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Barclay’s War

David Chandler, 19 March 1981

The Commander: A Life of Barclay de Tolly 
by Michael Josselson and Diana Josselson.
Oxford, 275 pp., £12.95, June 1980, 0 19 215854 6
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... Given the amount of attention that has been lavished on the Napoleonic period in its many aspects, it may seem strange that a full life of Field-Marshal Prince Barclay de Tolly has not appeared before now: but it is not difficult to suggest reasons for this. Barclay had a rather dour and in some ways unattractive personality. He had little of the panache of his rival Russian commander, Prince Bagration, the epitome of dash and colour, whose mortal wounding at Borodino was deeply mourned by Tsar, people and army alike ...

Napoleonology

Douglas Johnson, 7 February 1980

Napoleon: Master of Europe 1805-1807 
by Alistair Horne.
Weidenfeld, 232 pp., £6.95, September 1980, 0 297 77678 9
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Napoleon’s Diplomatic Service 
by Edward Whitcomb.
Duke, 218 pp., June 1981, 9780822304210
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Dictionary of the Napoleonic Wars 
by David Chandler.
Arms and Armour, 576 pp., £12.95, November 1980, 0 85368 353 0
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Napoleon, the Jews and the Sanhedrin 
by Simon Schwarzfuchs.
Routledge, 200 pp., £5.50, March 1979, 0 7100 8955 4
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Auguste de Colbert: Aristocratic Survival in an Era of Upheaval, 1793-1809 
by Jeanne Ojala.
Utah, $15, February 1979, 9780685953709
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... brings about a substantial (and welcome) reduction by referring only to some two hundred thousand. David Chandler explains that ever since he wrote his excellent book on the campaigns of Napoleon ten years ago, he has been inundated by requests for further information coming from the widest possible variety of people, all of whom are, as he puts ...

At the Barbican

Liz Jobey: Strange and Familiar , 2 June 2016

... self-conscious, not sure what they will unwittingly disclose. By the later stages of the show, as David Chandler points out in his catalogue essay, Britain was often just a stopover for those intent on creating an international body of work in which their own style was paramount. Sometimes their subjects are its victims. The American Bruce Gilden manages ...

Café No Problem

Victor Mallet, 28 May 1992

The Tragedy of Cambodian History: Politics, War and Revolution since 1945 
by David Chandler.
Yale, 396 pp., £25, February 1992, 0 300 04919 6
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... that Cambodia will follow a system of liberal democracy on the basis of pluralism.’ To read David Chandler’s painstakingly researched history of Cambodia and its turbulent politics since 1945, and to visit present-day Cambodia, is to understand the enormity of the task facing the United Nations as it attempts to bring peace to the country and to ...

Der Tag

John Bayley, 26 May 1994

D-Day: Those Who Were There 
by Juliet Gardiner.
Collins and Brown, 192 pp., £16.99, April 1994, 1 85585 204 7
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D-Day 1944: Voices from Normandy 
by Robin Neillands and Roderick De Normann.
Orion, 320 pp., £5.99, April 1994, 1 85797 448 4
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Battle Tactics of the Western Front: The British Army’s Art of Attack 
by Paddy Griffiths.
Yale, 286 pp., £20, May 1994, 0 300 05910 8
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The D-Day Encyclopedia 
edited by David Chandler and James Lawton Collins.
Helicon, 665 pp., £35, January 1994, 0 09 178265 1
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D-Day 1944 
edited by Theodore Wilson.
Kansas, 420 pp., £34.95, May 1994, 0 7006 0674 2
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Decision in Normandy 
by Carlo D’Este.
HarperCollins, 554 pp., £10.99, April 1994, 0 06 092495 0
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... For Tolstoy and Hemingway, as for Homer, writing about war was the natural thing. They did not exactly worship the demands of ‘hateful Ares’, as Homer calls him; but they knew that war as hell was the proper field of the heroic, and thus of narrative itself. The story of what happens in a football match today is our equivalent of yesterday’s battle; and it can be established later, as game, in the same heroic sequence ...

Incandescences

Richard Poirier, 20 December 1979

The Powers that Be 
by David Halberstam.
Chatto, 771 pp., £9.95
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... by Henry Luce; the Washington Post and Newsweek, run by Philip and then by Kay Graham; and the Chandler family’s Los Angeles Times. Beginning in the Thirties with President Roosevelt, who, more than any President before him, manipulated the newspapers and the new possibilities of radio (which President Hoover seldom used), the book is a survey of a ...

The Makers

David Harsent, 19 September 1996

... I should have loved but wouldn’t, leaving me no way back, and took Walt Whitman and Raymond Chandler and Laurence Sterne, who hitch-hiked with me through France and Italy and down to Greece, the four of us with our toes at the utter brink of a strip of dual carriageway a mile beyond the city limits, backed by cornfields, and darkness coming on with a ...

Scrum down

Paul Smith, 14 November 1996

Making Men: Rugby and Masculine Identity 
edited by John Nauright and Timothy Chandler.
Cass, 260 pp., £35, April 1996, 0 7146 4637 7
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... for South Africans ‘the rugby scrum was symbolic of the laager,’ John Nauright and Timothy Chandler enter the reservation that ‘such notions can be taken too far.’ Indeed they can. An inward-facing huddle of wagons, their occupants locked in some obscure struggle of their own, would have presented little problem to a marauding Zulu impi, unless ...

Diary

David Haglund: Mormons, 22 May 2003

... called Kolob. Smith ‘translated’ the work from Egyptian papyri bought in 1835 from one Michael Chandler, in Kirtland, Ohio. The papyri were long thought to have been lost in the Chicago fire of 1871. In 1967, however, they resurfaced at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The museum returned them to the Church, and they were translated by an ...

Heart-Squasher

Julian Barnes: A Portrait of Lucian Freud, 5 December 2013

Man with a Blue Scarf: On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucian Freud 
by Martin Gayford.
Thames and Hudson, 248 pp., £12.95, March 2012, 978 0 500 28971 6
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Breakfast with Lucian: A Portrait of the Artist 
by Geordie Greig.
Cape, 260 pp., £25, October 2013, 978 0 224 09685 0
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... to pose, the enraged Freud painted over her face and inserted that of his long-time assistant David Dawson. But the baby had not caused offence, so was not painted out, with the result that a naked and strangely breasted Dawson is now seen feeding the child. Freud’s American dealer assumed the picture would be unsellable; it was bought by the first ...

Reality B

Christopher Tayler: Haruki Murakami’s ‘1Q84’, 15 December 2011

1Q84: Book 1 and Book 2 
by Haruki Murakami, translated by Jay Rubin.
Harvill Secker, 623 pp., £20, October 2011, 978 1 84655 407 0
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1Q84: Book 3 
by Haruki Murakami, translated by Philip Gabriel.
Harvill Secker, 364 pp., £14.99, October 2011, 978 1 84655 405 6
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... It uses the voice of a disgruntled, detached Tokyo hipster, self-raised on Kurt Vonnegut, Raymond Chandler and Dostoevsky, to tell an unlikely noir story: a nameless Boku goes in search of an old friend and a mysterious sheep on the orders of a shadowy tycoon. It’s a consciously Chandleresque set-up, which, in Murakami’s words, ‘meant, first of ...

I want my wings

Andrew O’Hagan: The Last Tycoons, 3 March 2016

West of Eden: An American Place 
by Jean Stein.
Cape, 334 pp., £20, February 2016, 978 0 224 10246 9
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... Modern​ Hollywood isn’t really Hollywood – it’s Calabasas. With everyone now the David O. Selznick of his own social picture, gossip replaced with tweets, and fan magazines with selfies, the grandeur of old Hollywood can seem mythical. Like proper myths, its stories are almost exclusively about metamorphosis, self-destruction and things going wrong, but they are at least stories as opposed to advertisements ...

Against Policy

Thomas Jones: ‘The Manual of Detection’, 28 May 2009

The Manual of Detection 
by Jedediah Berry.
Heinemann, 278 pp., £14.99, March 2009, 978 0 434 01945 8
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... Hastings, depersonalised and bureaucratised. Sivart’s reports read like a pastiche of Raymond Chandler: The man in charge was a squat little fellow in a rumpled grey suit. The Man of a Thousand and One Voices is more impressive in the carnival posters, with his face lit green by hocus-pocus. In the flesh he looks more like an accountant who’s had a bad ...

A bout de Bogart

Jenny Diski, 19 May 2011

Tough without a Gun: The Extraordinary Life of Humphrey Bogart 
by Stefan Kanfer.
Faber, 288 pp., £14.99, February 2011, 978 0 571 26072 0
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... generation of movie stars we might have overlooked. More fundamentally, we have to thank Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, who provided the mean-street-walking existential characters we willingly confused with the actors who played them. The new retro cool I wallowed in had Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade as its source: the hard men with soft, democratic ...

Bon Garçon

David Coward: La Fontaine’s fables, 7 February 2002

Complete Tales in Verse 
by Jean de La Fontaine, translated by Guido Waldman.
Carcanet, 334 pp., £14.95, October 2000, 9781857544824
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The Fables of La Fontaine: Wisdom Brought down to Earth 
by Andrew Calder.
Droz, 234 pp., £36.95, September 2001, 2 600 00464 5
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The Craft of La Fontaine 
by Maya Slater.
Fairleigh Dickinson, 255 pp., $43.50, May 2001, 0 8386 3920 8
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... to explain why his Fables are still unmatched in subtlety and charm. Florian (1792) preached, Joel Chandler Harris’s Brer Rabbit cosied up to folkdom, and James Thurber (1940) was too knowing by half. Ambrose Bierce’s definition of the fable (‘A brief lie intended to illustrate some important truth’) is suitably ironic, but the most Lafontainian of ...

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