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This is America, man

Michael Wood: ‘Treme’ and ‘The Wire’, 27 May 2010

The Wire 
created by David Simon.
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created by Eric Overmyer and David Simon.
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... 2004. Seasons Four and Five picked up just under two years later. The creator of The Wire is David Simon, who wrote many of the episodes and by the third season was executive producer. He is a reporter who became a full-time writer of books: Homicide (1991) and, with Ed Burns, The Corner (1997), both of which were turned into successful TV ...

Freddie Gray

Adam Shatz, 21 May 2015

... his 1981 painting The Irony of the Negro Policeman; in a recent interview in the Marshall Project, David Simon, the creator of The Wire, noted that black police officers in Baltimore are sometimes more brutal than white officers, as if their skin colour makes them immune to racism against poor blacks. A vivid indication of how far – or how low ...

The Atom School

Theo Tait: J.M. Coetzee, 3 November 2016

The Schooldays of Jesus 
by J.M. Coetzee.
Harvill Secker, 260 pp., £17.99, August 2016, 978 1 911215 35 6
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... in the desert, where they have learned Spanish and been assigned new names: Simón and David. The man is old and people assume that the boy is his grandson. ‘Not my grandson, not my son,’ he explains. ‘But I am responsible for him.’ Novilla seems to be partly a spiritual state. Everyone there has made the same journey, by ship, and they ...

Before I Began

Christopher Tayler: Coetzee Makes a Leap, 4 June 2020

The Death of Jesus 
by J.M. Coetzee.
Harvill Secker, 208 pp., £18.99, January, 978 1 78730 211 2
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... and the good.Simón’s self-appointed task in the new life is to look after a small boy, David, who, he thinks, lost a document that would lead him to his mother on the boat over. (The details aren’t clear thanks to ‘the waters of forgetting’, in which people speak repeatedly of being ‘washed clean’.) In time, Simón becomes convinced that ...

Mr Straight and Mr Good

Paul Foot: Gordon Brown, 19 February 1998

Gordon Brown: The Biography 
by Paul Routledge.
Simon and Schuster, 358 pp., £17.99, February 1998, 0 684 81954 6
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... ministers scurried into the City to seek out millionaires to conduct the Government’s business: David Simon from BP, Martin Taylor from Barclays Bank, Peter Davis from the Pru, even that devoted Thatcherite Alan Sugar of Tottenham Hotspur. Past Labour Governments had made some small effort to assert their democratic rights over unelected financial ...

Tables and Chairs

Christopher Tayler: J.M. Coetzee, 21 March 2013

J.M. Coetzee: A Life in Writing 
by J.C. Kannemeyer, translated by Michiel Heyns.
Jonathan Ball, 710 pp., R 325, October 2012, 978 1 86842 495 5
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Here and Now: Letters 2008-11 
by Paul Auster and J.M. Coetzee.
Viking, 256 pp., $27.95, March 2013, 978 0 670 02666 1
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The Childhood of Jesus 
by J.M. Coetzee.
Harvill Secker, 210 pp., £16.99, March 2013, 978 1 84655 769 9
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... Jesus tells the story of Simón, a man of indeterminate age who presents himself and a small boy, David, at a resettlement centre in a city called Novilla. They have come from the camp at Belstar, Simón explains, and need a place to live; the boy is ‘not my grandson, not my son, but I am responsible for him.’ The young woman behind the counter takes this ...


David Denby: Deaths on Camera, 8 September 2016

... justice but remains tirelessly cogent in its pursuit of it. Of the famous shows, perhaps only the David Simon classic The Wire adds the dimensions of fallibility and compromise to the image of the police. Here the police sometimes act with righteous violence, sometimes not. Often they are stymied by the peevishness and self-interest of police ...

No one hates him more

Joshua Cohen: Franzen on Kraus, 7 November 2013

The Kraus Project 
by Jonathan Franzen.
Fourth Estate, 318 pp., £18.99, October 2013, 978 0 00 751743 5
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... not have written The Corrections to be optioned by HBO – the chamber music of our time, with David Simon our Mendelssohn – but he agreed to the option, and so the only thing that prevented his book’s debasement was an inept script that died in development. Kraus writes in Franzen’s translation: ‘To be responsive to literature, you cannot be ...

Out Hunting

Gary Younge: In Baltimore, 29 July 2021

We Own This City: A True Story of Crime, Cops and Corruption in an American City 
by Justin Fenton.
Faber, 335 pp., £14.99, February, 978 0 571 35661 4
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... Baltimore has been to crime what 19th-century London was to poverty. This is due in large part to David Simon, once a Baltimore Sun reporter himself, whose books Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets and The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner City Neighbourhood (written with Ed Burns) were both turned into TV programmes, and fed into his most ...

Virgin’s Tears

David Craig: On nature, 10 June 1999

Nature: Western Attitudes since Ancient Times 
by Peter Coates.
Polity, 246 pp., £45, September 1998, 0 7456 1655 0
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... were arguing vigorously that the journals and other descriptive writings of explorers such as David Thompson, Simon Fraser and Alexander MacKenzie were the first contributions to Canadian literature, and these works teem with a sense of the forests and prairies, lakes and rivers as the inexhaustible new land in which ...

After the May Day Flood

Seumas Milne, 5 June 1997

... four prominent businessmen had been appointed or approached to join or advise the Government: Sir David Simon, chairman of BP, to become European competition minister, Martin Taylor, chief executive of Barclays Bank, to lead a Whitehall task force on tax and benefits, Lord Hollick, chairman of United News and Media, to advise on industrial policy, and ...

Caruthers & Co

Simon Raven, 19 July 1984

... more compelling or beguiling on sexual or other topics, have totally vanished. In E.F. Benson’s David Blaise, ‘young, pink flesh’ appears under wet, black knickerbockers in an open squash court: yet where is David now? The Hill, by H.A. Vachell, a tale of true friendship, drew hot tears, from me at least: it is still ...

The Bart

Gabriele Annan, 10 December 1987

Broken Blood: The Rise and Fall of the Tennant Family 
by Simon Blow.
Faber, 224 pp., £14.95, October 1987, 0 571 13374 6
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... historian E.J. Hobsbawm’s The Age of Empire, 1875-1914, would make the perfect epitaph for Simon Blow’s history of his maternal grandmother’s family, the Tennants. Or for a Thatcherite tract on Britain’s decline from Victorian values. Or for a great novel like Thomas Mann’s Buddenbrooks. The rise and fall of a mercantile dynasty is a rich old ...


David Gascoyne: Notebook, New Year 1991, 25 January 1996

... grandmother, at Sailing Club. The European. Indifferent TV. Saturday 12: – Letter from Simon Callow, at last – Supermarket – Cowes. Ian Gibson’s Assassination of F.G. Lorca from library (rather disappointing). – Picked up Humphrey Carpenter’s Ezra Pound: A Serious Character unexpectedly. – Dull TV. Sunday 13: – Had made apricot mousse ...


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 it, ‘caught ...

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