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Barrage Balloons of Fame

Christopher Tayler: We need to talk about Martin, 8 October 2020

Inside Story 
by Martin Amis.
Cape, 521 pp., £20, September, 978 1 78733 275 1
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... learning that he had a daughter he hadn’t known about and that his cousin had been murdered by Fred West. Hyperbole wasn’t really needed, and Amis made use of restraint as well as his command of voice in working the book into a pattern that didn’t feel willed or self-serving. The crisis in Inside Story is more diffuse. Hitchens’s death from cancer in ...

Radical Aliens

David Cole: The Sacco-Vanzetti Affair, 22 October 2009

The Sacco-Vanzetti Affair: America on Trial 
by Moshik Temkin.
Yale, 316 pp., £25, July 2009, 978 0 300 12484 2
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... New Republic. Anarchists scrambled to organise support, and Sacco and Vanzetti’s radical lawyer, Fred Moore, dashed off letters to everyone he thought might be interested. But the case did not attract broad interest until 1926 or 1927. In April 1927, the Massachusetts Supreme Court denied the men’s final state court appeals, and Judge Thayer sentenced the ...

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 ...

Tinkering

Mark Greif: Walt Disney, 7 June 2007

Walt Disney: The Biography 
by Neal Gabler.
Aurum, 766 pp., £25, May 2007, 978 1 84513 277 4
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The Animated Man: A Life of Walt Disney 
by Michael Barrier.
California, 393 pp., £18.95, April 2007, 978 0 520 24117 6
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Drawing the Line: The Untold Story of the Animation Unions from Bosko to Bart Simpson 
by Tom Sito.
Kentucky, 440 pp., £19.95, September 2006, 0 8131 2407 7
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... panes of glass affixed with painted cels. As the studio’s skills changed, he asked a new star, Fred Moore, to redesign Mickey once again. Meanwhile, he remade himself – becoming an icon, a studio head, a mogul, the ultimate mover behind Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo, Bambi – until the Disney momentum failed in 1941, the end of the studio’s ‘golden ...

The Great Scots Education Hoax

Rosalind Mitchison, 18 October 1984

The Companion to Gaelic Scotland 
edited by Derick Thomson.
Blackwell, 363 pp., £25, December 1983, 0 631 12502 7
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Experience and Enlightenment: Socialisation for Cultural Changes in 18th-Century Scotland 
by Charles Camic.
Edinburgh, 301 pp., £20, January 1984, 0 85224 483 5
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Knee Deep in Claret: A Celebration of Wine and Scotland 
by Billy Kay and Cailean Maclean.
Mainstream, 232 pp., £9.95, November 1983, 0 906391 45 8
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Education and Opportunity in Victorian Scotland: Schools and Universities 
by R.D. Anderson.
Oxford, 384 pp., £25, July 1983, 0 19 822696 9
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Scotland: The Real Divide 
edited by Gordon Brown and Robin Cook.
Mainstream, 251 pp., £9.95, November 1983, 0 906391 18 0
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Wealth and Virtue: The Shaping of Political Economy in the Scottish Enlightenment 
edited by Istvan Hont and Michael Ignatieff.
Cambridge, 371 pp., £35, November 1983, 0 521 23397 6
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... The two concepts serve in different ways to assert a high standard of social democracy. Robert Anderson’s Education and Opportunity in Victorian Scotland does not destroy these beliefs, but he shows that the latter one was true only in a very limited state, and that many people were determined to keep it limited. The 19th-century middle class was ...

It’s already happened

James Meek: The NHS Goes Private, 22 September 2011

... ends from a local scrapyard. In their book A Transatlantic History of Total Hip Replacement Julie Anderson, Francis Neary and John Pickstone argue that by putting surgeons on state salaries, the NHS freed them from dependence on private patients, giving the innovative among them the security to experiment.† Charnley was only the most successful of a string ...

Pipe down back there!

Terry Castle: The Willa Cather Wars, 14 December 2000

Willa Cather and the Politics of Criticism 
by Joan Acocella.
Nebraska, 127 pp., £13.50, August 2000, 0 8032 1046 9
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... the classes did not exist.’ Set against the fierce muckraking of Theodore Dreiser or Sherwood Anderson, another critic complained, Cather’s fiction was ‘harmless stuff that “could be read in schools and women’s clubs”’. Her Flaubertian classicism (and concomitant moral irony) went mostly unrecognised, and despite her huge popularity with ...

That was the year that was

Tariq Ali, 24 May 2018

... Trodd, Ken Loach, Tony Garnett, John McGrath. You know, from the cultural milieu. There was Clive, Fred Halliday, later Sheila Rowbotham got involved, and Roger Smith, script editor at the BBC. The French May erupted as we were about to launch the first issue, which had come out looking slightly miserabilist and unimaginative. It was generally felt that the ...

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