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6 July 1989
Who Framed Colin​ Wallace? 
by Paul Foot.
Macmillan, 306 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 0 333 47008 7
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... Paul Foot has a shocking story to tell, the story of Colin Wallace. It is, quite literally, a story of gunpowder, treason and plot. The fact that Foot’s publishers have had to rush the book out in weeks in order to beat the deadline of the new Official ...

Triumph of the Termites

Tom Nairn: Gordon Brown

8 April 2010
The End of the Party: The Rise and Fall of New Labour 
by Andrew Rawnsley.
Viking, 802 pp., £25, March 2010, 978 0 670 91851 5
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What Went Wrong, Gordon Brown?: How the Dream Job Turned Sour 
edited by Colin Hughes.
Guardian, 294 pp., £8.99, January 2010, 978 0 85265 219 0
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Broonland: The Last Days of Gordon Brown 
by Christopher Harvie.
Verso, 206 pp., £8.99, February 2010, 978 1 84467 439 8
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... Much of the tale is conveyed by the covers. A sad, thoughtfully dithering photo of the prime minister fronts What Went Wrong, Gordon Brown? The cover of Christopher Harvie’s book features a cartoon from the Independent: an apocalyptic lightning flash strikes and anoints David Cameron, while Brown and Alistair Darling flee London as Parliament quakes against the background of a setting sun. Andrew ...

Paper this thing over

Colin​ Kidd: The Watergate Tapes

5 November 2015
The Nixon Tapes: 1971-72 
by Douglas Brinkley and Luke Nichter.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 758 pp., $35, July 2014, 978 0 544 27415 0
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The Nixon Defence: What He Knew and When He Knew It 
by John W. Dean.
Penguin, 784 pp., £14.99, June 2015, 978 0 14 312738 3
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Washington Journal: Reporting Watergate and Richard Nixon’s Downfall 
by Elizabeth Drew.
Duckworth Overlook, 450 pp., £20, August 2014, 978 0 7156 4916 9
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Chasing Shadows: The Nixon Tapes, the Chennault Affair and the Origins of Watergate 
by Ken Hughes.
Virginia, 228 pp., $16.95, August 2015, 978 0 8139 3664 2
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The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan 
by Rick Perlstein.
Simon and Schuster, 860 pp., £25, August 2014, 978 1 4767 8241 6
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... against him. In 2005 it was revealed that Woodward and Bernstein’s source, Deep Throat, was Mark Felt, a Hoover loyalist and associate director of the FBI. Hoover plays a central role in Ken Hughes’s gripping investigation, Chasing Shadows, which takes as its point of departure the only break-in ordered by Nixon on 2658 hours of tape: not at Watergate, but at a liberal think-tank, the ...

Diary

Tobias Jones: The politics of football

7 May 1998
... failed to operate effectively. The disaster was caused ‘not by hooliganism but by football’s political desire to react to hooliganism by erecting unforgiving steel cages which became coffins’, Colin Ward writes in All Quiet on the Hooligan Front (1996). Lord Justice Taylor produced his interim report on the tragedy on 1 August that year. The chief superintendent in charge, Taylor decided ...

After the Movies

Michael Wood: Godard’s Histoire(s) du cinéma

4 December 2008
Histoire(s) du cinéma 
directed by Jean-Luc Godard.
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... and this kind of ignorance, if we can relax enough to let it work on us, becomes part of the freshness of the experience: seeing, not seeing again, or clocking the reference. It’s important, as Colin MacCabe says in Godard: A Portrait of the Artist at 70 (2003), not to turn our viewing into a guessing game. We see Godard sitting at his electric typewriter, smoking a cigar. He is murmuring titles ...
22 August 1996
The Dictionary of National Biography 1986-1990 
edited by C.S. Nicholls.
Oxford, 607 pp., £50, June 1996, 0 19 865212 7
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... the last of five volumes to which C.S. Nicholls has devoted her editorial talents. There will now be something of a hiatus, until the first volumes of the New Dictionary of National Biography, under Colin Matthew, begin to appear early next century, with all lives revised and the text sprinkled with ten thousand pictures. A DNB newsletter issued to mark this transition lists some of the odder ...
25 June 1992
Kid 
by Simon Armitage.
Faber, 89 pp., £4.99, June 1992, 0 571 16607 5
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Feast Days 
by John Burnside.
Secker, 52 pp., £6, April 1992, 0 436 20103 8
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An African Elegy 
by Ben Okri.
Cape, 84 pp., £4.99, March 1992, 9780224030069
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Memorabilia 
by Colin​ Falck.
Taxus, 77 pp., £5.95, March 1992, 1 873012 23 3
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Serious Concerns 
by Wendy Cope.
Faber, 87 pp., £12.99, March 1992, 9780571166589
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... of finity’, ‘the smell of windfalls’, ‘the grease of mirrors’. There is no Eliotic disgust. Similarly, Burnside’s awareness of primal violence lacks the melodramatic insistence of Ted Hughes. Violence, and the resistance to it, are important themes in Ben Okri’s An African Elegy: but his declamatory mode largely proscribes subtle registrations like those of Burnside. Okri’s greatest ...

Hit and Muss

John Campbell

23 January 1986
David Low 
by Colin​ Seymour-Ure and Jim Schoff.
Secker, 180 pp., £9.95, October 1985, 9780436447556
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... knowing he had a unique asset, always stood by Low and was devastated when he decided in 1949 to go elsewhere. During their long association, Low and Beaverbrook served each other well, as Colin Seymour-Ure points out: ‘Low’s cartoons looked the stronger for being in Beaverbrook’s paper, and Beaverbrook could use Low to symbolise his own detachment, as newspaperman, from party ties and ...
6 March 2014
In It Together: The Inside Story of the Coalition Government 
by Matthew D’Ancona.
Penguin, 414 pp., £25, October 2013, 978 0 670 91993 2
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... then Labour home secretary, and supported by moderate consensus Tories such as Whitelaw and Maudling, the former Liberal leader Jo Grimond and middle-of-the-road Labour politicians like Cledwyn Hughes. On the other side of the argument were the bogeymen of British politics – from Enoch Powell, who was by then, scarier still, an Ulster Unionist, to Tony Benn and Michael Foot. With a sly coyness ...

On the Coalition

LRB Contributors

10 June 2010
... of 1975 on membership of the European Common Market? The campaign was launched in April 1975 at a press conference chaired by Roy Jenkins (then Labour), sitting on a platform together with Cledwyn Hughes (Labour), Jo Grimond (Liberal), Willie Whitelaw and Reginald Maudling (both Conservatives) and the diplomat Con O’Neill. Harold Wilson supported Britain’s continued membership of the Common ...

Mon Pays

Michael Rogin: Josephine Baker

22 February 2001
The Josephine Baker Story 
by Ean Wood.
Sanctuary, 327 pp., £16.99, September 2000, 1 86074 286 6
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Negrophilia: Avant-Garde Paris and Black Culture in the 1920s 
by Petrine Archer-Straw.
Thames and Hudson, 200 pp., £14.95, September 2000, 0 500 28135 1
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... book) was the prototype for his subsequent mobiles. ‘I never saw anybody move the way she did. She was part kangaroo and part prizefighter. A woman made of rubber, a female Tarzan,’ wrote Paul Colin, who sketched her for La Revue nègre. Baker’s notorious horizontal movements were propelling her to the top of the world. Hers was the American dream, the assimilationist success story that (as ...

You Muddy Fools

Dan Jacobson: In the months before his death Ian Hamilton talked about himself to Dan Jacobson

14 January 2002
... but not finally culpable.Were you sole editor of the ‘Review’ or was John Fuller a coeditor? No, I was the editor. We had a committee consisting of John Fuller, Francis Hope, Martin Dodsworth, Colin Falck, Michael Fried and Gabriel Pearson. We never had meetings or anything like that. There was a lot of correspondence, because John went to Buffalo for a year. So he wrote to me a lot from there ...

Frog’s Knickers

Colin​ Burrow: How to Swear

26 September 2013
Holy Shit: A Brief History of Swearing 
by Melissa Mohr.
Oxford, 316 pp., £16.99, May 2013, 978 0 19 974267 7
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... insertions of ‘fuck’ at unusual places into normal discourse. Holy integrated adjectives, Batman! These closely integrated homosocial groups do absobloodylutely love ’em. As Geoffrey Hughes noted in his excellent Swearing: A Social History of Foul Language, Oaths and Profanity in English, the more charged a swear word is the more susceptible it becomes to grammatical transformation ...

Winterlude

Janette Turner Hospital

1 August 1996
Talking to the Dead 
by Helen Dunmore.
Viking, 224 pp., £16, July 1996, 0 670 87002 1
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... are. So begins a short story whose insouciance and quirky eroticism enchanted me in 1992 when I read it in Heinemann’s Best Short Stories, the annual selection edited by Giles Gordon and David Hughes. I made a mental note of the author’s name, Helen Dunmore, because I’d never heard of her before. A name to watch for, I thought, and watched for it in The Best of Best Short Stories, 1986-95 ...

Bunfights

Paul Foot

7 March 1991
Memoirs of a Libel Lawyer 
by Peter Carter Ruck.
Weidenfeld, 293 pp., £20, November 1990, 0 297 81022 7
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... of us went to Belfast to do so. My point was going to be that I had written and intended no criticism of Mr McCartney’s efforts in the Kincora case. I thought I could prove it: in my book on the Colin Wallace case I had referred glowingly to McCartney’s vigorous performance on behalf of his two abused clients at the Hughes inquiry into the scandal. We were being sued for an innuendo which was ...

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