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Bunches of Guys

Owen Bennett-Jones: Just the Right Amount of Violence, 19 December 2013

Decoding al-Qaida’s Strategy: The Deep Battle against America 
by Michael Ryan.
Columbia, 368 pp., £23.15, September 2013, 978 0 231 16384 2
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The Terrorist’s Dilemma: Managing Violent Covert Organisations 
by Jacob Shapiro.
Princeton, 352 pp., £19.95, July 2013, 978 0 691 15721 4
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... even if its leadership was eliminated, as he fully expected it to be. These questions preoccupy Jacob Shapiro. The difficulty facing a terrorist leader, he argues, is to ensure that his subordinates apply just the right amount of violence to the right targets. Only then can the organisation maintain popular support and high morale among its membership ...

Our Muddy Vesture

Frank Kermode: Pacino’s Merchant of Venice, 6 January 2005

William Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant of Venice’ 
directed by Michael Radford.
December 2004
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... early conversation between Shylock and Antonio (cut in the film, as often on the stage) concerning Jacob’s tricking of Laban in Chapter 30 of Genesis. Was Jacob cheating when he ensured that he got most of the lambs? The conventional answer was no: after all, Laban owed him at least as much as he got by the trick. But he ...

Words as Amulets

Ange Mlinko: Barbara Guest’s Poems, 3 December 2009

The Collected Poems of Barbara Guest 
edited by Hadley Haden Guest.
Wesleyan, 525 pp., £33.95, July 2008, 978 0 8195 6860 1
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Women, the New York School and Other True Abstractions 
by Maggie Nelson.
Iowa, 288 pp., £38.50, December 2007, 978 1 58729 615 4
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... five other women in total (there were 60 men). She has seldom been included since. In 1970, David Shapiro and Ron Padgett’s anthology An Anthology of New York Poets left her out, but by then the so-called ‘second generation’ looked very different, and little of their style or substance can be traced to Guest’s influence. In Women, the New York ...

Mandela: Death of a Politician

Stephen W. Smith: Mandela, the Politician, 9 January 2014

... call me, I’ll call you’), but made a final, crucial intervention in 2009, when he endorsed Jacob Zuma’s bid for the presidency; in retrospect this was not a sign of good judgment. His family, who continued to see him regularly, lamented his loss of short-term memory, and his intermittent mental confusion. ‘He is no longer a full person,’ the ...

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