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The crocodiles gathered

Neal Ascherson: Patrice Lumumba, 4 October 2001

The Assassination of Lumumba 
by Ludo De Witte, translated by Ann Wright and Renée Fenby.
Verso, 224 pp., £17, July 2001, 1 85984 618 1
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... diplomacy’. And most of them were Belgian.De Witte’s book, ably translated by Ann Wright and Renée Fenby, is preoccupied with the Belgian role in Lumumba’s fall and death. This narrowness of focus is very necessary and welcome. As Adam Hochschild found when he came to write King Leopold’s Ghost,* the obduracy and arrogance of ...

Furibundo de la Serna

Laurence Whitehead, 2 November 1995

The Motorcycle Diaries: A Journey around South America 
by Ernesto Che Guevara, translated by Ann Wright.
Verso, 155 pp., £19.95, June 1995, 1 85984 942 3
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Che Guevara 
by Jean Cormier, with Hilda Guevara and Alberto Grando.
Editions du Rocher, 448 pp., frs 139, August 1995, 2 268 01967 5
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Journal de Bolivie 
by Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, translated by Fanchita Gonzalez- Batlle and France Binard.
La Découverte, 256 pp., frs 120, August 1995, 2 7071 2482 6
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L’Année ou nous n’étions nulle part: Extraits du journal de Che Guevara en Afrique 
edited by Paco Ignacio Taibo, Froilán Escóbar and Félix Guerra, translated by Mara Hernandez and René Solis.
Métaillié, 281 pp., frs 120, September 1995, 2 86424 205 2
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... Ernesto Guevara de la Serna found what his life was for in July 1955, in Mexico City. It was there, at the age of 27, that he met Raúl Castro, who introduced him to his older brother, Fidel. The Argentine doctor joined a motley band of Cuban expeditionaries in the near-suicidal landing (or sinking) of the Granma in a mangrove swamp at the eastern end of the island ...

At Tranquilina’s Knee

G. Cabrera Infante, 2 June 1983

The Fragrance of Guava: Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza in conversation with Gabriel Garcia Marquez 
translated by Ann Wright.
Verso, 126 pp., £9.95, May 1983, 0 86091 065 2
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... To judge by the reaction of some of his staunchest admirers, many readers of Gabriel Garcia Marquez were truly taken aback by what he wrote about the alleged behaviour of British troops in the trenches during the Little War for the Falklands. It’s surprising, however, that most of his disenchanted fans live not in England but in Spain, where the offending article appeared ...

Unreal Food Uneaten

Julian Bell: Sitting for Vanessa, 13 April 2000

The Art of Bloomsbury 
edited by Richard Shone.
Tate Gallery, 388 pp., £35, November 1999, 1 85437 296 3
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First Friends 
by Ronald Blythe.
Viking, 157 pp., £25, October 1999, 0 670 88613 0
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Bloomsbury in France 
by Mary Ann Caws and Sarah Bird Wright.
Oxford, 430 pp., £25, December 1999, 0 19 511752 2
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... from the correspondents. In contrast to this testimony of passion for English landscape, Mary Ann Caws and Sarah Bird Wright document their theme by trawling the letters of the Woolfs, the Stracheys, the Bells et al for French references. The result is easier to browse than to read right through (they’ve failed to ...

Down from the Mountain

Greg Grandin: What Happened to Venezuela?, 28 June 2017

Chávez: My First Life 
by Hugo Chávez and Ignacio Ramonet, translated by Ann Wright.
Verso, 544 pp., £30, August 2016, 978 1 78478 383 9
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... By the end​ of the last century, Venezuela’s old constitutional order, which for four decades had rotated power between two ideologically indistinguishable parties, was close to collapse. The crisis had started decades earlier, in 1983, when the bottom fell out of the world oil market. Then, as now, Venezuela derived most of its state revenue from the export of petroleum ...

Constable’s Plenty

John Barrell, 15 August 1991

Constable 
by Leslie Parris and Ian Fleming-Williams.
Tate Gallery, 544 pp., £45, June 1991, 1 85437 071 5
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Romatic Ecology: Wordsworth and the Environmental Tradition 
by Jonathan Bate.
Routledge, 131 pp., £8.99, May 1991, 0 415 06116 4
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... eight years – George Stubbs in 1984; Manners and Morals: Hogarth and British Painting in 1987; Wright of Derby last year. None of these was quite as blandly factual as Constable, nor so studiously innocent of the desire to situate the objects on display within a context wider than the work of the artist himself. But together they produce the sense that a ...

Chances are

Michael Wood, 7 July 1983

O, How the wheel becomes it! 
by Anthony Powell.
Heinemann, 143 pp., £6.95, June 1983, 0 434 59925 5
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Brilliant Creatures 
by Clive James.
Cape, 303 pp., £7.95, July 1983, 0 224 02122 2
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Pomeroy 
by Gordon Williams.
Joseph, 233 pp., £7.95, June 1983, 0 7181 2259 3
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... costumes and allusions and games (‘The Millers couldn’t make it ... Glenn, Arthur, Henry and Ann.’ ‘The Coopers couldn’t make it. Gary, Gladys, Fenimore and Diana’). The writing is full of the glitter that Powell has so assiduously fended off, if indeed it assailed him. James himself is up on a tightrope of style, wobbling away, relentlessly ...

Heir to Blair

Christopher Tayler: Among the New Tories, 26 April 2007

... and columnists were not slow to take him up. ‘This week Goliath strode into battle,’ Mary Ann Sieghart wrote in the Times, meaning Davis. ‘We don’t yet know whether young David has fatally felled his hitherto invincible foe, but if he has, his weapons were flair, freshness, bravery and a genuine feel for contemporary politics.’ Beyond this lay ...

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