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Mohocks

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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... 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. As an academic he was a charlatan; as a critic a coward ...

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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... 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 suffixes dangle as precariously as modifiers. The ...

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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... a few names of those he calls ‘the true heroes of [his] story’, such as Alain Connes and David Finkelstein. 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 time in quantum gravity? To some, including Julian ...

Inhumane, Intolerant, Unclean

Ian Gilmour, 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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... 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 after the events they purport to describe – ...

How the Arab-Israeli War of 1967 gave birth to a memorial industry

Norman Finkelstein: Uses of the Holocaust, 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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... 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 head of the ...

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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... 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. And if Zionists base their claim to the land of Israel on ...

Uncleanness

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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... 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 were framed to reinforce Josiah’s programme of ...

What are they after?

William Davies: How Could the Tories?, 8 March 2018

... 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 German ambassador in London, identified recently when he ...

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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... 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 instance, he has singled me out for the accusation that I’ve ...

Pseudo-Travellers

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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... 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 Peters puts forward the following case: the Jews have ...

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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... 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 evidence suggests Astor was telling the truth, and ...

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