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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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... had laughed. He did not look jovial and fatherly, as Kenyatta did, or twinkle with irony in the manner of Julius Nyerere, or betray an agreeable weakness for the high life in the manner of Tom Mboya. He did not even show ‘nobility’ in the European tradition, which Nelson Mandela would show in 1962 when he spoke to his ...

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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... world for ever. Always curious, investigating everything we set eyes on, sniffing into nooks and crannies; but always detached, not putting down roots anywhere, not staying long enough to discover what lay beneath things: the surface was enough.’ ‘You don’t have to work – the women do everything – you can just eat and sleep and keep them happy ...

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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... to opposing voices, one in each ear. Both start by telling you that Fry and Bell, ferrying Cézanne, Matisse and Picasso to London with their Post-Impressionist Exhibitions of 1910 and 1912, made a beachhead for ‘Modernism’ in England. It then follows – one voice says – that their painter colleagues, Bell and Grant, were the vanguard fighting to ...

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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... the Gurkhas is a trick his grandmother taught him as a treat, when he was a child. Marquez’s granny was not Indian or Nepalese but she knew a lot – if not enough to tell a Gurkha from a sepoy, at least how to tell a lie. ‘I am capable of saying the most atrocious, the most fantastic things, with a completely straight face,’ Garcia Marquez said in an ...

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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... the country’s oil.Chávez​ was born in 1954, in Sabaneta, a village in the llanos, a vast savannah that rises into the Andes to the south. Oil, which was first discovered in Venezuela in 1914 and has intoxicated the country’s politics ever since, is found elsewhere, around the Caribbean’s Lake Maracaibo in the north, or east along the tropical ...
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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... British artists held at the Tate in the last seven or 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 ...

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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... without undue personal affliction, reducing to a minimum interference with a preferred manner of life. Of course there have always been troughs in Powell’s writing, moments when the verve goes, and the awkward sentences seem to proceed without the benefit of their owner’s attention. But the above passage is not a trough. It is a careful thicket ...

Heir to Blair

Christopher Tayler: Among the New Tories

26 April 2007
... A press officer cut in. ‘He’s a Devon farmer, who set up an amazing social programme, which Channel 4 did a documentary on, to help underprivileged black kids from inner cities escape to the countryside, so a bit like working farms or city farms …’ ‘It’s a great story,’ the MP said. ‘Came to England aged three from Jamaica. Grew up in sort of ...

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