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5 March 2015
... One of the​ things Cameron and Obama have in common is that  they both owe their rapid political ascent  to a single, shortish speech ...

California Noir

Michael Rogin: Destroying Los Angeles

19 August 1999
Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaste
by Mike Davis.
Picador, 484 pp., £18.99, June 1999, 9780330372190
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... The first picture to greet  the reader shows cars half-submerged under water, scattered in all directions as far as the eye can see ...

Divided We Grow

John Barrell: When Pitt</span> Panicked

5 June 2003
The London Corresponding Society 1792-99 
edited by Michael T.Davis.
Pickering & Chatt</span>o, £495, June 2002, 1 85196 734 6
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Romanticism, Publishing and Dissent: Joseph Johnson and the Cause of Liberty 
by Helen Braithwaite.
Palgrave, 243 pp., £45, December 2002, 0 333 98394 7
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... The London Corresponding Society was founded early in 1792 by a group of tradesmen who met in a pub off the Strand. The Society was to educate its members – expected to be artisans, mechanics, shopkeepers – about politics and history, and would function as a pressure group to persuade the Government  to adopt  the ‘Duke of Richmond’s plan’, the twin reforms of universal manhood suffrage and annual parliaments which the Duke had supported a decade before but had since abandoned ...

At  the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Miles Ahead’

18 May 2016
Miles Ahead 
directed by Don Cheadle.
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... The places​ were Philadelphia and New York, the names were John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Bill Evans and a few others, heirs to Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, spoken of with awe in every version of the story ...

The Rear-View Mirror

Michael Hofmann

31 October 1996
The End of the Story 
by Lydia Davis.
Serpent’s Tail, 231 pp., £8.99, October 1996, 1 85242 420 6
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Break it Down 
by Lydia Davis.
Serpent’s Tail, 177 pp., £8.99, October 1996, 1 85242 421 4
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... Nothing in me wants to believe – nothing in the book makes me want  to believe – that  The End of the Story is a performance, but just for that reason I have to begin by saying what a good and believable performance it is: how much I admire the characters and the description and the action, and what a wickedly good account it gives of a novel that doesn’t much want  to be a novel, that barely is a novel, but can be nothing else ...
7 March 1991
A Dubious Codicil: An Autobiography by 
by Michael Wharton.
Chatt</span>o, 261 pp., £15.99, December 1990, 0 7011 3064 4
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The House the Berrys built&nbsp;
by Duff Hart- Davis.
Hodder, 299 pp., £16.95, April 1990, 3 405 92526 6
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Lords of Fleet Street: The Harmsworth Dynasty 
by Richard Bourne.
Unwin Hyman, 258 pp., £16.95, October 1990, 0 04 440450 6
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... Practi tioners of the black arts of journalism will universally acknowledge that  the most accurate as well as the funniest portrayal of their profession is Evelyn Waugh’s novel, Scoop ...
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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... The reviews and the hype hadn’t prepared me for Malcolm X at all. I expected it  to be dull and worthy, a straight and long-winded retelling of a famous life ...
16 July 1981
Utopia and the Ideal SocietyA Study of English Utopian Writing, 1516-1700 
by J.C. Davis.
Cambridge, 427 pp., £25, March 1981, 0 521 23396 8
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Science and Society in Restoration England 
by Michael Hunter.
Cambridge, 232 pp., £18.50, March 1981, 0 521 22866 2
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... Dr Davis’s book is a long, careful and detailed study of utopian writing in England from Sir Thomas More to the end of the 17th century ...
6 December 1984
The Lytt</span>elton Hart- Davis Lett</span>ers: Correspondence of George Lytt</span>elton and Rupert Hart- Davis
edited by Rupert Hart- Davis.
Murray, 193 pp., £13.50, April 1984, 0 7195 4108 5
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... We now have the sixth and final volume of the Lyttelton Hart- Davis Letters. George Lyttelton died on 1 May 1962, thus ending a correspondence which had begun in 1955; the first of the volumes edited by the survivor was published in 1978, the rest have appeared at intervals since ...

The Power of Sunshine

Alexander Cockburn

10 January 1991
City of QuartzExcavating the Future of Los Angeles 
by Mike Davis.
Verso, 462 pp., £18.95, November 1990, 0 86091 303 1
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... City of Quartz’? Los Angeles is indeed bright, hard, opaque. Even the astonishing sunsets one can see from Intersta te 15, looking west  towards Pomona, have a sepulchral flush to them as the red light filters through the foul air rolling towards Riverside and the desert seventy miles east of the Pacific ...

Neo-Catastrophism

Eric Klinenberg: Sinful Cities?

9 October 2003
The Unfinished CityNew York and the Metropolitan Idea 
by Thomas Bender.
New Press, 287 pp., $30, September 2002, 1 56584 736 9
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Dead Cities: and Other Tales 
by Mike Davis.
New Press, 448 pp., $16.95, October 2003, 1 56584 844 6
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... In the 1990s New York was the capital city of America’s economic boom: now it is the epicentre of urban insecurity ...
18 November 2010
Madame Bovary: Provincial Ways 
by Gustave Flaubert</a> and Lydia Davis.
Penguin, 342 pp., £20, November 2010, 978 1 84614 104 1
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... If you go to the website of the restaurant L’Huîtrière (3, rue des Chats Bossus, Lille) and click on ‘translate’, the zealous automaton you have stirred up will instantly render everything into English, including the address ...

People’s Friend

Michael Brock

27 September 1990
Lord Grey: 1764-1845 
by E.A. Smith.
Oxford, 338 pp., £37.50, March 1990, 9780198201632
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... No political reputa tion has fluctuated, and been disputed, more violently than that of ‘Lord Grey of the Reform Bill ...

Vote for the Beast!

Ian Gilmour: The Tory Leadership

20 October 2005
... John Stuart Mill labelled the Conservatives ‘the stupid party’. They have certainly been stupid since 1997, and one wonders if their stupidity will persis...

At  the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Miami Vice’

17 August 2006
Miami Vice 
directed by Michael Mann.
August 2006
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... There are all kinds of differences between movies and television, and one of them is that  TVthrives on situations, faces, interruptions and short- term drama, which is why games, soap operas and interviews make such ideal material for i...

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