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August Kleinzahler: Too Bad about Mrs Ferri, 20 September 2001

... getting a shave at the Park Sheraton Hotel on Seventh Avenue. The Gallo brothers made the hit: Joseph ‘Crazy Joe’, Larry, and Albert ‘Kid Blast’. They were accompanied by an ugly little torpedo named Joseph ‘Joe Jelly’ Giorelli, who finished the job with a bullet to the back of Anastasia’s head. These four ...

Inky Scraps

Maya Jasanoff: ‘Atlantic Families’, 5 August 2010

Atlantic Families: Lives and Letters in the Later 18th Century 
by Sarah Pearsall.
Oxford, 294 pp., £61, November 2008, 978 0 19 953299 5
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... felt like when she wrote about it in wartime Philadelphia in the fall of 1781. Grace’s husband, Joseph, a prominent Pennsylvania politician, had been a delegate to the first Continental Congress, convened in 1774 to find a resolution to the 13 colonies’ grievances against Britain. Hoping to stave off open war, Galloway proposed a plan for closer imperial ...

JC’s Call

J.I.M. Stewart, 2 April 1981

Joseph Conrad: Times Remembered 
by Joseph Conrad.
Cambridge, 218 pp., £10.50, March 1981, 0 521 22805 0
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... Joseph Conrad died at the age of 67 on 3 August 1924, the day following the 18th birthday of his younger son, John Conrad, the author of the present book. John’s memories, which reach astonishingly far back into his earliest childhood, begin with his family living in poverty in a tiny cottage, ‘a dark and gloomy place’, at Aldington in Kent ...

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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... A century ago Joseph Chamberlain was the Tony Benn of his time, the bogeyman of moderate and conservative opinion. The point is familiar to historians of the period, but never easy to convey. Why, after all, should the upper classes have been scared of a Liberal? Were the Liberals not a party of property and wealth? Indeed they were, and from the gallery of the House of Commons one could observe a multitude of well-fed, broad-bottomed types on the Liberal benches ...


Joseph Farrell: In Palermo, 14 December 2000

... of Mediterranean civilisation. Immigrants, illegal or otherwise, flood onto the mainland from North Africa via Sicily, and it is possible that Sicily will become a meeting point again, a place where Christian and Muslim cultures cross. But first, it needs to sort itself out, and the problems begin here. The Mayor of Palermo, Leoluca Orlando, takes the ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: The Ryanverse, 11 July 2002

... and Red Rabbit will be hopping its way up the bestseller lists in a matter of weeks (Michael Joseph, £18.99). Clancy rocketed to fame – the cliché isn’t inapt for such a notorious gizmologist, though he’d no doubt give you the make and serial number of the rocket in question – in the mid-1980s with his first novel, The Hunt for Red October. The ...

Lutfi’s bar will not be opening again

Basil Davidson, 7 January 1993

Fitzroy Maclean 
by Frank McLynn.
Murray, 413 pp., £25, October 1992, 9780719549717
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Franz Joseph 
by Jean-Paul Bled, translated by Teresa Bridgeman.
Blackwell, 359 pp., £45, September 1992, 0 631 16778 1
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... North beyond Sarajevo is where the hills of Bosnia become less grey and gaunt than they are elsewhere, and a little further north again they slope away to the plain of Semberija along the Sava River. It is a pleasant enough country in normal times although a hungry one, with its peasants inhabiting scattered hamlets and family homesteads ...


Julian Barnes: People Will Hate Us Again, 20 April 2017

... clashing title turns out to be part of the point. The novel is set in a small French town in the north, towards Belgium; the time must be the late 1930s. The original Krull, Cornelius, was German, but has spent four-fifths of his life in France, and became naturalised before the First World War; he still barely speaks French and is losing his German. A ...

The Duckworth School of Writers

Frank Kermode, 20 November 1980

Human Voices 
by Penelope Fitzgerald.
Collins, 177 pp., £5.25, September 1980, 0 00 222280 9
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Winter Garden 
by Beryl Bainbridge.
Duckworth, 157 pp., £5.95, October 1980, 0 7156 1495 9
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... up for at least half a century The best-known, or anyway the only one that ever gets mentioned, is Joseph Vance, the first of them, which was published in 1906; the best, or at any rate the most interesting, is Alice-for-Short, which followed, in spite of its great length, only a year later. De Morgan lived to be 88 and wrote seven novels, as well as two more ...

It’s not the bus: it’s us

Thomas Sugrue: Stars, Stripes and Civil Rights, 20 November 2008

The Soiling of Old Glory: The Story of a Photograph that Shocked America 
by Louis Masur.
Bloomsbury US, 224 pp., $24.95, April 2008, 978 1 59691 364 6
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... of anti-Civil Rights protesters onto the plaza outside Boston’s City Hall. His picture shows Joseph Rakes, a white teenager, wielding Old Glory as a spear, lunging forward as if he were about to impale Theodore Landsmark, a well-dressed black attorney who’d had the misfortune to cross paths with the protesters. As Landsmark tries to dodge his ...


Michael Wood, 23 March 1995

The Stone Raft 
by José Saramago, translated by Giovanni Pontiero.
Harvill, 263 pp., £15.99, November 1994, 0 00 271321 7
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... in the world was ours, but not as a burden or an inheritance, and not in the solemn way in which North American educators claim the Western canon as the track of their own mental history. Borges compares Argentinian writers to the Jews in relation to Western culture, the Irish in relation to English culture: ‘I believe that Argentinians, South Americans in ...

Sudden Losses of Complexity

Edmund Leach, 10 November 1988

The Collapse of Complex Societies 
by Joseph Tainter.
Cambridge, 250 pp., £27.50, June 1988, 0 521 34092 6
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... faculty and can even, on occasion, share a subject-matter, they are, in a case such as that of Joseph Tainter and myself, poles apart. This is because social anthropologists are primarily interested in a rapidly disappearing living present; they suffer from an illusion that if they do not record everything within the next ten years there will be nothing ...

I wanted to rule the world

David A. Bell: Napoleon’s Global War, 3 December 2020

The Napoleonic Wars: A Global History 
by Alexander Mikaberidze.
Oxford, 936 pp., £25.99, April 2020, 978 0 19 995106 2
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... surviving Indian possessions, and later to Mauritius. The others he gifted to his brother Joseph, when Joseph became king of Naples in 1806. Renamed the Royal Africans and briefly commanded by Joseph Hugo, father of Victor, they fought Calabrian guerrillas before joining ...

The Irresistible Itch

Colin Kidd: Vandals in Bow Ties, 3 December 2009

Personal Responsibility: Why It Matters 
by Alexander Brown.
Continuum, 214 pp., £12.99, September 2009, 978 1 84706 399 1
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... to broach too obviously the ethics of personal responsibility. Had not her ally and mentor Keith Joseph seen his own leadership aspirations shrivel in the aftermath of his notorious Edgbaston speech? When Joseph addressed the Edgbaston Conservative Association at Birmingham’s Grand Hotel on 19 October 1974, the ...


Mary Hawthorne: Remembering Joseph Mitchell, 1 August 1996

... Though we both came to the offices of the New Yorker nearly every day for 15 years, Joseph Mitchell and I were never introduced and we never introduced ourselves. I seldom saw him; mostly he stayed in his office with the door shut. But I knew who he was, almost from the day I was hired, and over time he came to know who I was too ...

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