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9 July 1987
Speak, Memory 
by Vladimir Nabokov.
Penguin, 242 pp., £3.95, May 1987, 0 14 008623 4
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The Russian Album 
by Michael Ignatieff.
Chatto, 191 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 7011 3109 8
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The Making of a Peacemonger: The Memoirs of George Ignatieff 
prepared in association with by Sonja Sinclair.
Toronto, 265 pp., £15, July 1985, 0 8020 2556 0
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A Little of All These: An Estonian Childhood 
by Tania Alexander.
Cape, 165 pp., £12.50, March 1987, 0 224 02400 0
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... her own past with the same retrospective fervour that I now do her image and my past. Thus, in a way, I inherited an exquisite simulacrum – the beauty of intangible property, unreal estate.’ MichaelIgnatieff was born in Canada in the 1940s. ‘My friends,’ he remarks a little sheepishly at the start of his book, ‘had suburban pasts or pasts they would rather not talk about. I had a past of ...

Daddy’s Boy

Michael Ignatieff

22 December 1983
The Shoemaker: Anatomy of a Psychotic 
by Flora Rheta Schreiber.
Allen Lane, 432 pp., £9.95, November 1983, 0 7139 1636 2
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... to listen to him for six unbroken years before she could begin to write his terrible story. When the 38-year-old shoemaker from Philadelphia was finally arrested in 1975, he and his 14-year-old son Michael had murdered and then castrated a little Puerto Rican boy, José Collazo, whom they happened to meet on the street; they had tied another of Joe’s sons, Joey, to a ladder and watched him drown in a ...

Anna F.

Michael Ignatieff

20 June 1985
Anna Freud: A Life Devoted to Children 
by Uwe Henrik Peters, translated by Beatrice Smedley.
Weidenfeld, 281 pp., £16.95, April 1985, 0 297 78175 8
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... She burst into the history of psychoanalysis crying out in her sleep: ‘Anna Fweud, stwawbewwies, wild stwawbewwies, omblet, pudden!’ The calipers of theory were immediately applied: ‘At that time she was in the habit of using her own name to express the idea of taking possession of something. The menu included pretty well everything that must have seemed to her to make up a desirable meal ...

Non-Persons

Michael Ignatieff

8 May 1986
The Silent Twins 
by Marjorie Wallace.
Chatto, 230 pp., £10.95, February 1986, 0 7011 2712 0
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... One question in this strange, riveting story of identical black twins whose career of arson led them to indefinite confinement in Broadmoor is never quite addressed: what makes a person a person? How do we become individuals? These twins never made it into personhood, and their story helps one to realise that becoming a person is not the natural outcome of all childhoods, but an arduous self-invention ...

It’s a riot

Michael Ignatieff

20 August 1981
‘Civil Disturbances’: Hansard, Vol. 8, Nos 143-144, 16 July 1981 – 17 July 1981 
HMSO, £80Show More
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... been for a generation, the two major parties are speaking a surprisingly similar language about the riots. In the adjournment debate on ‘Civil Disturbances’, MPs as far apart as Joan Lestor and Michael Heseltine agreed that the speeches had transcended party politics. Of course there were exceptions. No Tory MP joined Stuart Holland and John Fraser in their criticism of the Police in Brixton, and ...

The Interregnum

Martin Jacques: The Nation-state isn’t dead

5 February 2004
Empire of Capital 
by Ellen Meiksins Wood.
Verso, 182 pp., £15, July 2003, 1 85984 502 9
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Empire Lite: Nation-Building in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan 
by Michael Ignatieff.
Vintage, 134 pp., £6.99, May 2003, 0 09 945543 9
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Global Civil Society? 
by John Keane.
Cambridge, 220 pp., £40, April 2003, 0 521 81543 6
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Global Civil Society: An Answer to War 
by Mary Kaldor.
Polity, 189 pp., £45, April 2003, 0 7456 2757 9
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... asymmetry of the present era, she writes, is not that between the United States and ‘rogue states’, but between American military strength and that of all other major powers. She argues, as does MichaelIgnatieff, that, in contrast to a war against a nation-state, a war against terrorism is, by definition, unwinnable. But, far from being a military absurdity, for Meiksins Wood this is precisely its ...
7 February 1991
Them: Voices from the Immigrant Community in Contemporary Britain 
by Jonathon Green.
Secker, 421 pp., £16.99, October 1990, 0 436 20005 8
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The Golden Thread: Asian Experiences of Post-Raj Britain 
by Zerbanoo Gifford.
Pandora, 236 pp., £17.99, October 1990, 0 04 440605 3
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... and countries left behind, sadness for a new place that didn’t want to know them and sadness for life’s shortness. The voices can be divided. The experiences of, for example, Kathy Acker or MichaelIgnatieff are very different from those of the men and women who arrived in Britain from Africa and Asia. Of these, some had a start in their new lives, some had none. By and large, the blacker and ...

Last Word

Michael Ignatieff

3 February 1983
The Wolf-Man: Sixty Years Later 
by Karin Obholzer, translated by Michael​ Shaw.
Routledge, 250 pp., £12.50, November 1982, 0 7100 9354 3
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Ernest Jones: Freud’s Alter Ego 
by Vincent Brome.
Caliban, 250 pp., £12.50, January 1983, 0 904573 57 5
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... I dreamt that it was night and that I was lying in my bed ... Suddenly the window opened of its own accord, and I was terrified to see that some white wolves were sitting on the big walnut tree in front of the window. There were six or seven of them. The wolves were quite white, and looked more like foxes or sheep-dogs, for they had big tails like foxes and they had their ears pricked like dogs when ...
17 July 1997
Hystories: Hysterical Epidemics and Modern Culture 
by Elaine Showalter.
Picador, 244 pp., £16.99, June 1997, 0 330 34670 9
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... It adds greatly to the glamour of this book that its author was threatened for having written it. Her offence was to argue that many of the passing media events of our culture – chronic fatigue syndrome, Gulf War syndrome, satanic ritual abuse allegations, alien abduction fantasies – are forms of mass hysteria. This so enraged American sufferers of chronic fatigue syndrome that they threatened ...

The Beloved

Michael Ignatieff

6 February 1997
Giving Offence: Essays on Censorship 
by J.M. Coetzee.
Chicago, 289 pp., $27.50, March 1996, 0 226 11174 1
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... When Andrei Sinyavsky looked up tsenzura in a Soviet dictionary of foreign words imported into Russian, it wasn’t there. ‘The word censorship was itself censored.’ Censorship is ashamed of itself. It is also ridiculous: a censor, J.M. Coetzee writes, is like a man trying to stop his penis from standing up. To censor is to give proof that one is in the grip of that which one wishes to forbid others ...

Diary

Michael Ignatieff: Uncle Alyosha

20 October 1983
... When my father reached Paris from Russia in May 1919, the man who met them at the Gare de Lyon was Uncle Alyosha. My father was six at the time and he has no memory whatever of the tall, soldierly gentleman with a moustache. Instead his memory darts unerringly to the thing which mattered to him at that moment in his life. In Uncle Alyosha’s apartment in Saint Cloud, he was served koulibiaka, a pâté ...

Diary

Michael Ignatieff: Canadian Elections

1 November 1984
... On 4 September, the night of the Canadian Election, friends of mine were gathered around the live radio-feed listening to the results in Canada House, cackling as the tumbrils bore each Liberal Cabinet Minister to the electoral guillotine. By about four in the morning, the dimensions of the Liberal catastrophe had revealed themselves: expelled from its Quebec bastion, reduced to a small-town Ontario ...

Homo Sexualis

Michael Ignatieff

4 March 1982
Sex, Politics and Society: The Regulation of Sexuality since 1800 
by Jeffrey Weeks.
Longman, 306 pp., £11, October 1981, 0 582 48333 6
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Sexual Preference: Its Development in Men and Women 
by Alan Bell, Martin Weinberg and Sue Kiefer Hammersmith.
Indiana, 242 pp., £9, October 1981, 9780253166739
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Pornography and Silence 
by Susan Griffin.
Women’s Press, 277 pp., £4.75, October 1981, 0 7043 3877 7
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The History of Sexuality. Vol. 1 
by Michel Foucault, translated by Robert Hurley.
Penguin, 176 pp., £2.25, May 1981, 0 14 022299 5
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... Is a history of sexuality possible? It is easy to envisage a history of the language of enticement, the trail of clothes on the floor, the bed even, but the coupling, the thing itself, how could we nail that to the historian’s rack? An instinct timeless in its force, an experience at once private, secret and charmingly individual, how could it be made to submit to dates and social determination ...

Ruthless Enthusiasms

Michael Ignatieff

15 July 1982
The Brixton Disorders: Report of an Inquiry by the Rt Hon. the Lord Scarman 
HMSO, 168 pp., £8, November 1981, 0 10 184270 8Show More
Punishment, Danger and Stigma: The Morality of Criminal Justice 
by Nigel Walker.
Blackwell, 206 pp., £9.95, August 1980, 0 631 12542 6
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Punishment: A Philosophical and Criminological Inquiry 
by Philip Bean.
Martin Robertson, 215 pp., £12.50, August 1981, 0 85520 391 9
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Dangerousness and Criminal Justice 
by Jean Floud and Warren Young.
Heinemann, 228 pp., £14.50, October 1981, 0 435 82307 8
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The Abuse of Power: Civil Liberties in the United Kingdom 
by Patricia Hewitt.
Martin Robertson, 295 pp., £15, December 1981, 0 85520 380 3
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... One of the sombre gratifications of war, as we have had recent occasion to discover, is solidarity. War taps a longing to still the quarrels of ordinary life for the sake of something in common. This is a more pervasive longing than we like to admit. Even those who speak out against war are not immune to its lure. ‘Jingoism’ is a word used to condemn the enthusiasms of others, but also to ward ...

Mad or bad?

Michael Ignatieff

18 June 1981
Trial by Medicine: Insanity and Responsibility in Victorian Trials 
by Roger Smith.
Edinburgh, 288 pp., £15, March 1981, 9780852244074
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... During his summation at the Old Bailey trial of Peter Sutcliffe, Mr Justice Boreham felt called upon to remind the jury that they were there to judge Sutcliffe, not the flock of psychiatrists called to testify as to his mental condition. The jury could have been forgiven for believing that psychiatry, not Sutcliffe, was in the dock, for during the trial, the profession and its discourse were subjected ...

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