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James Wood: Afterlives, 14 April 2011

After Lives: A Guide to Heaven, Hell and Purgatory 
by John Casey.
Oxford, 468 pp., £22.50, January 2010, 978 0 19 509295 0
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... a small, sooty room, like a village bathhouse, with spiders in the corners). In What Jesus Meant, Garry Wills, a sophisticated Catholic liberal, tells a story about comforting his young son, who had woken in the night, afraid that, as the nuns at school had taught, he would go to hell if he sinned. ‘There is not an ounce of heroism in my ...

Our Lady of the Counterculture

Marina Warner: The Virgin Mary, 8 November 2012

... and several reviewers in Britain and the US condemned the book for its attack on Catholicism. Garry Wills, who had inspired me with his study of the crisis in the faith, Bare Ruined Choirs, criticised my book for its contradictoriness. I show a great love of Mary, he wrote, of the art, liturgy and cult she inspires, while rejecting the meaning of the ...


Colin Burrow: Chapman’s Homer, 27 June 2002

Chapman’s Homer: The ‘Iliad’ 
edited by Allardyce Nicoll.
Princeton, 613 pp., £13.95, December 1998, 0 691 00236 3
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Chapman’s Homer: The ‘Odyssey’ 
edited by Allardyce Nicoll.
Princeton, 613 pp., £13.95, January 2001, 0 691 04891 6
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... of Chapman’s Homer a work to be admired, bought, even read right through. The new prefaces by Garry Wills add little to Nicoll’s original, level-headed and accurate introductions, and do not always acknowledge, as they should, that there are still things which ought to be done with Chapman that Nicoll did not do. There is no help here in ...

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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... revolution’?Contemporary historians like Theodore Draper, Arthur Schlesinger and Garry Wills, or political journalists like Seymour Hersh, Lou Cannon and Robert Woodward, deal with this difficulty in various ways, but seldom succeed for long in firing the general consciousness. This is because they are either apologists for power ...

Among the Graves

Thomas Laqueur: Naming the Dead, 18 December 2008

The Civil War and the Limits of Destruction 
by Mark Neely.
Harvard, 277 pp., £20.95, November 2007, 978 0 674 02658 2
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This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War 
by Drew Gilpin Faust.
Knopf, 346 pp., $27.95, January 2008, 978 0 375 40404 7
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... the Iliad; Lincoln’s great speech at the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery was, as Garry Wills has persuasively argued, a reprise of Pericles’ funeral oration, and, like it, was intended as an occasion for the refounding of a polity on the bodies of those who had given their lives for it. The Civil War was not the first war in which ...

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