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They would have laughed

Ferdinand Mount: The Massacre at​ Amritsar

4 April 2019
Amritsar​ 1919: An​ Empire of Fear and the Making of a Massacre 
by Kim A. Wagner.
Yale, 325 pp., £20, February, 978 0 300 20035 5
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... Thirty seconds​ after he first entered the Jallianwala Bagh, he ordered his men to open fire. There was no word of warning to the crowd, not a gesture. ‘My mind was made up as I came along in my motor car. If my orders were not obeyed, I would open fire immediately.’ After a bit, Sergeant Anderson, General Dyer’s personal bodyguard, ‘noticed that Captain Briggs was ...

Who were they?

Sanjay​ Subrahmanyam: ‘Thuggee’

3 December 2009
Stranglers and Bandits: A Historical​ Anthology of ‘Thuggee’ 
edited by Kim Wagner.
Oxford, 318 pp., £22.99, January 2009, 978 0 19 569815 2
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... Ismail Merchant set out to make The Deceivers. He was without his usual collaborator, James Ivory, who was not enthusiastic about the project. The film eventually appeared in 1988, and was met by a near unanimous lack of criticalacclaim. The screenplay was based on a novel by John Masters (1914-83), who had served in the British army in India before and during the Second World War. Masters’s ...
17 December 1992
Korea Old and New: A History 
by Carter Eckert, Ki-baik Lee, Young Ick Lew, Michael Robinson and Edward Wagner.
Harvard, 454 pp., £11.95, September 1991, 0 9627713 0 9
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The Wilder Shores of Marx: Journeys in a Vanishing World 
by Anthony Daniels.
Hutchinson, 202 pp., £16.99, April 1991, 9780091741532
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... kidnapped more than 200,000 young women into sex slavery during their occupation of East Asia. Those so enslaved were termed ‘comfort women’, about 80 per cent of whom were Korean. Some were as young as 12, hauled out of their schools, often under a quota system, and carted off to army barracks and outposts all the way from Manchuria to the South Pacific. All suffered indescribable ...

What​ does a chicken know of bombs?

David Thomson: A Key to Brando

25 November 2019
The Contender: The Story of Marlon Brando 
by William​ J. Mann.
HarperCollins, 718 pp., £22, November, 978 0 06 242764 9
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... Anactor wants to wake up tomorrow as someone else: that’s the delight and the horror in what is sometimes called a profession or anart, as if its risks can be controlled. Anactor can be anyone, if he can stand the pace of change and its rootlessness. Cinema asa medium urges us to view ourselves asactors presenting ourselves. Rod Steiger and Marlon Brando in ‘On ...
7 November 1991
Harlot’s Ghost 
by Norman​ Mailer.
Joseph, 1122 pp., £15.99, October 1991, 0 7181 2934 2
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A Very Thin Line: The Iran-Contra Affairs 
by Theodore Draper.
Hill and Wang, 690 pp., $27.95, June 1991, 0 8090 9613 7
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... to whom M. de Sérisy pointed out that the major interests of the country sometimes required secret illegalities, crime beginning only when State means were applied to private interests. If ever a man feels the sweetness, the utility of friendship, must it not be that moral leper called by the crowd a spy, by the common people a nark, by the administration anagent? Honoré de Balzac: A Harlot ...

Ten Typical​ Days in Trump’s America

Eliot Weinberger: Ten (More) Days in America

25 October 2018
... As dozens​ of lagoons of pig waste overflow in North Carolina, President Trump says that Hurricane Florence is ‘one of the wettest we’ve ever seen, from the standpoint of water’. (In North ...

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