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After George W. Bush, the Deluge

Murray Sayle: Back to the Carboniferous, 21 June 2001

Draft Report of the 17th Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Nairobi, 4-6 April 2001 
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Climate Change 2001: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability 
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The Collapse of the Kyoto Protocol and the Struggle to Slow Global Warming 
by David Victor.
Princeton, 192 pp., £12.95, April 2001, 0 691 08870 5
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Managing the Planet: The Politics of the New Millennium 
by Norman Moss.
Earthscan, 232 pp., £16.99, September 2000, 1 85383 644 3
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... his presciently titled book (Bush had not yet loosed his thunderbolt when the MS was completed), David Victor of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, calls it ‘the Kyoto fantasyland’, and in retrospect there was never a chance of a workable agreement. But the Kyoto delegates believed they had two precedents to hearten them. In 1985 Joe ...
Intifada. The Palestinian Uprising: Israel’s Third Front 
by Ze’ev Schiff and Ehud Ya’ari.
Simon and Schuster, 352 pp., £14.95, May 1990, 0 671 67530 3
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Winner takes all: A Season in Israel 
by Stephen Brook.
Hamish Hamilton, 363 pp., £16.99, June 1990, 0 241 12635 5
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... but as heroic underdogs. They were shown on television being shot and beaten by Israeli soldiers. David the good guy was now a Palestinian, and nasty Goliath an Israeli. The women and the old joined in to support the uprising, and all were soon aware that the use of stones rather than guns was their strongest political card in the vital game to win the ...

Be flippant

David Edgar: Noël Coward’s Return, 9 December 1999

1956 and All That 
by Dan Reballato.
Routledge, 265 pp., £40, February 1999, 0 415 18938 1
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Collected Plays: Six 
by Noël Coward.
Methuen, 415 pp., £9.99, April 1999, 0 413 73410 2
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Collected Plays: Seven 
by Noël Coward.
Methuen, 381 pp., £9.99, April 1999, 0 413 73410 2
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Collected Revue Sketches and Parodies 
by Noël Coward.
Methuen, 282 pp., £9.99, April 1999, 0 413 73390 4
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Noël Coward: A Life in Quotes 
edited by Barry Day.
Metro, 116 pp., £9.99, November 1999, 9781900512848
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Noël Coward: The Complete Lyrics 
Methuen, 352 pp., £30, December 1998, 0 413 73230 4Show More
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... is the story, told in Philip Hoare’s 1995 biography, of Coward’s visit to the Court to see David Storey’s grittily realistic Rugby League play The Changing Room. His attention having been drawn to the male genitalia on display in the bath scene, Coward remarked: ‘13 acorns are not worth the price of admission.’ ‘Not worth the price of ...

Café No Problem

Victor Mallet, 28 May 1992

The Tragedy of Cambodian History: Politics, War and Revolution since 1945 
by David Chandler.
Yale, 396 pp., £25, February 1992, 0 300 04919 6
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... that Cambodia will follow a system of liberal democracy on the basis of pluralism.’ To read David Chandler’s painstakingly researched history of Cambodia and its turbulent politics since 1945, and to visit present-day Cambodia, is to understand the enormity of the task facing the United Nations as it attempts to bring peace to the country and to ...


Norman Stone, 21 July 1983

The Invention of Tradition 
edited by Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger.
Cambridge, 320 pp., £17.50, March 1983, 0 521 24645 8
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... see them raze the ruins and build a ‘city of towers’ on modernistic lines. In a similar way, Victor Hugo remarked of the post-Napoleonic Bourbons that ‘nothing is more decrepit than at the moment of its restoration.’ The editors of this volume might agree with such sentiments. Their book contains knowledgeable and entertaining contributions. Hugh ...

Dual Loyalty

Victor Mallet, 5 December 1991

The Samson Option: Israel, America and the Bomb 
by Seymour Hersh.
Faber, 256 pp., £15.99, October 1991, 0 571 16619 9
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Dangerous Liaison: The Inside Story of the US-Israeli Covert Relationship 
by Andrew Cockburn and Leslie Cockburn.
Bodley Head, 423 pp., £17.99, January 1991, 0 370 31405 0
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... loyalty, it emerges, is something of an Israeli speciality. As one anti-Communist supporter of David Ben-Gurion put it, in a reference to leftist immigrants from the Soviet Union: ‘In our relations with the USA we have in that country a fifth column, whereas in our dealings with the Soviet Union they have a fifth column here.’ The problem of dual ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Prometheus’, 5 July 2012

directed by Ridley Scott.
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... been ‘Frankenstein Revisited’. It’s hard to get Mel Brooks out of one’s mind here, but Victor Frankenstein’s real achievement was to create life – out of bits and pieces of dead bodies to be sure. In Scott’s movie a creature who looks not like Victor but an athletic version of his creature drinks a small ...

The Hunger of the Gods

David Brading, 9 January 1992

Aztecs: An Interpretation 
by Inga Clendinnen.
Cambridge, 398 pp., £24.95, October 1991, 0 521 40093 7
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... savour the flowery death by the obsidian knife’, his predestined fate to be as much victim as victor. The purpose of the Flowery War was not conquest but the taking of captives, the battles consisting of a series of individual combats between warriors decked out in the finery of jaguar skins and eagle feathers. As Clendinnen observes, ‘the great ...


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

... at the corner of the place des Vosges that I used to drop into after visiting the Musée Victor Hugo or the Follains’ apartment, completely transformed into a chic newly antiquated tea-shop. Got a last free table before queues started. Dinner 8.30 chez Jean-Claude and Annick. Other guest a young poet, Jacques Lèvre, whom Jean-Claude thinks very ...


Abigail Green: The Rothschilds, 18 February 2021

Rothschild: Glanz und Untergang des Wiener Welthauses 
by Roman Sandgruber.
Molden Verlag, 531 pp., £29, October 2018, 978 3 222 15024 1
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The Gunzburgs: A Family Biography 
by Lorraine de Meaux, translated by Steven Rendall.
Halban, 484 pp., £25, October 2019, 978 1 905559 99 2
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A Jewish Woman of Distinction: The Life and Diaries of Zinaida Poliakova 
by ChaeRan Y. Freeze, translated by Gregory L. Freeze.
Brandeis, 397 pp., £23, February 2020, 978 1 68458 001 9
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Kings of Shanghai: Two Rival Dynasties and the Creation of Modern China 
by Jonathan Kaufman.
Little Brown, 384 pp., £20, November 2020, 978 1 4087 1004 3
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... a contemporary of Goethe, who started off dealing antiquities in the Frankfurt ghetto; David Sassoon (1792-1864), heir to a distinguished Baghdadi-Jewish dynasty, who fled the political machinations of his hometown for British India; Joseph Evzel Gunzburg (1812-78), an alcohol magnate from Podolia with a prestigious rabbinic genealogy stretching ...

Chances are

Michael Wood, 7 July 1983

O, How the wheel becomes it! 
by Anthony Powell.
Heinemann, 143 pp., £6.95, June 1983, 0 434 59925 5
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Brilliant Creatures 
by Clive James.
Cape, 303 pp., £7.95, July 1983, 0 224 02122 2
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by Gordon Williams.
Joseph, 233 pp., £7.95, June 1983, 0 7181 2259 3
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... a pride of publishers, producers, stars and ancient European aristocrats – something like the David Frost Show done by Visconti. Everyone is beautiful except the gossip columnists, and they have all the appropriate faults, from kinky tastes in sex to bad spelling and worse usage: ‘But the daisy chain ... was only just gathering speed. It was still a ...

Cooking it up

Rupert Christiansen, 19 January 1989

Maria: Callas Remembered 
by Nadia Stancioff.
Sidgwick, 264 pp., £13.95, April 1988, 0 283 99645 5
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Callas at Juilliard: The Master Classes 
by John Ardoin.
Robson, 300 pp., £16.95, April 1988, 0 86051 504 4
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Callas as they saw her 
edited by David Lowe.
Robson, 264 pp., £6.95, April 1988, 9780860514961
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The Great Caruso 
by Michael Scott.
Hamish Hamilton, 322 pp., £16.95, June 1988, 0 241 11954 5
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by Victor Borovsky.
Hamish Hamilton, 630 pp., £25, April 1988, 0 241 12254 6
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... itself, or on its musical realisation, or even on the performers, but on what Ruth Berghaus or David Alden or Andrei Serban is saying about it. Or rather what images they are inflicting upon it – for the production of opera is primarily a matter of what something is made to look like. Singers rarely have any authentic acting ability and the wiser ...

The Tarnished Age

Richard Mayne, 3 September 1981

David O. Selznick’s Hollywood 
by Ronald Haver.
Secker, 425 pp., £35, December 1980, 0 436 19128 8
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My Early life 
by Ronald Reagan and Richard Hubler.
Sidgwick, 316 pp., £7.95, April 1981, 0 283 98771 5
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Naming Names 
by Victor Navasky.
Viking, 482 pp., $15.95, October 1980, 0 670 50393 2
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... Fourteen inches by 11, and weighing six pounds 13 ounces, David O. Selznick’s Hollywood is less a coffee-table book than a coffee table without legs. Its credits ape a blockbuster movie’s: ‘Executive Producer: Robert Gottlieb – Associate Producer: Martha Kaplan’, etc; and its first page opens like cinema curtains on a wider-than-Panavision main title modelled on Gone with the Wind ...


Edward Said: My Encounter with Sartre, 1 June 2000

... learned, was his literary executor; I was told that she was of Algerian origin. Another was Pierre Victor, a former Maoist and co-publisher with Sartre of the now defunct Gauche prolétarienne, who had become a deeply religious and, I supposed, Orthodox Jew; it stunned me to find out later from one of the journal’s assistants that he was an Egyptian Jew ...


Fintan O’Toole: The Case of Darren Graham, 6 September 2007

... buses, working on building sites or sitting in their own kitchens or living-rooms. Many, like David McQuillan, Winston McCaughey, Ritchie Latimer, Albert Beacom, Robert Bennett, Thomas Loughran and James McFall were with their children when they were attacked. William Gordon’s 10-year-old-daughter, Lesley, and seven-year-old son, Richard, were beside ...

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