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Designing criminal policy

David Garland, 10 October 1991

Reconstructing the Criminal: Culture, Law and Policy in England, 1830-1914 
by Martin Wiener.
Cambridge, 391 pp., £30, February 1991, 9780521350457
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... Until relatively recently, criminal justice history was written not by professional historians but by the system’s practitioners – retired prison officials, civil servants, criminologists, reformers of various kinds. The widely shared conviction that the penal system was being shaken free of the irrationalities of the past and brought closer to the professional wisdom of the present tended to permeate even the best of these accounts and to impart an onwards-and-upwards structure to their narrative ...

Thirty-Five States to Go

David Cole: America’s Death Penalty, 3 March 2011

Peculiar Institution: America’s Death Penalty in an Age of Abolition 
by David Garland.
Oxford, 417 pp., £21.99, September 2010, 978 0 19 959499 3
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... disparity up to American exceptionalism, but that’s more a slogan than an explanation. And as David Garland points out in Peculiar Institution: America’s Death Penalty in an Age of Abolition, on this and many other matters of criminal justice, the United States is not so much a single nation as a federation of 50 states, each of which has ...

Bratpackers

Richard Lloyd Parry: Alex Garland, 15 October 1998

The Beach 
by Alex Garland.
Penguin, 439 pp., £5.99, June 1997, 0 14 025841 8
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The Tesseract 
by Alex Garland.
Viking, 215 pp., £9.99, September 1998, 0 670 87016 1
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... Less than two years after the publication of Alex Garland’s first novel, The Beach, one of cinema’s most fashionable young directors (Danny Boyle) and its most adored male star (Leonardo Di Caprio) are about to make a film version of it, a remarkable achievement for an author of 28, but in other ways an inevitable one ...

Why Goldwyn Wore Jodhpurs

David Thomson, 22 June 2000

The Way We Lived Then: Recollections of a Well-Known Name Dropper 
by Dominick Dunne.
Crown, 218 pp., £17.99, October 1999, 0 609 60388 4
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Gary Cooper Off Camera: A Daughter Remembers 
by Maria Cooper Janis.
Abrams, 176 pp., £22, November 1999, 0 8109 4130 9
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... home in the Holmby Hills. Dunne knew he was out of his element there, but he took it all in: Judy Garland and Sinatra singing ‘impromptu’ with a hired piano player. All the stars. ‘Before the night was over,’ he writes, ‘people jumped in the pool in their party clothes. I jumped in, too. I wanted to be a part of it. I thought to myself, this is how ...

Does one flare or cling?

Alice Spawls, 4 May 2016

‘Vogue’ 100: A Century of Style 
by Robin Muir.
National Portrait Gallery, 304 pp., £40, February 2016, 978 1 85514 561 0
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‘Vogue’ 100: A Century of Style 
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... and an emblem of Sapphic modernity herself (with Jane Heap of the Little Review to Todd’s Madge Garland, her fashion editor at Vogue). Woolf called her Champco, and borrowed her clothes: ‘How odd, it comes into my mind, is Nessa & my jealousy of each other’s clothes! I feel her, when I put on my smart black fringed cape, anguished for a second: did I ...

Foreign Body

Tim Winton, 22 June 1995

Patrick White: Letters 
edited by David Marr.
Cape, 678 pp., £35, January 1995, 0 224 03516 9
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... have taken it all so personally, since it’s difficult to find peers for White anywhere. David Marr’s excellent and sympathetic biography confirmed White’s singularity and perhaps even his greatness, but the recent Letters, astutely edited and accompanied by acerbic and timely interpolations, reveals the Nobel laureate as a man lagging well ...

Diary

Gaby Wood: On Gene Kelly, 21 March 1996

... musicals. The characters don’t have to be dancers, or be ‘putting on a show’ as in the Garland/Rooney films: they just live as if on the brink of singing, they move as if about to break into dance, and dance as if it could be walking. I like to think this is what the young Truffaut had in mind when he slid across the floor of a Paris apartment to ...

Neil Corcoran confronts the new recklessness

Neil Corcoran, 28 September 1989

Manila Envelope 
by James Fenton.
28 Kayumanggi St, West Triangle Homes, Quezon City, Phillipines, 48 pp., £12, May 1989, 971 86 4701 5
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New Selected Poems 
by Richard Murphy.
Faber, 190 pp., £10.99, May 1989, 0 571 15482 4
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The Mirror Wall 
by Richard Murphy.
Bloodaxe, 61 pp., £10.95, May 1989, 9781852240929
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Selected Poems 
by Eavan Boland.
Carcanet, 96 pp., £5.95, May 1989, 0 85635 741 3
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The Accumulation of Small Acts of Kindness 
by Selima Hill.
Chatto, 47 pp., £5.95, May 1989, 0 7011 3455 0
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... device, particularly if the cover of the book it ostensibly contains has a savage Nicholas Garland illustration of a wild horseman wielding a bloody scimitar, surrounded by the decapitated victims of his havoc. If the poems of Manila Envelope are explosive, the manifesto makes its plea for them obliquely. Pawky, wry, epigrammatic and axe-grinding, it ...

Ahead of the Game

Daniel Finn: The Official IRA, 7 October 2010

The Lost Revolution: The Story of the Official IRA and the Workers’ Party 
by Brian Hanley and Scott Millar.
Penguin, 658 pp., £9.99, April 2010, 978 0 14 102845 3
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... rump Workers’ Party still exists, but its electoral success is long over. Its former leader Sean Garland – a Border Campaign veteran who was the Official IRA’s chief of staff for many years – has spent the past few years under the threat of extradition to the US, accused of having been complicit in a North Korean dollar counterfeiting operation. (The ...

Horrors and Cream

Hugh Tulloch, 21 August 1980

On the Edge of Paradise 
by David Newsome.
Murray, 405 pp., £17.50, June 1980, 0 7195 3690 1
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... think that they could get a good picture of my life from these pages; but it is not so.’ David Newsome, invited and challenged, has entered the labyrinth, drawing the rest of us with him into an implacable game initiated by the diarist. The mirrors and images multiply, with Newsome, the reviewer and the reader locked together in observation, and the ...

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 ...

Matters of State

Alexander Nagel: Michelangelo and ‘David’, 4 February 2016

Michelangelo’s ‘David’: Florentine History and Civic Identity 
by John Paoletti.
Cambridge, 388 pp., £70, February 2015, 978 1 107 04359 6
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... seat of government in the Piazza della Signoria, he stopped in front of Michelangelo’s 15-foot David. He didn’t see in it a symbol of the Florentine nation or even identify the figure. For the abbé, it was ‘a great phantasm of white marble, well worked and all of one piece’ (‘ung grand fantosme de marbre blanc, bien ouvre et tout dune ...

Queening It

Jenny Diski: Nina Simone, 25 June 2009

Nina Simone: The Biography 
by David Brun-Lambert.
Aurum, 346 pp., £20, February 2009, 978 1 84513 430 3
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... unreliable ghosted memoir of her own and a reminiscence by the founder of her British fan club, David Nathan, and its secretary, Sylvia Hampton. Potential biographers might have been put off by the resistance of Simone’s daughter, who doesn’t want to talk about her mother, and many former friends and colleagues who refused to be interviewed or give ...

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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... times. Who is there to compare him with? Strube in his own day? Very limited. In our day, Trog and Garland? Trog draws brilliantly but is not very often funny; Garland can be quite sharp, but his drawing is both fussy and crude. Gerald Scarfe is essentially a caricaturist; Marc and Osbert Lancaster are purveyors of one-line ...

Heart and Hoof

Marjorie Garber: Seabiscuit, 4 October 2001

Seabiscuit: The Making of a Legend 
by Laura Hillenbrand.
Fourth Estate, 399 pp., £16.99, May 2001, 1 84115 091 6
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... to bittersweet triumph, it becomes clear that the book can readily be compared to works like Judy Garland: The Secret Life of an American Legend (David Shipman), Marlene Dietrich: Life and Legend (Steven Bach), or biographies of the Kennedys. It is characteristic of many such books that they begin far back, with early ...

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