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9 September 1993
Fire and Blood: The True Story of David Koresh and the Waco Siege 
by David Leppard.
Fourth Estate, 182 pp., £5.99, June 1993, 1 85702 166 5
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Preacher of Death: The Shocking​ Inside Story of David Koresh and the Waco Siege 
by Martin King and Marc Breault.
Signet, 375 pp., £4.99, May 1993, 0 451 18000 3
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... of Marc Breault’s contribution. Breault, a senior member of the Branch Davidians who defected in 1989, was the prime instigator of the legal moves that culminated in the ATF raid last February. MartinKing, an Australian television reporter who interviewed Koresh before the siege, has in-corporated into his narrative parts of Breault’s original diary, as well as extensive interviews with him ...

The Ugly Revolution

Michael Rogin: Martin​ Luther King​ Jr

10 May 2001
I May Not Get there with You: The True Martin​ Luther King​ Jr 
by Michael Eric Dyson.
Free Press, 404 pp., £15.99, May 2000, 0 684 86776 1
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The Papers of Martin​ Luther King​ Jr. Vol. IV: Symbol of the Movement January 1957-December 1958 
edited by Clayborne Carson et al.
California, 637 pp., £31.50, May 2000, 0 520 22231 8
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... predators. A century after the Civil War, a massive, non-violent black revolution brought three centuries of legally enshrined, lethally enforced white supremacy to an end. Its national hero is Martin Luther King Jr. Far from giving way in the face of moral example and legal right, racial injustice rose to fever pitch during the 1960s. The third and deadliest Ku Klux Klan (succeeding the Southern ...

Crowing

Michael Rogin

5 September 1996
Imagineering Atlanta 
by Charles Rutheiser.
Verso, 324 pp., £44.95, July 1996, 1 85984 800 1
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... culminated in the procession that traditionally opens the Games. The parade paused only at the three sacred sites that anchor Atlanta’s claim to world fame – the homes of Margaret Mitchell, Martin Luther King Jr and Coca-Cola. Seen through Rutheiser’s ironic, cold eye these nodes mark the fault lines of a disintegrative urban history. Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind, the most ...

Oops

Ian Stewart

4 November 1993
The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Disorder on the Electronic Frontier 
by Bruce Sterling.
Viking, 328 pp., £16.99, January 1993, 0 670 84900 6
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The New Hacker’s Dictionary 
edited by Eric Raymond.
MIT, 516 pp., £11.75, October 1992, 0 262 68079 3
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Approaching Zero: Data Crime and the Computer Underworld 
by Bryan Clough and Paul Mungo.
Faber, 256 pp., £4.99, March 1993, 0 571 16813 2
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... switching systems known as 5ESSs. ‘They’re set to blow on a national holiday. They could be anywhere in the country – it’s a sort of competition, a security test.’ On 15 January 1990 – Martin Luther King Day – AT–T’s long-distance telephone switching system went out of action for nine hours. About seventy million calls went uncompleted. Three days later the United States Secret ...

Bad White Men

Christopher Tayler: James Ellroy

19 July 2001
The Cold Six Thousand 
by James Ellroy.
Century, 672 pp., £16.99, April 2001, 0 7126 4817 8
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... is part of a CIA-backed operation ostensibly funding arms shipments for anti-Castro rebels in Cuba. Some of the personnel involved with the plan then defect to an FBI-run operation directed against Martin Luther King, which Littell is also unwillingly forced to join – and so on and so on and so on for 672 pages of murders, freak-outs, double-crosses, celebrity cameos and shifting power relationships ...
19 April 1990
... was done even now. Oliver Tambo corresponded from London. Someone from England – maybe it was David Astor, he was a friend – sent him the Observer. And he had lots of American friends, especially Martin Luther King. It was a terrible thing for us when Martin was killed. Father had a whole collection of Martin’s speeches on tape and he used to play them over and over again.’ Strange to think of ...

Washed White

Michael Rogin

10 June 1993
The Rites of Assent: Transformations in the Symbolic Construction of America 
by Sacvan Bercovitch.
Routledge, 424 pp., £40, November 1992, 9780415900140
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Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words that Remade America 
by Garry Wills.
Simon and Schuster, 315 pp., £17.99, April 1993, 0 671 76956 1
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... the centre of US consciousness, obsessed with how the fixation on uniqueness swallows up alternative points of view, whereas Wills finds within the United States – from Washington to Lincoln to Martin Luther King – a place to stand against recent orthodoxies from Kennedy to Reagan and Bush. Impatient with easy liberal scapegoating of religious faith, Wills rescues a politics of religious ...

Tired of Giving in

Eric Foner: Rosa Parks

10 May 2001
Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: The Life of Rosa Parks 
by Douglas Brinkley.
Weidenfeld, 248 pp., £12.99, January 2001, 0 297 60708 1
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... feet’ (she was a tailor’s assistant), an international symbol of ordinary blacks’ determination to resist the daily injustices and indignities of the Jim Crow South. Today, with the birthday of Martin Luther King a national holiday and Alabama cities like Birmingham, Selma and Montgomery competing to attract tourists by highlighting their role in the struggle for racial justice, Rosa Parks has ...

Brief Shining Moments

Christopher Hitchens: Donkey Business in the White House

19 February 1998
Pillar of Fire: America in the King​ Years 1963-65 
by Taylor Branch.
Simon and Schuster, 746 pp., $30, February 1998, 0 684 80819 6
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‘One Hell of a Gamble’: Khrushchev, Castro and Kennedy, 1958-64 
by Aleksandr Fursenko and Timothy Naftali.
Murray, 416 pp., September 1997, 0 7195 5518 3
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The Dark Side of Camelot 
by Seymour Hersh.
HarperCollins, 497 pp., £8.99, February 1998, 9780006530770
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Mutual Contempt: Lyndon Johnson , Bobby Kennedy and the Feud that Defined a Decade 
by Jeff Shesol.
Norton, 591 pp., £23.50, January 1998, 9780393040784
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The Year the Dream Died 
by Jules Witcover.
Warner, 512 pp., £25, June 1997, 0 446 51849 2
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Without Honor: The Impeachment of President Nixon and the Crimes of Camelot 
by Jerry Zeifman.
Thunder's Mouth, 262 pp., $24.95, November 1996, 9781560251286
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The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House during the Cuban Missile Crisis 
edited by Ernest May and Philip Zelikow.
Howard, 740 pp., £23.50, September 1997, 0 674 17926 9
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Lyndon B. Johnson’s Vietnam Papers: A Documentary Collection 
edited by David Barrett.
Texas A & M, 906 pp., $94, June 1997, 0 89096 741 5
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Taking​ Charge: The Johnson Whitehouse Tapes 1963-64 
edited by Michael Beschloss.
Simon and Schuster, 624 pp., £20, April 1998, 0 684 80407 7
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Abuse of Power: The New Nixon Tapes 
edited by Stanley Kutler.
Free Press, 675 pp., $30, November 1997, 0 684 84127 4
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The Other Missiles of October: Eisenhower, Kennedy and the Jupiters, 1957-63 
by Philip Nash.
North Carolina, 231 pp., £34.70, October 1997, 0 8078 4647 3
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... soirées that she arranged at the White House for artists like Pablo Casals – had thoroughly enjoyed the mediocre musical written by Lerner and Loewe where, ‘for one brief shining moment’, King Arthur had enjoyed absolute power over his knights. (And Sir Lancelot over their women.) You might think that an invocation of mythical yet absolute monarchy would put bow-tied American scholars and ...

AmeriKKKa

Thomas Sugrue: Civil Rights v. Black Power

5 October 2006
Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice 
by Raymond Arsenault.
Oxford, 690 pp., £19.99, March 2006, 0 19 513674 8
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... when blacks in Montgomery, Alabama boycotted the city’s public transport system after Rosa Parks defied Jim Crow laws by refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger. Leading the protests was Martin Luther King. In the aftermath of the Montgomery bus boycott, King established the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, using black churches as the base for organising protests. During the 1955 ...

Public Enemy

R.W. Johnson

26 November 1987
Secrecy and Power: The Life of J. Edgar Hoover 
by Richard Gid Powers.
Hutchinson, 624 pp., £16.95, August 1987, 0 02 925060 9
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... as head of the FBI, America’s leading policeman: he enjoyed an extraordinary political longevity – his career, which ended under Richard Nixon, began under Woodrow Wilson. That Hoover persecuted Martin Luther King is notorious, but Hoover was also the man who drove Marcus Garvey out of America. Similarly, the Hoover who turned his malign attention upon the anti-Vietnam War movement was the same man ...

The White Tree

Colin Dayan: The Jena Six

1 November 2007
... Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,/Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees,’ as Billie Holiday sang – are part of a history that is erased with every new administration, with every Martin Luther King Day. But the return to chain gangs in the summer of 1995, the hitching of prisoners to posts in Alabama, the purging of books, both legal and religious, from prison libraries throughout ...

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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... of Stephenson’s remark isn’t just that people who don’t live there don’t know who the mayor 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 ...

Still Defending the Scots

Katie Stevenson: Robert the Bruce

10 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 ...

My Old, Sweet, Darling Mob

Iain Sinclair: Michael Moorcock

30 November 2000
King​ of the City 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 421 pp., £9.99, May 2000, 0 684 86140 2
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Mother London 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 496 pp., £6.99, May 2000, 0 684 86141 0
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... junction box outside Toynbee Hall, on Commercial Street in Whitechapel, had been got up to look like a charity case, or a Wanted poster. Dead or alive. ‘Vote Michael Moorcock’, it said. ‘King of the City’. King of the City, a hefty London novel, character-packed, busy with competing narratives (confessing, denouncing, celebrating, plea-bargaining for its own sanity), was being punted by ...

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