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Young Man’s Nostalgia

Diarmaid MacCulloch: William Byrd, 30 July 2014

Byrd 
by Kerry McCarthy.
Oxford, 282 pp., £25, August 2013, 978 0 19 538875 6
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... a gratifying amount about William Byrd, partly thanks to quite recent archival rediscoveries, and Kerry McCarthy splendidly and concisely presents it all in this intelligent and affectionate biography. Alas, the one thing we don’t have is a contemporary portrait, not even anything as clumsy as the universally recognisable dome-headed icon of ...

The World’s Most Important Spectator

David Bromwich: Obama’s World, 2 July 2014

... USAID standards. Obama ceded control of America’s public stance to his secretary of state, John Kerry. The result with Ukraine in 2014, as with Syria in 2013, was to render a critical situation more confused, and bristling with opportunities for hostility between the US and Russia. Eventually, in late March, Obama gave a speech to the EU in Brussels that ...

Radical Aliens

David Cole: The Sacco-Vanzetti Affair, 22 October 2009

The Sacco-Vanzetti Affair: America on Trial 
by Moshik Temkin.
Yale, 316 pp., £25, July 2009, 978 0 300 12484 2
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... an important undercurrent of American politics, resurfacing in even more potent form in the McCarthy era). Anarchist violence had ebbed and the government’s abusive tactics during the Palmer raids had been widely condemned by such influential figures as Frankfurter and his Harvard Law School colleagues, Roscoe Pound and Zechariah Chafee; Louis ...

El Casino Macabre

James Morone: Rebellion of the Rich, 21 June 2007

Wall Street: A Cultural History 
by Steve Fraser.
Faber, 656 pp., £12.99, April 2006, 0 571 21829 6
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Among Empires: American Ascendancy and Its Predecessors 
by Charles S. Maier.
Harvard, 373 pp., £18.95, May 2006, 0 674 02189 4
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... Ivy League, ‘egg-headed, homosexual, left-leaning financiers’, as the Wisconsin senator Joseph McCarthy described them, unfit for the rough and tumble real world? The new rich despised the rules that bound entrepreneurs in the name of social security. They detested the welfare state, which, as they saw it, only coddled the lazy and the losers. They did not ...
... and the fact that the Irish Volunteers – unlike the National Volunteers – were armed. Joseph McCarthy, from Wexford, for example, noted that ‘the slow march of the Volunteers passing through the city conveyed to everyone the significance of a real national army. The wail of the laments from the pipers’ bands and the music of the brass bands mingled ...

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