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Goodbye Moon

Andrew O’Hagan: Me and the Moon

25 February 2010
The Book of the Moon 
by Rick Stroud.
Doubleday, 368 pp., £16.99, May 2009, 978 0 385 61386 6
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Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon 
by Craig Nelson.
John Murray, 404 pp., £18.99, June 2009, 978 0 7195 6948 7
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Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon 
by Buzz Aldrin and Ken Abraham.
Bloomsbury, 336 pp., £16.99, July 2009, 978 1 4088 0402 5
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... further than anybody else’s. (Eleven of the 12 men who walked on the Moon had been Boy Scouts.) Kennedy’s ambition to land a man on the Moon was sold as a raid on the new frontiers, but the spectre of Soviet domination of the heavens stalked the American mind, and the Age of Dread drew great sustenance from competing lunar missions. ‘The Apollo ...

First Movie in the White House

J. Hoberman: ‘Birth of a Nation’

12 February 2009
D.W. Griffith’s ‘The Birth of a Nation’: A History of ‘The Most Controversial Motion Picture of All Time’ 
by Melvyn Stokes.
Oxford, 414 pp., £13.99, January 2008, 978 0 19 533679 5
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... Sweet Sweetback’s Baaadasssss Song, the radio show Amos n’ Andy, The Bill Cosby Show, Ken Burns’s PBS series The Civil War, all versions of Show Boat, the 1927 Jazz Singer, Elvis, The Autobiography of Malcolm X and Spike Lee’s subsequent biopic, the O.J. Simpson mediathon, and Barack Obama’s ‘A More Perfect Union’ speech, as well as his ...

All Together Now

Richard Jenkyns

11 December 1997
Abide with Me: The World of Victorian Hymns 
by Ian Bradley.
SCM, 299 pp., £30, June 1997, 9780334026921
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The English Hymn: A Critical and Historical Study 
by J.R. Watson.
Oxford, 552 pp., £65, July 1997, 0 19 826762 2
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... he finds ‘dissociation of sensibility’ in the hymns of the later Victorian period; likens the themes of John Ellerton’s ‘The day Thou gavest, Lord, is ended’ and Isaac Watts’s ‘When I survey the wondrous Cross’ to Eliot’s Four Quartets; compares ‘Abide with me’ to Waiting for Godot; and declares Cowper’s ‘O God, our help in ...

Toxin in the System

Michael Peel: In Nigeria

5 February 2015
... oil became an international scandal when in 1995 General Sani Abacha’s military regime hanged Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni activists who’d carried out a long campaign against environmental degradation and exploitation in the delta. In the early 2000s groups of armed militants who took on the oil companies – and fought among themselves ...

No One Leaves Her Place in Line

Jeremy Harding: Martha Gellhorn

7 May 1998
... going back over her writing a bit of a gamble and had to steel herself for it. Reading A Stricken Field, for example, a novel set in Czechoslovakia at the time of Munich, the annexation of Sudetenland and Hitler’s entry into Prague, caused her some aches and pains, but I once discovered her engrossed in a copy of The Honeyed Peace, a collection of ...

Frognal Days

Zachary Leader: Files on the Fifties

4 June 1998
Previous Convictions: A Journey Through the Fifties 
by Nora Sayre.
Rutgers, 464 pp., £27.95, April 1997, 0 8135 2231 5
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... exactly what they wished, and many were’. Though they made exceptions (for Harold Ross, H.L. Mencken, Maxwell Perkins), most of them held editors in contempt, so that the turn to Hollywood (taken, among others, by Sayre’s father, whose credits include Annie Oakley, Gunga Din and, with William Faulkner and Nunnally ...

Is it Art?

John Lanchester: Video games

1 January 2009
... isn’t a book or movie, it’s a video game. BioShock, which came out in 2007, was conceived by Ken Levine and developed by 2K Boston/2K Australia, and is set in an alternative-reality version of 1960. The main character – from whose perspective you play the game – is involved in a plane crash in mid-Atlantic, and ends up in an underwater city called ...

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