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Viva Biba

Janet Watts

8 December 1988
Very Heaven: Looking back at the 1960s 
edited by Sara Maitland.
Virago, 227 pp., £4.95, October 1988, 0 86068 958 1
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... well. It also calls to mind a point made about the spirit of this time by its earlier chronicler, Bernard Levin in The Pendulum Years: ‘It was a credulous age, perhaps the most credulous ever, and the more rational, the less gullible, the decade claimed to be, the less rational, the more gullible, it showed itself.’ Angela Carter’s assertions will ...

Noddy is on page 248

Jay Griffiths: On the streets

10 June 1999
The Penguin Book of 20th-Century Protest 
edited by Brian MacArthur.
Penguin, 440 pp., £20, October 1998, 0 670 87052 8
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DIY Culture: Party and Protest in Nineties Britain 
edited by George McKay.
Verso, 310 pp., £11, July 1998, 1 85984 260 7
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... and war, and the selection provides a sober roll-call: Ida B. Wells, Aneurin Bevan, Rachel Carson, Martin Luther King, Václav Havel, Ken Saro-Wiwa. Its portrayal of the first half of the century has solidity; you are in safe, if stubby hands. There are also some poignant contributions: the broken dreams of Communism reported by former believers; Rabbi Stephen ...
8 March 1990
Alan Moorehead 
by Tom Pocock.
Bodley Head, 311 pp., £16.95, February 1990, 0 370 31261 9
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Loyalties: A Son’s Memoir 
by Carl Bernstein.
Macmillan, 254 pp., £15.95, January 1990, 0 333 52135 8
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Downstart 
by Brian Inglis.
Chatto, 298 pp., £15.95, January 1990, 0 7011 3390 2
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... digging up the pasts of their own living parents, most star-struck imitators of Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford would probably draw the line. The difficulty, of course, is that both Albert and Sylvia Bernstein had a secret that they desperately wanted to preserve. Some time between 1940 and 1942 – even their son cannot be specific about dates – they had ...

The Academy of Lagado

Edward Said: The US Administration’s misguided war

17 April 2003
... East experts identified long ago as having the most influence over American Middle East policy, Bernard Lewis and Fouad Ajami. Now in his late eighties, Lewis came to the US from the UK some thirty years ago to teach at Princeton. His fervent anti-Communism and disapproval of everything about contemporary Arabs and Islam pushed him to the forefront of the ...

Staggering on

Stephen Howe

23 May 1996
The ‘New Statesman’: Portrait of a Political Weekly, 1913-31 
by Adrian Smith.
Cass, 340 pp., £30, February 1996, 0 7146 4645 8
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... is the magazine whose identity was moulded during the Thirties, under the editorship of Kingsley Martin and after the merger with the Nation. Yet the New Statesman had almost two decades of existence before that, under an editor whose length of tenure has been exceeded only by Martin’s. A handful of disconnected facts ...

Before and After Said

Maya Jasanoff: A Reappraisal of Orientalism

8 June 2006
For Lust of Knowing: The Orientalists and their Enemies 
by Robert Irwin.
Allen Lane, 416 pp., £25, January 2006, 0 7139 9415 0
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... fields. Most of these responses have developed or refined Said’s framework in some way. Not so Robert Irwin’s For Lust of Knowing: The Orientalists and Their Enemies. Irwin’s central point is that before there was Orientalism, there was Orientalism: the scholarly study of languages and texts pertaining to the Orient. The book operates on two levels. In ...

When Medicine Failed

Barbara Newman: Saints

6 May 2015
Why Can the Dead Do Such Great Things? Saints and Worshippers from the Martyrs to the Reformation 
by Robert Bartlett.
Princeton, 787 pp., £27.95, December 2013, 978 0 691 15913 3
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... great things? Augustine’s rhetorical question, posed near the end of The City of God, launches Robert Bartlett’s massive, erudite compendium of saint lore. Bartlett never cites the bishop’s answer, which is that feats performed from beyond the grave vindicate faith in the resurrection. The martyrs who so publicly and bloodily died for their faith are ...
17 February 1983
From Author to Reader: A Social Study of Books 
by Peter Mann.
Routledge, 189 pp., £8.95, October 1982, 0 7100 9089 7
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David Copperfield 
by Charles Dickens, edited by Nina Burgis.
Oxford, 781 pp., £40, March 1981, 0 19 812492 9
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Martin Chuzzlewit 
by Charles Dickens, edited by Margaret Cardwell.
Oxford, 923 pp., £45, December 1982, 0 19 812488 0
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Books and their Readers in 18th-Century England 
edited by Isabel Rivers.
Leicester University Press, 267 pp., £15, July 1982, 0 7185 1189 1
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Mumby’s Publishing and Bookselling in the 20th Century 
by Ian Norrie.
Bell and Hyman, 253 pp., £12.95, October 1982, 0 7135 1341 1
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Reading Relations 
by Bernard Sharratt.
Harvester, 350 pp., £18.95, February 1982, 0 7108 0059 2
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... they brought the author. The Clarendon edition, along with the Pilgrim Edition of the Letters and Robert Patten’s Dickens and his Publishers (OUP, 1978), will eventually provide us with the fullest account yet of Victorian fiction publishing. The tailor-made publishing history offered by the Clarendon editor is absolutely crucial in the case of ...
21 April 1988
Waldheim 
by Luc Rosenzweig and Bernard Cohen.
Robson, 192 pp., £12.95, March 1988, 0 86051 506 0
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Waldheim: The Missing Years 
by Robert Edwin Herzstein.
Grafton, 303 pp., £12.95, April 1988, 0 246 13381 3
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... misuse history to advance their dangerous ideologies, and, at the other end of the scale, men like Martin Gray (For those I loved), who use these appalling events for self-aggrandisement. Interestingly, nobody minds much about Irving, but attacking Gray causes wrathful indignation among Holocaust dogmatists. I sought to learn from men who became monsters, such ...

Double-Barrelled Dolts

Ferdinand Mount: Mosley’s Lost Deposit

6 July 2006
Blackshirt: Sir Oswald Mosley and British Fascism 
by Stephen Dorril.
Viking, 717 pp., £30, April 2006, 0 670 86999 6
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Hurrah for the Blackshirts! Fascists and Fascism between the Wars 
by Martin Pugh.
Pimlico, 387 pp., £8.99, March 2006, 1 84413 087 8
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... about the Slump and how to cure it, and, by extension, right about the Old Gang blocking his path? Martin Pugh’s publishers tell us breathlessly that ‘this book demonstrates for the first time how close Britain came to being a Fascist state in the interwar years.’ Is that a fact or just a pretty piece of hype? Does the limelight that Mosley continued to ...

Into the Second Term

R.W. Johnson: New Labour

5 April 2001
Servants of the People: The Inside Story of New Labour 
by Andrew Rawnsley.
Hamish Hamilton, 434 pp., £17.99, September 2000, 0 241 14029 3
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Mandelson and the Making of New Labour 
by Donald Macintyre.
HarperCollins, 638 pp., £6.99, September 2000, 0 00 653062 1
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Mo Mowlam: The Biography 
by Julia Langdon.
Little, Brown, 324 pp., £16.99, September 2000, 0 316 85304 6
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Ann Widdecombe: Right from the Beginning 
by Nicholas Kochan.
Politico’s, 302 pp., September 2000, 1 902301 55 2
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The Paymaster: Geoffrey Robinson, Maxwell and New Labour 
by Tom Bower.
Simon and Schuster, 272 pp., £17.99, March 2001, 0 7432 0689 4
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The Future of Politics 
by Charles Kennedy.
HarperCollins, 235 pp., £17.99, September 2000, 0 00 710131 7
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... of groups stretching from Ian Paisley’s branch of the Unionists through to Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness and whoever they officially or unofficially represent. Typically, this ‘peaceful solution’ seems to involve shuffling Northern Ireland into a closer relationship with the Irish Republic and trying to get the spectrum of political groups to ...

Fat is a manifest tissue

Steven Shapin: George Cheyne

10 August 2000
Obesity and Depression in the Enlightenment: The Life and Times of George Cheyne 
by Anita Guerrini.
Oklahoma, 304 pp., $25.95, February 2000, 0 585 28344 3
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... of Access, and most quickly susceptible of Friendship and Acquaintance’. As his fellow physician Bernard Mandeville observed, you could with application ‘drink yourself into Practice’. Another way to make a medical noise had opened up by the late 17th century, and this was conspicuously to challenge common sense through a display of Newtonian ...

The Israel Lobby

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt: The Israel Lobby

23 March 2006
... also includes prominent Christian evangelicals like Gary Bauer, Jerry Falwell, Ralph Reed and Pat Robertson, as well as Dick Armey and Tom DeLay, former majority leaders in the House of Representatives, all of whom believe Israel’s rebirth is the fulfilment of biblical prophecy and support its expansionist agenda; to do otherwise, they believe, would be ...
3 March 1983
... little credibility amongst scholars, and which was authoritatively disposed of in a major essay by Martin Broszat, one of many current historians whom Dawidowicz implicitly belittles.In all these ways the discussion of the literature is selective, impressionistic and extremely unreliable. It encourages little confidence in the author’s judgment. She descends ...

Falling in love with Lucian

Colm Tóibín: Lucian Freud’s Outer Being

10 October 2019
The Lives of Lucian Freud: Youth, 1922-68 
by William Feaver.
Bloomsbury, 680 pp., £35, September 2019, 978 1 4088 5093 0
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... short,’ Freud responded. In Man with a Blue Scarf: On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucian Freud, Martin Gayford reports that Freud told him that when Andrew Parker-Bowles protested about the way his stomach protruded, Freud ‘thought I’d better emphasise it more’. Freud​ met Caroline Blackwood at a party in 1949 when she was 18. Three years later, he ...

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