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At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Captain America: Civil War’, 16 June 2016

Captain America: Civil War 
directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo.
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... a biological weapon. Captain America is there, and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), War Machine (Don Cheadle), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen). Between them, they can fly, mechanically calibrate distances, drop bombs, kickbox like maniacs, and shoot fire from their fingers, but they have a hard time winning the day, and they do ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Avengers: Endgame’, 6 June 2019

... kind. This is where we wind up – or come close to winding up in Endgame – directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, the fourth Avengers film produced by Marvel Studios – the other two were Age of Ultron (2015) and Infinity War (2018). Josh Brolin, alias Thanos the Titan, having destroyed half the population of Earth in Infinity War, is finally put ...

Who’s in charge?

Chalmers Johnson: The Addiction to Secrecy, 6 February 2003

Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers 
by Daniel Ellsberg.
Viking, 498 pp., $29.95, October 2002, 0 670 03030 9
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... I decided I would stop concealing that myself.’ On 1 October 1969, aided by his Rand colleague Anthony Russo and using a primitive Xerox machine in the office of Russo’s friend Lynda Sinay, the owner of a small advertising agency, Ellsberg began his monumental task. Working through the night, he and his friends ...
By the Banks of the Neva: Chapters from the Lives and Careers of the British in 18th-Century Russia 
by Anthony Cross.
Cambridge, 496 pp., £60, November 1996, 0 521 55293 1
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... Britain has ever been taken for a Russian colony. In an earlier book, On the Banks of the Thames, Anthony Cross attempted something like a comprehensive account of ‘Russians in 18th-century Britain’. Their profile was modest. Cross started with Peter I’s celebrated visit of 1698. Of around four hundred compatriots who followed in his footsteps, most ...

Capos and Cardinals

Jonathan Steinberg, 17 August 1989

Fascism and the Mafia 
by Christopher Duggan.
Yale, 322 pp., £19.95, January 1989, 0 300 04372 4
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A Thief in the Night: The Death of Pope John Paul I 
by John Cornwell.
Viking, 301 pp., £14.95, May 1989, 0 670 82387 2
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... in New York exist, men with names like Antonio ‘Tony Ducks’ Corallo of the Lucchese, or Anthony ‘Fat Tony’ Salerno of the Genovese. The hundreds of corpses left on mean streets in Palermo, Naples or Brooklyn exist too. But is there a Mafia with rules and regulations, based on secret initiation rites, linked by ceremonies and blood oaths? Dr ...

Good Activist, Bad Activist

Adam Mars-Jones: ACT UP grows up, 29 July 2021

Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987-93 
by Sarah Schulman.
Farrar, Straus, 736 pp., £30.99, June, 978 0 374 18513 8
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... quarter-century, for those with access to them, have held the progression of Aids in check. Dr Anthony Fauci’s stock rises and falls over the course of the book; he is seen by at least one contributor as preoccupied with his own glory. As director of the National Institutes of Health he was willing to respond to phone calls and to have meetings with ...

Supermac’s Apprenticeship

Ian Gilmour, 24 November 1988

Macmillan 1894-1956 
by Alistair Horne.
Macmillan, 537 pp., £16.95, October 1988, 0 333 27691 4
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... Macmillan’s rival, Rab Butler, chose a biographer from outside his own party, but his and Anthony Howard’s political outlooks may have been closer to each other than Mr Horne’s and Macmillan’s ‘not very good’ Toryisms. After an undistinguished three years at Eton, a first in Mods at Oxford, a flirtation with Rome together with Ronnie Knox, a ...

Spying made easy

M.F. Perutz, 25 June 1987

Klaus Fuchs: The man who stole the atom bomb 
by Norman Moss.
Grafton, 216 pp., £12.95, April 1987, 0 246 13158 6
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... Edinburgh, wrote about Fuchs: ‘He never concealed that he was a convinced communist. During the Russo-Finnish war everyone’s sympathies in our department were with the Finns, while Fuchs was passionately pro-Russian.’ On the other hand, Peierls had no idea that Fuchs was a Communist. When Fuchs finally confessed, he seems to have had no idea that he had ...

’Oly, ’Oly, ’Oly

D.A.N. Jones, 20 December 1990

From Early Life 
by William Cooper.
Macmillan, 180 pp., £13.95, August 1990, 0 333 52367 9
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Son of Adam 
by Denis Forman.
Deutsch, 201 pp., £12.99, September 1990, 9780233985930
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A Welsh Childhood 
by Alice Thomas Ellis and Patrick Sutherland.
Joseph, 186 pp., £15.99, September 1990, 0 7181 3292 0
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Alarms and Excursions: Thirty Years in Israel 
by Naomi Shepherd.
Collins, 220 pp., £16, August 1990, 0 00 215333 5
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Birds of Ill Omen 
by Marie Seurat, translated by Dorothy Blair.
Quartet, 168 pp., £10.95, September 1990, 0 7043 2694 9
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... to remember what you were wearing.’ She was the daughter of Liverpool people, a Welshwoman and a Russo-Finn: her father belonged to a Positivist sect, called the Church of Humanity, and her mother to the Church in Wales. The young Alice used to attend the English Congregational Church and read the lesson in Welsh. However, she was friendly to a Franciscan ...

Demonising Nationalism

Tom Nairn, 25 February 1993

... scenario were to unfold – what Misha Glenny calls a ‘Third Balkan War’ or a Russo-Ukrainian war over the Crimea, or the break-up of the Indian state, or whatever – the consequences would not, by the standards of 1948 to 1988, be all that serious. Nobody would have to worry about taking refuge on another planet. Almost by definition ...

Different Speeds, Same Furies

Perry Anderson: Powell v. Proust, 19 July 2018

Anthony Powell: Dancing to the Music of Time 
by Hilary Spurling.
Hamish Hamilton, 509 pp., £25, October 2017, 978 0 241 14383 4
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... Amis has been encased in an obese 995 pages from Zachary Leader. Hilary Spurling’s Life of Anthony Powell breaks with this pattern. The longest-lived of all significant novelists of the last century, his 94 years are covered in fewer than 450 pages of text. In part, that’s because she confines the final quarter of his life to the briefest of ...

Moderation or Death

Christopher Hitchens: Isaiah Berlin, 26 November 1998

Isaiah Berlin: A Life 
by Michael Ignatieff.
Chatto, 386 pp., £20, October 1998, 0 7011 6325 9
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The Guest from the Future: Anna Akhmatova and Isaiah Berlin 
by György Dalos.
Murray, 250 pp., £17.95, September 2002, 0 7195 5476 4
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... would ever offer, when pressed to say what his intellectual agenda had been.Ignatieff, himself a Russo-Canadian exile or émigré, never seems quite able to make up his mind about whether this was a joke, and (if it was) whether it was one of those jokes that are revealing and confessional. His confusion is expressed in the choice of the term ...

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