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That’s democracy

Theo Tait: Dalton Trumbo, 2 March 2000

Johnny Got His Gun 
by Dalton Trumbo.
Prion, 222 pp., £5.99, May 1999, 1 85375 324 6
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... In the mid-1940s, Dalton Trumbo was a screenwriter near the top of his lucrative but precarious line of work: fast, prolific and a consummate professional, he usually wrote at night, often in the bath, fuelled by large doses of Benzedrine. He was also a prominent and outspoken member of the Hollywood Communist Party ...

The Tarnished Age

Richard Mayne, 3 September 1981

David O. Selznick’s Hollywood 
by Ronald Haver.
Secker, 425 pp., £35, December 1980, 0 436 19128 8
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My Early life 
by Ronald Reagan and Richard Hubler.
Sidgwick, 316 pp., £7.95, April 1981, 0 283 98771 5
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Naming Names 
by Victor Navasky.
Viking, 482 pp., $15.95, October 1980, 0 670 50393 2
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... on Un-American Activities, are understandably bitter: few could be as forgiving as the late Dalton Trumbo, one of the original ‘Hollywood Ten’. HUAC’s interrogations, its use of hearsay from virtually professional informers, its ritualistic insistence that witnesses ‘name names’ as Communist suspects or sympathisers, even when the names ...

Modern Brecht

Margot Heinemann, 5 August 1982

Bertolt Brecht in America 
by James Lyon.
Princeton, 408 pp., £11, January 1981, 0 691 06443 1
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Bertolt Brecht: Political Theory and Literary Practice 
edited by Betty Webber and Hubert Heinen.
Manchester, 208 pp., £15, February 1981, 0 7190 0806 9
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Brecht 
by Jan Needle and Peter Thomson.
Blackwell, 235 pp., £9, February 1981, 0 631 19610 2
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... were understood and endorsed by other accused Hollywood writers such as John Howard Lawson and Dalton Trumbo. He left for Europe the next day. The papers from the International Brecht Society’s 1976 conference, published as Bertolt Brecht: Political Theory and Literary Practice, are mainly by American and West German critics; they concentrate rather ...

Frognal Days

Zachary Leader: Files on the Fifties, 4 June 1998

Previous Convictions: A Journey Through the Fifties 
by Nora Sayre.
Rutgers, 464 pp., £27.95, April 1997, 0 8135 2231 5
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... Street, That Uncertain Feeling, The Philadelphia Story, The Women, Kitty Foyle (co-written with Dalton Trumbo) and Red Dust. He also became a prominent figure on the left: president of both the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League and the League of American Writers, a Communist front Blacklisted in 1959, Stewart left Hollywood for good the following year. Though ...

Between the Raindrops

David Bromwich: The Subtlety of James Stewart, 12 December 2002

James Stewart at the NFT 
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... a belated liberal populism of the 1930s, whether or not the Committee knew that Clifford Odets and Dalton Trumbo, among others, had worked on the screenplay. Stewart here plays George Bailey, a banker who succeeds his father as head of a benevolent mortgage company that alone keeps the town of Bedford Falls out of the grip of the property and lending ...

Cyber-Jihad

Charles Glass: What Osama Said, 9 March 2006

The Secret History of al-Qaida 
by Abdel Bari Atwan.
Saqi, 256 pp., £16.99, February 2006, 0 86356 760 6
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Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror 
by Michael Scheuer.
Potomac, 307 pp., £11.95, July 2005, 1 57488 862 5
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Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama bin Laden 
edited by Bruce Lawrence, translated by James Howarth.
Verso, 292 pp., £10.99, November 2005, 1 84467 045 7
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Osama: The Making of a Terrorist 
by Jonathan Randal.
Tauris, 346 pp., £9.99, October 2005, 1 84511 117 6
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... working for good old J. Edgar at the FBI to send his comrades to the slammer. I understand now why Dalton Trumbo and Larry Adler hightailed it to England. Bad as those days were, brother, we never had it so good. Now, the kids are terrified of some guy in a cave. The successors of McCarthy, Hoover and the 1950s television network bosses teach them that ...

Writing Absurdity

Adam Shatz: Chester Himes, 25 April 2018

Chester B. Himes: A Biography 
by Lawrence P. Jackson.
Norton, 606 pp., £25, July 2017, 978 0 393 06389 9
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... the orbit of the Communist Party because of its commitment to racial equality. He hung out with Dalton Trumbo and black veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, wrote articles for the People’s Daily World and championed a ‘double V’: a victory against fascism abroad and racism at home. In an article called ‘Negro Martyrs Are Needed’, which ...

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