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10 February 1994
Martyr’s Day: Chronicle of Small War 
by Michael Kelly.
Macmillan, 354 pp., £16.99, October 1993, 0 333 60496 2
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Battling for News: The Rise of the Woman Reporter 
by Anne Sebba.
Hodder, 301 pp., £19.99, January 1994, 0 340 55599 8
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Women’s Letters in Wartime 
edited by Eva Figes.
Pandora, 304 pp., £20, October 1993, 0 04 440755 6
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The War at Sixteen: Autobiography, Vol. II 
by Julien Green, translated by Euan Cameron.
Marion Boyars, 207 pp., £19.95, November 1993, 0 7145 2969 9
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... MichaelKelly has produced a vivid, responsible account of his own itinerary, as a contributor to New Republic, the Boston Globe and the New York Times, through the Gulf War: from Baghdad to Amman; on to Egypt ...

How good was he?

Iain Fenlon: Antonio Salieri

6 July 2000
Antonio Salieri and Viennese Opera 
by John Rice.
Chicago, 648 pp., £66.50, April 1999, 0 226 71125 0
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... of composition out to pupils or composers bought in from elsewhere. The practice stretches back to Monteverdi and the opening of the first public opera houses in Venice in the 1630s. Writing about MichaelKelly, a minor Irish composer and singer who was also an importer of wines, Sheridan suggested that his shop sign should read ‘composer of wines and importer of music’. Notions of the composer ...

Old Stragers

Pat Rogers

7 May 1981
The Garrick Stage: Theatres and Audience in the 18th Century 
by Allardyce Nicoll.
Manchester, 192 pp., £14.50, April 1980, 0 7190 0768 2
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The Kemble Era: John Philip Kemble, Sarah Siddons and the London Stage 
by Linda Kelly.
Bodley Head, 221 pp., £8.50, April 1980, 0 370 10466 8
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Early English Stages 1300 to 1660: Vol. 3: Plays and their Makers to 1576 
by Glynne Wickham.
Routledge, 357 pp., £14.50, April 1981, 0 7100 0218 1
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... historian. In many ways The Kemble Era is a less ambitious work. On the face of it, the aim is to chronicle the career of the Kembles, brother and sister (the later dynasty is outside Linda Kelly’s scope). However, as the subtitle hints, it is also, in some indeterminate degree, a study of theatrical life in the period. It could also be described as group biography, since the principals ...

The Word on the Street

Elaine Showalter

7 March 1996
Primary Colors: A Novel of Politics 
by Anonymous.
Chatto, 366 pp., £15.99, February 1996, 0 7011 6584 7
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... Stanton is a character of complexity and stature, an American colossus. So who wrote Primary Colors? Nominations have included George Stephanopolous, James Carville, Paul Begala, the New Yorker’s MichaelKelly and Sidney Blumenthal, the screen-writer Erik Tarloff and New York political consultant Bob Shrum. New York magazine hired the Shakespeare scholar Donald Foster to run a computerised check of ...
27 November 1997
A Traitor’s Kiss: The Life of Richard Brinsley Sheridan 
by Fintan O’Toole.
Granta, 516 pp., £20, October 1997, 1 86207 026 1
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Richard Brinsley Sheridan: A Life 
by Linda Kelly.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 366 pp., £25, April 1997, 1 85619 207 5
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Sheridan’s Nightingale: The Story of Elizabeth Linley 
by Alan Chedzoy.
Allison and Busby, 322 pp., £15.99, April 1997, 0 7490 0264 6
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... any intelligent new insights to the task’. By contrast, O’Toole has written a ‘gripping, carefully composed exploration of Sheridan’s career’. His biography comes hard on the heels of Linda Kelly’s, and it would be comforting to report that O’Toole’s was the rehash, but the Granta puff has it the right way round, while Alan Chedzoy’s life of the first Mrs Sheridan (the noted soprano ...

Who was he?

Charles Nicholl: Joe the Ripper

7 February 2008
The Fox and the Flies: The World of Joseph Silver, Racketeer and Psychopath 
by Charles van Onselen.
Cape, 672 pp., £20, April 2007, 978 0 224 07929 7
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... They found Mary Jane Kelly lying on her bed, in the dingy room she rented in Miller’s Court, off Dorset Street in Spitalfields. She was about 25 years old, a colleen from County Limerick, ‘possessed of considerable ...

Hybrid Heroes

Janette Turner Hospital

12 December 1996
The Conversations at Curlow Creek 
by David Malouf.
Chatto, 214 pp., £14.99, September 1996, 0 7011 6571 5
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... tents at Sydney Cove, two men spend the night in a bush hut beside a creek on the inland side of the coastal range. Between sleeping and dreaming, the men talk intermittently until dawn. One of them, Michael Adair, is an officer in the penal colony’s regimental corps, and has just spent 48 hours in the saddle, riding up from the coast at the express orders of the Governor of New South Wales in order to ...

Nate of the Station

Nick Richardson: Jonathan Coe

3 March 2016
Number 11 
by Jonathan Coe.
Viking, 351 pp., £16.99, November 2015, 978 0 670 92379 3
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... On 18 July​ 2003, the body of the weapons inspector David Kelly was found in the woods on Harrowdown Hill in Oxfordshire, two months after he’d revealed that the Blair administration had exaggerated the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. Rachel Wells, the central ...

Wrong Again

Bruce Cumings: Korean War Games

4 December 2003
... in the 1990s about North Korean weaponry, however questionable and flawed, seem both careful and modest compared to the exaggerations of the Bush Administration and its emissary to Pyongyang, James Kelly. Coming into office when the CIA’s ‘one or two devices’ estimate was nearly a decade old, Bush contrived to hype the threat, while at the same time downplaying the idea that its size made a ...
21 March 1996
... in spite of the fact that few details of the relationship are known and many of the ‘insights’ plain wrong. The Sunday Times, for example, was demonstrably mistaken when it announced that Gerry Kelly, one of Sinn Fein’s chief negotiators at Stormont, is a highly placed IRA man who is not even a member of the Party. Kelly, who was sentenced to life imprisonment after the 1973 Old Bailey bombing ...

At the Movies

Michael​ Wood: ‘The Artist’

9 February 2012
The Artist 
directed by Michel Hazanavicius.
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... If only he could talk,’ a movie producer says of Valentin – meaning presumably both talk well on screen and bring himself to believe in the talkies. He is a sort of unlucky twin of Gene Kelly in Singin’ in the Rain, who cheerily makes the change this man can’t manage. At the end of the film, when he does briefly talk, Valentin reveals that he has a French accent. Was that the problem ...

Subjects or Aliens?

Matthew Kelly: Postwar Irish Migration

9 October 2008
The Irish in Postwar Britain 
by Enda Delaney.
Oxford, 232 pp., £55, September 2007, 978 0 19 927667 7
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... only by her loathing of ‘that divil Paisley’. Ten years ago, I lugged a video recorder round to her flat so she could watch Neil Jordan’s biopic about the nationalist politician and guerrilla Michael Collins. In the closing sequence, Collins’s fiancée, Kitty, buys her wedding dress, Michael is assassinated by anti-Treatyites in the wilds of County Cork, and Sinead O’Connor sings ‘She Moves ...

At the Movies

Michael​ Wood: ‘No Country for Old Men’

21 February 2008
No Country for Old Men 
directed by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen.
January 2008
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... in the movie. That he is giving Chigurh a run at all shows that he is stupid, or at least fatally innocent. The plot ends in an accident too. After he has killed Moss’s wife (very well played by Kelly MacDonald), Chigurh’s truck is hit by a car full of joy-riding kids, and he gets his arm broken along with multiple other injuries. He borrows a shirt from two boys gawking at the accident, ties up ...

At the Movies

Michael​ Wood: ‘La La Land’

19 January 2017
La La Land 
directed by Damien Chazelle.
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... Gotta dance,’​ Gene Kelly shouts towards the end of a famous Hollywood movie. He’s right, he doesn’t have any option, he’s in a musical, and he’s been dancing (and singing) since the film started. But that’s not ...

It’s not the bus: it’s us

Thomas Sugrue: Stars, Stripes and Civil Rights

20 November 2008
The Soiling of Old Glory: The Story of a Photograph that Shocked America 
by Louis Masur.
Bloomsbury US, 224 pp., $24.95, April 2008, 978 1 59691 364 6
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... Michigan, a blue-collar city near Detroit, held violent anti-desegregation demonstrations and destroyed several school buses. Just two years before the Boston busing crisis, the right-wing pundit Michael Novak, a staunch defender of working-class whites, expressed his disbelief that they could even be accused of anti-black prejudice: ‘Racists? Our ancestors owned no slaves. Most of us ceased being ...

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