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Blowing It

Ian Hamilton, 6 March 1980

Breaking Ranks 
by Norman Podhoretz.
Weidenfeld, 385 pp., £7.95, February 1980, 0 297 77733 5
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... be seeing Y’ (‘Oh good, give my regards to Y’). ‘And on Friday, I’m having lunch with Norman Podhoretz.’ At this, the table froze. ‘You’re doing what? I repeated it, gently but with resolution, and the freeze froze even deeper. ‘But, but’ – and this with genuinely aghast reproach – ‘but, Ian, really, why? This little scene, or ...

Enemies For Ever

James Wolcott: ‘Making It’, 17 May 2017

Making It 
by Norman Podhoretz.
NYRB, 368 pp., £13.98, May 2017, 978 1 68137 080 4
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... one to miss a party, popped into the reception being thrown by Commentary’s editor-in-chief Norman Podhoretz and his wife, the writer and editor Midge Decter, one of the power couples of the Upper West Side intelligentsia – the junior version of Lionel and Diana Trilling. Kazin, a Commentary contributor going back to 1945, found himself in a ...

Opportunities

David Gilmour, 1 June 1989

Prepared for the worst: Selected Essays and Minority Reports 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Chatto, 357 pp., £15.95, April 1989, 0 7011 3459 3
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... this case, Said). After that he has the simple task of knocking out the absurd claim of Norman Podhoretz that Orwell was ‘a forerunner of neo-conservatism’. Apart from anything else, the claim rests largely on a quotation from a 1947 essay which Podhoretz reduced and garbled in an attempt to turn Orwell ...

Alexander the Brilliant

Edward Said, 18 February 1988

Corruptions of Empire: Life Studies and the Reagan Era 
by Alexander Cockburn.
Verso, 479 pp., £14.95, November 1987, 0 86091 176 4
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... remorselessly, he has been on the wrong side of the entire US Government, of the New Republic, of Norman Podhoretz, of nearly every journalist of note, left, right and centre, of the New York Times, of the McNeil-Lehrer Report (see in particular his devastating replication of that TV programme’s famous ‘balance’, with the ponderously sober ...

Big Pod

Richard Poirier: How Podhoretz Dumped His Friends, 2 September 1999

Ex-Friends 
by Norman Podhoretz.
Free Press, 256 pp., $25, February 1999, 0 684 85594 1
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... This book is ostensibly about six literary figures with whom Norman Podhoretz, for 35 years the editor-in-chief of Commentary, was closely involved from the early Fifties until the early Seventies: Allen Ginsberg, Lionel and Diana Trilling, Hannah Arendt, Lillian Hellman and Norman Mailer ...

Look over your shoulder

Christopher Hitchens, 25 May 1995

... list of mugshots, exposing the real powers behind Zog. My own name appeared next to that of Norman Podhoretz. Momentarily chilling as it was to feel ‘wanted’ by these people (let alone to be gazetted with Podhoretz), the overwhelming impression was of crankiness cut with impotent, pitiable hatred. No ...

Sucking up to P

Greg Grandin: Henry Kissinger’s Vanity, 29 November 2007

Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power 
by Robert Dallek.
Allen Lane, 740 pp., £30, August 2007, 978 0 7139 9796 5
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Henry Kissinger and the American Century 
by Jeremi Suri.
Harvard, 368 pp., £18.95, July 2007, 978 0 674 02579 0
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... the New Right. The secretary of state ‘sounds like Churchill’ but ‘acts like Chamberlain’, Norman Podhoretz wrote in 1976. And even before conservatives came to condemn Kissinger for his dealings with China and Moscow, they distrusted his associates, particularly Nelson Rockefeller. In the mid-1960s, Kissinger was an adviser to Rockefeller. When ...

Performing Seals

Christopher Hitchens: The PR Crowd, 10 August 2000

Partisans: Marriage, Politics and Betrayal Among the New York Intellectuals 
by David Laskin.
Simon and Schuster, 319 pp., $26, January 2000, 0 684 81565 6
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... obscured by the fog of booze, of their interpersonal ‘doings and undoings’ (expression of Mr Norman Podhoretz). Queenie Leavis of course became an official widow, and it is les veuves on whom David Laskin relies most heavily in this relatively orderly account of sexual and matrimonial chaos. Diana Trilling outlived Lionel by many a book; Mary ...

How the Arab-Israeli War of 1967 gave birth to a memorial industry

Norman Finkelstein: Uses of the Holocaust, 6 January 2000

The Holocaust in American Life 
by Peter Novick.
Houghton Mifflin, 320 pp., £16.99, June 1999, 0 395 84009 0
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... both essays as a book. The forward warned that Holt was ‘preparing to bring out a book by Norman Finkelstein, a notorious ideological opponent of the State of Israel’. Alleging that ‘Finkelstein’s glaring bias and audacious statements ... are irreversibly tainted by his anti-Zionist stance,’ the head of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham ...

Diary

Christopher Hitchens: Reagan and Rambo, 3 October 1985

... drift to the right, the rediscovery of patriotism, the gruesome maturity of the once iconoclastic Norman Podhoretz, okay, okay! I have one question which Atlas in his much-ballyhooed article did not even discuss. The old gang may have had regrettable flirtations. Their political compromises, endlessly reviewed, may have exhibited naivety or ...

His Generation

Keith Gessen: A Sad Old Literary Man, 19 June 2008

Alfred Kazin: A Biography 
by Richard Cook.
Yale, 452 pp., £25, March 2008, 978 0 300 11505 5
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... walked around for days exhilarated by the change in the literary weather.’ He was encouraging of Norman Mailer without puffing him up, and he was also worried for him: ‘Mailer’s performance here’ – in Advertisements for Myself – ‘reminds me of the brilliant talker who impresses the hell out of you at a cocktail party but who, when he turns his ...

I adore your moustache

James Wolcott: Styron’s Letters, 24 January 2013

Selected Letters of William Styron 
edited by Rose Styron and R. Blakeslee Gilpin.
Random House, 643 pp., £24.99, December 2012, 978 1 4000 6806 7
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... by heap big novelists now facilely grouped as a cetacean school of Great White Males (Styron, Norman Mailer, James Jones, John Updike, Saul Bellow, Gore Vidal, J.D. Salinger, Joseph Heller, the recently retired Philip Roth), whose ghostly father and bearded Neptune disturbing the liquor cabinet deep into the night was Ernest Hemingway. Even those least ...

Against it

Ross McKibbin, 24 February 1994

For the Sake of Argument 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Verso, 353 pp., £19.95, May 1993, 0 86091 435 6
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... Hitchens does not altogether escape this. The oft-recurring, ‘salon-voiding’ Podhoretzes (Norman, Midge and even son John) tend to burden these essays as Catholic intellectuals do Orwell’s. Not that what Hitchens writes about them is unentertaining – ‘Norman Podhoretz, another moral and intellectual ...

Bravo, old sport

Christopher Hitchens, 4 April 1991

Critical Crossings: The New York Intellectuals in Post-War America 
by Neil Jumonville.
California, 291 pp., £24.95, January 1991, 0 520 06858 0
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... Cold War hardliners, such as Melvyn Lasky, Irving Kristol, James Burnham, Sidney Hook and later Norman Podhoretz. The ‘End of Ideology’ liberal professoriat: Daniel Bell, Nathan Glazer, Lewis Coser. And perhaps most enduring in their contribution, if only because they partook of all wings and of none, the Europeanised cultural and literary ...

The Education of Philip French

Marilyn Butler, 16 October 1980

Three Honest Men: Edmund Wilson, F.R. Leavis, Lionel Trilling 
edited by Philip French.
Carcanet, 120 pp., £6.95, July 1980, 0 85635 299 3
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F.R. Leavis 
by William Walsh.
Chatto, 189 pp., £8.95, September 1980, 0 7011 2503 9
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... events. Trilling’s story is told by other New Yorkers, including Alfred Kazin, Irving Howe and Norman Podhoretz, who between them seem to muster a greater range of ages, backgrounds and perhaps professional experience than the Leavis contributors. The atmosphere is more wide-awake than the English colloquium on the home-grown magus. Is there a ...

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