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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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... Since the beginning of time – or of poetry – people have imagined the Moon is watching them. When I was a child I thought the Moon was a chum. Every boy had a torch and at night I shone mine from the bedroom window, refusing to be upstaged by the big torch in the sky. I remember asking my mother if the Moon could come on holiday with us, and she laughed, exactly the same laugh as my father gave ...

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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... epic’. One could add Oscar Micheaux’s early novels and polemical films, Melvin Van Peebles’s 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 ...

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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... What is especially refreshing is Watson’s willingness to take seriously not only those few hymnodists who have been accepted or half-accepted into the literary canon – George Herbert, Thomas Ken, Watts, Charles Wesley – but many less celebrated names, such as Sir Robert Grant, William Walsham How, William Chatterton Dix: Grant (‘O worship the King, all glorious above’), the Scottish ...

Toxin in the System

Michael Peel: In Nigeria

5 February 2015
... of dollars, yet has left most Nigerians with very little except swathes of ravaged land. Nigerian 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 ...

No One Leaves Her Place in Line

Jeremy Harding: Martha Gellhorn

7 May 1998
... But it took the form of a troubled query on my part which would produce a simply-stated caveat on hers about the virtue of the Republic and those, all those, who fought for it. Martha regarded Ken Loach’s movie, Land and Freedom, which tells the story of the betrayal of the POUM by the Communists, as an insult to the International Brigades. She poured scorn on the combat scenes (‘a joke ...

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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... wife, Ella Winter. In Frognal, Sayre met Charlie Chaplin (depicted as arrogant, politically obtuse and unfunny), Paul Robeson, W.E.B. Dubois, the left-wing filmmakers Joseph Losey, Carl Foreman and Abraham Polonsky, the screenwriters Richard Collins, Ring Lardner Jr and Waldo Salt, the critics Harold Clurman and Ken Tynan, the musicians Larry Adler and Yip Harburg, as well as Ingrid Bergman, Constance ...

Is it Art?

John Lanchester: Video games

1 January 2009
... were turned over to the free will of self-denominated geniuses. Well, someone has done that, except it 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 ...

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