads into the garden, where he sees the man next door, dressed in old-fashioned pyjamas, picking up his newspaper. He is Don DeLillo. The men exchange ...

Denizens of Baghdad’s Green Zone, take note

Andrew Bacevich: America’s Forgotten General, 20 April 2006

Leonard Wood: Rough Rider, Surgeon, Architect of American Imperialism 
by Jack McCallum.
New York, 368 pp., $34.95, December 2005, 0 8147 5699 9
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... Wood died in 1927, not in Manila but in a Boston hospital, as a team led by the famous surgeon Harvey Cushing botched an attempt to excise a brain tumour. McCallum, himself a doctor, describes the operation in gory detail: ‘When Cushing pulled the last of the tumour from under the bone, the great vein tore and the haemorrhage was incontrollable. Cushing ...

Scandal in Pittsburgh

David Nasaw: Andrew Mellon, 19 July 2007

Mellon: An American Life 
by David Cannadine.
Allen Lane, 779 pp., £30, November 2006, 0 7139 9508 4
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... There is nothing so enervating,’ Andrew Carnegie wrote in 1891, ‘nothing so deadly in its effects upon the qualities which lead to the highest achievement, moral or intellectual, as hereditary wealth.’ Boys born with silver spoons in their mouths, Carnegie said, were likely to choke on them. To spare them from ruin, and society from being despoiled by dynastic wealth, he argued for a nearly 100 per cent tax rate on large estates ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Basingstoke’s Paisleyite, 21 April 2005

... been discounted it wouldn’t have made any difference: the new Conservative MP for Basingstoke, Andrew Hunter, would just have been elected with a majority of 12,451 rather than 12,450. Hunter won’t be seeking re-election in May, having seen his majority – which peaked in 1992 at 21,198, making Basingstoke an apparently unassailable Tory stronghold ...


Peter Barham: Henry Cotton, 18 August 2005

Madhouse: A Tragic Tale of Megalomania and Modern Medicine 
by Andrew Scull.
Yale, 360 pp., £18.95, May 2005, 0 300 10729 3
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... ill and to modernise the discipline of psychiatry, just as surgery had been brought up to date. Andrew Scull’s splendid new book, entertaining and disturbing in equal measure, is an account of the career of Henry Aloysius Cotton, an ebullient, ambitious American psychiatrist who met this challenge. Scull, whose usual territory is British asylums of the ...


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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... 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 my little TV, where the picture was jumpy at first, was Jack Kerouac. He was sitting up at a white piano, and Steve Allen tinkled away at the ...

The Obdurate Knoll

Colin Kidd: The Obdurate Knoll, 1 December 2011

Then Everything Changed: Stunning Alternate Histories of American Politics: JFK, RFK, Carter, Ford, Reagan 
by Jeff Greenfield.
Putnam, 434 pp., £20.25, March 2011, 978 0 399 15706 6
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by Stephen King.
Hodder, 740 pp., £19.99, November 2011, 978 1 4447 2729 6
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... seems to have been a dysfunctional misfit. Of course, the assassination had puzzling aspects: Lee Harvey Oswald’s lengthy stay in the Soviet Union during some of the hottest years of the Cold War; the unlikely trajectory of one of the three bullets fired from the Texas School Book Depository, the ‘magic bullet’ which passed through the president’s ...

Not Mackintosh

Chris Miele, 6 April 1995

‘Greek’ Thomson 
edited by Gavin Stamp and Sam McKinstry.
Edinburgh, 249 pp., £35, September 1994, 0 7486 0480 4
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... unqualified admiration for Thomas Hamilton’s Royal High School in Edinburgh (1825-9) and Harvey Elmes’s St George’s Hall in Liverpool (begun in 1841). His own Caledonian Road Church and Moray Place display more imagination than even these works, with many details that seem to have no precedent, except in books. Thomson himself freely admitted his ...

Short Cuts

Amjad Iraqi: Anti-BDS Law, 19 July 2018

... Wisconsin and New York have already issued such orders. After signing his, in June 2016, Andrew Cuomo declared in the Washington Post: ‘If you boycott Israel, New York will boycott you.’ It isn’t just that those who participate in or help enable boycotts are boycotted themselves, or criminalised; people with no connection to activism are also ...

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