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The Fighting Family

Avi Shlaim, 9 May 1996

Israel, Likud and the Zionist Dream: Power, Politics and Ideology from Begin to Netanyahu 
by Colin Shindler.
Tauris, 324 pp., £25, August 1995, 1 85043 969 9
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Summing Up: An Autobiography 
by Yitzhak Shamir.
Weidenfeld, 276 pp., £19.99, April 1994, 0 297 81337 4
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Broken Covenant: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis between the US and Israel 
by Moshe Arens.
Simon and Schuster, 320 pp., $25, February 1995, 0 671 86964 7
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A Zionist Stand 
by Ze’ev Begin.
Cass, 173 pp., £15, January 1993, 0 7146 4089 1
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Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat Domestic and International Terrorism 
by Benjamin Netanyahu.
Farrar, Straus, 152 pp., $17, October 1995, 0 374 15492 9
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... Party). Gahal joined the Government for the first time during the crisis of May 1967, when Levi Eshkol was prime minister. Begin had the title of Minister without Portfolio. In July 1970 Begin and his colleagues left Golda Meir’s National Unity Government in protest against the Rogers Peace Plan which, they ...

My Stars

Graham Hough, 21 March 1985

The Magical Arts 
by Richard Cavendish.
Arkana, 375 pp., £4.95, October 1984, 1 85063 004 6
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Astrology and the Third Reich: A Historical Study of Astrological Beliefs in Western Europe since 1700 and in Hitler’s Germany 1933-45 
by Ellic Howe.
Aquarian, 253 pp., £5.95, October 1984, 0 85030 397 4
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The Astrology of Fate 
by Liz Greene.
Allen and Unwin, 370 pp., £9.95, September 1984, 0 04 133012 9
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Dreams, Illusion and Other Realities 
by Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty.
Chicago, 361 pp., £21.25, June 1984, 0 226 61854 4
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Fruits of the Moon Tree: The Medicine Wheel and Transpersonal Psychology 
by Alan Bleakley.
Gateway Books, 311 pp., £9.95, October 1984, 0 946551 08 1
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... that seem to include, however vaguely, a cosmology and a metaphysic. Alchemy and astrology are the prime examples. Cavendish is illuminating on both. Alchemy had a long run, from late Antiquity to the 18th century, but is now really extinct – unless we are to count Jung’s highly rarefied exploitation of one side of it as a genuine continuity. The peculiar ...

Northern Lights

Chauncey Loomis, 2 June 1988

Living Arctic: Hunters of the Canadian North 
by Hugh Brody.
Faber, 254 pp., £4.95, November 1987, 0 571 15096 9
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... bear and some walrus, both very rare in the region at that time. Although its hide was not in prime season, the Inuit shot the polar bear; they skinned it, but left most of the meat as carrion. Then they shot two walrus. The small tusks were not worth the work of extracting them, so they left the animals (one still alive) floating in the water. I had to ...

One day I’ll tell you what I think

Adam Shatz: Sartre in Cairo, 22 November 2018

No Exit: Arab Existentialism, Jean-Paul Sartre and Decolonisation 
by Yoav Di-Capua.
Chicago, 355 pp., £26, March 2018, 978 0 226 50350 9
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The Stillborn: Notebooks of a Woman from the Student-Movement Generation in Egypt 
by Arwa Salih, translated by Samah Selim.
Seagull, 163 pp., £20, April 2018, 978 0 85742 483 9
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... had to carry him back to his hotel. They were ‘queers’, he shouted, and as such ‘the prime examples of how to resolve the conflict’. Al-Samman was shocked, but not Lanzmann.‘I have come to learn, not to teach,’ Sartre told his Egyptian interlocutors. In Kamshish, a village in the Egyptian delta, Sartre and Lutfi al-Khuli took part in a Q&A ...

Enlightenment Erotica

David Nokes, 4 August 1988

Eros Revived: Erotica of the Enlightenment in England and America 
by Peter Wagner.
Secker, 498 pp., £30, March 1988, 0 436 56051 8
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’Tis Nature’s Fault: Unauthorised Sexuality during the Enlightenment 
edited by Robert Purks Maccubin.
Cambridge, 260 pp., £25, March 1988, 0 521 34539 1
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The New Eighteenth Century: Theory, Politics, English Literature 
edited by Felicity Nussbaum and Laura Brown.
Methuen, 320 pp., £28, February 1988, 0 416 01631 6
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... blooming lass of 18, her – is like silk itself, and bubbles as white as snow; she is just in her prime, and fit for business, she is broke in this spring, by a well-known gentleman of the turf. Her movements are regular, her pace elegant, and her action is good: and when you mount her, she begins to f—k away to the tune of the ‘Dandy O’. Her ...

An Outpost of Ashdod

Nicholas Spice, 1 August 1985

A Perfect Peace 
by Amos Oz, translated by Hillel Halkin.
Chatto, 374 pp., £9.95, July 1985, 9780701129590
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... from whom Yonatan hitches his first lift immediately makes a political statement, while Levi Eshkol, the Prime Minister, turns up on Kibbutz Granot with his shirt hanging out to adopt the Lifshitz family crisis as a matter of official concern. At a deeper level, political themes (a hatred of nationalism, a belief ...

Riparian

Douglas Johnson, 15 July 1982

The Left Bank: Writers in Paris, from Popular Front to Cold War 
by Herbert Lottman.
Heinemann, 319 pp., £12.50, May 1982, 0 434 42943 0
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... lives in the Rue de Bièvre, just off the Boulevard Saint-Germain and the Quais; the former Prime Minister, the Gaullist Michel Debré, lives in the Rue Jacob, just off the Rue Bonaparte and St Germain des Près. Both live in the essential Left Bank. Pierre Mendès-France, the legendary hero of the rational, honest and dedicated Left, lives on the Right ...

Israel’s Caesar

Naomi Shepherd, 26 November 1987

Sharon: An Israeli Caesar 
by Uzi Benziman.
Robson, 276 pp., £12.95, September 1987, 9780860514343
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Sands of Sorrow: Israel’s Journey from Independence 
by Milton Viorst.
Tauris, 328 pp., £16.50, September 1987, 1 85043 064 0
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... command remained flexible and open to new ideas, and that men with leadership potential, in their prime, were continually released into civilian life – not only politics but the universities and the national industries and business. The unfortunate aspect of this was that all the political parties were henceforth to compete for the services of ...

The [ ] walked down the street

Michael Silverstein: Saussure, 8 November 2012

Saussure 
by John Joseph.
Oxford, 780 pp., £30, March 2012, 978 0 19 969565 2
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... understood and put to stunningly successful use at the age of 19: that human language is the prime abstract ‘semiological’ (we now say semiotic) structure on which the possibility of interpersonal communication depends. He died without ever getting close to writing his magnum opus – which nevertheless exists, an ‘as if’ work imaginatively ...

In and Out of the Panthéon

Thomas Laqueur: Funerals, politics and memory in France, 20 September 2001

Funerals, Politics and Memory in Modern France 1789-1996 
by Avner Ben-Amos.
Oxford, 425 pp., £55, October 2000, 0 19 820328 4
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Monumental Intolerance: Jean Baffier, a Nationalist Sculptor in Fin-de-Siècle France 
by Neil McWilliam.
Pennsylvania State, 326 pp., £58.95, November 2000, 0 271 01965 4
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... demonstrators killed in the celebratory riots that followed the resignation of Guizot, the hated Prime Minister. The short-lived new regime did not have time to establish its own relationship to burial spaces and public funerals, but Napoleon III, who came to power in 1851, was quick to put his stamp on the machinery and geography of honoured death. Within ...

Il n’y a pas de Beckett

Christopher Prendergast, 14 November 1996

Damned to Fame: The Life of Samuel Beckett 
by James Knowlson.
Bloomsbury, 872 pp., £25, September 1996, 0 7475 2719 9
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Samuel Beckett: The Last Modernist 
by Anthony Cronin.
HarperCollins, 645 pp., £25, October 1996, 9780246137692
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The Theatrical Notebooks of Samuel Beckett. Vol I: Waiting for Godot 
edited by Dougald McMillan and James Knowlson.
Faber, 472 pp., £75, March 1994, 0 571 14543 4
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The Theatrical Notebooks of Samuel Beckett. Vol II: Endgame 
edited by S.E. Gontarski.
Faber, 276 pp., £50, November 1992, 0 571 14544 2
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The Theatrical Notebooks of Samuel Beckett. Vol III: Krapp’s Last Tape 
edited by James Knowlson.
Faber, 286 pp., £50, May 1992, 0 571 14563 9
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Eleutheria 
by Samuel Beckett, translated by Barbara Wright.
Faber, 170 pp., £6.99, September 1996, 9780571178261
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... if we forget the essential: that they are biographies of a writer. Knowlson assures us that his prime concern with the material of Beckett’s life is its ‘relevance to his work’. The problem is that the criteria of relevance are almost exclusively determined by and from the material itself. In fact, on the two biographers’ way with the ...

The Land East of the Asterisk

Wendy Doniger: The Indo-Europeans, 10 April 2008

Indo-European Poetry and Myth 
by M.L. West.
Oxford, 525 pp., £80, May 2007, 978 0 19 928075 9
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... The Husband’s Return (as in the Odyssey) is a story pattern ‘well known to folklorists … a prime example of the wandering folk-tale, diffused without regard to linguistic boundaries’, and hence not (merely) Indo-European. So, too, the story of the father who accidentally kills his son (or the son his father) might be ‘an inherited Indo-European ...

We Are Conquerors

Adam Shatz: Ben-Gurion’s Obsession, 24 October 2019

A State at Any Cost: The Life of David Ben-Gurion 
by Tom Segev.
Head of Zeus, 804 pp., £30, August 2019, 978 1 78954 462 6
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... lived according to his whims. At one point he went on an unannounced holiday from his duties as prime minister to take driving lessons on the French Riviera; on another occasion, he spent a week studying Buddhism in Burma, and tried to persuade his teachers that he’d stumbled on a contradiction in their doctrine no one else had unearthed. He offered the ...

Blake’s Tone

E.P. Thompson, 28 January 1993

Dangerous Enthusiasm: William Blake and the Culture of Radicalism in the 1790s 
by Jon Mee.
Oxford, 251 pp., £30, August 1992, 0 19 812226 8
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... exercises, and I must associate myself with Jon Mee in proposing Volney’s Ruins of Empire as a prime influence on him. Scholars have sometimes overlooked this book because it has been supposed that it was published in English in 1795, and hence too late to have influenced the Songs of Experience or The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. But The Ruins of ...

A Generous Quantity of Fat

Paul Henley: Yes, People Were Cooked, 2 September 1999

Man Corn: Cannibalism and Violence in the Prehistoric American South-West 
by Christy Turner and Jacqueline Turner.
Utah, 512 pp., $60, January 1999, 9780874805666
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Cannibalism and the Colonial World 
edited by Francis Barker and Peter Hulme.
Cambridge, 309 pp., £13.95, August 1998, 0 521 62118 6
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Cannibals: The Discovery and Representation of the Cannibal from Columbus to Jules Verne 
by Frank Lestringant, translated by Rosemary Morris.
Polity, 256 pp., £39.50, April 1997, 0 7456 1697 6
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Chronicles of the Guayakí Indians 
by Pierre Clastres, translated by Paul Auster.
Faber, 256 pp., £9.99, June 1998, 0 571 19398 6
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... vein, Gananath Obeyesekere argues that certain 19th-century texts which have been considered prime evidence for Fijian cannibalism should be read not as unimpeachable eye-witness testimony but rather as adventure stories or seamen’s yarns in which incidents of anthropophagy are no more than genre conventions. Neither Hulme nor Obeyesekere is as ...

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