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Money Talk

Victor Mallet

21 December 1989
Liar’s Poker: Two Cities, True Greed 
by Michael Lewis.
Hodder, 224 pp., £12.95, November 1989, 0 340 49602 9
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Lords of Poverty: The Free-Wheeling Lifestyles, Power, Prestige and Corruption of the Multi-Billion Dollar Aid Business 
by Graham Hancock.
Macmillan, 234 pp., £14.95, October 1989, 0 333 43962 7
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High Life 
by Taki.
Viking, 198 pp., £11.95, October 1989, 0 670 82956 0
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The Midas Touch: Money, People and Power from West to East 
by Anthony Sampson.
BBC/Hodder, 212 pp., £15, October 1989, 0 340 48793 3
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... the Michael Milkens and their hundred million dollar salaries. Michael Lewis deals wittily with the bizarre and shameless world of the wealthy bond-dealers in Liar’s Poker. In Lords of Poverty GrahamHancock looks at the other side of the equation, the international aid industry which has grown up to assuage our guilt about the poor. It is a disturbing if imperfect indictment of the 60 billion ...

Raider of the Lost Ark

Richard Pankhurst: In Soho

24 May 2001
The Pale Abyssinian: A Life of James Bruce, African Explorer and Adventurer 
by Miles Bredin.
Flamingo, 290 pp., £7.99, March 2001, 0 00 638740 3
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... are at least debatable, for Welled Hawaryat, according to the Ethiopian royal chronicle, had died a decade or so earlier, on 22 May 1760. Bredin’s overall account seems strongly influenced by GrahamHancock’s The Sign and the Seal: The Quest for the Lost Ark of the Covenant (1992). Hancock was the first to argue that, as a Freemason (and hence an heir of the Templars), Bruce did not go to ...

Sunshine

David Goldie: Morecambe and Wise

15 April 1999
Morecambe and Wise 
by Graham​ McCann.
Fourth Estate, 416 pp., £16.99, October 1998, 1 85702 735 3
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... Nearly 29 million people watched Morecambe and Wise’s Christmas Special in 1977 – over six and a half million more than had watched the Queen’s Speech earlier in the day. Graham McCann proposes that this popular endorsement of Morecambe and Wise as de facto national comics is also a vindication of what were then the public service ideals of the BBC. As national broadcasting ...

Emotional Sushi

Ian Sansom: Tony, Nick and Simon

9 August 2001
One for My Baby 
by Tony Parsons.
HarperCollins, 330 pp., £15.99, July 2001, 0 00 226182 0
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How to Be Good 
by Nick Hornby.
Viking, 256 pp., £16.99, May 2001, 0 670 88823 0
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Little Green Man 
by Simon Armitage.
Viking, 246 pp., £12.99, August 2001, 0 670 89442 7
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... the comedies and some of the history plays only). ‘It is easier, in fact,’ notes Katie, ‘to write down the people in world history that they both like: Bob Dylan (although not recently), Graham Greene, Quentin Tarantino and Tony Hancock.’ Andrew and David, it has to be said, would probably count Nick Hornby somewhere between Martin Amis and Jeffrey Archer. How to Be Good is uneven ...

Function v. Rhetoric

Peter Campbell: Engineers and Architects

10 April 2008
Architect and Engineer 
by Andrew Saint.
Yale, 541 pp., £45, March 2008, 978 0 300 12443 9
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... Haj Terminal project, was also partly responsible for the ‘framed tube’. By abandoning the inner structural frame in favour of a tube of columns around the perimeter of the building, he and Bruce Graham of SOM designed towers that could rise to greater heights without losing the necessary stiffness. Floor space was freed up and building was cheaper. In the John Hancock Center in Chicago of 1966 ...

So Hard to Handle

John Lahr: In Praise of Joni Mitchell

22 February 2018
Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell 
by David Yaffe.
Farrar, Straus, 420 pp., £20, October 2017, 978 0 374 24813 0
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... is matched in her songs by the emotional intelligence of her harmonic language. Over the years, her increasing musical sophistication attracted a number of jazz masters as collaborators: Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Charlie Mingus, Jaco Pastorious. ‘A lot of my work, my complex chords contain emotional nuances that are forbidden within the laws of music,’ she said. ‘But craving freshness ...

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