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James Wood: Afterlives

14 April 2011
After Lives: A Guide to Heaven, Hell and Purgatory 
by John Casey.
Oxford, 468 pp., £22.50, January 2010, 978 0 19 509295 0
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... of God, as well as a history of our self-conceptions, of our utopias and terrors, and this is what John Casey provides. Casey is in many ways an ideal guide. He is bracingly conservative about the writing of cultural history, meaning that he likes texts, and chronology, and evidence. He has taught English at Cambridge ...
19 December 1991
Under Fire: An American Story 
by Oliver North and William Novak.
HarperCollins, 446 pp., £17.99, October 1991, 0 06 018334 9
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Terry Waite: Why was he kidnapped? 
by Gavin Hewitt.
Bloomsbury, 230 pp., £15.99, November 1991, 0 7475 0375 3
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... with fury. Urgent discussions with Reagan’s director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Bill Casey, devised a plan for revenge. One of the CIA’s top agents, William Buckley, was posted to Beirut to implement it. In March 1984, Buckley was taken prisoner and tortured. Casey’s brilliant plan ended in the deaths or ...
24 January 2019
... It would have been natural to turn instead to the director of the CIA, but this was William Casey, a former businessman and Nixon aide who had been controversially appointed by Reagan as the reward for managing his 1980 election campaign. As the intelligence professionals working with the executive saw it, Casey was ...

Ideologues

Peter Pulzer

20 February 1986
The Redefinition of Conservatism: Politics and Doctrine 
by Charles Covell.
Macmillan, 267 pp., £27.50, January 1986, 0 333 38463 6
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Thinkers of the New Left 
by Roger Scruton.
Longman, 227 pp., £9.95, January 1986, 0 582 90273 8
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The Idea of Liberalism: Studies for a New Map of Politics 
by George Watson.
Macmillan, 172 pp., £22.50, November 1985, 0 333 38754 6
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Socialism and Freedom 
by Bryan Gould.
Macmillan, 109 pp., £25, November 1985, 0 333 40580 3
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... discriminating and curiously detached study of the Cambridge fogeys – Michael Oakeshott, John Casey, Maurice Cowling and Roger Scruton – with side-glances at Shirley Robin Letwin and the conservative potential in Wittgenstein, Elizabeth Anscombe and Philippa Foot. Other than that, some of the conservatives are closer to liberalism than ...

Kinsfolk

D.A.N. Jones

12 July 1990
A Sort of Clowning: Life and Times, 1940-59 
by Richard Hoggart.
Chatto, 225 pp., £14.95, June 1990, 0 7011 3607 3
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Tilting at Don Quixote 
by Nicholas Wollaston.
Deutsch, 314 pp., £14.95, June 1990, 0 233 98551 4
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Finger Lickin’ Good: A Kentucky Childhood 
by Paul Levy.
Chatto, 202 pp., £13.95, May 1990, 0 7011 3521 2
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How Many Miles to Babylon? 
by Adewale Maja-Pearce.
Heinemann, 154 pp., £13.95, June 1990, 0 434 44172 4
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... solid chargehand’s tread and decent low voice as he rounded the corner with his workmate, John Armitage ...’ The parody seems to invite a warm-hearted review. What is wrong with it? The serious Hoggart snaps: ‘Epithets are used for their likely effect on the reader, not to catch the nature of what is being described.’ Such books are no use, with ...

The Powyses

D.A.N. Jones

7 August 1980
After My Fashion 
by John Cowper Powys.
Picador, 286 pp., £2.50, June 1980, 0 330 26049 9
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Weymouth Sands 
by John Cowper Powys.
Picador, 567 pp., £2.95, June 1980, 0 330 26050 2
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Recollections of the Powys Brothers 
edited by Belinda Humfrey.
Peter Owen, 288 pp., £9.95, May 1980, 0 7206 0547 4
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John Cowper Powys and David Jones: A Comparative Study 
by Jeremy Hooker.
Enitharmon, 54 pp., £3.75, April 1979, 0 901111 85 6
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The Hollowed-Out Elder Stalk 
by Roland Mathias.
Enitharmon, 158 pp., £4.85, May 1979, 0 901111 87 2
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John Cowper Powys and the Magical Quest 
by Morine Krissdottir.
Macdonald, 218 pp., £8.95, February 1980, 0 354 04492 3
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... B. Priestley, G. Wilson Knight, George Steiner, Angus Wilson) have been booming the name of John Cowper Powys for many years, outraged that other big guns will not join the salute. In the first number of the Powys Review, in 1977, George Steiner blamed Dr Leavis for praising Theodore Francis Powys above ...
25 February 1993
Divided we stand: Britain, the US and the Suez Crisis 
by W. Scott Lucas.
Hodder, 399 pp., £25, September 1991, 0 340 53666 7
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Blind Loyalty: Australia and the Suez Crisis 
by W.J. Hudson.
Melbourne, 157 pp., £12.50, November 1991, 0 522 84394 8
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... Selwyn Lloyd, to the Walter Reed Hospital in Washington to visit the American Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, who had been discovered to have cancer during the week of the Suez war. Towards the end of the conversation, Dulles suddenly asked ‘Selwyn, why did you stop? Why didn’t you go through with it and get Nasser down?’ The British visitors ...
2 March 2000
Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism 
by John Cooley.
Pluto, 276 pp., £20, June 1999, 0 7453 1328 0
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... and who is prepared to stand up to the remaining superpower bully, the principal enemy of Islam. John Cooley is a veteran Middle East hand who has covered the region for the Christian Science Monitor and, more recently, for ABC television. His thesis is that the US – together with some of its closest allies, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan ...

Plummeting Deep into Cold Pop

Zachary Leader: Colson Whitehead

13 December 2001
John Henry Days 
by Colson Whitehead.
Fourth Estate, 389 pp., £12, June 2001, 1 84115 569 1
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... Whitehead is black and comparisons were made to Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison and Ishmael Reed. John Updike has called him ‘blithely gifted’, ‘the young African-American writer to watch’. Whitehead’s new novel, John Henry Days, is longer and more ambitious than The Intuitionist, and the suggestion in its title ...
6 June 2019
Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee 
by Casey Cep.
Heinemann, 314 pp., £20, May 2019, 978 1 78515 073 9
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... the reverend submitted insurance claims on his nephew to the Beneficial National, the Vulcan, the John Hancock and the World Wide insurance companies. The reverend, who was black, was assisted in his macabre actuarial pursuits, as well as in his legal battles, by a white lawyer called Tom Radney. Exploiting the vulnerabilities of an insurance industry that in ...
3 December 1992
... had a number of early leads, and also a hunch about Michelle Taylor. Michelle worked alongside John Shaughnessy, Alison’s husband, at the Churchill Clinic in Lambeth, and the police quickly picked up the gossip about an affair between them. For some weeks, however, the hunch didn’t seem to be leading anywhere. The police were in the process of dealing ...

What I heard about Iraq in 2005

Eliot Weinberger: Iraq

5 January 2006
... its product offering.’ I heard that the military was developing robot soldiers. I heard Gordon Johnson of the Joint Forces Command at the Pentagon say: ‘They don’t get hungry. They’re not afraid. They don’t forget their orders. They don’t care if the guy next to them has just been shot.’ I heard him say: ‘I have been asked what happens if the ...

The Dollar Tree

Tobias Jones

11 December 1997
Hand To Mouth: A Chronicle of Early Failure 
by Paul Auster.
Faber, 436 pp., £15.99, November 1997, 0 571 17149 4
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... side on the podium translating his words as he speaks, rubs shoulders with Jerzy Kosinski, John Lennon and Arthur Cohen.) The cast of other characters is often barely credible, a hint perhaps that there is invention and embellishment in the seeming straight-talk: Casey and Teddy, ‘a couple of clowns from the days ...

Ronbo

Michael Rogin

13 October 1988
Guts and Glory: The Rise and Fall of Oliver North 
by Ben Bradlee.
Grafton, 572 pp., £14.95, September 1988, 0 246 13364 3
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For the Record: From Wall Street to Washington 
by Donald Regan.
Hutchinson, 397 pp., £16.95, June 1988, 0 09 173622 6
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... National Security Adviser), but also supplied the President with what National Security Adviser John Poindexter called ‘plausible deniability’ by insulating him from the men like North who were actually implementing his covert operations. Split from one another and from Reagan himself, North and Regan were the doubles of the President they served. ‘I ...

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