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You could scream

Jenny Diski, 20 October 1994

Brando: Songs My Mother Taught Me 
by Marlon Brando and Robert Lindsey.
Century, 468 pp., £17.99, September 1994, 0 7126 6012 7
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Greta & Cecil 
by Diana Souhami.
Cape, 272 pp., £18.99, September 1994, 0 224 03719 6
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... The last thing that dreams should do is come true. It would end in futile tears if they did, much as it would for the autophagist who chomps away at himself from the legs up until he comes to his head and realises that he can never achieve the final consummation. Dreams are for dreaming about. The Hollywood dream-masters got it right when they had Judy Garland playing a star-struck teenager gazing at a pin-up of Clark Gable and singing ‘If you were the only boy in the world ...

Hospitalism

Sarah Perry: Victorian ‘Hospitalism’, 5 July 2018

The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister’s Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine 
by Lindsey Fitzharris.
Allen Lane, 304 pp., £16.99, October 2017, 978 0 241 26249 8
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... sanctuary in music. Surgeons took pride in aprons so dirty they could have stood up on their own; Robert Liston, who pioneered the use of anaesthesia, stored his instruments up his sleeve between surgeries to keep them warm. The mortality rate among medical students – who were liable to let the knife slip – was high: the surgeon John Abernethy concluded ...

Ten Typical Days in Trump’s America

Eliot Weinberger: Ten (More) Days in America, 25 October 2018

... that the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, a lifelong Republican who is overseeing the Robert Mueller investigation, is resigning or has been fired. (It had been revealed that in May 2017, only two weeks after his appointment and only a few months after Trump’s inauguration, Rosenstein had discussed wearing a wire to record his conversations with ...

The Excommunicant

Richard Popkin: Spinoza v. the Synagogue, 15 October 1998

The God of Spinoza: A Philosophical Study 
by Richard Mason.
Cambridge, 272 pp., £35, May 1997, 0 521 58162 1
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Spinoza, Liberalism and the Question of Jewish Identity 
by Steven Smith.
Yale, 270 pp., £21, June 1997, 0 300 06680 5
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... an important role, both then and now. Present-day ones, like Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and Hal Lindsey, accept a Jewish state as a necessary pre-condition for the rebuilding of the Temple, to be followed by the return of Jesus and the conversion of the Jews. Spinoza, however, played hardly any role in the development of such thought. The current attempt in ...

Because We Could

David Simpson: Soldiers and Torture, 18 November 2010

None of Us Were Like This Before: American Soldiers and Torture 
by Joshua Phillips.
Verso, 237 pp., £16.99, September 2010, 978 1 84467 599 9
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... got there ready to flex our muscles,’ Sandoval says, ‘and nothing happened.’ Sergeant Oral Lindsey agrees: ‘we were supposed to be out there blowing stuff up, not stopping traffic, trying to interpret the Iraqi language – it just wasn’t what we were trained to do.’ Throwing rocks at the detainees was one way to relieve the boredom. Another was ...

The Killing of Osama bin Laden

Seymour M. Hersh, 20 May 2015

... someone in the Pentagon did: waiting would diminish the political impact. Not everyone agreed. Robert Gates, the secretary of defence, was the most outspoken of those who insisted that the agreements with Pakistan had to be honoured. In his memoir, Duty, Gates did not mask his anger: Before we broke up and the president headed upstairs to tell the ...

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