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A Hell of a Spot

Andrew Bacevich: Eisenhower and Suez, 16 June 2011

Eisenhower 1956: The President’s Year of Crisis: Suez and the Brink of War 
by David Nichols.
Simon and Schuster, 346 pp., £21, March 2011, 978 1 4391 3933 2
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... pacifying Kandahar or pummelling Gaddafi is somehow essential to preserving their way of life. David Nichols has written a slight, narrowly focused book that provides modest but not inconsequential insight into the origins of America’s involvement in the Greater Middle East. His focus is the Suez Crisis, or more specifically, the way Eisenhower’s ...

Eros and Hogarth

Robert Melville, 20 August 1981

Hogarth 
by David Bindman.
Thames and Hudson, 216 pp., £5.95, April 1981, 9780500201824
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... David Bindman does not think that Hogarth was joking when he gave one of his contemporaries, John Nichols, a comic demonstration of minimalism: it took the form of a diagram composed of three lines and he claimed that it contained his memory of ‘a Sergeant with his pike going into an Ale House, and his Dog following ...

They never married

Ian Hamilton, 10 May 1990

The Dictionary of National Biography: 1981-1985 
edited by Lord Blake and C.S. Nicholls.
Oxford, 518 pp., £40, March 1990, 0 19 865210 0
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... of the latest supplement to the Dictionary of National Biography there are photographs of David Niven, Diana Dors, Eric Morecambe, John Betjeman and William Walton. Dors has a leering ‘Come up and read me sometime’ expression on her face and Niven wears his yacht-club greeter’s smile. Morecambe seems to be laughing at one of his own ...

After the war

Diana Gould, 15 November 1984

Another Story: Women and the Falklands War 
by Jean Carr, introduced by Jane Ewart-Biggs.
Hamish Hamilton, 162 pp., £7.50, October 1984, 0 241 11391 1
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... ships and aircraft. They remembered Mrs Thatcher’s confident reply to yet another woman, Madge Nichols of the Beaconsfield Conservative Association. She had questioned the Prime Minister on the imminent withdrawal of HMS Endurance. Mrs Thatcher’s reply had given the clear impression that we were not willing to afford some three million pounds a year to ...

Made for TV

Jenny Diski, 14 December 1995

Fight & Kick & Bite: The Life and Work of Dennis Potter 
by W. Stephen Gilbert.
Hodder, 382 pp., £18.99, November 1995, 0 340 64047 2
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Dennis Potter: A Life on Screen 
by John Cook.
Manchester, 368 pp., £45, October 1995, 0 7190 4601 7
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... rigidly stratified nation. The BBC bureaucrats, for their part, looked on the likes of Potter and David Mercer, Peter Nichols and David Rudkin as the means of fulfilling their commitment to public service broadcasting, which, of necessity included ‘the arts’. Somewhere in between, the ...

At Miss Whitehead’s

Edward Said, 7 July 1994

The Sixties: The Last Journal, 1960-1972 
by Edmund Wilson, edited by Lewis Dabney.
Farrar, Straus, 968 pp., $35, July 1993, 0 374 26554 2
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... lots of important and interesting people: Penelope Gilliatt, Lillian Hellman, Isaiah Berlin, Mike Nichols and Elaine May, Harry Levin, W.H. Auden, Malraux, James Baldwin, Stravinsky, Robert Lowell etc. None of these people, however, furnishes Wilson with anything like a satisfying number of thoughtful passages in the journals. This is partly a result of ...

The Mourning Paper

David Simpson: On war and showing pictures of the dead, 20 May 2004

... the Sinclair Broadcast Group to be unpatriotic and subversive. As if this were not enough, Terry Nichols, the convicted Oklahoma City bombing conspirator already serving a life sentence, is on trial again, this time for his life. The names of two more dead soldiers are published – no pictures – making 718 American dead since the start of the war, more ...
Noël Coward: A Biography 
by Philip Hoare.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 605 pp., £25, November 1995, 1 85619 265 2
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... be professionally produced; and next year undermined its sentiments with Cavalcade, which Beverley Nichols, then in a pacifist frenzy, denounced as ‘the finest essay in betrayal since Judas Iscariot’. In World War Two Coward kicked off with a rather ridiculous ‘intelligence’ foray to Paris, followed by a much-criticised ‘mission’ to ...

Cardigan Arrest

Robert Potts: Poetry in Punglish, 21 June 2007

Look We Have Coming to Dover! 
by Daljit Nagra.
Faber, 55 pp., £8.99, February 2007, 978 0 571 23122 5
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... At the end of David Dabydeen’s poem ‘Coolie Odyssey’ (1988), the poet, deracinated by education, distance and time from the dirt-poor ancestors he is elegising, considers his British audience: congregations of the educated Sipping wine, attentive between courses – See the applause fluttering from their white hands Like so many messy table napkins ...

The Kiss

Gaby Wood, 9 February 1995

Jean Renoir: Letters 
edited by Lorraine LoBianco and David Thompson, translated by Craig Carlson, Natasha Arnoldi and Michael Wells.
Faber, 605 pp., £25, October 1994, 0 571 17298 9
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... and La Chienne as Scarlett Street, Buñuel re-made Diary of a Chambermaid in 1964, and Dudley Nichols’s idea of making Thieves like Us was taken up by Nicholas Ray in 1948 and by Robert Altman in 1974. All these stories, of course, were originally novels written by someone else, but we do get a sense that in Hollywood this process is less like recycling ...

Next Stop, Reims

Ardis Butterfield: Medieval Literary Itineraries, 26 April 2018

Europe: A Literary History, 1348-1418 
by David Wallace.
Oxford, 1591 pp., £180, April 2016, 978 0 19 873535 9
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... David Wallace​ ’s Europe: A Literary History, 1348-1418 contains 82 chapters by an enormous team of international contributors spanning what Wallace describes as nine ‘itineraries’: Paris to Béarn; Calais to London; St Andrews to Finistère; Basel to Danzig; Avignon to Naples; Palermo to Tunis; Cairo to Constantinople; Mount Athos to Muscovy; Venice to Prague ...

My son has been poisoned!

David Bromwich: Cold War movies, 26 January 2012

An Army of Phantoms: American Movies and the Making of the Cold War 
by J. Hoberman.
New Press, 383 pp., £21.99, March 2011, 978 1 59558 005 4
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... lists themselves are interesting. For example: Jean Renoir, Orson Welles, James Wong Howe, Dudley Nichols, Clifford Odets, Robert Rossen, John Garfield, Charlie Chaplin and Leo McCarey all attended a reception in July 1943 for the Soviet director and administrator Mikhail Kalatozov. At that time Russian and American propaganda methods dovetailed nicely, and ...

Umpteens

Christopher Ricks, 22 November 1990

Bloomsbury Dictionary of Dedications 
edited by Adrian Room.
Bloomsbury, 354 pp., £17.99, September 1990, 0 7475 0521 7
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Unauthorised Versions: Poems and their Parodies 
edited by Kenneth Baker.
Faber, 446 pp., £14.99, September 1990, 0 571 14122 6
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The Faber Book of Vernacular Verse 
edited by Tom Paulin.
Faber, 407 pp., £14.99, November 1990, 0 571 14470 5
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... out the occasions when a dedication got overtaken by events like divorce and re-marriage. Beverley Nichols, the wastrel, is said to have gone in for ‘sniping’. If you want a good book on dedications, look out for a second-hand copy of Henry B. Wheatley’s The Dedication of Books to Patron and Friend: A Chapter of Literary History (1887). Room lists it in ...

The Garment of Terrorism

Azadeh Moaveni, 30 August 2018

The Making of a Salafi Muslim Woman: Paths to Conversion 
by Anabel Inge.
Oxford, 320 pp., £16.99, May 2018, 978 0 19 088920 3
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Veil 
by Rafia Zakaria.
Bloomsbury, 160 pp., £9.99, September 2017, 978 1 5013 2277 8
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... policy concern and was seen as not only un-British, but as a state security concern. In 2015 David Cameron called on institutions to devise their own ‘sensible rules’ about face veils, and Michael Wilshaw, the head of Ofsted, promised that schools would take a firm lead. He declared that ‘our liberal West values’ must be protected and added that ...

Old Gravy

Mark Ford, 7 September 1995

Robert Graves: Life on the Edge 
by Miranda Seymour.
Doubleday, 524 pp., £20, July 1995, 0 385 40423 9
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Robert Graves and the White Goddess 
by Richard Perceval Graves.
Weidenfeld, 618 pp., £25, July 1995, 0 297 81534 2
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Robert Graves: His Life and Work 
by Martin Seymour-Smith.
Bloomsbury, 600 pp., £25, June 1995, 0 7475 2205 7
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Robert Graves: Collected Writings on Poetry 
edited by Paul O’Prey.
Carcanet, 560 pp., £35, June 1995, 1 85754 172 3
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Robert Graves: The Centenary Selected Poems 
edited by Patrick Quinn.
Carcanet, 160 pp., £15.95, April 1995, 9781857541267
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... mythical imagery and only a few pointers to the context of the war. In pieces such as ‘To Robert Nichols’ or ‘Letter to S.S. from Mametz Wood’ Graves explicitly figures poetry as a means of temporarily blocking out the terrors of combat. Graves’s other means of escape from the brutalities of both school and the battlefield were his romantic feelings ...

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