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Blather

Frank Cioffi

22 June 2000
The Rumour: A Cultural History 
by Hans-Joachim Neubauer, translated by Christian Braun.
Free Association, 201 pp., £16.95, November 1999, 1 85343 472 8
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... The first problem which besets an attempt to assess a cultural history of rumour is to determine what the cultural history is a cultural history of. Hans-Joachim Neubauer seems uncertain. Sometimes he follows the convention according to which what constitutes a rumour is its baselessness, if not its falsity; at others its mode of transmission via anonymous and multiple sources, irrespective of the ...

Ich bin ein Belieber

Michael Herbert Miller: Ich bin ein Belieber

21 March 2013
The Love Song of Jonny Valentine 
by Teddy Wayne.
Free Press, 285 pp., £24.95, February 2013, 978 1 4767 0585 9
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... and went on to pursue a career as a martial arts fighter, often missing visits to his son, resurfacing now and then with a guitar in tow as the boy got older. Justin Bieber grew up very poor and very Christian with his mother, Pattie Mallette. She’s now 38, believes in family values (she is the executive producer of a new anti-abortion film), and recently admitted on American television to being celibate ...

Holy Relics

Alan Milward

3 April 1986
Selling Hitler: The story of the Hitler Diaries 
by Robert Harris.
Faber, 402 pp., £10.95, February 1986, 0 571 13557 9
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... best hedge against inflation. Their value increases by about 20 per cent a year. But they are probably too expensive for you. A standard-issue SS dress dagger is worth at least $1500. A lock of Eva Braun’s hair will cost you $3500. A small watercolour possibly by Hitler will cost you roughly $4500. The 1938 Mercedes which he gave to Eva Braun may cost you $350,000. You can find the trade prices in ...
6 November 1980
Nixon: A Study in Extremes of Fortune 
by Lord Longford.
Weidenfeld, 205 pp., £8.95, October 1980, 0 297 77708 4
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... Church and to this end educated at the theological seminary in Tiflis, that Idi Amin has some sixty-odd children with all of whom he is besotted, and that the adoring eagerness with which Eva Braun shared a terminal Luger-clip with Adolf Hitler is a matter of historical record. Knowing less of Myra Hindley (well, it was bound to come up, was it not?) than the good bishop does, I cannot of ...

Romanitas

Patrick Wormald

19 November 1981
Roman Britain 
by Peter Salway.
Oxford, 824 pp., £19.50, August 1981, 9780198217176
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Roman Britain 
by Malcolm Tood.
Fontana, 285 pp., £2.95, May 1981, 0 00 633756 2
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... powerful of the British tribes who had opposed Roman conquest. On the other hand, literary culture did not apparently take root: we have nothing from the pens of known British provincials before the Christian writers, Pelagius and Patrick, from the last years of the province’s history. A simple comparison of the English and French languages shows that Romanitas was eventually lost to Britannia in ways ...

Call It Capitalism

Thomas Jones: Pynchon

10 September 2009
Inherent Vice 
by Thomas Pynchon.
Cape, 369 pp., £18.99, August 2009, 978 0 224 08948 7
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... and Cold War America. Pynchon learned a fair amount of what he knows about Nazi rocket technology from working at Boeing in the early 1960s. The novel’s first epigraph is attributed to Wernher von Braun, the designer of the V2 and later director of Nasa’s Marshall Space Flight Center. The I.G. Farben conglomerate, which owned the patent for Zyklon B, is a malign presence throughout the book ...

Kisses for the Duce

Richard J. Evans: Letters to Mussolini

7 February 2013
Fascist Voices: An Intimate History of Mussolini’s Italy 
by Christopher Duggan.
Bodley Head, 501 pp., £25, November 2012, 978 1 84792 103 1
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The Fascist Party and Popular Opinion in Mussolini’s Italy 
by Paul Corner.
Oxford, 320 pp., £65, July 2012, 978 0 19 873069 9
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... was a democracy in a minor way.’ The right-wing parties which have dominated Italian politics since the end of the Cold War have consistently rejected the legacy of anti-Fascism represented by the Christian Democrats and the Communists, the two parties that dominated Italian politics from the late 1940s until the early 1990s. Exploiting Italians’ deep frustration at the chaotic instability and ...

Naughty Children

Christopher Turner: Freud’s Free Clinics

6 October 2005
Freud’s Free Clinics: Psychoanalysis and Social Justice 1918-38 
by Elizabeth Ann Danto.
Columbia, 348 pp., £19.50, May 2005, 0 231 13180 1
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... socially committed side, almost to the exclusion of his legendary cultural pessimism. He once admitted that he had thought of becoming a politician, claiming that his schoolfriend Heinrich Braun, a prominent socialist in later life, ‘awakened a multitude of revolutionary trends in me’. The Habsburgs, he wrote to his colleague Sándor Ferenczi, had ‘left behind nothing but a pile of ...

Dangerously Insane

Deyan Sudjic: Léon Krier

7 October 2010
The Architecture of Community 
by Léon Krier.
Island, 459 pp., £12.99, February 2010, 978 1 59726 579 9
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... urbanism. Speer, in Krier’s eyes, was the tragic victim of Nuremberg, incarcerated in Spandau because he was guilty of a passion for Doric columns, while the far more destructive Wernher von Braun was judged useful enough to be whisked to comfortable exile in the US. Speer’s projects continue, not unlike sex for the virgin, to be the object of pseudo embarrassment for architects … The ...

The King and I

Alan Bennett

30 January 1992
... is quite paralysed except his mind and voice, awaiting deterioration and death. A wife and four daughters, no private fortune. He would have been Master of Balliol if he had not been struck down. No Christian faith to support him. A very harrowing visit. My vision of myself pursuing an academic career did not last long, though as a postgraduate I was supervised by the Medieval historian K.B. McFarlane ...

Marx v. The Rest

Richard J. Evans: Marx in His Time

23 May 2013
Karl Marx: A Nineteenth-Century Life 
by Jonathan Sperber.
Norton, 648 pp., £25, May 2013, 978 0 87140 467 1
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... Marx admitted, was based on greed and bargaining – and these were the essence of capitalism. Crucially, however, Marx did not use this stereotypical argument, as Bruno Bauer (and still more, the Christian conservatives of his day) did, to argue that the Jews should be denied civil rights. Indeed, he believed that the civil equality of the Jews as a minority religious group was a cause that democrats ...
2 October 1997
... reality. Unscratched skies like the dawn of time, turning the malign peninsula into Cape Canaveral. Millennial lift-off. Stanley Kubrick and his designers (some of them borrowed from Wernher von Braun) had successfully converted Beckton into Vietnam, but this was more ambitious than that. This was 2001: A Space Odyssey in Bow Creek. A radiant city of the future. Grey to green. Sludge to pearl. An ...

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