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At the Movies

Michael Wood: The Killers', Criterion Collection, 24 September 2015

... way, then go looking for their target, who is clearly not going to show up at the diner/bar. Nick Adams, the other person in the place, runs off to warn the victim. The victim scarcely reacts: it’s as if he has already accepted his own death. ‘There ain’t anything to do now,’ he says. ‘I got in wrong.’ The story finishes before the killers arrive ...

Ghost Ions

Jonathan Coe: AA-Rated Memories, 18 August 2022

Offbeat: British Cinema’s Curiosities, Obscurities and Forgotten Gems 
edited by Julian Upton.
Headpress, 595 pp., £22.99, April, 978 1 909394 93 3
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The Magic Box: Viewing Britain through the Rectangular Window 
by Rob Young.
Faber, 500 pp., £12.99, August, 978 0 571 28460 3
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... Andrews offers a glaring exception. In Book III, Chapter 7 of the novel, Joseph, Fanny and Parson Adams agree to stay the night at the house of the local squire only to find that his intention is to ‘roast’ Parson Adams in front of his other loutish house guests. In the film, however (co-written, as it happens, by Allan ...

Enter Hamilton

Eric Foner, 6 October 2016

American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804 
by Alan Taylor.
Norton, 704 pp., £30, November 2016, 978 0 393 08281 4
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... including Joe McCarthy and George Wallace. Not to mention more respectable types such as Richard Nixon, whose ‘Southern strategy’ offered a blueprint for mobilising white resentment over the gains of the Civil Rights movement. (That ‘respectable’ and ‘Nixon’ can be included in the same sentence illustrates how far our political standards ...

Something of Importance

Philip Williamson, 2 February 1989

The Coming of the First World War 
edited by R.J.W. Evans and Hartmut Pogge von Strandmann.
Oxford, 189 pp., £22.50, November 1988, 0 19 822899 6
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The Experience of World War One 
by J.M. Winter.
Macmillan, 256 pp., £17.95, November 1988, 0 333 44613 5
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Russia and the Allies 1917-1920. Vol II: The Road to Intervention, March-November 1918 
by Michael Kettle.
Routledge, 401 pp., £40, June 1988, 0 415 00371 7
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Douglas Haig 1861-1928 
by Gerald De Groot.
Unwin Hyman, 441 pp., £20, November 1988, 0 04 440192 2
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Nothing of Importance: A Record of Eight Months at the Front with a Welsh Battalion 
by Bernard Adams.
The Strong Oak Press/Tom Donovan Publishing, 324 pp., £11.95, October 1988, 9781871048018
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1914-1918: Voices and Images of the Great War 
by Lyn Macdonald.
Joseph, 346 pp., £15.95, November 1988, 0 7181 3188 6
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... there were considerable amounts of other published memoir material. An example is that of Bernard Adams, one of a series of reprints – The Fourteen-Eighteen collection – edited by an antiquarian bookseller, Peter T. Scott. Adams was a product of Malvern and Cambridge, and a lieutenant in the same battalion of the Royal ...

Christian v. Cannibal

Michael Rogin: Norman Mailer and American history, 1 April 1999

The American Century 
by Harold Evans.
Cape, 710 pp., £40, November 1998, 0 224 05217 9
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The Time of Our Time 
by Norman Mailer.
Little, Brown, 1286 pp., £25, September 1998, 0 316 64571 0
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... by John Dos Passos’. A nearer ancestor of The Time of Our Time would be The Education of Henry Adams. ‘I could look upon myself as blessed,’ our author confesses, ‘because I had the good fortune to be able to write about my time as if it were our time.’ Although The Time of Our Time may seem just the sort of autobiographical ‘monument to the ...

Thatcher’s Artists

Peter Wollen, 30 October 1997

Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection 
by Norman Rosenthal.
Thames and Hudson, 222 pp., £29.95, September 1997, 0 500 23752 2
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... making ambitious claims for the importance of the work and explaining his choice of title. Next, Richard Shone, an associate editor of the Burlington Magazine, perhaps best known for his scholarly work on the Bloomsbury Group, gives a detailed chronicle of the careers of the artists, whom he describes as loosely ‘entwined’ in a single history. He sees ...

Don’t tell nobody

Michael Wood: Cuba, 3 September 1998

Cuba Libre 
by Elmore Leonard.
Viking, 352 pp., £16.99, May 1998, 0 670 87988 6
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Havana Dreams 
by Wendy Gimbel.
Knopf, 234 pp., $24, June 1998, 0 679 43053 9
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... journal on 18 February. This was not a new sentiment in the United States. In 1823 John Quincy Adams had suggested that ‘there are laws of political as well as of physical gravitation,’ so all New World Newtons ought to know what to do: if an apple, severed by the tempest from its native tree, cannot choose but fall to the ground, Cuba, forcibly ...

A Preference for Strenuous Ghosts

Michael Kammen: Theodore Roosevelt, 6 June 2002

Theodore Rex 
by Edmund Morris.
HarperCollins, 772 pp., £25, March 2002, 0 00 217708 0
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... Truman (1992) was on the bestseller lists for the better part of a year, and his John Adams (2001) is providing an astonishing repeat performance. Robert Caro’s dramatically detailed look at The Years of Lyndon Johnson has been unfolding since 1982, and large chunks of Volume Three have been serialised in the New Yorker. In the meantime, Robert ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Vice’, 21 February 2019

... reverse happens: within the film, history corrects fantasy. Cheney is saying how much he admires Richard Nixon, and in particular, his ‘impish smile’. The idea is a cliché without much content, and not much in Cheney’s line. Even so, we aren’t prepared for its immediate visual contradiction. The screen fills with a picture of Nixon. He isn’t ...


Frank Kermode: American Books, 1 April 1983

... After many vicissitudes the Library of America was launched, under the direction of Daniel Aaron, Richard Poirier and Jason Epstein, who had worked with Wilson on the original abortive project. These people and their associates raised $600,000 from the Ford Foundation and then $1.2 million from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Then they went to work ...


Daniel Finn: Ireland’s Election, 17 March 2011

... forums with a couple of dozen other stalwarts to listen to them – the likes of Séamus Healy, Richard Boyd Barrett and Thomas Pringle, all now catapulted into the Dáil with a mandate to disturb the political peace. While the Fianna Fáil aristocracy were punching their cards at local meetings and stealthily ascending the party ladder, these newcomers ...


Christopher Ricks, 2 August 1984

The Faber Book of Parodies 
edited by Simon Brett.
Faber, 383 pp., £8.95, May 1984, 0 571 13125 5
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Lilibet: An Account in Verse of the Early Years of the Queen until the Time of her Accession 
by Her Majesty.
Blond and Briggs, 95 pp., £6.95, May 1984, 0 85634 157 6
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... a good one and a bad. New to me and truly funny, for instance, is ‘The Skinhead Hamlet’ by Richard Curtis. I am grateful, and yet this gift-horse must be looked in the mouth since it is a stalking-horse. It isn’t a parody at all but a spoof and a burlesque. Brett’s dullard identifying of two main types of parody (of style and of form!) isn’t even ...

Everybody’s Friend

D.A.N. Jones, 15 July 1982

William Cobbett: The Poor Man’s Friend 
by George Spater.
Cambridge, 318 pp., £15, March 1982, 0 521 22216 8
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... against the modern business practices of newfangled Quakers and Jews. (It is not surprising that Richard Ingrams of Private Eye should think G.K. Chesterton’s biography of Cobbett the best.) Hazlitt supported the Jews as much as the Catholics, and he rebuked Cobbett quite fiercely for being a ‘bullying antagonist’ to the Quakers. Though he admired and ...

Peter Conrad’s Flight from Precision

Richard Poirier, 17 July 1980

Imagining America 
by Peter Conrad.
Routledge, 319 pp., £7.50, May 1980, 0 7100 0370 6
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... Of course poor Rupert had no more premonition of the war in 1913 than did Henry James, Henry Adams or anyone else. That is, he had none at all. His description of Niagara can best be understood, not as political premonition, but as literary derivation, and if Conrad ever listened to prose or poetry instead of scanning it for images, he would have heard ...


Nick Laird: Ulster Revisited, 28 July 2011

... by loyalist terrorists, one of the workers, Walter Chapman, whispered to the sole Catholic, Richard Hughes, that he should stay silent. But one of the gunmen recognised Hughes and ordered him to ‘clear off down the road’. He did so and the gunmen opened fire, with armalites, SLRs, a 9mm pistol and an M1 carbine, on the remaining men. In less than a ...

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