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Horrid Mutilation! Read all about it!

Richard Davenport-Hines: Jack the Ripper and the London Press by Perry Curtis

4 April 2002
Jack the Ripper and the London Press 
by Perry Curtis.
Yale, 354 pp., £25, February 2002, 0 300 08872 8
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... recognised the association in his diary on 2 October. ‘More murders at Whitechapel, strange and horrible. The newspapers reek with blood.’ This media storm, and its meanings, form the subject of PerryCurtis’s carefully researched and informative study. Violence against women was so routine in Whitechapel that it’s difficult to agree when the series of murders began. The killing in April 1888 ...


Michael Dobson: How to Be a Favourite

5 October 2006
Literature and Favouritism in Early Modern England 
by Curtis Perry.
Cambridge, 328 pp., £50, February 2006, 0 521 85405 9
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... Elizabeth and memoranda from clerics, however puzzled, indignant or merely vague about the precise nature of Leicester’s job, all agree at least in conferring on him a particular job title, which CurtisPerry’s able new book sets out to unpack. They refer to him simply as ‘the favourite’. It is one of the paradoxes of the English Renaissance that this golden age of English favouritism, which ...

Queening It

Jenny Diski: Nina Simone

25 June 2009
Nina Simone: The Biography 
by David Brun-Lambert.
Aurum, 346 pp., £20, February 2009, 978 1 84513 430 3
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... otherwise there’s something undeserved and therefore inauthentic about it, perhaps even some sort of cheating. This is not so much the case with male singers: I don’t think Caruso, Matt Munro, Perry Como or Tony Bennett have been written about as tragic lives (though Chet Baker, with the sweet girlie voice that none of the divas had, probably belongs on the women’s side). Even the neurotic ...

Living on the Edge

R.W. Johnson: Nukes

28 April 2011
Atomic: The First War of Physics and the Secret History of the Atom Bomb 1939-49 
by Jim Baggott.
Icon, 576 pp., £10.99, November 2009, 978 1 84831 082 7
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The Twilight of the Bombs: Recent Challenges, New Dangers and the Prospects for a World without Nuclear Weapons 
by Richard Rhodes.
Knopf, 366 pp., $27.95, August 2010, 978 0 307 26754 2
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Eliminating Nuclear Threats: A Practical Agenda for Global Policymakers 
by Gareth Evans and Yoriko Kawaguchi.
ICNND, 294 pp., November 2009, 978 1 921612 14 5
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... on the edge for a long time. In 1948, during the Berlin airlift, the US drew up Plan Trojan, targeting 30 Soviet cities for nuclear attack; at the time the USSR had no means to reply. In March 1949 Curtis LeMay, the head of Strategic Air Command, drew up his first war plan. LeMay had been responsible for killing some two million civilians in his fire raids of 1945 on 63 Japanese cities: in his view ...


Deborah Friedell: Eric, Sheena and I

24 May 2018
... I Google her now, I still learn things about her. A few months before we met, she told her local paper that although one of her professors at Stanford had been Clinton’s defence secretary, William Perry, her ‘dream job’ was to be national security adviser. She knew Korean and was studying Mandarin: as a student she had published articles about North Korean counterfeiters and smuggling networks ...

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