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At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Vice’, 21 February 2019

... the film asks. The film’s question is, ‘Who do we want our central character, in this case Dick Cheney, to have been, and how far did he oblige?’ Cheney, played by Christian Bale, whose other larger than life roles include Bruce Wayne, Patrick Bateman and Jesus, looms effectively in the film, as he should – nothing is quite so visible in a movie as ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Kicking Dick Cheney, 2 August 2007

... The two things that everyone knows about Dick Cheney are that he was once the CEO of Halliburton and that he has for the past six and a half years been the most powerful vice-president in American history. In four long articles published in the Washington Post at the end of June, Barton Gellman and Jo Becker revealed much that was previously unknown, if not entirely unsuspected, about the way Cheney operates ...

All together

Humphrey Carpenter, 7 December 1989

The Safest Place in the World: A Personal History of British Rhythm and Blues 
by Dick Heckstall-Smith.
Quartet, 178 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 7043 2696 5
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Mama said there’d be days like these: My Life in the Jazz World 
by Val Wilmer.
Women’s Press, 336 pp., £16.95, September 1989, 0 7043 5040 8
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Lenya: A Life 
by Donald Spoto.
Viking, 371 pp., £15.95, September 1989, 0 670 81211 0
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... last public appearance), and left one wondering how they had managed to stay together so long. Dick Heckstall-Smith defines a band as ‘a passengerless collective’, but he doesn’t say ‘driverless’, and his often rivetingly interesting book, which deals largely with the breakup of bands, frequently demonstrates that conflict is bound to occur ...

Looking Up

Donald Davie, 15 July 1982

The Passages of Joy 
by Thom Gunn.
Faber, 93 pp., £4, June 1982, 0 571 11867 4
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The Occasions of Poetry 
by Thom Gunn.
Faber, 188 pp., £6.95, June 1982, 0 571 11733 3
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... evenhandedly balancing an appreciation of a British product of by and large the same generation, Dick Davis’s In the Distance. And does any one recognise how rare it is, this saluting by a senior poet of juniors who are by no means of his stable, in no sense his ‘followers’? This is generosity: a virtue recommended in the verse and often embodied ...

Bill and Dick’s Excellent Adventure

Christopher Hitchens, 20 February 1997

Behind the Oval Office: Winning the Presidency in the Nineties 
by Dick Morris.
Random House, 382 pp., $25.95, January 1997, 9780679457473
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... of him in terms of lip-biting regret. In fact, let’s have Bill’s dust-jacket endorsement of Dick in full: I think he is, first of all, brilliant, tactically and strategically. Secondly, with me he’s always been very straightforward and honest, the bad news as well as the good and, if possible, the bad news first. Thirdly, he knows how I think, and he ...

What I heard about Iraq in 2005

Eliot Weinberger: Iraq, 5 January 2006

... Senator Joseph Biden, Democrat from Delaware, say that the number was closer to 4000; I heard Donald Rumsfeld say: ‘The fact of the matter is that there are 130,200 who have been trained and equipped. That’s a fact. The idea that that number’s wrong is just not correct. The number is right.’ I heard him explain the discrepancy: ‘Now, are some ...

Milne’s Cropper

Robert Kee, 7 July 1988

... people to whom he pays just tribute here. Grace Wyndham-Goldie added breadth to his vision and Donald Baverstock erratic flair. As DG, he was monarch of all he surveyed and could not see as far as he thought. Certainly an unfair disadvantage under which he suffered was the need to be seen as Director-General in something of the old style of that office, at ...

Gangsters in Hats

Richard Mayne, 17 May 1984

Essays on Detective Fiction 
edited by Bernard Benstock.
Macmillan, 218 pp., £20, February 1984, 0 333 32195 2
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Dashiell Hammett: A Life at the Edge 
by William Nolan.
Arthur Barker, 276 pp., £9.95, September 1983, 0 213 16886 3
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The Life of Dashiell Hammett 
by Diane Johnson.
Chatto, 344 pp., £12.95, January 1984, 9780701127664
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Hellman in Hollywood 
by Bernard Dick.
Associated University Presses, 183 pp., £14.95, September 1983, 0 8386 3140 1
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... was hardly concerned with Frank Richards as a novelist or (despite his essay’s title) the art of Donald McGill. A better reason for paying attention to humble work is to identify its virtues. At worst, this can become highbrow slumming – overpraising incompetence like an eager nursery teacher or a too-democratic exponent of ‘community arts’. Yet, when ...

A Short History of the Trump Family

Sidney Blumenthal: The First Family, 16 February 2017

... The​ most enduring blight left behind by Donald Trump, long after he has smashed things up, will be the pile of books devoted to trying to make sense of him. It will grow after investigative journalists have spent years diving for hidden records, exploring subterranean corporations and foreign partners but never reaching the dark ocean bottom ...

How to Solve the Puzzle

Donald MacKenzie: On Short Selling, 5 April 2018

... former journalists, including Weil. At the start of the 1980s, Chanos led the Forbes reporter Dick Stern through the tangled finances of Baldwin-United, which was Chanos’s first short; the company was a piano-maker which, at that point, had – somewhat bizarrely – diversified into insurance services. Twenty years later, a tip-off from Chanos helped ...

SH @ same time

Andrew Cockburn: Rumsfeld, 31 March 2011

Known and Unknown: A Memoir 
by Donald Rumsfeld.
Sentinel, 815 pp., £25, February 2011, 978 1 59523 067 6
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... Donald Rumsfeld, you could say, has had a remarkable career, stretching from a middle-class upbringing amid wealthier neighbours on the edge of Chicago, through Congress and high office in the Nixon and Ford administrations, including a spell as secretary of defense, a profitable excursion into business, and finally six tumultuous years heading the Pentagon under George W ...

Operation Overstretch

David Ramsbotham: Unfair to the Army, 20 February 2003

... forces in their support? This is even more dangerous ground. Soon after the end of the Cold War, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle proclaimed that the strategic aim of the US should be to prevent any peer competitor to the US emerging anywhere in the world by means of unilateral world ...


Patricia Lockwood: America is a baby, 3 December 2020

... by the mascot to help him dunk.I should specify that all these rituals were performed so that Donald Trump would lose. A disclaimer that Joe Biden was not my candidate is hardly necessary; after the primaries, he was no one’s candidate, really. The Biden-Harris ticket was like being handed one of Gary Larson’s Cow Tools and being screamed at for not ...

United States of Amnesia

Eric Foner, 9 September 2021

The Ground Breaking: The Tulsa Race Massacre and an American City’s Search for Justice 
by Scott Ellsworth.
Icon, 304 pp., £16.99, May 2021, 978 1 78578 727 0
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... between two teenagers that, in a normal country, would hardly have become a catalyst for violence. Dick Rowland, a Black 19-year-old who worked shining shoes, bumped into an elevator operator, a 17-year-old white woman. Perhaps he tripped. In any event she screamed and rumours spread that a Black youth had assaulted a white woman in downtown Tulsa. Rowland was ...

Who Cares?

Jean McNicol, 9 February 1995

The Report of the Inquiry into the Care and Treatment of Christopher Clunis 
by Jean Ritchie, Donald Dick and Richard Lingham.
HMSO, 146 pp., £9.50, February 1994, 0 11 701798 1
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Creating Community Care: Report of the Mental Health Foundation into Community Care for People with Severe Mental Illness 
by William Utting.
Mental Health Foundation, 76 pp., £9.50, September 1994, 0 901944 17 3
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Finding a Place: A Review of Mental Health Services for Adults 
HMSO, 94 pp., £11, November 1994, 0 11 886143 3Show More
The Falling Shadow: One Patient’s Mental Health Care. Report of the Committee of Inquiry into the Events Leading up to and Surrounding the Fatal Incident at the Edith Morgan Centre, Torbay, on 1 September 1993 
by Louis Blom-Cooper, Helen Hally and Elaine Murphy.
Duckworth, 230 pp., £12.99, January 1995, 0 7156 2662 0
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... At around 9 p.m. on 9 December 1992 Nigel Bartlett was walking down a quiet suburban street near Wood Green in North London when a man began to follow him. The man – Bartlett said he looked ‘like the Michelin man’ – started walking backwards in front of him and asked him if he was the devil, and then if he was happy. He had something in his hand; Bartlett thought it was a knife as it glinted in the streetlights, but then realised it was a screwdriver ...

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