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Wolfish

John Sutherland: The pushiness of young men in a hurry

5 May 2005
Publisher 
by Tom Maschler.
Picador, 294 pp., £20, March 2005, 0 330 48420 6
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British Book Publishing as a Business since the 1960s 
by Eric de Bellaigue.
British Library, 238 pp., £19.95, January 2004, 0 7123 4836 0
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Penguin Special: The Life and Times of Allen​ Lane 
by Jeremy Lewis.
Viking, 484 pp., £25, May 2005, 0 670 91485 1
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... the literary quality of Publisher – a book which seems to have been dictated down one of these phones – Maschler’s achievements as a general trade publisher rank him with Archibald Constable, George Smith, John Blackwood, George Routledge, Frederick Macmillan, David Garnett, Ian Parsons, Allen Lane. It was one of the most highly regarded of today’s younger publishers, Peter Straus (now an ...
21 February 2002
China and the Vietnam Wars 1950-75 
by Qiang Zhai.
North Carolina, 304 pp., $49.95, April 2000, 0 8078 4842 5
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None so Blind: A Personal Account of the Intelligence Failure in Vietnam 
by George Allen.
Ivan Dee, 296 pp., $27.50, October 2001, 1 56663 387 7
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No Peace, No Honour: Nixon, Kissinger and Betrayal in Vietnam 
by Larry Berman.
Free Press, 334 pp., $27.50, November 2001, 0 684 84968 2
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... in Vietnam, and its miscalculations. Now, however, we have some documentation on America’s semi-clandestine role in what was supposed to be a French war from an impeccable source – the CIA. GeorgeAllen worked on Indochina from 1949 to 1975, by far the longest involvement of any American, a fly on the wall at the decisions of a quarter-century. Allen is a real-life quiet American who saw his ...

We came, we saw, he died

Jackson Lears: Clinton’s Creed

5 February 2015
Hard Choices 
by Hillary Clinton.
Simon and Schuster, 635 pp., £20, June 2014, 978 1 4711 3150 9
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HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton 
by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes.
Hutchinson, 440 pp., £20, February 2014, 978 0 09 195448 2
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... Midwestern Methodist and a dewy-eyed patriot. It puts the final polish on the new Hillary brand that she and her handlers have been fashioning since the debacle of the 2008 primaries, or so Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes argue in HRC, their inside-dopester account of Clinton’s ‘rebirth’. Allen and Parnes serve as a chorus, commenting portentously on the events described in Hard Choices. Together ...

Grandiose Moments

Frank Kermode

6 February 1997
Ford Madox Ford: A Dual Life, Vol. II 
by Max Saunders.
Oxford, 696 pp., £35, September 1996, 0 19 212608 3
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... life of Ford in 1990. Saunders, like Mizener, is an academic and has hundreds of scrupulous notes. Mizener had the advantage of being able to consult many surviving friends of Ford, including Allen Tate, Herbert Read, Jean Rhys and Rebecca West. He also had access to the papers of Ford’s mistress Violet Hunt and the Ford collections in various American libraries, notably those of Cornell and ...

How terribly kind

Edmund White: Gilbert and George

1 July 1999
Gilbert & GeorgeA Portrait 
by Daniel Farson.
HarperCollins, 240 pp., £19.99, March 1999, 0 00 255857 2
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... Daniel Farson was polite, self-deprecating, impressed by modesty and authenticity, grateful for favours, careful to keep track when it was his turn to buy drinks (which he often did). Gilbert and George, by contrast, are utterly stylised: they speak in relays, move like robots and strongly hint that there is no within within. This book, left incomplete at the time of Farson’s death and tidied up ...

If Only Analogues...

Ange Mlinko: Ginsberg Goes to India

20 November 2008
A Blue Hand: The Beats in India 
by Deborah Baker.
Penguin US, 256 pp., £25.95, April 2008, 978 1 59420 158 5
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... in 1945: ‘Suppose a thousand suns should rise together into the sky: such is the glory of the Shape of the Infinite God.’ Reading that same chapter of the Bhagavad Gita in Darjeeling in 1962, Allen Ginsberg thought of something else: the coloured wheels of psilocybin-induced visions. That two of the 20th century’s most consciousness-altering inventions, the atom bomb and the LSD pill, could ...

A Plumless Pudding

John Sutherland: The Great John Murray Archive Disaster

18 March 2004
... to come up with £250,000, a price which, 14 years on, looks a steal. In 1975, following a series of mergers which transformed the firm, the Routledge and Kegan Paul archive, dating back to George Routledge’s ‘railway library’ in the mid-19th century and coming forward to Wittgenstein, was deposited, on ‘permanent loan’, at nearby UCL. The Penguin and Hamish Hamilton archives are ...

Diary

Adam Shatz: Ornette Coleman

15 July 2015
... delicacy,1 punctuated by hints of an impending storm. Ravi Coltrane, John Coltrane’s son, gave a stately reading on soprano saxophone of Coleman’s 1959 composition ‘Peace’, with Geri Allen on piano. The tenor saxophonists Joe Lovano and David Murray howled their way through Coleman’s most famous tune, ‘Lonely Woman’. There was a haunting duet between Henry Threadgill, on alto ...

Paralysed by the Absence of Danger

Jeremy Harding: Spain, 1937

24 September 2009
Letters from Barcelona: An American Woman in Revolution and Civil War 
edited by Gerd-Rainer Horn.
Palgrave, 209 pp., £50, February 2009, 978 0 230 52739 3
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War Is Beautiful: An American Ambulance Driver in the Spanish Civil War 
by James Neugass.
New Press, 314 pp., £16.99, November 2008, 978 1 59558 427 4
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We Saw Spain Die: Foreign Correspondents in the Spanish Civil War 
by Paul Preston.
Constable, 525 pp., £9.99, June 2009, 978 1 84529 946 0
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... in Barcelona and may have accounted for her charm in Charles and Lois’s eyes. For all their zeal, they were a lively, sociable couple. The fourth member of the party on that bucolic outing was George Tioli, an ‘Italian boy . . . quite a civilised and interesting person’. Tioli was a ‘child-psychologist’ according to Lois, who disapproved of all psychology, and according to Charles ‘a ...

Plantsmen

David Allen

20 December 1984
The John Tradescants: Gardeners to the Rose and Lily Queen 
by Prudence Leith-Ross.
Owen, 320 pp., £20, March 1984, 0 7206 0612 8
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Sydney Parkinson: Artist of Cook’s ‘Endeavour’ Voyage 
edited by D.J. Carr.
Croom Helm, 300 pp., £29.95, March 1984, 9780709907947
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... look of the scenery and the picturesqueness of the natives. The epic Endeavour voyage, the first of Cook’s circumnavigations of the globe, lasted from August 1768 to July 1771. It was financed by George III, in response to an appeal from the Royal Society for an expedition to be dispatched to observe the Transit of Venus. The 25-year-old Banks went at his own expense, meeting also the cost of his ...

Yowta

Peter Jenkins

20 December 1984
Antipolitics: An Essay 
by George​ Konrad, translated by Richard Allen.
Quartet, 243 pp., £8.95, August 1984, 0 7043 2472 5
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... he insists – central geographically, central historically, and central culturally to all that is Europe – has a destiny that anticipates the destiny of Europe in general. The Hungarian writer George Konrad makes a similar point although he makes it more politically than Kundera. The Czech novelist is telling us that our culture is at risk, in that its fate is bound up with that of Central Europe ...

Short Cuts

Jeremy Harding: The Wyatt Continuum

20 November 2014
... outset and why the music is good. For a start there were his parents: his mother, Honor Wyatt, was a BBC producer (she worked on the first Woman’s Hour), later a freelance journalist; his father, George Ellidge, an industrial psychologist whose life and earnings were greatly reduced by MS and confinement in a wheelchair (‘It is very odd, isn’t it?’ Wyatt remarks to O’Dair). They were an open ...

Should we say thank you?

Hugh Wilford: The Overrated Marshall Plan

30 April 2009
The Most Noble Adventure: The Marshall Plan and the Reconstruction of Postwar Europe 
by Greg Behrman.
Aurum, 448 pp., £25, February 2008, 978 1 84513 326 9
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Winning the Peace: The Marshall Plan and America’s Coming of Age as a Superpower 
by Nicolaus Mills.
Wiley, 290 pp., £15.99, August 2008, 978 0 470 09755 7
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... It is not hard to understand why Europeans like Lignes were grateful for the Marshall Plan, the programme for reconstructing Europe after the Second World War, named after the US secretary of state, George C. Marshall. Between April 1948, when President Truman signed it into law, and the end of 1951, the European Recovery Programme (ERP) poured more than $13 billion of aid into Western Europe – ...

What’s Happening in the Engine-Room

Penelope Fitzgerald: Poor John Lehmann

7 January 1999
John Lehmann: A Pagan Adventure 
by Adrian Wright.
Duckworth, 308 pp., £20, November 1998, 0 7156 2871 2
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... like the captain of a ship reporting to his passengers about what is happening in the engine-room’. But readers could trust him to find for them what was unforgettable. He was the first to print George Orwell’s ‘Shooting an Elephant’, Isherwood’s Berlin diaries, Rosamond Lehmann’s ‘A Dream of Winter’, Auden’s ‘Lay your sleeping head, my love’. In 1939 he courageously met the ...

Diary

Paul Foot: Disaster Woman

7 January 1988
... Attlee, and Wilson rather less – has had to wrestle. The failure looms over every part of political life. It makes reading Hansard every week a misery. Only last week (23 November) I read Graham Allen, the new Labour member for Nottingham North, growing greatly indignant over pit closures in Notts. He was answered by Cecil Parkinson at his oily best. ‘The Hon. Gentleman talks as if only ...

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