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Sleepless Afternoons

Avi Shlaim, 25 February 1993

The Passionate Attachment: America’s Involvement with Israel 
by George Ball and Douglas Ball.
Norton, 382 pp., £17.95, January 1993, 0 393 02933 6
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... create the illusion of a common interest where no common interest exists. To speak, as George Ball and his son do, of America’s passionate attachment to Israel involves a slight exaggeration for, as Charles de Gaulle once remarked, there are no love affairs between states. Even the love affair between American Jews and Israel is only skin deep: American ...

Knucklehead Truman

Douglas Johnson, 2 June 1983

The Eisenhower Diaries 
edited by Robert Ferrell.
Norton, 445 pp., £15.25, April 1983, 0 393 01432 0
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The Life and Times of Joe McCarthy: A Biography 
by Thomas Reeves.
Blond and Briggs, 819 pp., £11.95, June 1983, 0 85634 131 2
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The past has another pattern 
by George Ball.
Norton, 544 pp., £14.95, September 1982, 0 393 01481 9
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Torn Lace Curtain 
by Frank Saunders and James Southwood.
Sidgwick, 361 pp., £7.95, March 1983, 0 283 98946 7
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The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Path to Power 
by Robert Caro.
Collins, 882 pp., £15, February 1983, 0 00 217062 0
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The Politician: The Life and Times of Lyndon Johnson 
by Ronnie Dugger.
Norton, 514 pp., £13.25, September 1982, 9780393015980
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Years of Upheaval 
by Henry Kissinger.
Weidenfeld/Joseph, 1312 pp., £15.95, March 1982, 0 7181 2115 5
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Richard Nixon: The Shaping of his Character 
by Fawn Brodie.
Norton, 574 pp., £14.95, October 1982, 0 393 01467 3
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Haig: The General’s Progress 
by Roger Morris.
Robson, 458 pp., £8.95, October 1982, 9780860511885
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Keeping Faith: Memoirs of a President 
by Jimmy Carter.
Collins, 622 pp., £15, November 1982, 0 00 216648 8
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Crisis: The Last Year of the Carter Presidency 
by Hamilton Jordan.
Joseph, 431 pp., £12.95, November 1982, 0 7181 2248 8
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Power and Principle: Memoirs of the National Security Adviser 1977-81 
by Zbigniew Brzezinski.
Weidenfeld, 587 pp., £15, April 1983, 0 297 78220 7
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... this is in comparison with the clichéridden public pronouncements he was given to making: George Ball, who twice campaigned against him, has written of ‘a plodding fivestar general uttering pedestrian language written by some journalistic hack with all the grace of a gun-carriage being hauled across cobblestones’. It appears from the diaries that ...

Raison de Mourir

Peter Ackroyd, 21 January 1982

The Mad Bad Line 
by Brian Roberts.
Hamish Hamilton, 319 pp., £15, July 1981, 0 241 10637 0
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... The Douglas were interesting only in death: the book opens with a suicide, and closes with the glimpse of a putative heaven in which Lord Alfred Douglas and his father are reconciled, like Belial and Mammon. In life, they were a family of sportsmen whose only sport was self-interest, who made up in neuroses what they lacked in achievement, who relied upon ferocity rather than feeling ...

In for the Kill

Inigo Thomas: Photographing Cricket, 17 August 2017

... world cup final. The game turned on Lloyd’s century, and Eagar took a picture of him smashing a ball through the offside. The pose of his body after executing the shot is exactly as the manuals say it ought to be: head straight, both feet grounded, the bat given its full swing. ‘Lloyd made the pitch and the stumps and the bowlers all seem much smaller ...


Mike Marqusee: The Ancient Argument between Bat and Ball, 18 August 1994

... A cricket ball is a peculiar object. Primitive, volatile, a relic of the game’s origins in a pre-industrial world, its behaviour still baffles physicists. Over the years, bowlers, seeking to exploit the mysterious properties with which the solid sphere of leather, twine and cork seems endowed, have done just about everything imaginable to it ...

Short Cuts

Paul Myerscough: Zidane at work, 5 October 2006

... spectators. But by the time Darius Khondji’s high-definition cameras find him, four minutes into Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno’s film Zidane: A 21st-Century Portrait, ‘Zizou’ is already sweating. Every few seconds, he blows the droplets away from his mouth; they collect and drip from his earlobes and his chin. There is no impression of effort ...

Dangerous Play

Mike Selvey, 23 May 1985

Gubby Allen: Man of Cricket 
by E.W. Swanton.
Hutchinson, 311 pp., £12.95, April 1985, 0 09 159780 3
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Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack: 1985 
edited by John Woodcock.
Wisden, 1280 pp., £11.95, April 1985, 0 947766 00 6
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... last year, the object of which was to unearth a lad (or lass!) who could hurl a cricket ball vast distances, irrespective of direction or trajectory, and then teach them the skills necessary for conversion into a Test fast bowler. On the basis of this barmy idea the England football manager should bear Daley Thompson in mind for the next World ...

Character References

Robert Taubman, 15 May 1980

The Echo Chamber 
by Gabriel Josipovici.
Harvester, 154 pp., £6.50, March 1980, 0 85527 807 2
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by D.M. Thomas.
Gollancz, 160 pp., £6.50, March 1980, 0 575 02762 2
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Kingdom Come 
by Melvyn Bragg.
Secker, 352 pp., £6.50, March 1980, 0 436 06714 5
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A Gentle Occupation 
by Dirk Bogarde.
Chatto, 360 pp., £5.95, March 1980, 0 7011 2505 5
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Innocent Blood 
by P.D. James.
Faber, 276 pp., £5.95, March 1980, 0 571 11566 7
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... She paused. ‘This is Peter,’ she said. Everybody laughed. One of the children threw a ball into the air and someone said something that sounded like ‘sport and game’ or ‘Fort Alane’ and everybody laughed again. The introductions at the start of The Echo Chamber perform the opposite of their conventional function. The reader senses ...

Play Again?

Matthew Reynolds: Douglas Coupland’s ‘JPod’, 3 August 2006

by Douglas Coupland.
Bloomsbury, 448 pp., £12.99, June 2006, 9780747582229
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... Douglas Coupland’s new book is both more than a novel and less. There is a JPod website where you can see the six main characters represented as Lego figurines, hear some of their favourite songs, and join in ‘pod pastimes’ – not much at present beyond selling yourself on eBay, but more is said to be ‘coming soon ...

Badger Claws

Julian Barnes: Poil de Carotte, 30 June 2011

Nature Stories 
by Jules Renard, translated by Douglas Parmée.
NYRB, 165 pp., £8.99, March 2011, 978 1 59017 364 0
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... you could put together a second and third collection of nature notes, of just as high a quality.) Douglas Parmée nicely continues this tradition of intra-larceny, adding, for example, ‘Le Lever du soleil’ from the collection L’Oeil clair. His elegant and humorous translation is accompanied by Bonnard’s sunny black and white sketchings. A year before ...
Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature 
by Linda Lear.
Allen Lane, 634 pp., £25, March 1998, 0 7139 9236 0
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... America’s intellectual élite and ensure runaway sales. The Supreme Court Justice, William O. Douglas, in a comment for Houghton Mifflin, called Silent Spring ‘the most revolutionary book since Uncle Tom’s Cabin’. It was selected by the Book of the Month Club and Douglas introduced it in the Club News as ‘the ...

Give her a snake

Mary Beard, 22 March 1990

Cleopatra: Histories, Dreams and Distortions 
by Lucy Hughes-Hallett.
Bloomsbury, 338 pp., £16.95, February 1990, 0 7475 0093 2
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... In 1951 Lady Diana Cooper turned up at a ball in the Palazzo Labia in Venice dressed as Cleopatra. The choice of costume was perhaps predictable. On the walls of that Palazzo is Tiepolo’s painting of an outrageously haughty Cleopatra, attended by her male servants. And it was this fresco, copied faithfully (apart from its exposed breasts) down to the last jewel, that provided the model for Cooper’s outfit ...

Real Thing

John Naughton, 24 November 1988

Live from Number 10: The Inside Story of Prime Ministers and Television 
by Michael Cockerell.
Faber, 352 pp., £14.95, September 1988, 0 571 14757 7
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... the satirical glare of a new television programme called That Was The Week That Was. Of Sir Alec Douglas-Home (as he then briefly was), Mr Cockerell hasn’t much to say, beyond revealing that the BBC had a special studio-lighting arrangement which took 40 minutes to set up and whose sole function was ‘to give the unfortunate Prime Minister the semblance ...


E.S. Turner: The Graf Zeppelin, 15 November 2001

Dr Eckener’s Dream Machine: The Historic Saga of the Round-the-World Zeppelin 
by Douglas Botting.
HarperCollins, 356 pp., £17.99, September 2001, 0 00 257191 9
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... to have one named after him for fear it would blow up and diminish his reputation. According to Douglas Botting, he likened the airship to a new kind of floor covering which ‘looks marvellous, shines for ever and never wears out’, but cannot be walked on with nailed shoes or have hard things dropped on it, because unfortunately it is made of high ...

On Roy DeCarava

Gazelle Mba, 7 April 2022

... places he had always known.DeCarava was born in Harlem in 1919, growing up at the time of Aaron Douglas, Augusta Savage, Archibald Motley et al. His mother, Elfreda Ferguson, bought him art materials and enrolled him in classes. After high school, he worked in the poster division of the Works Progress Administration and studied at Cooper Union School of ...

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