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Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Adam Shatz: Mass Incarceration, 4 May 2017

Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America 
by James Forman.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 306 pp., £21.98, April 2017, 978 0 374 18997 6
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... and the Capitol Building ‘coated in chocolate’. ‘They still call it the White House,’ George Clinton said on the title track, ‘but that’s a temporary condition, too.’In 1975, David Clarke, a white civil rights lawyer on the city council, introduced a proposal to decriminalise marijuana possession. He pointed out that marijuana arrests had ...

Tremendous in His Wrath

Eric Foner: George Washington, Slave Owner, 19 December 2019

‘The Only Unavoidable Subject of Regret’: George Washington, Slavery and the Enslaved Community at Mount Vernon 
by Mary Thompson.
Virginia, 502 pp., £32.50, January 2019, 978 0 8139 4184 4
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... One of the few​ facts of American history of which Donald Trump appears to be aware is that George Washington owned slaves. Trump mentioned this in 2017 as one reason for his opposition to the removal of the monuments to Confederate generals that dot the southern landscape. In Trump’s view owning slaves probably enhances Washington’s reputation: like him, the first president knew how to make a buck ...

Diary

Christian Lorentzen: Homo Trumpiens, 3 November 2016

... I put “liberals” in quotes because liberals today are not real liberals at all. Thomas Jefferson and George Washington were real liberals.’ He takes his news from the Drudge Report and Infowars and has soured on the GOP: ‘These corrupt establishment neoconservatives actually want Hillary Clinton to win in ...

Hot Dogs

Malcolm Bull, 14 June 1990

Mine eyes have seen the glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America 
by Randall Balmer.
Oxford, 246 pp., $19.95, September 1989, 0 19 505117 3
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In God’s Country: Travels in the Bible Belt, USA 
by Douglas Kennedy.
Unwin Hyman, 240 pp., £12.95, November 1989, 0 04 440423 9
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The Divine Supermarket 
by Malise Ruthven.
Chatto, 336 pp., £14.95, August 1989, 0 7011 3151 9
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The Democratisation of American Christianity 
by Nathan Hatch.
Yale, 312 pp., £22.50, November 1989, 0 300 44470 2
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Religion and 20th-Century American Intellectual Life 
edited by Michael Lacey.
Cambridge/Woodrow Wilson Centre for Scholars, 214 pp., £27.50, November 1989, 0 521 37560 6
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New Religions and the Theological Imagination in America 
by Mary Farrell Bednarowski.
Indiana, 175 pp., $25, November 1989, 0 253 31137 3
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... memorials to Brigham Young, Martin Luther King and Thomas Merton, and ends at the grave of Thomas Jefferson – has a distinctly antiquarian flavour. Ruthven believes that myths ‘become plausible when canonised by arts that penetrate the collective cultural psyche’, and he seems happier visiting monuments than talking to people more credulous than himself ...

Dangerously Amiable

Nathan Perl-Rosenthal: Lafayette Reconsidered, 16 February 2017

The Marquis: Lafayette Reconsidered 
by Laura Auricchio.
Vintage, 432 pp., £11.99, August 2015, 978 0 307 38745 5
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... for his arrest on grounds of filial disobedience. In America, Lafayette attached himself to George Washington, who appreciated the young man’s companionship, bravery and money. Though Lafayette was a general in name, his role in the army initially had little to do with actual fighting. When the signing of a Franco-American alliance in 1778 brought ...

Muldoon – A Mystery

Michael Hofmann, 20 December 1990

Madoc – A Mystery 
by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 261 pp., £14.99, October 1990, 0 571 14489 6
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... home in the person of the 19th-century (Irish?) artist and painter of ‘native Americans’, George Catlin, whose Rushes through the Middle graces the cover of Madoc. Oh, and one other thing. The narrative is sectioned-off into short, mostly self-contained poems, each given the name of a philosopher or quasi-philosopher (such as Frederick the Great or ...

Diary

Deborah Friedell: The Heart and the Fist, 24 May 2018

... the two men shared the same campaign. Rather than drain the swamp, Eric swore to ‘blow up’ Jefferson City, the state capital, while also promising – presumably this would happen first – to throw out all the lobbyists, ‘even if in sight of the statue of Thomas Jefferson I have to throw you down the steps of the ...

At the Huntington

Jack Hartnell: Relocating the Yokoi House, 8 October 2020

... the autograph manuscript of Thoreau’s Walden, and documents and letters belonging to Washington, Jefferson, Franklin and Lincoln. The German botanist William Hertrich was commissioned to design the gardens: Californian, Australian, Japanese, Chinese, Jungle, Palm, Rose and Desert; a maze of meandering pathways across 120 acres. They hold more than four ...

Along the Voie Sacrée

Inigo Thomas, 8 November 2018

... advance that began in September 1918 and ended with the signing of the Armistice on 11 November. George Marshall, after whom the Marshall Plan is named, drew up the order of battle for the American Expeditionary Force. More than a million American soldiers fought in what is known as the Hundred Days Offensive: 122,000 were injured; 26,000 were killed. The ...

Basismo

Anthony Pagden, 13 June 1991

The Cambridge History of Latin America. Vol. VII: 1930 to the Present 
edited by Leslie Bethell.
Cambridge, 775 pp., £70, October 1990, 0 521 24518 4
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Magical Reels: A History of Cinema in Latin America 
by John King.
Verso, 266 pp., £29.95, November 1990, 0 86091 295 7
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Democracy and Development in Latin America: Economics, Politics and Religion in the Post-war Period 
by David Lehmann.
Polity, 235 pp., £29.50, April 1990, 0 7456 0776 4
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... of Graham Greene and Gabriel García Márquez) and then under Manuel Noriega (former friend of George Bush), is now firmly back in its control. (As John Major says in the Cambridge History, the Panama Canal has been the ‘outstanding symbol of Washington’s power to dominate the weaker states of the hemisphere’.) It still exercises direct colonial rule ...

Evil Man

Simon Schaffer: Joseph Priestley, 21 May 1998

The Enlightenment of Joseph Priestley: A Study of His Life and Work from 1733 to 1773 
by Robert Schofield.
Pennsylvania State, 328 pp., £35.95, January 1998, 0 271 01662 0
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... as one more sign of the evils and hopes of troubled times presaging the imminent millennium. Jefferson thought his was ‘one of the few lives precious to mankind for the continuance of which every thinking man is solicitous’. Priestley’s enemies were equally eloquent. William Blake, whose own spirituality entitled him to dismiss this kind of ...

Damnable Deficient

Colin Kidd: The American Revolution, 17 November 2005

1776: America and Britain at War 
by David McCullough.
Allen Lane, 386 pp., £25, June 2005, 0 7139 9863 6
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... to the authority of the ancients, even as they embarked on a revolutionary political experiment. George Washington, for example, identified himself with Cato of Utica, whom the 18th-century British knew best through the medium of Addison’s popular tragedy Cato (1713). Lines from the play found their way into Washington’s letters and speeches, and, in ...

Propaganda of the Deed

Steve Fraser: Emma Goldman, 26 February 2009

Emma Goldman: A Documentary History of the American Years Vol I: Made for America, 1890-1901 
edited by Candace Falk.
Illinois, 659 pp., $35, August 2008, 978 0 252 07541 4
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Emma Goldman: A Documentary History of the American Years Vol. II: Making Speech Free, 1902-1909 
edited by Candace Falk.
Illinois, 641 pp., £35, August 2008, 978 0 252 07543 8
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... court injunctions and hurling makeshift weapons at advancing militiamen from behind barricades. George Pullman was so sure that labour insurgents would desecrate his corpse that he left instructions for his lead-lined casket to be covered with tar paper and asphalt and deposited in a vault made of concrete and reinforced steel. Small conspiratorial ...

Thanks to the Tea Party

Steve Fraser: 1970s America, 17 March 2011

Pivotal Decade: How the United States Traded Factories for Finance in the 1970s 
by Judith Stein.
Yale, 367 pp., £25, May 2010, 978 0 300 11818 6
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Stayin’ Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class 
by Jefferson Cowie.
New Press, 464 pp., £19.99, September 2010, 978 1 56584 875 7
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... to respond effectively to industrial and working-class decline. The New Politics embodied in George McGovern’s 1972 presidential campaign was deeply estranged from the labour liberalism of the party’s New Deal wing. McGovern’s core constituencies – anti-war and counter-cultural youth, minorities and middle-class social liberals – were ...

Blessed, Beastly Place

Douglas Dunn, 5 March 1981

Precipitous City 
by Trevor Royle.
Mainstream, 210 pp., £6.95, May 1980, 0 906391 09 1
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RLS: A Life Study 
by Jenni Calder.
Hamish Hamilton, 362 pp., £9.95, June 1980, 0 241 10374 6
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Gillespie 
by J. MacDougall Hay.
Canongate, 450 pp., £4.95, November 1979, 0 903937 79 4
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Scottish Satirical Verse 
edited by Edwin Morgan.
Carcanet, 236 pp., £6.95, June 1980, 0 85635 183 0
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Collected Poems 
by Robert Garioch.
Carcanet, 208 pp., £3.95, July 1980, 0 85635 316 7
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... he expanded and elucidated Virgil, his translation left nothing out. Royle is right to mention Sir George MacKenzie of Rosehaugh as ‘one of the few intellectual giants of his day’ – ‘that noble wit of Scotland’, as Dryden called him – but he might have told us that his Aretina (1660) was the first novel by a Scotsman (and he mght have mentioned Sir ...

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