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When students ruled the earth

D.A.N. Jones, 17 March 1988

1968: A Student Generation in Revolt 
by Ronald Fraser.
Chatto, 370 pp., £14.95, January 1988, 0 7011 2913 1
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Street Fighting Years: An Autobiography of the Sixties 
by Tariq Ali.
Collins, 280 pp., £12.95, November 1987, 9780002177795
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Sixty-Eight: The Year of the Barricades 
by David Caute.
Hamish Hamilton, 464 pp., £14.95, January 1988, 0 241 12174 4
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Nineteen Sixty-Eight: A Personal Report 
by Hans Koning.
Unwin Hyman, 196 pp., £10.95, April 1988, 9780044401858
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... minister. The most blatant ‘Fascist’ move in the Britain of 1968 came when Cecil Harmsworth King, a hereditary owner of newspapers, invited Earl Mountbatten to seize the governance of Britain. Had the Earl been corruptible, or mad, we might have had a coup d’état of Latin American proportions. The essence of National Socialism is to exploit the ...

Mendacious Flowers

Martin Jay: Clinton Baiting, 29 July 1999

All too Human: A Political Education 
by George Stephanopoulos.
Hutchinson, 456 pp., £17.99, March 1999, 0 09 180063 3
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No One Left to Lie to: The Triangulations of William Jefferson Clinton 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Verso, 122 pp., £12, May 1999, 1 85984 736 6
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... jeremiads against character flaws in politicians can just as easily be used to discredit Martin Luther King as Bill Clinton. Black enthusiasm for Clinton may, in fact, reflect a sober ‘lesser evil’ policy that understands better than Hitchens, who pays no real price for his high-mindedness, the cost of giving ...

Short Cuts

Martin Loughlin: Tax Credits, 19 November 2015

... for designated ‘money bills’ and two years for other legislation. When Asquith petitioned the king to create sufficient Liberal peers to permit the passage of this bill, the king asked that the support for it first be tested in yet another general election. After the Liberals were again returned, the Lords – faced ...

The Last Witness

Colm Tóibín: The career of James Baldwin, 20 September 2001

... high-faggot style’, or did it originate, as John Edgar Wideman claimed, from a mixture of the King James Bible and African American speech? Was it full of the clarity, eloquence and intelligence that Chinua Achebe suggested? And was Baldwin’s involvement with the Civil Rights Movement a cautionary tale for other writers, as Hilton Als insisted, or one ...

Short Cuts

Geoffrey Wheatcroft: Gordon Brown, 7 June 2007

... and indecency. In the same way, Brown assures us how much he reveres Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther King and Aung San Suu Kyi; it might have been more interesting to denounce any or all of these. The title echoes John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage, but that book did include some men by no means universally ...

What’s it for?

Martin Loughlin: The Privy Council, 22 October 2015

By Royal Appointment: Tales from the Privy Council – the Unknown Arm of Government 
by David Rogers.
Biteback, 344 pp., £25, July 2015, 978 1 84954 856 4
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... they are, the council’s origins are not difficult to locate. By the end of the 13th century, the king’s council had become distinct from the court and the grand council of parliament. The council, comprised of the great officers of state, sat in permanent session and was charged with advising the king on all aspects of ...

Policing the Police

Fredrick Harris: The Black Panthers, 20 June 2013

Black against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party 
by Joshua Bloom and Waldo Martin.
California, 539 pp., £24.95, January 2013, 978 0 520 27185 2
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... Black against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party, Joshua Bloom and Waldo Martin trace the origins, rise and decline of a mostly misunderstood political movement. Angela Davis, who was an ally of the Panthers and a member of the Communist Party, complains that she is better remembered as a 1970s fashion icon, known for her large ...

Right, Left and Centre

Jeremy Harding: Keith Kyle, 6 August 2009

... he took off for Alabama, where he was struck by ‘an impressive 26-year-old cleric, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr’. Harangued by the editor of the Montgomery Advertiser about the hypocrisy of the Northern states, Kyle slid in a question about King. The editor looked ...

Mussolini in Peace and War

Martin Gilbert, 6 May 1982

by Denis Mack Smith.
Weidenfeld, 429 pp., £12.95, February 1982, 0 297 78005 0
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Mussolini Unleashed 1939-41 
by MacGregor Knox.
Cambridge, 384 pp., £22.50, March 1982, 0 521 23917 6
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... War, were later to be discarded: the end of the monarchy (in all Mussolini’s years of power, the King remained on his throne), confiscation of ecclesiastical property, an independent judiciary, and large-scale decentralisation of government. Thus the hated Fascism of later years, the inspiration of other totalitarian systems, began its course on very ...

Obama v. Clinton: A Retrospective

Eliot Weinberger: A Tale of Two Candidates, 3 July 2008

... sign, but had no idea what it meant.) I’d grown up during the civil rights movement, had heard Martin Luther King speak. And here was an African-American who had risen higher than any non-white person in any Western country, and moreover had done so in a nation that has never, with the exception of the Irish John ...

When did you get hooked?

John Lanchester: Game of Thrones, 11 April 2013

A Song of Ice and Fire: Vols I-VII 
by George R.R. Martin.
Harper, 5232 pp., £55, July 2012, 978 0 00 747715 9
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Game of Thrones: The Complete First and Second Seasons 
Warner Home Video, £40, March 2013, 978 1 892122 20 9Show More
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... is, they couldn’t care less. The information is of no use to them. Until recently, George R.R. Martin would’ve been another serious candidate for that mayoralty. He has for decades been an immensely prolific and successful writer of fantasy, unusual in having more than one series on the go simultaneously. (He’s also a fan of his own milieu. ...

St Malcolm Martyr

Michael Wood, 25 March 1993

Malcolm X 
directed by Spike Lee.
May 1993
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By Any Means Necessary: The Trials and Tribulations of the Making of ‘Malcolm X’ 
by Spike Lee and Ralph Wiley.
Vintage, 314 pp., £7.99, February 1993, 0 09 928531 2
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Malcolm X: The Great Photographs 
compiled by Thulani Davis and Howard Chapnick.
Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 168 pp., £14.99, March 1993, 1 55670 317 1
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... South African politics. Lee says only whites ask him about the meaning of the two quotations, from Martin Luther King and Malcolm, at the end of Do the Right Thing, and only whites need to ask, he claims, why the uncommitted character played by Lee himself chooses to start a riot by hurling a rubbishbin through the window of ...

The Fire This Time

John Sutherland, 28 May 1992

... Future historians looking back at the Rodney King insurrection in South Central Los Angeles will not see (or not just see) another in the line of racial explosions which go back through Watts, the Zoot Suit riots, to the ‘Yellow Peril’ pogroms of the early 20th century. What distinguishes this particular affray by (and against) a Californian ethnic minority is that it was the first such to be entirely and comprehensively covered by television ...

Backlash Blues

John Lahr, 16 June 2016

What Happened, Miss Simone? A Biography 
by Alan Light.
Canongate, 309 pp., £20, March 2016, 978 1 78211 871 8
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... Simone’s singing broadcast not just a new sound but a new time. Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne, Nat King Cole – great black song stylists who emerged out of the 1940s and crossed over into the commercial white mainstream – succeeded precisely because their tone and diction took race out of their voices; they swung but without soul, which made the songs and ...

Still Defending the Scots

Katie Stevenson: Robert the Bruce, 11 September 2014

Robert the Bruce: King of the Scots 
by Michael Penman.
Yale, 443 pp., £25, June 2014, 978 0 300 14872 5
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... The​ political commentator Iain Martin, who claims that he fled Scotland before the 2007 Scottish elections rather than live under an SNP-led government, wrote a few months ago in a blog for the Telegraph of a Treasury aide who’d said to him that ‘Alex Salmond wants to be William Wallace.’ ‘No,’ Martin corrected him ...

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