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Old America

W.C. Spengemann, 7 January 1988

Look homeward: A Life of Thomas Wolfe 
by David Herbert Donald.
Bloomsbury, 579 pp., £16.95, April 1987, 0 7475 0004 5
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From this moment on: America in 1940 
by Jeffrey Hart.
Crown, 352 pp., $19.95, February 1987, 9780517557419
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... through study and then begin to remember it as their own birthplace. Others, like David Donald and Jeffrey Hart, remember it first and then study it up in order to flesh out their memories with circumstantial detail. In either case, historiography is given the task that Wordsworth assigned to poetry: to reconcile the seemingly unrelated worlds of ...

The Business of Revolution

Alan Knight, 10 November 1988

Revolutionary Mexico: The Coming and Process of the Mexican Revolution 
by John Mason Hart.
California, 478 pp., $35, January 1988, 0 520 05995 6
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... rant, they are less easily deflected by the old one-liner, ‘he would, wouldn’t he?’ John Hart, a University of Houston history professor who has written with distinction on the Mexican labour movement, stands in the Turner tradition. Unlike Turner, he is dealing not with contemporary but with historical Mexico: with the Mexican Revolution of 1910 ...


John Sutherland: The pushiness of young men in a hurry, 5 May 2005

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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... Amis, Barnes, Rushdie, Vonnegut, Chatwin, Fowles, Deighton and, Maschler does not fear to admit, Jeffrey Archer. The title he was most excited to publish was Catch 22, a novel he took on after more myopic others had turned it down. Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children is, he judges, the greatest work of literature he was responsible for, though there are ...

Short Cuts

Adam Shatz: Israel and Iran, 23 September 2010

... Israel is likely to launch a strike against uranium-enrichment sites in Iran within a year. Or so Jeffrey Goldberg reports in the current issue of the Atlantic Monthly. If the Iranians continue to defy the International Atomic Energy Agency and Obama refuses to pursue a more muscular punishment, he warns, an Israeli attack is a ‘near certainty ...

What Nanny Didn’t Tell Me

Bernard Porter: Simon Mann, 26 January 2012

Cry Havoc 
by Simon Mann.
John Blake, 351 pp., £19.99, November 2011, 978 1 84358 403 2
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... Adam Roberts’s excellent The Wonga Coup.* Roberts names more names than Mann does, including Jeffrey Archer’s (he may have donated money), and gives some broad hints as to the identity of Mann’s equivalent of Sir James Manson, here just called ‘the Boss’, who is supposed to have masterminded the whole affair. Apparently, Mann has ‘legal ...

Ten Poets

Denis Donoghue, 7 November 1985

Selected Poems 
by Donald Davie.
Carcanet, 124 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 9780856355950
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Collected Poems: 1947-1980 
by Allen Ginsberg.
Viking, 837 pp., £16.95, April 1985, 0 670 80683 8
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Instant Chronicles: A Life 
by D.J. Enright.
Oxford, 58 pp., £4.50, April 1985, 9780019211970
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Selected Poems 
by Edwin Morgan.
Carcanet, 139 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 0 85635 596 8
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Selected Poems 
by Jeffrey Wainwright.
Carcanet, 79 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 0 85635 598 4
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Selected Poems 
by Gillian Clarke.
Carcanet, 112 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 0 85635 594 1
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The Price of Stone 
by Richard Murphy.
Faber, 92 pp., £4, May 1985, 0 571 13568 4
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Selected Poems 
by Iain Crichton Smith.
Carcanet, 121 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 0 85635 597 6
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Selected Poems 
by Sylvia Townsend Warner.
Carcanet, 95 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 0 85635 585 2
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From the Irish 
by James Simmons.
Blackstaff, 78 pp., £3.95, May 1985, 0 85640 331 8
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... and not merely rights, in the tradition of American poetry from Emerson and Whitman to Hart Crane and Stevens is nowhere acknowledged: so Ginsberg’s relation to that tradition – Whitman apart – is trivial because unearned. ‘The self seeking the Key to life found at last in our self’ – Ginsberg’s hindsight on his Kaddish – is a ...

Out of the blue

Mark Ford, 10 December 1987

Meeting the British 
by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 53 pp., £9.95, May 1987, 0 571 14858 1
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Partingtime Hall 
by James Fenton and John Fuller.
Salamander, 69 pp., £7.50, April 1987, 0 948681 05 5
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Private Parts 
by Fiona Pitt-Kethley.
Chatto, 72 pp., £4.95, June 1987, 9780701132064
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Bright River Yonder 
by John Hartley Williams.
Bloodaxe, 87 pp., £4.95, April 1987, 1 85224 028 8
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... can only be suicidal to a wised-up, historical awareness like Muldoon’s. Neither General Jeffrey Amherst nor Colonel Henry Bouquet can stomach the willow-tobacco the Indians offer. And in return They gave us six fishhooks and two blankets embroidered with smallpox. The disorientations Muldoon stores up here, and unleashes in the poem’s final ...

Get over it!

Corey Robin: Antonin Scalia, 10 June 2010

American Original: The Life and Constitution of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia 
by Joan Biskupic.
Farrar, Straus, 434 pp., $28, November 2009, 978 0 374 20289 7
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... articles and several shorter pieces, few featuring a distinctive or even audible personal voice. Jeffrey Toobin, the New Yorker’s legal correspondent, has known Kagan since they were first-year law students; he admits that ‘her own views were and are something of a mystery’ to him. ‘On the court,’ he adds, ‘Kagan will have to do something she’s ...

Secrets are best kept by those who have no sense of humour

Alan Bennett: Why I turned down ‘Big Brother’, 2 January 2003

... wind that ruffles the lavender (and makes landing for the hornets tricky). 1 August. A propos Jeffrey Archer. I am rereading the Lyttelton Hart-Davis Letters and come across this remark by George Lyttelton: ‘Sprinters always try to beat the pistol, therefore are essentially unscrupulous and unreliable.’ 30 August. A ...

All change. This train is cancelled

Iain Sinclair: The Dome, 13 May 1999

... sweetheart deals. The Mail, along with the London Evening Standard, which had combined its anti-Jeffrey Archer campaign with a series of squibs aimed in the direction of the Dome (Tory revenants both), were offered the contract to market the Millennium Dome news-sheets. Associated Newspapers will produce a four-page Dome supplement which will be wrapped ...

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