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Chase Madar: Human Rights Window Dressing, 2 July 2015

... affiliated with the Centre for American Progress, who has called for military intervention to oust Robert Mugabe. It’s not just Americans: Michael Ignatieff ardently supported the invasion of Iraq in the name of humanitarian values. The inescapable Bernard-Henri Lévy was at the fore in demanding Nato go to war against Gaddafi. (Lévy has ‘moved on’ to ...

People and Martians

Sheila Fitzpatrick, 24 January 2019

The Great Terror: Stalin’s Purge of the Thirties 
by Robert Conquest.
Bodley Head, 576 pp., £20, November 2018, 978 1 84792 568 8
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The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivisation and the Terror-Famine 
by Robert Conquest.
Bodley Head, 412 pp., £20, November 2018, 978 1 84792 567 1
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... bloody good show, too. A lot of people weren’t Cold Warriors – and so much the worse for them.Robert Conquest, quoted by Jay Nordlinger in National Review, 9 December 2002There are rules​ for writing about the enemy in wartime. You must never forget that your side and his are at war, and that your side is right and his is wrong. Your writing must not ...

How one has enjoyed things

Dinah Birch: Thackeray’s daughter, 2 December 2004

Anny: A Life of Anne Thackeray Ritchie 
by Henrietta Garnett.
Chatto, 322 pp., £18.99, January 2004, 0 7011 7129 4
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... But her circle of friends and acquaintances continued to expand: Millais, Elizabeth Gaskell, Robert and Elizabeth Browning, Monckton Milnes, Ruskin, Katie Collins, Arthur Munby, George Eliot, the Carlyles, Henry Cole. Some of these, like the Carlyles, were handed down from the old days, sanctified with the reflected ...

Über-Tony

Ben Pimlott: Anthony Crosland, 3 September 1998

Crosland’s Future: Opportunity and Outcome 
by David Reisman.
Macmillan, 237 pp., £47.50, October 1997, 0 333 65963 5
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... Why is Tony Crosland one of the few Old Labour heroes that nobody mocks? Keir Hardie, G.D.H. Cole, Stafford Cripps, Gaitskell, even Nye Bevan, have become the subject of New Labour locker-room ribaldry. Yet to describe yourself as a ‘Crosland socialist’ still carries meaning. Maybe it is because of that sardonic smile, and an uneasy feeling that, if he were alive today, he would be doing the mocking ...

Like a Mosquito

Mattathias Schwartz: Drones, 4 July 2013

Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield 
by Jeremy Scahill.
Serpent’s Tail, 642 pp., £15.99, May 2013, 978 1 84668 850 8
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... the purpose of the strike was to kill a man who had been involved with the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole. The question of whether it is permissible for US citizens to be deliberately killed without trial by their own government did not arise again until 2010, when an anonymous US official told the Washington Post that Anwar al-Awlaki, a US-born Muslim cleric ...

Two Americas and a Scotland

Nicholas Everett, 27 September 1990

Collected Poems, 1937-1971 
by John Berryman, edited by Charles Thornbury.
Faber, 348 pp., £17.50, February 1990, 0 571 14317 2
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The Dream Songs 
by John Berryman.
Faber, 427 pp., £17.50, February 1990, 0 571 14318 0
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Poems 1959-1979 
by Frederick Seidel.
Knopf, 112 pp., $19.95, November 1989, 0 394 58021 4
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These Days 
by Frederick Seidel.
Knopf, 50 pp., $18.95, October 1989, 0 394 58022 2
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A Scottish Assembly 
by Robert Crawford.
Chatto, 64 pp., £5.99, April 1990, 0 7011 3595 6
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... while still an undergraduate at Columbia, where Mark Van Doren was his teacher and mentor; and Robert Penn Warren was the editor (at Southern Review) whom he first sought to impress. But if the New Critical aesthetic disciplined Berryman it also inhibited him. It gave him a good technical training, but its insistence on what he later called ‘Eliot’s ...

Chamberlain for our Time

José Harris, 20 December 1984

Neville Chamberlain. Vol. I: 1869-1929 
by David Dilks.
Cambridge, 645 pp., £20, November 1984, 0 521 25724 7
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... father and stepmother until the age of 42, when he married the beautiful and ambitious Ann de Vere Cole, sister of that friend of Virginia Woolf who reviewed the Channel Fleet in disguise as the Emperor of Abyssinia (Neville was relieved to find that Ann wholly deplored such exploits). Aloof, reserved, devoted to hobbies and private life, somewhat contemptuous ...

Steamy, Seamy

David Margolick: The Mob’s Cuban Kleptocracy, 20 March 2008

The Havana Mob: Gangsters, Gamblers, Showgirls and Revolutionaries in 1950s Cuba 
by T.J. English.
Mainstream, 400 pp., £17.99, September 2007, 978 1 84596 192 3
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... the Mob. Kennedy was not the only American celebrity on the Havana scene: Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Eartha Kitt, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald and Johnny Mathis performed in its nightclubs. George Raft practically moved in. The Cuban kleptocracy was too good to be true, and too good to last. And the seeds of its undoing sprouted at the same time as all ...

Exhibitionists

Hal Foster: Curation, 4 June 2015

Ways of Curating 
by Hans Ulrich Obrist.
Penguin, 192 pp., £9.99, March 2015, 978 0 241 95096 8
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Curationism: How Curating Took Over the Art World – And Everything Else 
by David Balzer.
Pluto, 140 pp., £8.99, April 2015, 978 0 7453 3597 1
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... this split between curator and impresario in his account of his own lineage. He picks out Henry Cole, the entrepreneur of the Great Exhibition in 1851, who erected the iron and glass Crystal Palace in Hyde Park not far from where Obrist currently works in the Serpentine Galleries. He also cites Sergei Diaghilev, the animator of the Ballets Russes, as a ...

Entanglements

V.G. Kiernan, 4 August 1983

The Working Class in Modern British History: Essays in Honour of Henry Pelling 
edited by Jay Winter.
Cambridge, 315 pp., £25, February 1983, 0 521 23444 1
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The Chartist Experience: Studies in Working-Class Radicalism and Culture, 1830-60 
edited by James Epstein and Dorothy Thompson.
Macmillan, 392 pp., £16, November 1982, 0 333 32971 6
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Bread, Knowledge and Freedom: A Study of 19th-Century Working Class Autobiography 
by David Vincent.
Methuen, 221 pp., £4.95, December 1982, 0 416 34670 7
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... in the light of local inquiries for a survey commissioned by Beveridge and carried out by G.D.H. Cole in 1941-42. It seems that the man in the street’s hopes were less ambitious than the Beveridge Plan which followed: there is no evidence that ‘grass-roots opinion was harbouring any wider vision of more far-reaching social revolution’. If any such ...

The Powyses

D.A.N. Jones, 7 August 1980

After My Fashion 
by John Cowper Powys.
Picador, 286 pp., £2.50, June 1980, 0 330 26049 9
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Weymouth Sands 
by John Cowper Powys.
Picador, 567 pp., £2.95, June 1980, 0 330 26050 2
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Recollections of the Powys Brothers 
edited by Belinda Humfrey.
Peter Owen, 288 pp., £9.95, May 1980, 0 7206 0547 4
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John Cowper Powys and David Jones: A Comparative Study 
by Jeremy Hooker.
Enitharmon, 54 pp., £3.75, April 1979, 0 901111 85 6
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The Hollowed-Out Elder Stalk 
by Roland Mathias.
Enitharmon, 158 pp., £4.85, May 1979, 0 901111 87 2
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John Cowper Powys and the Magical Quest 
by Morine Krissdottir.
Macdonald, 218 pp., £8.95, February 1980, 0 354 04492 3
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... his critical appreciations of modern French writers. The first man he meets is a young painter, Robert Canyot, a traditionalist who thinks Richard far too modern. Richard wins Robert’s girlfriend, Nelly Moreton, although Richard fears she is too young for him: they have much in common, Richard and Nelly, both being ...

Like a boll weevil to a cotton bud

A. Craig Copetas, 18 November 1993

New York Days 
by Willie Morris.
Little, Brown, 400 pp., £19.45, September 1993, 0 316 58421 5
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... is alive. Jimi Hendrix is alive. Lyndon Johnson is alive. James Jones is alive. Jim Morrison and Robert Penn Warren are alive. Richard Nixon is dead; and a Soviet-bloc skier named Ivana Trump – someone overhears Sixties psychic Jeanne Dixon saying – will assign her name to a novel she does not write with the full and worldwide backing of one of ...

Entitlement

Jenny Diski: Caroline Blackwood, 18 October 2001

Dangerous Muse: A Life of Caroline Blackwood 
by Nancy Schoenberger.
Weidenfeld, 336 pp., £20, June 2001, 0 297 84101 7
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... alone in their London flat without any money. (She was trying to get away from her third husband, Robert Lowell, who was mad at the time.) It is taken as inevitable that patterns are inevitably repeated. Blackwood becomes a lifelong drunk given to hysterical and unsuccessful relationships, and it is no surprise that Natalya dies of a heroin overdose at the ...

Act like Men, Britons!

Tom Shippey: Celticity, 31 July 2008

The History of the Kings of Britain 
by Geoffrey of Monmouth, edited by Michael Reeve, translated by Neil Wright.
Boydell, 307 pp., £50, November 2007, 978 1 84383 206 5
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The History of the Kings of Britain 
by Geoffrey of Monmouth.
Broadview, 383 pp., £8.99, January 2008, 978 1 55111 639 6
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... to Holinshed and on to Spenser, Shakespeare and Dryden. It gave us Cymbeline, Lear and Old King Cole, as well as Merlin. But has there ever been a definitive text? It survives with four different dedications, to three different people, singly or paired, and sorting that out is only the start of an immense process of comparison and collation, manageable (as ...

Do hens have hands?

Adam Smyth: Editorial Interference, 5 July 2012

The Culture of Correction in Renaissance Europe (Panizzi Lectures) 
by Anthony Grafton.
British Library, 144 pp., £30, September 2011, 978 0 7123 5845 3
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... When the King’s printer Robert Barker produced a new edition of the King James Bible in 1631, he overlooked three letters from the seventh commandment, producing the startling injunction: ‘Thou shalt commit adultery.’ Barker was fined £300, and spent the rest of his life in debtors’ prison, even while his name remained on imprints ...

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