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Franklin D, listen to me

J. Hoberman: Popular (Front) Songs, 17 September 1998

Songs for Political Action: Folk Music, Topical Songs and the American Left, 1926-53 
edited by Ronald Cohen and Dave Samuelson.
Bear Family Records, DM 390, June 1996
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... Rise of a Counter-Establishment, the pundit-turned-Clinton-consultant Sidney Blumenthal describes Ronald Reagan as the ultimate expression of Popular Front corniness.) Yet however bogus or middlebrow the results may have been, the Popular Front generated a popular culture – which was an alternative to Hollywood’s universalising dream factory. The problem ...

What else can I do?

Sissela Bok, 1 September 1988

Sartre: A Life 
by Annie Cohen-Solal, translated by Anna Cancogni.
Heinemann, 591 pp., £17.95, October 1987, 0 434 14020 1
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Writing against: A Biography of Sartre 
by Ronald Hayman.
Weidenfeld, 487 pp., £14.95, October 1986, 0 297 79002 1
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Sartre: Romantic Rationalist 
by Iris Murdoch.
Chatto, 158 pp., £11.95, September 1987, 0 7011 3095 4
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... provides a searching critical perspective on the latter. Of the two biographies, Annie Cohen-Solal’s brings readers into more intimate contact with Sartre’s hectic, self-generating but also self-devouring personality. It provides, as well, a more thorough account of his family background and year-by-year activities. The translation, by Anna ...

The kind of dog he likes

W.G. Runciman: Realistic Utopias, 18 December 2014

Justice for Earthlings: Essays in Political Philosophy 
by David Miller.
Cambridge, 254 pp., £18.99, January 2013, 978 1 107 61375 1
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... a contrast with justice for creatures from outer space. Nor is he taking issue directly with Ronald Dworkin’s ‘justice for hedgehogs’ in Dworkin’s book of 2011 with that title, although Miller does say in a footnote that he disagrees with him. He has in his sights the ‘neo-Augustinians’, as he calls them, like the late G.A. ...

On and off the page

Thomas Nagel, 25 July 1991

Isaiah Berlin: A Celebration 
by Edna Margalit and Avishai Margalit.
Hogarth, 224 pp., £25, June 1991, 0 7012 0925 9
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... that begins with engaging personal reminiscence and goes on to careful exegetical argument, G.A. Cohen recounts his experience as a student of Berlin’s, and then takes issue with his view of Marx as devoid of familiar moral attitudes toward social injustice, yet vindictively drawn by the prospect of a violent reckoning. Given the strategic lessons that the ...

All in the Family

Sylvia Lawson, 3 December 1992

Letters to Sartre 
by Simone de Beauvoir and Quintin Hoare.
Radius, 531 pp., £20, December 1991, 0 09 174774 0
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Witness to My Life: The Letters of Jean-Paul Sartre to Simone de Beauvior, 1926-1939 
edited by Simone de Beauvior, translated by Lee Fahnestock and Norman MacAfee.
Hamish Hamilton, 448 pp., £20, November 1992, 9780241133361
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... full-colour-coded spreadsheet jigsaw, mapping the stories from the Sartre biographies (Annie Cohen-Solal, John Gerassi, Ronald Hayman) over those from the Beauvoir biographies (Deirdre Bair – very much the best; Claude Francis and Fernande Gontier, Margaret Crosland). Check those against the crucial four volumes of ...

Change at MoMA

Hal Foster, 7 November 2019

... half from just four people: the hedge fund billionaires Leon Black, Kenneth Griffin and Steven Cohen, and the media mogul David Geffen (a new centre is named after Cohen and his wife, and an entire wing after Geffen). They responded to the call of MoMA’s director, Glenn Lowry, to recapture the idea proposed by Alfred ...

Everybody knows

Christina Gombar: Kate Jennings, 22 August 2002

Moral Hazard 
by Kate Jennings.
Fourth Estate, 180 pp., £10, April 2002, 1 84115 737 6
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... that her superiors are the true idealists: their religion is free-market capitalism, their gods Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, their gospel the Op-Ed page of the Wall Street Journal. They are arch Clinton-haters (the book begins in 1993), and despise affirmative action, feminism, the disabled and everything else Cath’s moral conscience would like to ...

Unlike a Scotch Egg

Glen Newey: Hate Speech, 5 December 2013

The Harm in Hate Speech 
by Jeremy Waldron.
Harvard, 292 pp., £19.95, June 2012, 978 0 674 06589 5
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... a form of expression – for instance, because it purports to be ‘art’. Some people, the late Ronald Dworkin included, have taken this claim far more seriously than it deserves; Dworkin even argued that there is a constitutional right to publish pornography. Before photo-reprographic technology developed, most porn was textual, but since the modern porn ...

British Worthies

David Cannadine, 3 December 1981

The Directory of National Biography, 1961-1970 
edited by E.T. Williams and C.S. Nicholls.
Oxford, 1178 pp., £40, October 1981, 0 19 865207 0
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... So the majority are actresses (Elsie and Leigh), academics (Cam and Darbishire), artists (Bell, Cohen, Knight) or authors (Allingham, Blyton, Compton-Burnett, Sackville-West and Sitwell), topped off with occasional politicians (Astor, Bonham Carter and Lady Lloyd-George) and royals (Princess Marina, Queen Victoria Eugénie, the Princess Royal). Vera ...

White Power

Thomas Meaney, 1 August 2019

Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America 
by Kathleen Belew.
Harvard, 330 pp., £23.95, April 2018, 978 0 674 28607 8
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Revolutionaries for the Right Anti-Communist Internationalism and Paramilitary Warfare in the Cold War 
by Kyle Burke.
North Carolina, 337 pp., June 2018, 978 1 4696 4073 0
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... including the local police informants who had guided the assailants to the march. Then, in 1980, Ronald Reagan arrived. Here was a president who quoted Rambo, referred to the Vietnam War as ‘the noble cause’ and told veterans that they had been ‘denied permission to win’. Reagan not only made it clear that he intended to open new fronts in the Cold ...
... thinker was complete without an American epiphany, a journey across the Atlantic to where Ronald Reagan’s United States seemed to hum and sparkle in a virtuous free market circle of efficiency and prosperity. Apart from the reality that, for most Americans, it didn’t, the problem was that extreme pro-privatisation Brits like Littlechild thought ...

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