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Paper this thing over

Colin Kidd: The Watergate Tapes, 5 November 2015

The Nixon Tapes: 1971-72 
by Douglas Brinkley and Luke Nichter.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 758 pp., $35, July 2014, 978 0 544 27415 0
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The Nixon Defence: What He Knew and When He Knew It 
by John W. Dean.
Penguin, 784 pp., £14.99, June 2015, 978 0 14 312738 3
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Washington Journal: Reporting Watergate and Richard Nixon’s Downfall 
by Elizabeth Drew.
Duckworth Overlook, 450 pp., £20, August 2014, 978 0 7156 4916 9
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Chasing Shadows: The Nixon Tapes, the Chennault Affair and the Origins of Watergate 
by Ken Hughes.
Virginia, 228 pp., $16.95, August 2015, 978 0 8139 3664 2
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The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan 
by Rick Perlstein.
Simon and Schuster, 860 pp., £25, August 2014, 978 1 4767 8241 6
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... victory in November’s election. The episode seemed to be nothing more than a ‘caper’ undertaken by over-enthusiastic underlings. Only Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of the Washington Post, two inexperienced journalists on the local beat, persisted with the story. For the moment, the burglars kept quiet, and no mud stuck. On 7 November Nixon was ...

Short Cuts

John Lanchester: Ken or Boris?, 10 April 2008

... per cent wins the election outright. (This doesn’t seem likely: the best performance so far was Ken Livingstone’s 39 per cent in 2000.) If no one has 50 per cent, the top two candidates have their second-choice votes added to their first-choice, and the one with the most votes is the winner. At the start of the campaign, opinion polls were showing Boris ...

White Boy Walking

Evan Hughes: Jonathan Lethem, 5 July 2007

You Don’t Love Me Yet 
by Jonathan Lethem.
Faber, 224 pp., £10.99, May 2007, 978 0 571 23562 9
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... Coming across a business called Yorkville Zendo sends him on a riff: ‘Don’t know from Zendo, Ken-like Zung Fu, Feng Shui master, Fungo bastard, Zen masturbation, Eat me!’ The wordplay is often wildly witty, but there is an undertone that is less exuberant. Through Lionel, Lethem dramatises, sometimes ostentatiously, the profound obstacles to ...

In Farageland

James Meek, 8 October 2014

... commute between his home in South London and his office at the European Parliament in Brussels. If Kent, cartographically speaking, is England’s right foot, the Isle of Thanet is its big toe, pointing east into the sea towards Belgium. It hasn’t been an actual island since the 15th century, when the channel separating it from the English mainland silted ...

Callaloo

Robert Crawford, 20 April 1989

Northlight 
by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 81 pp., £8.95, September 1988, 0 571 15229 5
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A Field of Vision 
by Charles Causley.
Macmillan, 68 pp., £10.95, September 1988, 0 333 48229 8
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Seeker, Reaper 
by George Campbell Hay and Archie MacAlister.
Saltire Society, 30 pp., £15, September 1988, 0 85411 041 0
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In Through the Head 
by William McIlvanney.
Mainstream, 192 pp., £9.95, September 1988, 1 85158 169 3
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The New British Poetry 
edited by Gillian Allnutt, Fred D’Aguiar, Ken Edwards and Eric Mottram.
Paladin, 361 pp., £6.95, September 1988, 0 586 08765 6
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Complete Poems 
by Martin Bell, edited by Peter Porter.
Bloodaxe, 240 pp., £12.95, August 1988, 1 85224 043 1
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First and Always: Poems for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital 
edited by Lawrence Sail.
Faber, 69 pp., £5.95, October 1988, 0 571 55374 5
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Birthmarks 
by Mick Imlah.
Chatto, 61 pp., £4.95, September 1988, 0 7011 3358 9
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... decorous Queen’s English that deliberately celebrates the sort of cultures where dialect is spoken. Tony Harrison does this when he harnesses his Classical learning and tones to write about working-class life in Leeds (he also uses straight dialect); Douglas Dunn does it when he writes in Northlight with Marvellian decorum about Tayport; Les Murray when he ...

Only Incognito

Gaby Wood, 6 July 1995

Katharine Hepburn 
by Barbara Leaming.
Weidenfeld, 549 pp., £20, March 1995, 0 297 81319 6
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... for and partly about her by Philip Barry. It had a two-year run on Broadway, and (since Howard Hughes had bought her the rights) she starred in the film version for MGM. Quite apart from the life it portrayed, for a time The Philadelphia Story was her life. Many scripts were written with her in mind, and Dudley Nichols wrote some of her best comic lines in ...

Colloquially Speaking

Patrick McGuinness: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945, 1 April 1999

The Penguin Book of Poetry from Britain and Ireland since 1945 
edited by Simon Armitage and Robert Crawford.
Viking, 480 pp., £10.99, September 1998, 0 670 86829 9
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The Firebox: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945 
edited by Sean O’Brien.
Picador, 534 pp., £16.99, October 1998, 0 330 36918 0
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... are powerful things: movements are launched, periods are parcelled up, writers are made and broken. They are, or want to be, the book world’s performative utterances: defining what they claim only to reflect, they make the things they speak of come to pass. But one last fin-de-siécle anthologising project remains: an anthology of anthology ...

Diary

Tobias Jones: The politics of football, 7 May 1998

... of the game which makes football so fascinating.’ Police and stewards have occasionally mistaken shouting and screaming, standing up, a few gesticulations, the wanker-sign, as indications of ominous intent. It’s all beginning to be frowned on and stamped out. Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, has lamented the lack of ‘atmosphere’ at Old ...

The Bloody Sixth

Joshua Brown: The Real Gangs of New York, 23 January 2003

TheGangs of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld 
by Herbert Asbury.
Arrow, 366 pp., £6.99, January 2003, 0 09 943674 4
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Gangs of New York 
directed by Martin Scorsese.
December 2002
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... of the state police was due to internecine Democratic rivalries – the 1857 riot has been taken to be emblematic of a lawless and brutal era. As with other moments of civil unrest, an extraordinarily violent incident came to be seen as representative of the everyday. Even so it’s safe to say that, until this December, few people knew about the riot or ...

Newspapers of the Consensus

Neal Ascherson, 21 February 1985

The Rise and Fall of the Political Press in Britain. Vol. II: The 20th Century 
by Stephen Koss.
Hamish Hamilton, 718 pp., £25, March 1984, 0 241 11181 1
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Lies, Damned Lies and Some Exclusives 
by Henry Porter.
Chatto, 211 pp., £9.95, October 1984, 0 7011 2841 0
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Garvin of the ‘Observer’ 
by David Ayerst.
Croom Helm, 314 pp., £25, January 1985, 0 7099 0560 2
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The Beaverbrook I Knew 
edited by Logan Gourlay.
Quartet, 272 pp., £11.95, September 1984, 0 7043 2331 1
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... their links with political parties have dissolved. An immense and irrevocable disintegration has taken place. ‘The primary function of political journalism was to inspire confidence in a system of which it was, by design and consent, an integral part. Gradually, as the system lost confidence in itself ... the political press lost its bearings, its ...

The poet steamed

Iain Sinclair: Tom Raworth, 19 August 2004

Collected Poems 
by Tom Raworth.
Carcanet, 576 pp., £16.95, February 2003, 1 85754 624 5
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Removed for Further Study: The Poetry of Tom Raworth 
edited by Nate Dorward.
The Gig, 288 pp., £15, March 2003, 0 9685294 3 7
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... best we have.’ And there they were, Tom Raworth and Lee Harwood, linked in a Penguin, like Ted Hughes and Thom Gunn before them, markers for a generation. So where did it all go wrong? (Not for the poets, for us.) Raworth’s first proper book, The Relation Ship, was published by his own Goliard Press in 1967. Three illustrations by Barry Hall. ‘Off-set ...

Karl Miller Remembered

Neal Ascherson, John Lanchester and Andrew O’Hagan, 22 October 2014

... did adopt him. His talents took him to the Royal High School, where William Drummond, Henry Mackenzie and Walter Scott had been before him. There Karl became favourite pupil and close friend of Hector MacIver, that incomparable teacher of literature, who recognised his gifts and took him with his other clever boys down the Calton Hill to Rose Street. In ...

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