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Nixon’s Greatest Moments

R.W. Johnson, 13 May 1993

Nixon: A Life 
by Jonathan Aitken.
Weidenfeld, 633 pp., £25, January 1993, 0 297 81259 9
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... points out that Nixon was hardly the first to play dirty: as Attorney-General, Bobby Kennedy harassed Nixon with an IRS inquiry, a weapon Nixon later made his own, while LBJ wiretapped not merely Nixon’s campaign manager, John Mitchell, but Nixon and his running mate, Agnew, too. More blame is laid off on bad ...

Hopi Mean Time

Iain Sinclair: Jim Sallis, 18 March 1999

Eye of the Cricket 
by James Sallis.
No Exit, 190 pp., £6.99, April 1998, 1 874061 77 7
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... New Orleans, the setting for Sallis’s Griffin novels, is a mob town with murky connections to Kennedy conspiracies, voodoo, vampire faggots, jazz, child brothels and all the trash, black and white, of the Delta. It wasn’t a place – with its ‘meaty, rich smell of frying shrimp’, its ‘palms, hibiscus, yucca trees and rubber plants’ – to be ...

Who’s in charge?

Chalmers Johnson: The Addiction to Secrecy, 6 February 2003

Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers 
by Daniel Ellsberg.
Viking, 498 pp., $29.95, October 2002, 0 670 03030 9
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... had repeatedly warned the Government that things would only go from bad to worse.* But Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon were interested above all in the effects the war would have on the elections of 1964, 1968 and 1972 respectively. The source of the revelations was not a long-haired anti-war radical but one of us: a Marine officer, an insider’s ...

Just Had To

R.W. Johnson: LBJ, 20 March 2003

The Years of Lyndon Johnson. Vol III: Master of the Senate 
by Robert A. Caro.
Cape, 1102 pp., £30, August 2002, 0 394 52836 0
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... solid Southern bloc to rely on, he reached out to Northern liberals like Hubert Humphrey and Jack Kennedy, pointing out that only by sticking together could the Democrats weather Eisenhower’s huge popularity. With Taft’s supporters wanting to lead the Republicans way to the right, the Democrats might even make themselves the core of a moderate ruling ...

The Pink Hotel

Wayne Koestenbaum, 3 April 1997

The Last Thing He Wanted 
by Joan Didion.
Flamingo, 227 pp., £15.99, January 1997, 0 00 224080 7
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... vertigo. At the end of the novel, the narrator recalls a conference ‘sponsored by the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, at which eight members of the Kennedy Administration gathered at an old resort hotel in the Florida Keys to reassess the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis’. In its own, individual paragraph ...

Colloquially Speaking

Patrick McGuinness: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945, 1 April 1999

The Penguin Book of Poetry from Britain and Ireland since 1945 
edited by Simon Armitage and Robert Crawford.
Viking, 480 pp., £10.99, September 1998, 0 670 86829 9
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The Firebox: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945 
edited by Sean O’Brien.
Picador, 534 pp., £16.99, October 1998, 0 330 36918 0
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... books, as are a number of the poets Motion and Morrison published in Contemporary British Poetry: Douglas Dunn, Anne Stevenson, Craig Raine, James Fenton, Andrew Motion, Derek Mahon, Fleur Adcock, Carol Rumens, Medbh McGuckian, Penelope Shuttle and others. Geoffrey Hill, Dannie Abse, Denise Levertov, Peter Red-grove, U.A. Fanthorpe, Gillian Clarke, Eiléan ...

The Greatest

R.W. Johnson, 4 August 1994

Charles de Gaulle, Futurist of the Nation 
by Régis Debray, translated by John Howe.
Verso, 111 pp., £29.95, April 1994, 0 86091 622 7
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De Gaulle and 20th-Century France 
edited by Hugh Gough and John Horne.
Edward Arnold, 158 pp., £12.99, March 1994, 0 340 58826 8
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François Mitterrand: A Study in Political Leadership 
by Alistair Cole.
Routledge, 216 pp., £19.99, March 1994, 0 415 07159 3
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... the politicians failed her. In 1959 he forecast German reunification. In 1961 he warned Kennedy that US intervention in Vietnam was bound to end in disaster. Perhaps most striking was his vision of ‘a Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals’. While his contemporaries, like Churchill, still looked backward to empire, de Gaulle saw, as early as ...

Tell us, Solly

Tim Radford: Solly Zuckerman, 20 September 2001

Solly Zuckerman: A Scientist out of the Ordinary 
by John Peyton.
Murray, 252 pp., £22.50, May 2001, 9780719562839
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... of the Atlantic. These were not just any old fleeting celebrities: they included Charles Laughton, Douglas Fairbanks Jr, Ira Gershwin, e.e. cummings and Lord Mountbatten. He became conspicuously friendly with the Duke of Edinburgh. Science was not then, and has never been, a celebrity preoccupation, but war tends to move science rapidly up the ...

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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... for freedom of expression an impressive range of talents: Lucille Ball, Eddie Cantor, Kirk Douglas, Melvyn Douglas, Deanna Durbin, Melvyn Frank, Daniel Fuchs, Henry Fonda, John Garfield, Ava Gardner, Judy Garland, Henry Hathaway, Van Heflin, Fritz Lang, Burt Lancaster, Audie Murphy, Burgess Meredith, Groucho ...

My Life with Harold Wilson

Peter Jenkins, 20 December 1979

Final Term: The Labour Government 1974-76 
by Harold Wilson.
Weidenfeld/Joseph, 322 pp., £8.95
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... also the pre-election campaign which he conducted in order to steal the initiative from Sir Alec Douglas Home, who declined to go to the country until the last moment. And I came to like him a great deal. When he retired on 16 March 1976, I felt as if his presence had filled the best years of my life. It was like the death of an estranged father. In those ...

Darling Clem

Paul Addison, 17 April 1986

Clement Attlee 
by Trevor Burridge.
Cape, 401 pp., £20, January 1986, 0 224 02318 7
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The Second World War Diary of Hugh Dalton 1940-1945 
edited by Ben Pimlott.
Cape in association with the London School of Economics, 913 pp., £40, February 1986, 9780224020657
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Loyalists and Loners 
by Michael Foot.
Collins, 315 pp., £15, March 1986, 0 00 217583 5
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... minister in charge of the coal industry, was ‘a second-rate, slow-witted sheepshead’. Thomas Kennedy, a veteran Labour MP, was ‘only a walking corpse, with a faint residue of mental trouble’. The Labour peer Lord Faringdon was ‘a pansy pacifist of whose private tendencies it might be slander to speak freely’. So much for personal spite. On a ...

Mary, Mary

Christopher Hitchens, 8 April 1993

Official and Confidential: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover 
by Anthony Summers.
Gollancz, 576 pp., £18.99, March 1993, 0 575 04236 2
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... Robinson. His real name is Emanuel Goldenberg. There is another one here who calls himself Melvyn Douglas whose name is Melvyn Desselberg. There are others too numerous to mention. They are attacking the Committee for doing its duty to protect this country and save the American people from the horrible fate the Communists have meted out to the unfortunate ...

How Dirty Harry beat the Ringo Kid

Michael Rogin, 9 May 1996

John Wayne: American 
by Randy Roberts and James Olson.
Free Press, 738 pp., £17.99, March 1996, 0 02 923837 4
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... of the romance of the isolated outsider. Praising his performance in Sands of Iwo Jima, General Douglas Mac Arthur (whose words had opened and closed John Wayne’s Bataan/Corregidor film, They Were Expendable), told him in front of the American Legion: ‘You represent the American serviceman better than the American serviceman himself.’ So ...

High Priest of Mumbo-Jumbo

R.W. Johnson, 13 November 1997

Lord Hailsham: A Life 
by Geoffrey Lewis.
Cape, 403 pp., £25, October 1997, 0 224 04252 1
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... to Anglo-American relations and would in fact end the special relationship’ – so appalled had Kennedy been by what Harriman told him. For Macmillan that was decisive. Hogg warned Home, also of Eton and Christ Church, to keep out of it: ‘Of course I pitched it strong,’ Hogg said to Ian Gilmour. ‘Alec and I have known each other for forty years. We ...


David Bromwich: The Establishment President, 13 May 2010

... Virginia; on 19 January, a Republican who describes himself as independent, Scott Brown, won Ted Kennedy’s senate seat in Massachusetts. The scale of these victories made them particularly ominous. McDonnell took 59 per cent of the votes and Brown 52 per cent, in states where Obama a year earlier had pulled 53 per cent and 62 per cent ...

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