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Liam McIlvanney: The House of Blackwood

5 June 2003
The House of Blackwood: Author-Publisher Relations in the Victorian Era 
by David Finkelstein.
Pennsylvania State, 199 pp., £44.95, April 2002, 0 271 02179 9
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... himself up to tearful perorations while his clutch of Scotch terriers slumbered at his feet. The students loved him. Modern critics – especially Scottish ones – have been less impressed. For David Daiches, Wilson is an ‘absolute impostor’ and a ‘windbag’; Andrew Noble tags him ‘the clay-footed prophet of the British-Scots middle-class’. In some respects, Wilson deserves all he gets ...

The Tangible Page

Leah Price: Books as Things

31 October 2002
The Book History Reader 
edited by David Finkelstein and Alistair McCleery.
Routledge, 390 pp., £17.99, November 2001, 0 415 22658 9
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Making Meaning: ‘Printers of the Mind’ and Other Essays 
by D.F. McKenzie, edited by Peter D. McDonald and Michael F. Suarez.
Massachusetts, 296 pp., £20.95, June 2002, 1 55849 336 0
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... to distinguish Culture and Power: A Media, Culture & Society Reader from Media, Culture and Society: A Critical Reader. For the benefit of anyone who hadn’t picked up on the family resemblance, Finkelstein and McCleery call their anthology of ‘book history studies’ ‘a vital resource for all those studying cultural studies, library studies, and book publishing studies’. This is a book in which ...

Spin Foam

Michael Redhead: Quantum Gravity

23 May 2002
Three Roads to Quantum Gravity: A New Understanding of Space, Time and the Universe 
by Lee Smolin.
Phoenix, 231 pp., £6.99, August 2001, 0 7538 1261 4
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... string theory or loop quantum gravity. Smolin does not take us very far down this road, but does mention a few names of those he calls ‘the true heroes of [his] story’, such as Alain Connes and DavidFinkelstein. The fact is that the third road is not yet sufficiently well trodden to lend itself to popular exposition. If there are no points in space-time, what does this imply about the nature of ...
6 January 2000
The Holocaust in American Life 
by Peter Novick.
Houghton Mifflin, 320 pp., £16.99, June 1999, 0 395 84009 0
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... Soon after my own critical findings were published in New Left Review, Henry Holt agreed to publish both essays as a book. The forward warned that Holt was ‘preparing to bring out a book by Norman Finkelstein, a notorious ideological opponent of the State of Israel’. Alleging that ‘Finkelstein’s glaring bias and audacious statements ... are irreversibly tainted by his anti-Zionist stance,’ the ...
31 October 1996
A History of Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths 
by Karen Armstrong.
HarperCollins, 474 pp., £20, July 1996, 0 00 255522 0
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Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years 
by Israel Shahak.
Pluto, 118 pp., £11.99, April 1994, 9780745308180
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City of the Great King: Jerusalem from David​ to the Present 
edited by Nitza Rosovsky.
Harvard, 562 pp., £25.50, April 1996, 0 674 13190 8
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Jerusalem in the 20th Century 
by Martin Gilbert.
Chatto, 400 pp., £20, May 1996, 0 7011 3070 9
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Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict 
by Norman Finkelstein.
Verso, 230 pp., £39.95, December 1995, 1 85984 940 7
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To Rule Jerusalem 
by Roger Friedland and Richard Hecht.
Cambridge, 554 pp., £29.95, June 1996, 0 521 44046 7
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... about 1800 BC. Since then it has changed hands some twenty-five times, been destroyed 17 times, and its inhabitants have frequently been massacred. Round about 1000 BC, the city was captured by King David. Assuming that he existed – and there is no archaeological or other evidence for him, or for Solomon, Moses or Joshua, outside the Bible, the relevant books of which were written hundreds of years ...

A Diverse Collection of Peoples

Daniel Lazare: Shlomo Sand v. Zionism

20 June 2013
The Invention of the Jewish People 
by Shlomo Sand.
Verso, 344 pp., £9.99, June 2010, 978 1 84467 623 1
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The Invention of the Land of Israel: From Holy Land to Homeland 
by Shlomo Sand.
Verso, 295 pp., £16.99, January 2013, 978 1 84467 946 1
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... unbroken and eternal, then there must have been a rupture at some point between the Jews of the Bible and the so-called Jews of today. If Zionism preaches a glorious history going back to the days of David and Solomon, then that history must be a fiction cooked up centuries later for ideological purposes. If Zionism maintains that Jews longed to go home, then they must have been content to stay put ...

What are they after?

William Davies: How Could the Tories?

8 March 2018
... ideal of laissez-faire from the era of Manchester cotton mills and New World slavery. Discussing the range of Brexit options at a Tory Conference fringe event in October, the former Brexit minister David Jones concluded: ‘If necessary, as Churchill once said, very well then, alone.’ This is the sort of nostalgia Stuart Hall warned against as early as the 1970s, and which Peter Ammon, the outgoing ...


Robert Alter: Reading Leviticus anthropologically

3 March 2005
Jacob’s Tears: The Priestly Work of Reconciliation 
by Mary Douglas.
Oxford, 211 pp., £45, November 2004, 0 19 926523 2
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... text, or at least its purportedly determinative redaction, to the period that interests you, and then to read all its details as a reflex of a particular ideological trend in that period. Israel Finkelstein, for example, has placed the writing of much of the Pentateuch and of the Deuteronomic history in the time of King Josiah’s reforms in the late seventh century BCE, and claimed that these texts ...


Ian Gilmour and David​ Gilmour

7 February 1985
From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict 
by Joan Peters.
Joseph, 601 pp., £15, February 1985, 0 7181 2528 2
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... Bellow, Lucy Dawidowicz, Arthur Goldberg and many others, and by sundry American newspapers and periodicals, including the Washington Post, Commentary and the New Republic. On the other hand, Norman Finkelstein has described the book as one ‘of the most spectacular frauds ever published on the Arab-Israeli conflict’, and in the Nation Alexander Cockburn has called it ‘From Lies Immemorial’. Joan ...

Take a bullet for the team

David​ Runciman: The Profumo Affair

21 February 2013
An English Affair: Sex, Class and Power in the Age of Profumo 
by Richard Davenport-Hines.
Harper, 400 pp., £20, January 2013, 978 0 00 743584 5
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... with the line: ‘Well, he would, wouldn’t he?’ Ever since, worldly commentators have taken this to be a glimmer of straight-talk amid the welter of lies. In a recent article in the Times, Daniel Finkelstein held it up as a watershed in modern political analysis, the moment when someone finally pointed out that public figures are as self-interested as the rest of us. The only trouble is that all the ...

Living on Apple Crumble

August Kleinzahler: James Schuyler

17 November 2005
Just the Thing: Selected Letters of James Schuyler 1951-91 
edited by William Corbett.
Turtle Point, 470 pp., £13.99, May 2005, 1 885586 30 2
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... on behalf of his genius, and they did. There were jealousies and suspicion, at least on Schuyler’s part. Here is a 1957 letter about their relationship from O’Hara to Ashbery, which appears in David Lehman’s useful The Last Avant Garde (1998): I don’t see any use in either of us going through the strain of pretending we like each other as much as we once did. I don’t know why, for ...

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