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Loot, Looter, Looted

Peter Howarth: John Haynes, 3 January 2008

Letter to Patience 
by John Haynes.
Seren, 79 pp., £7.99, April 2006, 1 85411 412 3
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... bar a few hundred miles away from the mud-walled bar near Zaria, in northern Nigeria, where John Haynes’s poem is set. It opens with an evocative drift through the peppery air of the evening marketplace, past the stalls selling stock cubes and mosquito coils, and the smells of fried yam and charcoal fires, towards the coloured lights of ...

Don’t Ask Henry

Alan Hollinghurst: Sissiness, 9 October 2008

Belchamber 
by Howard Sturgis.
NYRB, 345 pp., £8.99, May 2008, 978 1 59017 266 7
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... panics, his horse bolts, he faints and falls and breaks his hip. When the great surgeon (‘Sir John’) who tends him reluctantly confirms that he will never be able to ride again, Sainty ‘heaved a sigh of unmistakable relief. “Ah! well, that’s a comfort, anyhow,” he said.’ From now on, Sainty’s lameness will be the useful badge of his ...

Better and Worse Worsts

Sadakat Kadri: American Trials, 24 May 2007

The Trial in American Life 
by Robert Ferguson.
Chicago, 400 pp., £18.50, March 2007, 978 0 226 24325 2
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... On 16 October 1859, a white anti-slavery agitator called John Brown led 21 followers in a raid on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. A previous expedition against a Kansas slave-owning settlement had ended in five deaths, but Brown had far grander hopes for his new enterprise – to start an insurrection across the South ...

Calcutta in the Cotswolds

David Gilmour: What did the British do for India?, 3 March 2005

Empire Families: Britons and Late Imperial India 
by Elizabeth Buettner.
Oxford, 324 pp., £25, July 2004, 0 19 924907 5
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... in the Public Works Department, while their sister married two civil servants in succession. John Lawrence, the future viceroy, was one of five brothers working simultaneously in India; John Nicholson, the hero of the siege of Delhi, was one of four brothers who died there. No family, however, sent as many members to ...

Gloves Off

Glen Newey: Torture, 29 January 2009

Death by a Thousand Cuts 
by Timothy Brook, Jérôme Bourgon and Gregory Blue.
Harvard, 320 pp., £22.95, March 2008, 978 0 674 02773 2
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Standard Operating Procedure: A War Story 
by Philip Gourevitch and Errol Morris.
Picador, 286 pp., £8.99, January 2009, 978 0 330 45201 4
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Torture Team: Deception, Cruelty and the Compromise of Law 
by Philippe Sands.
Allen Lane, 315 pp., £20, May 2008, 978 1 84614 008 2
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... legality of laxer rules on interrogation. As Sands shows, Beaver was unaware that Jay Bybee and John Yoo, senior figures in the OLC, had already written a 50-page memo advising that harsher techniques could be used. However, in evidence given to the Senate Judiciary Committee, William Haynes, general counsel in the ...

Cute, My Arse

Seamus Perry: Geoffrey Hill, 12 September 2019

The Book of Baruch by the Gnostic Justin 
by Geoffrey Hill.
Oxford, 148 pp., £20, April 2019, 978 0 19 882952 2
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... he devoted a great deal of his later imaginative effort precisely to not sounding like he used to. John Bayley, an attentive but sceptical admirer, once shrewdly said of the early Hill manner: ‘The danger with this sort of poetry is that it is the kind that looks like poetry, which need not mean that it is not the real thing, but is bound to raise a certain ...

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