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Soviet Revisions

Oleg Gordievsky

7 February 1991
Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy 
by Dmitri Volkogonov, edited and translated by Harold Shukman.
Weidenfeld, 642 pp., £29.95, February 1991, 0 297 81080 4
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Stalin: The Glasnost Revelations 
by Walter Laqueur.
Unwin Hyman, 383 pp., £16.95, February 1991, 0 04 440769 6
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The Prosecutor and the Prey: Vyshinsky and the 1930s Moscow Show Trials 
by Arkady Vaksberg, translated by Jan Butler.
Weidenfeld, 374 pp., £25, October 1990, 0 297 81064 2
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... and illumination, Vaksberg’s book is comparable with those of Volkogonov and Laqueur, but is superior to theirs in its lively and fresh investigative style. It has been excellently translated by JanButler. In addition to this, it has a special piquancy for British readers. There are many quotations from British officials talking about Vyshinsky and aspects of Soviet life connected with him. He ...

Sit like an Apple

Ruth Bernard Yeazell: Artists’ Wives

23 October 2008
Hidden in the Shadow of the Master: The Model-Wives of Cézanne, Monet and Rodin 
by Ruth Butler.
Yale, 354 pp., £18.99, July 2008, 978 0 300 12624 2
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... The relation between Camille Doncieux and her representation on canvas was more ambiguous, however. Monet did not pay her to sit for him: like the other two women who are the subject of Ruth Butler’s new book – Hortense Fiquet (Paul Cézanne) and Rose Beuret (Auguste Rodin) – Doncieux was first the artist’s mistress and later his wife. Hiring a model cost a minimum of one franc an hour ...

I want my wings

Andrew O’Hagan: The Last Tycoons

3 March 2016
West of Eden: An American Place 
by Jean Stein.
Cape, 334 pp., £20, February 2016, 978 0 224 10246 9
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... men in that world led women into a fantasy that destroyed them. Jack Warner built a house for his wife that resembled a white Southern mansion and left her there to shrivel and die. ‘I worked as a butler and a chauffeur for Mrs Warner for 12 years,’ Jan Ival told Stein. ‘She acted her life like a scene from Gone with the Wind. She had an explosive character. We’d go out to dinner almost every ...

Where are we now?

LRB Contributors: Responses to the Referendum

13 July 2016
... David Runciman, Neal Ascherson, James Butler, T.J. Clark, Jonathan Coe, Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, Daniel Finn, Dawn Foster, Jeremy Harding, Colin Kidd, Ross McKibbin, Philippe Marlière, James Meek, Pankaj Mishra, Jan-Werner Müller, Susan ...
30 January 1992
A Cultural History of Gestures: From Antiquity to the Present 
edited by Jan​ Bremmer and Herman Roodenburg.
Polity, 220 pp., £35, December 1991, 0 7456 0786 1
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The New Oxford Book of 17th-Century Verse 
by Alastair Fowler.
Oxford, 830 pp., £25, November 1991, 0 19 214164 3
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... grammars’ investigated by other contributors range from that governing posture in Classical Greece to that governing masculinity in contemporary Andalusia. There are some fascinating vignettes. Jan Bremmer reveals that an Athenian male who swayed his hips when he walked, or looked over his shoulder, or inclined his head to one side, was quite likely to be classified as a passive homosexual ...

How bad can it get?

LRB Contributors

15 August 2019
... Mary Beard, Jonathan Coe, Tom Crewe, William Davies, Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, Lorna Finlayson, Daniel Finn, Katrina Forrester, Jeremy Harding, Daisy Hildyard, Colin Kidd, James Meek, Ferdinand Mount, Jan-Werner Müller, Jonathan Parry, David RuncimanNeal Ascherson‘On​ 17 June poor France fell. That day, as we trudged past Greenwich … a tug skipper yelled gaily across the water: “Now we know ...

Bitter Chill of Winter

Tariq Ali: Kashmir

19 April 2001
... Among them was Sheikh Abdullah, the son of a shawl-trader, who would dominate the life of Kashmir for the next half-century. One of the less well-known speakers at the rally, Abdul Qadir, a butler who worked for a European household, was arrested for having described the Dogra rulers as ‘a dynasty of blood-suckers’ who had ‘drained the energies and resources of all our people’. On the ...

Who do you think you are?

Jacqueline Rose: Trans Narratives

4 May 2016
... between A and B’), trans can also mean ‘A as well as B’ or ‘neither A nor B’ – that’s to say, ‘transcending’, as in ‘above’, or ‘in a different realm from’, both. Thus Jan Morris in Conundrum in 1974: ‘There is neither man nor woman … I shall transcend both.’ Even that is not all. If transsexuality is subsumed in the broader category of transgender, as it is for ...

Worse than a Defeat

James Meek: Shamed in Afghanistan

18 December 2014
The Good War: Why We Couldn’t Win the War or the Peace in Afghanistan 
by Jack Fairweather.
Cape, 488 pp., £20, December 2014, 978 0 224 09736 9
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Investment in Blood: The True Cost of Britain’s Afghan War 
by Frank Ledwidge.
Yale, 287 pp., £10.99, July 2014, 978 0 300 20526 8
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British Generals in Blair’s Wars 
edited by Jonathan Bailey, Richard Iron and Hew Strachan.
Ashgate, 404 pp., £19.95, August 2013, 978 1 4094 3736 9
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An Intimate War: An Oral History of the Helmand Conflict 1978-2012 
by Mike Martin.
Hurst, 389 pp., £25, April 2014, 978 1 84904 336 6
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... conflicting pressures from military chiefs in London, from Downing Street, from Nato commanders in Kandahar and Kabul, from US generals and from Afghan officials, the British commander, Brigadier Ed Butler, deployed small units of troops to far-flung, hostile towns where they were besieged by ephemeral bands of Pashtun gunmen. The commander of the paratroopers, Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Tootal, had ...

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