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The Enforcer

Stephen Sackur, 20 August 1992

Deterring Democracy 
by Noam Chomsky.
Vintage, 453 pp., £7.99, April 1992, 0 09 913501 9
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Illusions of Triumph: An Arab View of the Gulf War 
by Mohamed Heikal.
HarperCollins, 350 pp., £16.99, April 1992, 0 00 255014 8
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The Imperial Temptation 
by Robert Tucker and David Hendrickson.
Council on Foreign Relations Press, 240 pp., $22.50, June 1992, 0 87609 118 4
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... the weight of this evidence – referred to by Chomsky, but surprisingly ignored by Heikal and Tucker and Hendrickson – it is surely reasonable to assume that had Saddam decided against a precipitate invasion of Kuwait, US support would even now be oiling the wheels of his – soon to be nuclear-capable – war machine. And given that previous ...

Peaches from Our Tree

R.W. Davies, 7 September 1995

Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925-1936 
edited by Lars Lih, Oleg Naumov and Oleg Khlevniuk.
Yale, 276 pp., £16.95, May 1995, 0 300 06211 7
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Pisma I.V. Stalina V.M. Molotovu, 1925-1936: Sbornik Dokumentov 
compiled by L. Kosheleva, V. Lelchuk, V. Naumov, O. Naumov and L. Rogovaya.
Rossiya Molodaya, 303 pp., May 1995, 5 86646 071 8
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Iosif Stalin v Obyatiyakh Semi: Iz Lichnogo Arkhiva 
compiled by Yu. G. Murin.
Rodina, 222 pp., July 1993, 5 7330 0043 0
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... international aspects of Stalin’s Communism? In his Foreword to the English-language edition, Robert Tucker, the American biographer of Stalin, argues that the letters ‘bear out the proposition ... that Stalin was a Russian imperial Bolshevik for whom the further progress of the international Communist revolution and the territorial expansion of ...

Days of Reckoning

Orlando Figes, 7 July 1988

Stalin: Man and Ruler 
by Robert McNeal.
Macmillan, 389 pp., £16.95, June 1988, 0 333 37351 0
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... virtues – at least, not until the Stalinist ‘cult of the personality’, which, according to Robert McNeal, didn’t really take off until 1933, four years after the consolidation of the Stalinist dictatorship. Stalin was barely known to the Soviet people in the early Twenties. A poor public speaker and second-rate ideologue, he had established his ...

Charmer

Sheila Fitzpatrick: Stalin’s Origins, 1 November 2007

Young Stalin 
by Simon Sebag Montefiore.
Weidenfeld, 397 pp., £25, May 2007, 978 0 297 85068 7
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... the fancy of generations of historians. There was one notable exception among the scholars: Robert Tucker put a dashing young revolutionary – someone who might have stepped out of the Baader-Meinhof Group or the Weathermen – on the cover of Stalin as Revolutionary (1973). But the ‘grey blur’ remained, no doubt partly in reaction against ...

Whose person is he?

Sheila Fitzpatrick: ‘Practising Stalinism’, 20 March 2014

Practising Stalinism: Bolsheviks, Boyars and the Persistence of Tradition 
by J. Arch Getty.
Yale, 359 pp., £30, September 2013, 978 0 300 16929 4
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... political behaviour, irrespective of changing ideology and institutions. Stalin’s biographer Robert Tucker was keen on the resemblance between Stalin and the most bloodthirsty of the 16th-century tsars, Ivan the Terrible, noting in Stalin in Power that Stalin, too, saw a resemblance, as witness his emotional response to Eisenstein’s Ivan the ...

Crazy America

Edward Said, 19 March 1981

... American ideology. In ‘The Purposes of American Power’ (Foreign Affairs, Winter 1980-81), Robert Tucker claims to be steering a new course between proponents of ‘resurgent America’ and ‘isolationism’. Yet for the Persian Gulf and Central America he proposes a policy of frank interventionism, since, he says, the US can ‘allow’ neither ...

Breathing on the British public

Danny Karlin, 31 August 1989

Tennyson and the Doom of Romanticism 
by Herbert Tucker.
Harvard, 481 pp., £29.95, May 1988, 0 674 87430 7
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Browning the Revisionary 
by John Woolford.
Macmillan, 233 pp., £27.50, November 1988, 0 333 38872 0
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Poetic Remaking: The Art of Browning, Yeats and Pound 
by George Bornstein.
Pennsylvania State, 220 pp., £17.80, August 1989, 9780271006208
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The Printed Voice of Victorian Poetry 
by Eric Griffiths.
Oxford, 369 pp., £35, January 1989, 0 19 812989 0
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... Nine years ago Herbert Tucker wrote an excellent first book, Browning’s Beginnings; like many first books it gave the impression of being a labour of love. Tucker’s second is a tremendous disappointment. It has all the inflated idea of itself that the title suggests. Browning’s Beginnings was short, keen and suggestive ...

‘Someone you had to be a bit careful with’

David Sylvester: Gallery Rogues, 30 March 2000

Groovy Bob: The Life and Times of Robert Fraser 
by Harriet Vyner.
Faber, 317 pp., £20, October 1999, 0 571 19627 6
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... of high culture. An authorised biography has now appeared of an English dealer of recent memory, Robert Fraser, 1937-86. His chequered career, terminated by Aids, lasted as long as it did only because of subsidies from his parents and getting away with not paying his debts, while the world at large remembers him for pictures showing him in a police van ...

Tory History

Alan Ryan, 23 January 1986

English Society 1688-1832 
by J.C.D. Clark.
Cambridge, 439 pp., £30, November 1985, 0 521 30922 0
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Virtue, Commerce and History 
by J.G.A. Pocock.
Cambridge, 321 pp., £25, November 1985, 0 521 25701 8
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... to the textbook view that John Locke’s contractual theory of government simply demolished Robert Filmer’s efforts at assimilating the authority of kings and fathers, Locke’s Two Treatises of Government did not drive patriachal ideas out of circulation. Indeed, it was Locke who was hardly read in the early 18th century: his ideas struck no ...

Strawberries in December

Paul Laity: She Radicals, 29 March 2017

Rebel Crossings: New Women, Free Lovers and Radicals in Britain and the United States 
by Sheila Rowbotham.
Verso, 512 pp., £25, October 2016, 978 1 78478 588 8
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... Daniell wrote a pamphlet on The New Trade Unionism with a handsome Scottish radical called Robert Allan Nicol (a ‘Shelleyan type’), which, rather than discussing pickets, looked forward to ‘the union of the Souls of Mankind in a perfect Love’. Daniell had met Nicol when she was still married, during a trip to Edinburgh for medical treatment in ...

Fielding in the dock

Claude Rawson, 5 April 1990

Henry Fielding: A Life 
by Martin Battestin and Ruthe Battestin.
Routledge, 738 pp., £29.50, October 1989, 0 415 01438 7
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New Essays 
by Henry Fielding, edited by Martin Battestin.
Virginia, 604 pp., $50, November 1989, 0 8139 1221 0
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The Wesleyan Edition of the Works of Henry Fielding. The True Patriot, and Related Writings 
edited by W.B. Coley.
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An Enquiry into the Causes of the Late Increase of Robbers, and Related Writings 
edited by Malvin Zirker.
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The Covent-Garden Journal and A Plan of the Universal Register Office 
by Henry Fielding, edited by Bertrand Goldgar.
Oxford, 446 pp., £50, December 1988, 0 19 818511 1
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Fielding and the Woman Question: The Novels of Henry Fielding and the Feminist Debate 1700-1750 
by Angela Smallwood.
Harvester, 230 pp., £35, March 1989, 0 7108 0639 6
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... her away by force one Sunday while she was on her way to church’. Her uncle and guardian Andrew Tucker made a deposition before the Mayor that he was ‘in fear of his life or of some bodily hurt to be done... to him by Henry ffeilding Gent and his servant or companion’, and Fielding posted the following notice in a prominent spot before leaving the ...

Rancorous Luminaries

R.W. Davies, 28 April 1994

Stalinist Terror: New Perspectives 
edited by J. Arch Getty and Roberta Manning.
Cambridge, 294 pp., £35, September 1993, 0 521 44125 0
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Beria: Stalin’s First Lieutenant 
by Amy Knight.
Princeton, 312 pp., £19.95, January 1994, 0 691 03257 2
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This I Cannot Forget: The Memoirs of Nikolai Bukharin’s Widow 
by Anna Larina.
Hutchinson, 385 pp., £25, March 1994, 0 09 178141 8
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Stalin i Ordzhonikidze: Konflikty v Politbyuro v 30-e gody 
by O.V. Khlevnyuk.
Rossiya Molodaya, 144 pp., December 1993, 5 86646 047 5
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... The estimates for the end of the Thirties ranged from Dallin and Nicolaevsky’s ten million and Robert Conquest’s nine million (the latter figure excluded ‘criminals’) to Wheatcroft’s maximum of four to five million, Jasny’s three and a half million and Timasheff’s two million. Elaborate records in the NKVD archives reveal that about two million ...

Do Not Scribble

Amanda Vickery: Letter-Writing, 4 November 2010

The Pen and the People: English Letter-Writers 1660-1800 
by Susan Whyman.
Oxford, 400 pp., £30, October 2009, 978 0 19 953244 5
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Becoming a Woman in the Age of Letters 
by Dena Goodman.
Cornell, 408 pp., £24.50, June 2009, 978 0 8014 7545 0
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... return. The demands of courtship were changed irrevocably by the rise of letter-writing. As Robert Darnton has argued, ‘living cannot be distinguished from reading, nor loving from the writing of love letters.’ Today, extramarital affairs are most likely to be discovered by reading a partner’s emails or texts. In fact, having an affair and using ...

Four Funerals and a Wedding

Andrew O’Hagan: If something happens to me…, 5 May 2005

... dark pocket at the outer edge the future king of England lowered his eyes to shake the hand of Robert Mugabe. We live in cultish times – not to say, occultist ones – in which it seems not unreasonable for people, en masse, to weep in the streets for public figures they previously cared little about. Pope John Paul II was pretty much like that ...

In the Streets of Londonistan

John Upton: Terror, Muslims and the Met, 22 January 2004

... of solidarity after 11 September by the widow of the policeman who wore it. Superintendent David Tucker is head of the Met’s Diversity Directorate, the public face of the alternative strategy for countering terror. I am led along a grey Civil Service corridor to his office on one of the building’s higher floors. Superintendent ...

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