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Keep slogging

Andrew Bacevich: The Trouble with Generals

21 July 2005
Douglas Haig: War Diaries and Letters 1914-18 
edited by Gary Sheffield and John Bourne.
Weidenfeld, 550 pp., £25, March 2005, 0 297 84702 3
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... it is certainly a hard slog. More to the point, as with many of the operations that Haig planned, it comes nowhere near achieving its intended objective. In their introduction, Gary Sheffield and JohnBourne summarise the conclusions that they wish the reader to draw from the text itself. Running through the charges typically brought against Haig, they acquit him on all counts. Far from being a ...

At the Brunei Gallery

Peter Campbell: Indian photography

1 November 2001
... images in India: Pioneering Photographers 1850-1900 come. It explains their technical competence, a certain stiffness and a high degree of conventionality. Things changed fast, though. Samuel Bourne, who was among the most prolific of the professionals, complained as early as 1870 – after his return to England – of the increasing use of equipment which produced small things ‘fit only for ...
21 October 1982
Palmerston: The Early Years, 1784-1841 
by Kenneth Bourne.
Allen Lane, 749 pp., £25, August 1982, 0 7139 1083 6
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... another); Blake’s Disraeli (champagne and epigrams all the way); and Marquand’s MacDonald (Fame is the spur stood on its head). But many prime ministers have fared less well: Chatham and Lord John Russell because there are few private papers; Gladstone and Salisbury because their careers were too long for any one writer to encompass comprehensively; Charles James Fox and Lloyd George because ...

Complaining

Brian Barry

23 November 1989
The Company of Critics: Social Criticism and Political Commitment in the 20th Century 
by Michael Walzer.
Halban, 260 pp., £15.95, February 1989, 1 870015 20 7
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... which is by no means always avoided, is that the subjects tend to be manipulated by Walzer for his own ends. He begins with Julien Benda, famous for one book, La Trahison des Clercs. Randolph Bourne, who follows, was an American writer born twenty years later but dead of influenza in 1918, before Benda’s book appeared. Walzer focuses on his opposition to America’s entry into the First World ...
2 June 1988
Against All Hope 
by Armando Valladares, translated by Andrew Harley.
Hamish Hamilton, 381 pp., £12.95, July 1986, 0 241 11806 9
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Castro 
by Peter Bourne.
Macmillan, 332 pp., £14.95, April 1987, 0 333 44593 7
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Fidel: A Critical Portrait 
by Tad Szulc.
Hutchinson, 585 pp., £14.95, June 1987, 0 09 172602 6
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Castro and the Cuban Labour Movement: Statecraft and Society in a Revolutionary Period (1959-1961) 
by Efren Cordova.
University Press of America, 354 pp., £24.65, April 1988, 0 8191 5952 2
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Fidel and Religion: Castro talks on revolution and religion with Frei Betto 
translated by the Cuban Centre for Translation.
Simon and Schuster, 314 pp., £14.95, September 1987, 9780671641146
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... hospital were killed in Castro’s attack on the Moncada barracks in 1953. This does not appear to be true. Valladares has quite enough to indict him for without that charge. Both Tad Szulc and Peter Bourne seem to have approached the test of writing about Castro with initial enthusiasm, and in both cases the enthusiasm seems to have flagged. Both books dwell disproportionately on Castro’s life up to ...

Let every faction bloom

John​ Patrick Diggins

6 March 1997
For Love of Country: Debating the Limits of Patriotism 
edited by Joshua Cohen.
Beacon, 154 pp., $15, August 1996, 0 8070 4313 3
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For Love of Country: An Essay on Patriotism and Nationalism 
by Maurizio Viroli.
Oxford, 214 pp., £22.50, September 1995, 0 19 827952 3
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Bonds of Affection: Americans Define Their Patriotism 
edited by John​ Bodnar.
Princeton, 352 pp., £45, September 1996, 0 691 04397 3
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Buring the Flag: The Great 1989-90 American Flag Desecration Controversy 
by Robert Justin Goldstein.
Kent State, 453 pp., $39, July 1996, 0 87338 526 8
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... looks to universal standards of equality and justice. Among intellectuals, patriotism, not truth, is often a war’s first casualty. Before the First World War, the Greenwich Village rebels Randolph Bourne, Max Eastman and John Reed regarded themselves as nationalistic liberators willing to draw on the country’s intellectual traditions. Eastman defined himself as an ‘American lyrical socialist – ...

Diary

Inigo Thomas: Berry Bros

20 December 2018
... reputation rests on its longevity as a company, but the history is complex. It didn’t begin business under that name; nor was it exclusively a wine merchant. A figure known only as the Widow Bourne founded the shop in 1698 at the southern end of St James’s Street; one of her daughters married William Pickering, and the shop remained with the Pickering family until 1810, when George Berry ...

Speak for yourself, matey

Adam Mars-Jones: The Uses of Camp

22 November 2012
How to Be Gay 
by David Halperin.
Harvard, 549 pp., £25.95, August 2012, 978 0 674 06679 3
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... she wasn’t a woman. How could she contribute anything? This made sense of a sort, though it was probably O’Grady we wanted to hear from. There was no shortage of available guests, though: Bette Bourne, best known then for appearances with the troupe Bloolips, said yes, and so did two members of La Gran Scena Opera Company. We were hoping for a certain amount of technical discussion, perhaps even ...

Ordained as a Nation

Pankaj Mishra: Exporting Democracy

21 February 2008
The Wilsonian Moment: Self-Determination and the International Origins of Anti-Colonial Nationalism 
by Erez Manela.
Oxford, 331 pp., £17.99, July 2007, 978 0 19 517615 5
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... chosen, to show the way to the nations of the world how they shall walk in the paths of liberty.’ Wilson, an academic by training, was fortified in his convictions by such liberal intellectuals as John Dewey, Walter Lippmann and Herbert Croly (co-founder of the New Republic), who believed that by joining the war America would make the world safe for democracy rather than, as was the case, help the ...

Diary

John​ Sutherland: My Grandmother the Thief

21 August 2003
... life, his last recorded words were: ‘Everyone drives cars nowadays.’ He drowned himself in a millpond where, when he was young, a friend had gone under. He had often warned me of the dangers of Bourne millrun: its treacherous currents and strangling weeds. Not throwing himself under the wheels of the ubiquitous car was, presumably, a criticism of the way things had turned out. He left no note and ...
11 April 2013
Chocolate Islands: Cocoa, Slavery and Colonial Africa 
by Catherine Higgs.
Ohio, 230 pp., £24.95, June 2012, 978 0 8214 2006 5
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... British-run nitrate mines of northern Chile. Casement reported that the Angolan serviçais were being treated as slaves, with high death rates resulting from a shocking diet. Picked up by H.R. Fox Bourne, the secretary of the Aborigines’ Protection Society (APS), Casement’s Angola report was used to add weight to protests led by the activist-journalist E.D. Morel against conditions in the Congo ...

I myself detest all Modern Art

Anne Diebel: Scofield Thayer

8 April 2015
The Tortured Life of Scofield Thayer 
by James Dempsey.
Florida, 240 pp., £32.50, February 2014, 978 0 8130 4926 7
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... last chance to burn a finger in her ‘white flame’). When Thayer learned of their marriage, he was ‘nettled’, even though he was already engaged to the beautiful 18-year-old Elaine Orr, whom John Dos Passos described as a ‘poet’s dream’ and about whom Cummings would write hundreds of poems. Thayer was less annoyed, it seems, at losing Vivien than at Eliot’s sense of superiority. He ...

Woman in Love

Marghanita Laski

1 April 1983
... of Robert Browning and George Eliot. Her father, R.C. Lehmann, was a well-known writer and man of letters. Of her siblings, a younger sister is Beatrix Lehmann, the actress, her younger brother John Lehmann, poet, and fructifying editor and founder of the London Magazine. Most sensitive, literate girls write out the agonies of growing up, at least in private poetry or prose. But from such a ...

Jingo Joe

Paul Addison

2 July 1981
Joseph Chamberlain: A Political Study 
by Richard Jay.
Oxford, 383 pp., £16.95, March 1981, 0 19 822623 3
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... It was he rather than Salisbury who led the Cabinet into the Boer War; and when the war was over it was Chamberlain, breaking with old orthodoxies, who sought to achieve through tariff reform Sir John Seeley’s vision of a Greater Britain equipped for the struggles of the 20th century. Many efforts have been made to interpret Chamberlain and the great U-turn he performed in mid-career. Inevitably ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Skyfall’

22 November 2012
Skyfall 
directed by Sam Mendes.
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... M’s retirement is part of a larger picture of supposed obsolescence. What are old-time spies to do in the age of infinite technological intrusion? The movie’s writers (Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, John Logan) obviously want to side with tradition against the mindless modernisers but their heart’s not in it. Even M herself is aurally present on a wire while Bond is chasing through Istanbul on his ...

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