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The Lie that Empire Tells Itself

Eric Foner: America’s bad wars, 19 May 2005

The Dominion of War: Empire and conflict in North America 1500-2000 
by Fred Anderson and Andrew Cayton.
Atlantic, 520 pp., £19.99, July 2005, 1 903809 73 8
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... of military power and moral righteousness to make the world safe for democracy. Like Ferguson, Fred Anderson and Andrew Cayton begin with the premise that the US has always been an empire. But in contrast to Ferguson’s brief, sanitised account of US history, which leaves the impression that the country’s territorial expansion on the North American ...

Reaganism

Anthony Holden, 6 November 1980

The United States in the 1980s 
edited by Peter Duignan and Alvin Rabushka.
Croom Helm, 868 pp., £14.95, August 1980, 0 8179 7281 1
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... elections of the last twenty years. Carter has refused to debate Edward Kennedy, and now John Anderson, and thus Reagan. Reagan in turn has been bound and gagged by his advisers, their hostage rather than their boss, in the apparent belief that he cannot live up to the media pitches devised by them on his behalf. There has hardly, therefore, been what you ...

Examples

Denis Donoghue, 2 February 1984

Towards 2000 
by Raymond Williams.
Chatto, 273 pp., £9.95, October 1983, 9780701126858
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Writing in Society 
by Raymond Williams.
Verso, 268 pp., £18.50, December 1983, 0 86091 072 5
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Radical Earnestness: English Social Theory 1880-1980 
by Fred Inglis.
Martin Robertson, 253 pp., £15, November 1982, 0 85520 328 5
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... Earnestness is a brisk survey of a ‘tradition of thought’, a ‘mode of feeling’, which Fred Inglis identifies as English and, in a vague sense, socialist. The tradition is characterised by ‘a habit of recourse to concrete examples in argument, a calm refusal of formal metaphysics, an unexamined criticism of “over-abstraction” (which means ...

Making It Up

Raphael Samuel, 4 July 1996

Raymond Williams 
by Fred Inglis.
Routledge, 333 pp., £19.99, October 1995, 0 415 08960 3
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... plain little building’ in the foothills of the Black Mountains. It is a comfortless day, Fred Inglis tells us. ‘The light fell crooked and the road fell wrong.’ Rooks caw speculatively on the wind, and the weather is appropriately Gothic too, a ‘bitter cold’ February day with ‘vicious showers of sleet and snow’. The mourners make their ...

The Schoolmen ride again

Richard Mayne, 15 May 1980

Cinema: A Critical Dictionary: The Major Film-Makers 
edited by Richard Roud.
Secker, 1120 pp., £25, February 1980, 9780436428302
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The Dream that Kicks: The Prehistory and Early Years of Cinema in Britain 
by Michael Chanan.
Routledge, 356 pp., £12.50, January 1980, 0 7100 0319 6
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... rest was fanfare. Then came a challenge. In 1947, four years ahead of Cahiers du Cinéma, Lindsay Anderson and his friends from the Oxford Film Society founded the magazine Sequence, and in effect launched Britain’s own new wave. Reread today, Sequence seems impressionistic, zesty, untouched by glum foreign dogmas. Bliss was it in that dark to be ...

John McEnroe plus Anyone

Edward Said: Tennis, 1 July 1999

The Right Set: The Faber Book of Tennis 
edited by Caryl Phillips.
Faber, 327 pp., £12.99, June 1999, 0 571 19540 7
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... not only Hoad and Rosewall, 18-year-old prodigies in the Fifties, but also Neale Fraser, Mal Anderson, Laver, Roy Emerson, John Newcombe and Fred Stolle (plus lesser stars like Don Candy and Bob Howe). I wanted to know more about South African tennis during apartheid, which gave rise to Sturgess, Gordon and Jean (his ...

Desperately Seeking Susan

Terry Castle: Remembering Susan Sontag, 17 March 2005

... whenever she took a step, like one of those people who have shoes made of ‘Flubber’ in the old Fred McMurray movie.She’d been telling me about the siege and how a Yugoslav woman she had taken shelter with had asked her for her autograph, even as bombs fell around them. She relished the woman’s obvious intelligence (‘Of course, Terry, she’d read The ...

In Praise of Follett

John Sutherland, 16 October 1980

The Key to Rebecca 
by Ken Follett.
Hamish Hamilton, 311 pp., £5.95, October 1980, 0 241 10492 0
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Joshua Then and Now 
by Mordecai Richler.
Macmillan, 435 pp., £6.95, September 1980, 0 333 30025 4
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Loosely Engaged 
by Christopher Matthew.
Hutchinson, 150 pp., £4.95, September 1980, 0 09 142830 0
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Imago Bird 
by Nicholas Mosley.
Secker, 185 pp., £5.95, September 1980, 9780436288463
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A Quest of Love 
by Jacquetta Hawkes.
Chatto, 220 pp., £6.50, October 1980, 0 7011 2536 5
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... girl, Lucy, who risks her life and her virtue for her country. Lucy lives to marry spy-catcher Fred Bloggs, who is everything his name suggests him to be. Triple is set in 1967-68. One man, an Arab aristocrat, ruthless, brilliant, irresistible to women, schemes to hijack a delivery of uranium. With the uranium Egypt will atom-bomb a defenceless ...

A Long Forgotten War

Jenny Diski: Sheila Rowbotham, 6 July 2000

Promise of a Dream: A Memoir of the 1960s 
by Sheila Rowbotham.
Allen Lane, 262 pp., £18.99, July 2000, 0 7139 9446 0
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... an introduction to a circle of socialists – Robin Blackburn, Gareth Stedman Jones, Perry Anderson – who challenged her acceptance of Edward Thompson’s non-sectarian New Left, the frivolity of mascara) came from Bob Rowthorn, who became Rowbotham’s adviser and long-term – oh I don’t know – boyfriend. The seeds of 1970s feminism were a long ...

Mythology in Bits

Tim Whitmarsh: Ancient Greek ‘Religion’, 20 December 2018

The Oxford Handbook of Ancient Greek Religion 
edited by Esther Eidinow and Julia Kindt.
Oxford, 736 pp., £30, December 2017, 978 0 19 881017 9
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... so capacious that it happily welcomed new gods from elsewhere – a phenomenon discussed by Ralph Anderson in his contribution to The Oxford Handbook of Ancient Greek Religion. Athens imported the Thracian Sabazios and Bendis; the Hellenistic world the Egyptian Isis, the Phrygian Cybele and the Syrian Atargatis, as well as inventing the hybrid god ...

Our Man

Perry Anderson: The Inglorious Career of Kofi Annan, 10 May 2007

The Best Intentions: Kofi Annan and the UN in the Era of American World Power 
by James Traub.
Bloomsbury, 442 pp., £20, November 2006, 0 7475 8087 1
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Kofi Annan: A Man of Peace in a World of War 
by Stanley Meisler.
Wiley, 384 pp., £19.99, January 2007, 978 0 471 78744 0
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... that this project has his blessing’, though fifteen years of intimacy with his press officer, Fred Eckhard – unique among his kind as one who was ‘completely incapable of spinning’, knowing ‘only how to hand out the truth in all its nuances’ (sic) – was of no small assistance too. But when one ventures further into each work it becomes plain ...

The Person in the Phone Booth

David Trotter: Phone Booths, 28 January 2010

... behaviour below. The star of that film, Keanu Reeves, also appears in The Matrix (1999) as Thomas Anderson, a.k.a. Neo, a company man turned hacker turned messiah. At the film’s conclusion, Neo phones in a proclamation of defiance from a booth on a busy street in the virtual world into which the bulk of the human species has been absorbed, before stepping ...

Into the Big Tent

Benjamin Kunkel: Fredric Jameson, 22 April 2010

Valences of the Dialectic 
by Fredric Jameson.
Verso, 625 pp., £29.99, October 2009, 978 1 85984 877 7
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... And yet: ‘Theodor Adorno didn’t have Julia’s grapy smell of lecherous pliability, Fred Jameson didn’t have Julia’s artful tongue.’ Unburdened of his Marxist texts and their ‘reproachful spines’, Chip proceeds to buy Julia a fillet of ‘wild Norwegian salmon, line caught’ for $78.40 at an upmarket grocery store Franzen calls the ...

Unembraceable

Peter Wollen, 19 October 1995

Sex and Suits 
by Anne Hollander.
Knopf, 212 pp., $25, September 1994, 0 679 43096 2
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... Anglophilia played a role in America similar to that which Francophilia once played in England. Fred Astaire bought his suits from Anderson & Sheppard. Gary Cooper and Clark Gable patronised Lesley & Roberts. Cary Grant went to Kilgour, French and Stanbury, who also made the suit which Astaire wore to dance in Top ...

Extreme Gothic Americana

James Lasdun, 6 June 2019

Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee 
by Casey Cep.
Heinemann, 314 pp., £20, May 2019, 978 1 78515 073 9
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... policies on his wife, was tried for her murder but acquitted after their neighbour, Dorcas Anderson, recanted some earlier testimony and provided him with an alibi. She and the reverend got married shortly thereafter. In February 1972 the reverend’s brother was found at the side of another nearby road, dead of a heart attack brought on by massive ...

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