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It happened on TV

Jon Beasley-Murray: In Caracas, 9 May 2002

... What was remarkable about the events of 11-13 April in Caracas was not so much the downfall of the President as his precipitate reinstatement – a reversal of fortune that took everybody, not least Chávez himself, completely by surprise. Though he has always claimed that when he assumed power in 1998 he was initiating a ‘Bolivarian Revolution’, nobody was less prepared than its prime beneficiary when something like a revolution finally happened ...

Best Remain Seated

Jeremy Harding: Travel guides, 1 January 1998

by Hugh Finlay and Geoff Crowther.
Lonely Planet, 376 pp., £11.99, April 1997, 0 86442 460 4
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by Robert Pelton Young.
Fielding, 632 pp., £13.95, December 1995, 1 56952 026 7
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Asia's Top Dive Sites 
edited by Fiona Nichols and Michael Stachels.
Fielding, 228 pp., £13.95, December 1996, 1 56952 129 8
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South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland 
by Jon Murray et al.
Lonely Planet, 658 pp., £13.99, January 1998, 0 86442 508 2
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Southern Africa 
by Richard Cox.
Thornton Cox, 474 pp., £11.95, July 1995, 0 7818 0388 8
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The World's Most Dangerous Places 
by Robert Pelton Young.
Fielding, 1048 pp., £13.95, December 1997, 1 56952 104 2
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South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland 
by Barbara McCrea et al.
Rough Guides, 697 pp., £12.99, October 1997, 1 85828 238 1
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The Good Honeymoon Guide 
by Lucy Horne.
Trailblazer, 320 pp., £11.95, March 1997, 1 873756 12 7
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Amnesty International Report 1997 
Amnesty International, 378 pp., £18, June 1997, 0 86210 267 7Show More
by Barnaby Rogerson.
Cadogan, 596 pp., £12.99, December 1997, 1 86011 043 6
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... For some varieties of ‘new traveller’, as the guide books refer to him, fun, or value for money, can only be had when the going gets rough. He is, without question, a man. He likes to keep count of his change and clock up the kilometres. Once abroad he’s a seigneur of the road; the locals are vassals, trespassers, con-artists and thieves. The new traveller knows how to deal with them ...

Dear boy, I’d rather see you in your coffin

Jon Day: Paid to Race, 16 July 2020

To Hell and Back: An Autobiography 
by Niki Lauda.
Ebury, 314 pp., £16.99, February, 978 1 5291 0679 4
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A Race with Love and Death: The Story of Britain’s First Great Grand Prix Driver, Richard Seaman 
by Richard Williams.
Simon and Schuster, 388 pp., £20, March, 978 1 4711 7935 8
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... innovations have more immediate effects. When Lauda was driving for Brabham the designer Gordon Murray invented a ‘vacuum-cleaner car’ which used an engine cooling fan to suck air from beneath the chassis, pulling it down onto the track and allowing it to corner at much higher speeds. After Lauda drove it to victory in the Swedish Grand Prix it was ...

Wizard Contrivances

Jon Day: Will Self, 27 September 2012

by Will Self.
Bloomsbury, 397 pp., £18.99, August 2012, 978 1 4088 2014 8
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... a different period. In 1971 Busner thinks about decimalisation; in 2010 he listens to Jenni Murray on Woman’s Hour. Self has a wonderful ear for accent and idiom, and uses this to signal changes of time or perspective. When she’s recalling her youth Audrey speaks (but doesn’t always think) in a pared-down version of the phonetic mockney Self ...
Selected Literary Criticism of Louis MacNeice 
edited by Alan Heuser.
Oxford, 279 pp., £19.50, March 1987, 0 19 818573 1
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... be righted by my choice. But I have seen no evidence that the move to England amounted to exile. (Jon Stallworthy is writing the Life of MacNeice and may have evidence in hand.) After Sherborne, MacNeice went to Marlborough, well enough described in his unfinished and posthumously published autobiography, The strings are false (1965). One of MacNeice’s ...

In the Tart Shop

Murray Sayle: How Sydney got its Opera House, 5 October 2000

The Masterpiece: Jørn Utzon, a Secret Life 
by Philip Drew.
Hardie Grant, 574 pp., AUS $39.95, October 1999, 1 86498 047 8
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Jørn Utzon: The Sydney Opera House 
by Françoise Fromonot, translated by Christopher Thompson.
Electa/Gingko, 236 pp., £37.45, January 1998, 3 927258 72 5
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... were like a jazz group, everyone knowing exactly what to contribute,’ one of his collaborators, Jon Lundberg, recalls in the excellent documentary film, ‘The Edge of the Possible’. ‘We had seven years of pure happiness together.’ The jury chose Utzon’s design believing it was ‘capable of becoming one of the great buildings of the world’ but ...

Failed Vocation

James Butler: The Corbyn Project, 3 December 2020

Left Out: The Inside Story of Labour under Corbyn 
by Gabriel Pogrund and Patrick Maguire.
Bodley Head, 376 pp., £18.99, September, 978 1 84792 645 6
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This Land: The Story of a Movement 
by Owen Jones.
Allen Lane, 336 pp., £20, September, 978 0 241 47094 7
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... The antisemitism crisis cannot be explained away, and the statement by Momentum’s founder, Jon Lansman, that he felt ‘used as a Jew’ to defend the party, but was left without support afterwards, should be a source of shame.Pogrund and Maguire chronicle the repeated attempts to head off disaster in the early phases of the crisis. Not every proposal ...

Iraq, 2 May 2005

Andrew O’Hagan: Two Soldiers, 6 March 2008

... our legs hurt and we are all very tired and we are starving. The only thing I’ve had is a Murray Mint off one of the lads. We are going to get our haircuts tomorrow.’ Once he got going, Anthony was getting about £250 a week, serving first in Belize and then in Northern Ireland. When he came home on leave, he would sometimes go out with Paul and his ...

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