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Malise Ruthven, 1 July 1982

Two Minutes over Baghdad 
by Amos Perlmutter, Michael Handel and Uri Bar-Joseph.
Corgi, 192 pp., £1.75, April 1982, 0 552 11939 3
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Inside the Middle East 
by Dilip Hiro.
Routledge, 471 pp., £12.50, April 1982, 0 7100 9030 7
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America Held Hostage: The Secret Negotiations 
by Pierre Salinger.
Deutsch, 349 pp., £10.95, May 1982, 0 233 97456 3
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... if, as seems likely, mullah rule in Iran is followed by a strong anti-clerical reaction. Pierre Salinger’s America Held Hostage, an account of the secret negotiations leading to the release of the hostages after 444 days’ captivity, provides a fascinating insight into the power struggle which led to the victory of the mullahs. The hostages ...

Booze and Fags

Christopher Hitchens, 12 March 1992

Tobacco: A History 
by V.G. Kiernan.
Radius, 249 pp., £18.99, December 1991, 0 09 174216 1
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The Faber Book of Drink, Drinkers and Drinking 
edited by Simon Rae.
Faber, 554 pp., £15.99, November 1991, 0 571 16229 0
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... that produced only things – sugar, rum and cigars – that are supposed to be bad for you.) Pierre Salinger – or Pierre Schlesinger as I always want to call him – once told me that he was telephoned by President Kennedy and asked to calculate how many Cuban cigars there were in all of Washington. He replied ...

The President’s Alternate

Fredrik Logevall: Bobby Kennedy, 18 May 2017

Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon 
by Larry Tye.
Ballantine, 624 pp., £15.58, May 2017, 978 0 8129 8350 0
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... Rights Act. Then came Dallas. Robert ‘was the most shattered man I had ever seen in my life’, Pierre Salinger, the administration’s press secretary, recalled of the period after the funeral. ‘He was virtually non-functioning.’ He couldn’t sleep, struggled to concentrate, and stopped caring about his appearance. ‘Jack’s ambitions had been ...

Agh, Agh, Yah, Boo

David Wheatley: Ian Hamilton Finlay, 4 December 2014

Midway: Letters from Ian Hamilton Finlay to Stephen Bann, 1964-69 
edited by Stephen Bann.
Wilmington Square, 426 pp., £25, May 2014, 978 1 905524 34 1
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... I really feel utterly sickened.’ A few years before, in 1963, Finlay had been insisting to Pierre Garnier that ‘“concrete” by its very limitations offers a tangible image of goodness and sanity; it is very far from the now fashionable poetry of anguish and self.’ Perhaps his gladiatorial side was designed to prove his theory by burning off all ...

Soul Bellow

Craig Raine, 12 November 1987

More die of heartbreak 
by Saul Bellow.
Alison Press/Secker, 335 pp., £10.95, October 1987, 0 436 03962 1
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... or an old man’s trouser fly, three feet long. As a writer, Bellow sees. He sees the bare toes of Pierre Thaxter ‘pressed together like Smyrna figs’. But what he has seen, in the past, is, if anything, more vivid: at the Division Street Turkish baths, everything remains as it was, and Franush ‘crawls up like a red salamander with a stick to tip the ...

Four Moptop Yobbos

Ian Penman, 17 June 2021

One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time 
by Craig Brown.
Fourth Estate, 642 pp., £9.99, March, 978 0 00 834003 2
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The Beatles and Sixties Britain 
by Marcus Collins.
Cambridge, 382 pp., £90, March 2020, 978 1 108 47724 6
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The Beatles in Context 
edited by Kenneth Womack.
Cambridge, 372 pp., £74.99, January 2020, 978 1 108 41911 6
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... Here is an incomplete log of Beatles sightings I kept as 2020 tiptoed hesitantly into 2021: in a Pierre Cardin obituary; in a Gerry Marsden obituary; in a documentary about J.D. Salinger; in one of Netflix’s numberless true crime productions (viz, a reconstructed FBI interview with Charles Manson, peddling his ‘blame ...

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