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Ian Gilmour, 23 October 1986

Britain’s Civil Wars: Counter-Insurgency in the 20th Century 
by Charles Townshend.
Faber, 220 pp., £14.95, June 1986, 0 571 13802 0
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Terrorism and the Liberal State 
by Paul Wilkinson.
Macmillan, 322 pp., £25, May 1986, 0 333 39490 9
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Terrorism: How the West can win 
edited by Benjamin Netanyahu.
Weidenfeld, 254 pp., £14.95, August 1986, 0 297 79025 0
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Political Murder: From Tyrannicide to Terrorism 
by Franklin Ford.
Harvard, 440 pp., £24.95, November 1985, 0 674 68635 7
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The Financing of Terror 
by James Adams.
New English Library, 294 pp., £12.95, July 1986, 0 450 06086 1
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They dare to speak out: People and institutions confront Israel’s lobby 
by Paul Findley.
Lawrence Hill (Connecticut), 362 pp., $16.95, May 1985, 0 88208 179 9
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... That political assassination was not an Islamic invention is clearly demonstrated by Franklin Ford. His history might well have seemed merely like one bloody murder after another: Professor Ford’s narrative skill entirely avoids that difficulty. From 1939 onwards his touch is, perhaps, rather less ...

Time of the Red-Man

Mark Ford: James Fenimore Cooper, 25 September 2008

James Fenimore Cooper: The Early Years 
by Wayne Franklin.
Yale, 708 pp., £25, July 2008, 978 0 300 10805 7
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... safeguard their own inheritance, and this led to further difficulties and losses. At times Wayne Franklin’s extraordinarily full and well-researched biography of the first half of Cooper’s life reads like a series of court proceedings, as the embattled defendant settles this suit, stoutly fends off that, takes a case to Chancery, wins an ...

I want to boom

Mark Ford: Pound Writes Home, 24 May 2012

Ezra Pound to His Parents: Letters 1895-1929 
edited by Mary de Rachewiltz, David Moody and Joanna Moody.
Oxford, 737 pp., £39, January 2011, 978 0 19 958439 0
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... devoted to Pound’s letters not only to fellow writers such as Wyndham Lewis, E.E. Cummings, Ford Madox Ford, Louis Zukofsky and William Carlos Williams, but also to various editors and patrons: to the somewhat mysterious Margaret Cravens, a Paris-based piano student from Madison, Indiana, who in 1910 bestowed on Pound ...

The Taste of Peapods

Matthew Reynolds: E.L. Doctorow, 11 February 2010

Homer and Langley 
by E.L. Doctorow.
Little, Brown, 224 pp., £11.99, January 2010, 978 1 4087 0215 4
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... but what ought to have done. Surely (in Ragtime) John Pierpont Morgan might have invited Henry Ford to lunch to talk about reincarnation; and why wouldn’t the anarchist Emma Goldman have given a full-body massage to the society divorcée Evelyn Nesbit (accompanied by a lecture on sexual politics)? These lines of life have a strange affinity with the ...

Red Science

Eric Hobsbawm: J.D. Bernal, 9 March 2006

J.D. Bernal: The Sage of Science 
by Andrew Brown.
Oxford, 562 pp., £25, November 2005, 0 19 851544 8
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... young researchers of the highest ability – Crick (before he went to Cambridge), Rosalind Franklin, Aaron Klug – but he remained on the margins of the revolution in the life sciences he had done so much to inspire. He was to recognise the DNA model immediately as ‘the greatest single discovery in biology’, but his name is not on it. In ...

Captain Swing

Eric Hobsbawm, 24 November 1994

The Duke Ellington Reader 
edited by Mark Tucker.
Oxford, 536 pp., £19.95, February 1994, 0 19 505410 5
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Swing Changes: Big-Band Jazz in New Deal America 
by David Stowe.
Harvard, 299 pp., £19.95, October 1994, 0 674 85825 5
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... is a notable difference between Hollywood and Forty-Second Street, however, Hollywood, like Henry Ford, conquered the world by mass production: in this instance, of dreams. Its fundamental concern was with the greatest happiness of the greatest number, as measured by box-office returns. The musical analogue of Hollywood has, of course, been profoundly imbued ...

Ten Typical Days in Trump’s America

Eliot Weinberger, 25 October 2018

... Florence: 43 humans, 5500 pigs, 3,400,000 chickens.*A professor of psychology, Christine Blasey Ford, accuses Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a party when they were teenagers, turning up the music so that her screams could not be heard and putting his hand over her mouth. Fox News calls her a ‘loon’ (‘She may very ...


Mark Ford: Emily Dickinson’s Manuscripts, 19 June 2014

The Gorgeous Nothings 
by Emily Dickinson.
New Directions, 255 pp., £26.50, October 2013, 978 0 8112 2175 7
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The Marvel of Biographical Bookkeeping 
by Francis Nenik, translated by Katy Derbyshire.
Readux, 64 pp., £3, October 2013, 978 3 944801 00 1
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... achieved its destiny only when carefully edited and published in a printed book. But in 1981 R.W. Franklin’s facsimile edition, The Manuscript Books of Emily Dickinson, opened many Dickinson admirers’ eyes to everything that was elided or sidelined in a print edition of one of her poems. Franklin, ironically, would ...
... the 20th century only three have done so, and exerted a more than intermittent sway over Congress. Franklin Roosevelt did so (dramatically) in peacetime, but mostly at the outset of his administration when the banking crisis threatened the legitimacy of the political system. Lyndon Johnson, much the most gifted and insistent leader of Congress from the White ...

Business as Usual

J. Hoberman: Hitler in Hollywood, 19 December 2013

Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-39 
by Thomas Doherty.
Columbia, 429 pp., £24, April 2013, 978 0 231 16392 7
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The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler 
by Ben Urwand.
Harvard, 327 pp., £19.95, August 2013, 978 0 674 72474 7
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... began, the West was full of enablers and apologists. Hitler’s American admirers included Henry Ford, William Randolph Hearst and Charles Lindbergh. General Motors, DuPont and IBM did business with the Nazis. So did MGM. It’s no shock to see democratic politicians cosying up to Saudi autocrats, or Rupert Murdoch or the Walt Disney Company ingratiating ...

So Amused

Sarah Rigby: Fay Weldon, 11 July 2002

Auto da Fay 
by Fay Weldon.
Flamingo, 366 pp., £15.99, May 2002, 9780007109920
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... has arranged to return to England and her second child is born in Worcestershire and registered as Franklin Birkinshaw – a name which, Margaret has worked out through numerology, ‘comes out the same’ as William Shakespeare. The fact that the child is a girl is an inconvenience, but it is decided that the name is nevertheless the right one: after ...

Steaming Torsos

J. Hoberman, 6 February 1997

Westerns: Making the Man in Fiction and Film 
by Lee Clark Mitchell.
Chicago, 352 pp., £23.95, November 1996, 0 226 53234 8
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... obsession with masculinity from James Fenimore Cooper through Owen Wister, Zane Grey and John Ford to Sergio Leone and Sam Peckinpah. His subject is the well-known tautology that a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. For Mitchell, the Western novel is essentially theatrical – a stage on which male identity is enacted, as well as a form of cinema ...

Patriotic Gore

Michael Wood, 19 May 1983

by Gore Vidal.
Heinemann, 203 pp., £7.95, May 1983, 0 434 83076 3
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Pink Triangle and Yellow Star and Other Essays 1976-1982 
by Gore Vidal.
Heinemann, 278 pp., £10, July 1982, 0 434 83075 5
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... it for you with my Dunhill.’ ‘May I have this dance, Lady Darlene? I am the Earl of Grant ford.’ ‘Indeed you may, Earl, honey. I am Lady Darlene.’ There are even touches of Gracie (or is it Woody?) Allen:   ‘Was your father weak, passive, absent from home a lot?’   ‘You mean before he died?’ There is also a glum, constant sense ...

First Movie in the White House

J. Hoberman: ‘Birth of a Nation’, 12 February 2009

D.W. Griffith’s ‘The Birth of a Nation’: A History of ‘The Most Controversial Motion Picture of All Time’ 
by Melvyn Stokes.
Oxford, 414 pp., £13.99, January 2008, 978 0 19 533679 5
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... was that Griffith was the embodiment of that magnificent new art: he was to cinema what Henry Ford was to industrial production. Griffith introduced narrative suspense and emotional identification to the movies. He began making two-reel films in 1907, and after turning out hundreds of them he had learned how to use editing to create dramatic tension, by ...

The Unmaking of the President

Benjamin Barber, 7 October 1982

The Kennedy Imprisonment: A Meditation on Power 
by Garry Wills.
Atlantic/Little, Brown, 310 pp., $14.95, February 1982, 0 316 94385 1
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... continued to impede the efforts of Wilson to make the world safe for democracy, and of Franklin Delano Roosevelt to make economic and social justice a Presidential responsibility and a public trust. As recently as 1940, Harold Laski was still crying out for leadership, leadership, leadership, and insisting, against Madison’s caution, that ...

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