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6 January 1994
Trail of the Octopus: From Beirut to Lockerbie – Inside the DIA 
by Donald Goddard and Lester Coleman.
Bloomsbury, 325 pp., £16.99, September 1993, 9780747515623
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The Media and Disasters: Pan-Am 103 
by Joan Deppa, Maria Russell, Dona Hayes and Elizabeth Lynne Flocke.
Fulton, 346 pp., £14.99, October 1993, 9781853462252
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... The American investigative columnist Jack Anderson has had some scoops in his time but none more significant than his revelation – in January 1990 – that in mid-March 1989, three months after Lockerbie, George Bush rang Margaret Thatcher to warn her to ‘cool it’ on the subject. On what seems to have been the very same day, perhaps a few hours earlier, Thatcher’s Secretary of State for Transport ...

Say thank you

Clive James: Witty Words in Pretty Mouths

23 May 2002
Fast-Talking Dames 
by Maria​ DiBattista.
Yale, 365 pp., £19.95, June 2001, 0 300 08815 9
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... A bit of a fast-talking dame herself, Maria DiBattista is justifiably excited by the characteristic flip lip of her prewar and wartime Hollywood heroines. In her mind, I imagine, she is of their number: Jean Harlow, Rosalind Russell, Irene ...

Hug me till you drug me

Alex Harvey: Aldous Huxley

4 May 2016
After Many a Summer 
by Aldous Huxley.
Vintage, 314 pp., £8.99, September 2015, 978 1 78487 035 5
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Time Must Have a Stop 
by Aldous Huxley.
Vintage, 305 pp., £9.99, September 2015, 978 1 78487 034 8
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The Genius and the Goddess 
by Aldous Huxley.
Vintage, 127 pp., £8.99, September 2015, 978 1 78487 036 2
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... wife, Paulette Goddard, dressed ‘in a Mexican peasant outfit’; Greta Garbo, wearing a ‘sloppy pair of men’s trousers and a battered hat with a brim that hid her face’; the visiting Bertrand Russell; Christopher Isherwood; and Huxley’s favourite mystic, Krishnamurti, accompanied by a retinue of Theosophists and vegetarian catering ladies in saris. While his guests looked like pixies ‘on a ...

She’s a tiger-cat!

Miranda Seymour: Birds’ claw omelettes with Vernon Lee

22 January 2004
Vernon Lee: A Literary Biography 
by Vineta Colby.
Virginia, 387 pp., £32.50, May 2003, 0 8139 2158 9
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... nevertheless, have been her memory of Paget’s demanding nature which caused her, in 1915, to attempt the rescue of the latest female recruit, Irene Cooper Willis, by introducing her to Bertrand Russell. Ottoline decided Irene could be more usefully employed in providing Russell with children, but Irene, while happy to act as his research assistant, preferred not to stand between Russell and ...

Real Power

Conrad Russell

7 August 1986
Revel, Riot and Rebellion: Popular Politics and Culture in England 1603-1660 
by David Underdown.
Oxford, 324 pp., £17.50, November 1985, 0 19 822795 7
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The Reign of Henry VIII: Personalities and Politics 
by David Starkey.
George Philip, 174 pp., £9.95, November 1985, 0 540 01093 6
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... Starkey’s description of the way Cromwell stage-managed the fall of Anne gives a picture of Cromwell quite as ruthless as that given by Reginald Pole. Dr Starkey, following an important article by Maria Dowling, treats Anne as a major political figure, a sort of honorary counsellor, and a crucial figure in the process by which Henry was weaned away from Rome. He also develops a dramatic case in ...

Rising above it

Russell​ Davies

2 December 1982
The Noel Coward Diaries 
edited by Graham Payn and Sheridan Morley.
Weidenfeld, 698 pp., £15, September 1982, 0 297 78142 1
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... There’s Basil Dean and James Dean, Jack Warner of Dock Green and Jack Warner of Hollywood. Jayne Mansfield lines up alongside Mantovani, and Field-Marshal Viscount Montgomery is discovered between Maria Montez and Dudley Moore. Kim Novak and Ivor Novello are neighbours, but then so are Mozart and Malcolm Muggeridge, and the French sandwich of Arletty and Yvonne Arnaud contains Anthony Armstrong ...

Eye Contact

Peter Campbell: Anthony van Dyck

16 September 1999
Anthony van Dyck 1599-1641 
by Christopher Brown and Hans Vlieghe.
Royal Academy, 360 pp., £22.50, May 1999, 9780847821969
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Anthony van Dyck: A Life, 1599-1641 
by Robin Blake.
Constable, 435 pp., £25, August 1999, 9780094797208
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... even the kindness that comes close to being flattery. ‘Van Dyck,’ Roger de Piles noted, ‘took his time to draw a face when it had its best looks on.’ He painted Charles I’s Queen, Henrietta Maria, as a handsome woman – without, it would seem, losing the likeness. Yet her niece, who knew her first from the painting, was surprised to find the Queen ‘a little woman with long, lean arms ...

Diary

Tariq Ali: In Cochabamba

21 June 2007
... something I often do – in Cochabamba in Bolivia. I was last there forty years ago as part of a four-man team (the others were Perry Anderson, Robin Blackburn and Ralph Schoenman) sent by Bertrand Russell to attend the trial of Régis Debray in Camiri, not far from where a besieged Che Guevara was fighting to escape the Bolivian army. Debray had been captured while attempting to leave the guerrilla ...

The Great Fear

William Lamont

21 July 1983
Charles I and the Popish Plot 
by Caroline Hibbard.
North Carolina, 342 pp., £21, May 1983, 0 8078 1520 9
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Charles I: The Personal Monarch 
by Charles Carlton.
Routledge, 426 pp., £14.95, June 1983, 9780710094858
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The Puritan Moment: The Coming of Revolution in an English County 
by William Hunt.
Harvard, 365 pp., £24, April 1983, 0 674 73903 5
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... herself a Catholic convert. Until moving to Ireland late in 1638 with her new husband, the Duchess occasionally carried messages between Archbishop Laud and the Papal agent at the Court of Henrietta Maria, George Con. Antrim had, as early as the beginning of 1638, presented to Charles I and Henrietta Maria a plan to take an army of his Ulster clansmen (he claimed to be able to raise 10,000) to ...

Items on a New Agenda

Conrad Russell

23 October 1986
Humanism in the Age of Henry VIII 
by Maria​ Dowling.
Croom Helm, 283 pp., £25, February 1986, 0 7099 0864 4
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Henry, Prince of Wales and England’s Lost Renaissance 
by Roy Strong.
Thames and Hudson, 264 pp., £12.95, May 1986, 0 500 01375 6
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Authority and Conflict: England 1603-1658 
by Derek Hirst.
Arnold, 390 pp., £27.50, March 1986, 0 7131 6155 8
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Rebellion or Revolution? England 1640-1660 
by G.E. Aylmer.
Oxford, 274 pp., £12.50, February 1986, 0 19 219179 9
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Politics and Ideology in England 1603-1640 
by J.P. Sommerville.
Longman, 254 pp., £6.95, April 1986, 9780582494329
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... These five books represent something of a cross-section of current work on Tudor and Stuart English history, and they give a picture of how fundamentally the agenda for discussion in this field has changed over the past twenty-five years. Yet the point they mark in the development of the subject is not a total revolution: it is a sort of historiographical 1654, a mood in which the interesting question ...

Forever Unwilling

Bernard Wasserstein

13 April 2000
A People Apart: The Jews in Europe 1789-1939 
by David Vital.
Oxford, 944 pp., £30, June 1999, 0 19 821980 6
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... and accuracy, but with a great deal of repetition and in an irritatingly mannered prose style. His starting point is a seemingly minor event: the expulsion of the Jews from Prague by the Empress Maria Theresa in 1744-45. It is chosen in order to demonstrate what Vital describes as the ‘fragility ... of the civilising impact of the Enlightenment’. Whatever the merits of this argument (and ...
4 January 1996
Art and Power: Europe under the Dictators 1930-1945 
edited by David Britt.
Hayward Gallery, 360 pp., £19.95, October 1995, 1 85332 148 6
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... to that of much North American advertising. Nearby, also in the first room, is another gigantic canvas, but vertical in format and entirely without saccharine optimism and uniform cheerfulness. José Maria Sert’s Saint Teresa, Ambassadress of Divine Love in Spain, Offers to Our Lord the Spanish Martyrs of 1936 is an altarpiece, painted in earth colours on gold, which employs the Counter-Reformation ...

Boom and Bust

Margaret Anne Doody

19 June 1997
A History of the Breast 
by Marilyn Yalom.
HarperCollins, 331 pp., £15.99, March 1997, 0 04 440913 3
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... of these). In the period after World War Two, by contrast, and especially throughout the Fifties, women had to try to pad out their breasts, to match the attractions of bosomy stars like Rosalind Russell, Marilyn Monroe or the egregious Jayne Mansfield. Brassieres entered the consciousness already colonised by Freud, and anxiety about bosom shape afflicted all women, even young girls who were urged ...

Samuel’s Slave

Caroline Moorehead

15 May 1980
Lover on the Nile 
by Richard Hall.
Collins, 254 pp., £7.95, February 1980, 9780002164719
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Nellie: Letters from Africa 
by Elspeth Huxley.
Weidenfeld, 326 pp., £8.95, March 1980, 0 297 77706 8
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Black Country Girl in Red China 
by Esther Cheo Ying.
Hutchinson, 191 pp., £5.95, January 1980, 9780091390808
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... and it was there that Baker, a widower with four daughters – who was never in his life to mention the incident – bought a slave girl, a slim, small teenage Hungarian called Florenz Barbara Maria Finian. She was 17, he was 38. The event, and his new, not easily explained companion, only made him more keen to travel, to escape the prying eyes of his family for the time he needed to sort out ...

A Smile at My Own Temerity

John Barrell: William Hogarth

16 February 2017
William Hogarth: A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings 
by Elizabeth Einberg.
Yale, 432 pp., £95, November 2016, 978 0 300 22174 9
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... else by Hogarth, in the terms, at least, of the quotations in the OED, is the magnificent March of the Guards to Finchley (1750), in the Foundling Museum, formerly the Foundling Hospital, near Russell Square. There are only three Hogarths there, but it is absolutely the best place to enjoy his amazing variety without getting tired. The scene of the March of the Guards to Finchley is Tottenham ...

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