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Havana, 1968

Andrew Sinclair, 29 June 2017

... His declared name was Carlos. ‘We are so glad that you are giving your son to the Revolution, Dr Sinclair.’ ‘If it is a son.’ ‘He will be. And he will fight for the Revolution.’ ‘Yes,’ I said. ‘For the Revolution. The revolution in my country, which needs it even more than yours. We are still capitalists, you see.’ Carlos looked at me with ...

Molehunt

Christopher Andrew, 22 January 1987

Sword and Shield: Soviet Intelligence and Security Apparatus 
by Jeffrey Richelson.
Harper and Row, 279 pp., £11.95, February 1986, 0 88730 035 9
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The Red and the Blue: Intelligence, Treason and the University 
by Andrew Sinclair.
Weidenfeld, 240 pp., £12.95, June 1986, 0 297 78866 3
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Inside Stalin’s Secret Police: NKVD Politics 1936-39 
by Robert Conquest.
Macmillan, 222 pp., £25, January 1986, 0 333 39260 4
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Conspiracy of Silence: The Secret Life of Anthony Blunt 
by Barrie Penrose and Simon Freeman.
Grafton, 588 pp., £14.95, November 1986, 0 246 12200 5
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... encountered what he called the ‘social hierarchy’ in which Burgess and Blunt moved so easily. Andrew Sinclair helps to cut the moles down to size. The real intellectual élite in inter-war Cambridge, he reminds us, were not the moles or their contemporaries (mostly from the arts faculties) in the Apostles but the brilliant scientists at the Cavendish ...

Jack and Leo

John Sutherland, 27 July 1989

The Letters of Jack London 
edited by Earle Labor, Robert Leitz and Milo Shepard.
Stanford, 1657 pp., $139.50, October 1988, 0 8047 1227 1
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Tolstoy 
by A.N. Wilson.
Hamish Hamilton, 572 pp., £16.95, May 1988, 0 241 12190 6
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... in 1975. Just before his death, he had given encouragement to a British would-be biographer, Andrew Sinclair. On Irving’s death, Sinclair found himself dealing with Milo Shepard, whose policy with scholars, though notably less restrictive than his father’s and Charmian’s, has not been entirely open-handed ...

The Strange Case of Peter Vansittart

Martin Seymour-Smith, 6 March 1986

Aspects of Feeling 
by Peter Vansittart.
Peter Owen, 251 pp., £10.95, January 1986, 0 7206 0637 3
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... singled out for praise by critics as diverse as Philip Toynbee, Francis King, Angus Wilson and Andrew Sinclair. All feel that he lacks the large audience he deserves. Yet the curious reader, anxious to gain more information about this somewhat enigmatic writer, of undoubted power (and above all vision), may easily find himself defeated. He is not even ...

Dogface

Ian Hamilton, 28 September 1989

Wartime: Understanding and Behaviour in the Second World War 
by Paul Fussell.
Oxford, 330 pp., £15, September 1989, 0 19 503797 9
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War like a Wasp: The Lost Decade of the Forties 
by Andrew Sinclair.
Hamish Hamilton, 312 pp., £17.95, October 1989, 0 241 12531 6
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... Tell that to the Marines. Paul Fussell’s book from time to time seems hasty and ill-judged. Andrew Sinclair’s War like a Wasp reads as if it was composed in an air-raid shelter, under heavy bombardment. On its jacket we read that Sinclair’s ‘involvement with his childhood and adolescence in Britain has led ...

One for the road

Ian Hamilton, 21 March 1991

Memoirs 
by Kingsley Amis.
Hutchinson, 346 pp., £16.99, March 1991, 0 09 174533 0
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... benignly if, when given the chance, they had evinced a surer grasp of Kingsley’s stature. When Andrew Sinclair and James Michie are sniped at for being mean, for not picking up the tab, we get the feeling that Amis’s ire comes mainly from his not having been treated with sufficient deference. Surely it wasn’t just the money – and yet maybe it ...

Pods and Peds

Caroline Maclean: Iain Sinclair, 18 November 2004

Dining on Stones, or, The Middle Ground 
by Iain Sinclair.
Hamish Hamilton, 449 pp., £16.99, April 2004, 0 241 14236 9
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... It is best to read Iain Sinclair’s work out of the corner of your eye. The action takes place on the peripheries; it disintegrates if you concentrate too hard on the middle. Dining on Stones, a postmodern thriller for geeky pedestrians, doesn’t really have a story; Sinclair’s idea of a plot is a walk ...

Elective Outsiders

Jeremy Harding, 3 July 1997

Conductors of Chaos: A Poetry Anthology 
edited by Iain Sinclair.
Picador, 488 pp., £9.99, June 1996, 0 330 33135 3
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Nearly Too Much: The Poetry of J.H. Prynne 
by N.H. Reeve and Richard Kerridge.
Liverpool, 196 pp., £25, April 1996, 0 85323 840 5
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Carl Rakosi: Poems 1923-41 
edited by Andrew Crozier.
Sun & Moon, 209 pp., $12.99, August 1995, 1 55713 185 6
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The Objectivists 
edited by Andrew McAllister.
Bloodaxe, 156 pp., £8.95, May 1996, 1 85224 341 4
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... That Iain Sinclair, poet, essayist, impresario and weaver of arcane fictions, is one of the more generous spirits around is obvious from this brave, demanding and often flummoxing anthology. Thirty or forty poets are represented; most have remained in relative obscurity, partly because their work fell on deaf ears, partly because they believed in the notion of a mainstream which intellectual loyalties led them to disparage quicker than it could disparage them ...

Theophany

Frank Kermode: William Golding, 5 November 2009

William Golding: The Man Who Wrote ‘Lord of the Flies’ 
by John Carey.
Faber, 573 pp., £25, 0 571 23163 2
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... largely considered. Carey tells of a drunken assault on a Bob Dylan puppet belonging to the writer Andrew Sinclair and kept in his house, in a bedroom used by the Goldings. Waking in the night, Golding mistook the puppet for Satan, attacked it and buried it in the garden. There are other reports of barely credible drunken violence and insult. Sometimes it ...

Deadad

Iain Sinclair: On the Promenade, 17 August 2006

... I recognised this reverse asylum-seeker, at once, as the performance artist and memory-cannibal Andrew Kötting. Umlaut rising above the lunar o of his surname like a pair of ice-blue staring eyes, too mad to blink. There are only four Köttings to be found, so he tells me, in the United Kingdom phonebooks. If anyone is looking. This stretch of the South ...

Dummy and Biffy

Noël Annan, 17 October 1985

Secret Service: The Making of the British Intelligence Community 
by Christopher Andrew.
Heinemann, 616 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 434 02110 5
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The Secret Generation 
by John Gardner.
Heinemann, 453 pp., £9.95, August 1985, 0 434 28250 2
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Two Thyrds 
by Bertie Denham.
Ross Anderson Publications, 292 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 86360 006 9
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The Ultimate Enemy: British Intelligence and Nazi Germany 1933-1939 
by Wesley Wark.
Tauris, 304 pp., £19.50, October 1985, 1 85043 014 4
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... Hall, Biffy Dunderdale, Lousy Payne, Buster Milmo, Pay Sykes, Tar Robertson, Barmy Russel and Quex Sinclair (not to be confused with his successor but one, Sinbad Sinclair)? It’s no good reassuring the reader that in the transition from Victorian days, when men called even their closest friends by their surnames, to the ...

Diary

Iain Sinclair: London’s Lost Cinemas, 6 November 2014

... stalled in an improvised cab-rank because there were no free beds. That morning, I’d witnessed Andrew Marr wondering aloud if English politicians would ‘welsh’ on their Scottish promises. The three girls in front of us, exam results achieved, were weighing up, in very sensible terms, their academic futures. They had already decided against Oxford, but ...

At the Design Museum

Andrew O’Hagan: Peter Saville, 19 June 2003

... identity and seemed to consolidate the atmosphere around them. He is, you might say, the Iain Sinclair of album covers, a small-town Corbusier of layouts and logos, and anyone attentive to the development of British design since then will see his influence just about everywhere. Saville has worked for all sorts of client – fashion designer Yohji ...

Call a kid a zebra

Daniel Smith: On the Spectrum, 18 May 2016

In a Different Key: The Story of Autism 
by John Donvan and Caren Zucker.
Allen Lane, 670 pp., £25, January 2016, 978 1 84614 566 7
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NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and How to Think Smarter about People Who Think Differently 
by Steve Silberman.
Allen and Unwin, 534 pp., £9.99, February 2016, 978 1 76011 364 3
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... in the history of autism: the English gastroenterologist and ur-anti-vaccination advocate Andrew Wakefield. The General Medical Council struck him off the medical register in 2010 and his work has been discredited, but it took too many years for that to happen, and in the meantime he and his followers have caused an extraordinary amount of ...

Diary

Iain Sinclair: Thatcher in Gravesend, 9 May 2013

... council house sell-off and the Poll Tax. ‘She turned the country around,’ the council leader, Andrew Bowles, said. ‘It was going to the dogs.’ Down at the shoreline, Southend glinting on the horizon, the dogs have won. They skulk, shit on the sand, drag reluctant walkers against the gusting breeze. Concrete steps leading down to the beach have been ...

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