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Everybody wants a Rembrandt

Nicholas Penny, 17 March 1983

The Rare Art Traditions 
by Joseph Alsop.
Thames and Hudson, 691 pp., £30, November 1982, 0 500 23359 4
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... a real public is impressed, but a ‘new Jackson Pollock’ can be manufactured very easily. Joseph Alsop in The Rare Art Traditions reports a conversation with a modern plutocrat who had just paid a ‘huge sum for an alleged Rembrandt’. Asked why he paid so much, he reeled off figures: the high number of Rembrandts in public collections, and the ...


Michael Davie, 6 June 1985

The Airman and the Carpenter: The Lindbergh Case and the Framing of Richard Hauptmann 
by Ludovic Kennedy.
Collins, 438 pp., £12.95, April 1985, 0 00 217060 4
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... Runyon, Ford Madox Ford, Edna Ferber, Alexander Woollcott, Heywood Broun, Walter Winchell and Joseph Alsop, who was required to write no less than ten thousand words a day for the Herald Tribune. Celebrities who dropped by included Ginger Rogers, Moss Hart, Lynn Fontanne, Jack Dempsey, Robert ‘Believe-it-or-not’ Ripley, Elsa Maxwell and Jack ...

Terror on the Vineyard

Terry Castle: Boss Ladies, Watch Out!, 15 April 1999

A Likely Story: One Summer with Lillian Hellman 
by Rosemary Mahoney.
Doubleday, 273 pp., $23.95, November 1998, 9780385479318
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... the malicious remarks she makes about friends and houseguests as soon as they are out of earshot (Joseph Alsop, she tells Mahoney, ‘is a fag … There’s no reason for my liking him except that he was very good during the McCarthy period’). Some of this tartufferie is good for a hollow laugh – or even two or three. Bad behaviour on the part of the ...

Moderation or Death

Christopher Hitchens: Isaiah Berlin, 26 November 1998

Isaiah Berlin: A Life 
by Michael Ignatieff.
Chatto, 386 pp., £20, October 1998, 0 7011 6325 9
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The Guest from the Future: Anna Akhmatova and Isaiah Berlin 
by György Dalos.
Murray, 250 pp., £17.95, September 2002, 0 7195 5476 4
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... the hideous war in Vietnam. Cold War liberals themselves, with the kept conservative journalist Joseph Alsop they formed a Three of Hearts in the less fastidious quarters of Washington DC. Another player made up an occasional fourth man. Isaiah Berlin was happy, at least when Charles (Chip) Bohlen was unavailable, to furnish an urbane ditto to their ...

The Kennedy Boys

R.W. Johnson, 28 January 1993

JFK: Life and Death of an American President. Vol. I: Reckless Youth 
by Nigel Hamilton.
Century, 898 pp., £20, October 1992, 0 7126 2571 2
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... at night while also seeming to be wholly amoral – but simply by his sense of taste and style. As Joseph Alsop noted, there was something English about JFK, not just because he spent so much of his time there and took to country-house society as to the manner born, but in the very way his emotions worked. He was ‘terrifically snobbish’ and terribly ...

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