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27 October 1988
The Trial of Socrates 
by I.F. Stone.
Cape, 282 pp., £12.95, September 1988, 0 224 02591 0
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... about the failings of their hero, but behind the teasing was the serious thought that the moral reformation that Socrates demanded of his hearers was invariably the first step towards tyranny. I.F.Stone belongs neither in the camp of the critics of Athenian democracy, nor in the camp of the Nietzscheans who despise the modern world. The Trial of Socrates paints Socrates as a snobbish, pederastic ...

Against it

Ross McKibbin

24 February 1994
For the Sake of Argument 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Verso, 353 pp., £19.95, May 1993, 0 86091 435 6
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... Christopher Hitchens may not be ‘the nearest thing to a one-man band since I.F.Stone laid down his pen’, but he comes close. For the Sake of Argument records a life of action, of being in the right place at the right time. Thomas Mann could never find the revolution: Hitchens ...

Grey Eminence

Edward Said

5 March 1981
Walter Lippmann and the American Century 
by Ronald Steel.
Bodley Head, 669 pp., £8.95, February 1981, 0 370 30376 8
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... his love for Theodore Roosevelt and De Gaulle, his support for and his opposition to Al Smith, F.D.R. and Wilson, his noble disenchantment with L.B.J. over Vietnam, which led him to entertain I.F.Stone at his house), and then clearly outlines Lippmann’s public views, reducing neither his personal commitments to his stated positions, nor his carefully formulated philosophy to his emotional ...
7 November 1985
London Reviews 
edited by Nicholas Spice.
Chatto, 222 pp., £5.95, October 1985, 0 7011 2988 3
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The New Review Anthology 
edited by Ian Hamilton.
Heinemann, 320 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 434 31330 0
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Night and Day 
edited by Christopher Hawtree, by Graham Greene.
Chatto, 277 pp., £12.95, November 1985, 0 07 011296 7
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Lilliput goes to war 
edited by Kaye Webb.
Hutchinson, 288 pp., £10.95, September 1985, 9780091617608
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Penguin New Writing: 1940-1950 
edited by John Lehmann and Roy Fuller.
Penguin, 496 pp., September 1985, 0 14 007484 8
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... better than hundreds of copies of the magazine mouldering in a corner? Yes, but not emphatically. When a literary magazine is as good as this one it hurts to throw old copies away. Visiting I.F.Stone once in Washington, I was impressed by his complete bound files of the New York Review of Books, and more impressed still that he had extracted these from the editor as part-payment. Perhaps ...
18 February 1988
Corruptions of Empire: Life Studies and the Reagan Era 
by Alexander Cockburn.
Verso, 479 pp., £14.95, November 1987, 0 86091 176 4
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... was central, and consisted of preparing the public with pious cant about ‘abundance and peace as the legacies left Johnson by Kennedy’. ‘A writer who can be so universally admiring,’ I.F.Stone said about White, ‘need never lunch alone.’ But Cockburn is equally – and occasionally even more – uncompromising in his attacks upon the well-intentioned liberal, who is quick to fault human ...
6 December 1979
Taking Sides 
by Bernard Levin.
Cape, 281 pp., £6.50, September 1979, 0 330 26203 3
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... Liebling had the compressed but relaxed colloquial raciness of someone who had a lot to say and genuinely believed that it was more important than he was. Another telling American example is I.F.Stone. With few literary graces except clarity and conversational rhythm, Stone’s prose is the embodiment of honesty. Treating a comparable range of interests, Stone has all of Levin’s energy with none ...

‘It was necessary to uproot them’

Charles Glass: Post-Zionist historiography

24 June 2004
A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples 
by Ilan Pappe.
Cambridge, 333 pp., £15.99, January 2004, 0 521 55632 5
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The Gun and the Olive Branch 
by David Hirst.
Faber, 624 pp., £16.99, August 2003, 0 571 21945 4
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The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited 
by Benny Morris.
Cambridge, 664 pp., £70, January 2004, 0 521 81120 1
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... opened its archives. Hirst, a resident of Beirut since the 1960s and a long-time Guardian correspondent, shattered the Labour Zionist narrative and his book was ignored by American reviewers. I.F.Stone, one of the few Americans to mention it in print, said in his Weekly: ‘Finding an American publishing house willing to publish ” a book which departs from the standard Israeli line is about as ...


Tom Vanderbilt: ‘The Manchurian Candidate’

21 August 2003
The Manchurian Candidate: BFI Film Classics 
by Greil Marcus.
BFI, 75 pp., £8.99, July 2002, 0 85170 931 1
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... subject jerked himself back for some reason or got amnesiac or catatonic.’ However jokily the film conjured its villains – brainwashers or McCarthyites – the jokes weren’t empty ones. I.F.Stone, in an essay called ‘The Cost of Anti-Communism’, noted the dilemma engendered by chronic demonology: If Communists are some supernatural breed of men, led by diabolic master minds in that ...

The Obdurate Knoll

Colin Kidd: The Obdurate Knoll

1 December 2011
Then Everything Changed: Stunning Alternate Histories of American Politics: JFK, RFK, Carter, Ford, Reagan 
by Jeff Greenfield.
Putnam, 434 pp., £20.25, March 2011, 978 0 399 15706 6
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by Stephen King.
Hodder, 740 pp., £19.99, November 2011, 978 1 4447 2729 6
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... described it as ‘an anti-Iliad that retells great and terrible events in limping prose instead of winged poetry’, but he wholeheartedly endorsed the commission’s findings. As far as I.F.Stone was concerned, the commission had ‘done a first-class job’. He accepted the ‘lone killer’ thesis as ‘conclusive’ and called on those still convinced of Oswald’s innocence to carry out ...

A Rumbling of Things Unknown

Jacqueline Rose: Marilyn Monroe

26 April 2012
... her star begins to rise. This is a moment when patriotism, to cite Weatherby, was ‘an excuse not to think’. He is alluding to McCarthyism and the Cold War. When another radical journalist, I.F.Stone, listened to Eisenhower’s inaugural address, what he heard behind its rhetoric of freedom was the drumbeat of war (although Eisenhower was reluctant to send troops to the region, the build-up to ...

A Regular Bull

Christopher Hitchens

31 July 1997
Whittaker Chambers: A Biography 
by Sam Tanenhaus.
Random House, 640 pp., $35, February 1997, 0 394 58559 3
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... as a matter of principle, either that American liberals were really Communists or that American Communists were really liberals. Not everybody matches this brainless Cold War identikit. I.F.Stone never believed that the Rosenbergs were pathetic innocents, and the late and dearly mourned Murray Kempton always thought that Hiss must have been in touch with Moscow Centre, and both of these men ...


Edward Said: An encounter with J-P Sartre

1 June 2000
... Sartre and his circle didn’t take on, including the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, which resulted in a monumentally large edition of Les Temps modernes – in turn the subject of a brilliant essay by I.F.Stone. That alone gave my Paris trip a precedent of note. When I arrived, I found a short, mysterious letter from Sartre and Beauvoir waiting for me at the hotel I had booked in the Latin Quarter. ‘For ...

The Cruiser

Christopher Hitchens

22 February 1996
On the Eve of the Millennium: The Future of Democracy through an Age of Unreason 
by Conor Cruise O’Brien.
Free Press, 168 pp., £7.99, February 1996, 0 02 874094 7
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... owned slaves and insinuates that there has been a liberal cover-up here. Well, I find it’s tolerably well-known that the Sage of Monticello had some unpaid help on his estate. The late I.F.Stone, indeed, who used to describe himself as a ‘Jeffersonian Marxist’, was always expecting trouble on the Marxist bit, but got himself roundly abused for identifying with a holder of people as ...

Defeated Armies

Scott Sherman: Castro in the New York Times

5 July 2007
The Man Who Invented Fidel: Castro, Cuba, and Herbert L. Matthews of the ‘New York Times’ 
by Anthony DePalma.
PublicAffairs, 308 pp., £15.99, September 2006, 1 58648 332 3
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... the vexing questions left over from the missile crisis of October 1962. When the magazine killed the piece, Matthews gave it to Stanford University’s Hispanic American Report, which prompted I.F.Stone to accuse the Times of censorship. Matthews was dismayed by the Times’s rejection of his story. ‘I cannot go through the rest of my life saying and writing nothing about Cuba and what I learned ...

I figured what the heck

Jackson Lears: Seymour Hersh

27 September 2018
by Seymour M. Hersh.
Allen Lane, 355 pp., £20, June 2018, 978 0 241 35952 5
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... to publish scoops that would challenge the people in power’. Part of this reluctance stemmed from what everyone in the Washington press corps (except Hersh’s older pal, maverick journalist I.F.Stone) deemed a necessity: the need to maintain access to inside information. Henry Kissinger, then Nixon’s national security adviser, was a particularly prized source when Hersh began work at the Times ...

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