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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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... Garfield, Ava Gardner, Judy Garland, Henry Hathaway, Van Heflin, Fritz Lang, Burt Lancaster, Audie Murphy, Burgess Meredith, Groucho Marx, Vincente Minnelli, Gregory Peck, Vincent Price, Robert Ryan, Edward G. Robinson, Donna Reed, Nicholas Ray, Robert Siodmak, Frank Sinatra, Sylvia Sidney, Claire Trevor, Franchot ...

The Monster Plot

Thomas Powers: James Angleton, Spymaster, 10 May 2018

The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton 
by Jefferson Morley.
Scribe, 336 pp., £20, December 2017, 978 1 911344 73 5
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... Eventually a third school of interpretation emerged. Its founder was a CI analyst named Clare Edward Petty, now dead (like almost everyone in this story). Petty concluded that Angleton was himself a Russian penetration agent, deliberately tying up the CIA in knots with his suspicions and doubts and backdoor campaign to block efforts to collect the ...

We did and we didn’t

Seamus Perry: Are yez civilised?, 6 May 2021

On Seamus Heaney 
by R.F. Foster.
Princeton, 228 pp., £14.99, September 2020, 978 0 691 17437 2
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... which the book’s Irish reviewers weren’t slow to point out. In an enlightened spirit, Richard Murphy thought the point was that Ireland might be encouraged to shake off such atavism, the book freed ‘us from the myth by portraying it in its true archaic shape and colour, not disguising its brutality’. Other reviewers took the opposite view, most ...

On the imagining of conspiracy

Christopher Hitchens, 7 November 1991

Harlot’s Ghost 
by Norman Mailer.
Joseph, 1122 pp., £15.99, October 1991, 0 7181 2934 2
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A Very Thin Line: The Iran-Contra Affairs 
by Theodore Draper.
Hill and Wang, 690 pp., $27.95, June 1991, 0 8090 9613 7
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... and crime.Yet this gruff, stupid masculine world is set on its ears by one courtesan. ‘Modene Murphy’, who is Mailer’s greatest failure of characterisation here, is perhaps such a failure because she has to do so much duty. In the novel as in life, she has to supply the carnal link between JFK, Frank Sinatra and the mob leader Sam Giancana. (Ben ...

When Ireland Became Divided

Garret FitzGerald: The Free State’s Fight for Recognition, 21 January 1999

Documents on Irish Foreign Policy. Vol. I: 1919-22 
edited by Ronan Fanning.
Royal Irish Academy and Department of Foreign Affairs, 548 pp., £30, October 1998, 1 874045 63 1
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... Twenties, before serving as Minister in Washington and, during and after the war, in Italy; Sean Murphy, Minister to France from 1938 to 1950, the only diplomat accredited to Vichy who de Gaulle allowed to serve in Paris after the war, and Secretary of the Department of External Affairs in the mid-Fifties; and Smiddy, who became Minister to Washington until ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan, 7 June 2018

... travelled from there into the common areas and the stairwell. In Flat 111 on the 14th floor, Denis Murphy, 56, dialled 999 and was told to stay inside his flat and that firefighters would soon reach him. He called his brother at 1.30 and left a message saying there was black smoke everywhere. People could have made for the stairs at that point, but they were ...

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