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24 November 1994
The Gentle Art of Making Enemies 
by James McNeill Whistler.
Heinemann, 338 pp., £20, October 1994, 0 434 20166 9
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James McNeill Whistler: Beyond the Myth 
by Ronald Anderson and Anne Koval.
Murray, 544 pp., £25, October 1994, 0 7195 5027 0
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... nevertheless there is such an ocean of Whistleriana, and the anecdotes come in such a variety of versions, that there will always be room for a further Life. The present one, by the art historians RonaldAnderson and Anne Koval, makes large claims. Whistler, say the authors, fabricated innumerable fictions about his own life, which he then began to believe himself, and his biographers (with the ...

Reaganism

Anthony Holden

6 November 1980
The United States in the 1980s 
edited by Peter Duignan and Alvin Rabushka.
Croom Helm, 868 pp., £14.95, August 1980, 0 8179 7281 1
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... The news from Britain, and elsewhere, is that the distributors of Ronald Reagan’s yellowing old movies are enjoying a windfall of such proportions that supply – as his economic advisers would note with distaste – cannot possibly accommodate demand. All over the free ...
1 September 1988
Citizen Cohn 
by Nicholas von Hoffman.
Harrap, 483 pp., £12.95, August 1988, 0 245 54605 7
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... was a deadbeat who only paid a bill when he had a gun at his head. He was a blackmailer who dealt in gossip, threats and innuendo. His main characteristic was cynicism. And yet his friends included Ronald Reagan, Donald Trump, Norman Mailer, Barbara Walters (they almost married), Cardinal Spellman, nearly all the top Mafia people, Richard Nixon, Si Newhouse, Rupert Murdoch, Frank Sinatra, J. Edgar ...
1 March 1984
In the Tracks of Historical Materialism 
by Perry Anderson.
Verso, 112 pp., £4.95, November 1983, 0 86091 776 2
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The Dialectics of Disaster 
by Ronald​ Aronson.
Verso, 329 pp., £5.95, February 1984, 9780860910756
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Rethinking Socialism 
by Gavin Kitching.
Methuen, 178 pp., £3.95, October 1983, 0 416 35840 3
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The Economics of Feasible Socialism 
by Alec Nove.
Allen and Unwin, 244 pp., £12.95, February 1983, 0 04 335048 8
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The Labour Party in Crisis 
by Paul Whiteley.
Methuen, 253 pp., £12.50, November 1983, 0 416 33860 7
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... socialism itself, would be. Schumpeter himself was an amoralist, and argued only for a centrally-directed economy to alleviate waste and disorder. But he did actually say. Few others have. In Perry Anderson’s view, Marxists have been ceasing to do so since the Bolshevik coup in 1917. Ever since the 1880s, they had understandably been more exercised about how to escape from capitalism than about what ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: Meeting the Royals

19 February 2015
... like to say, there was a definite buzz when the couple arrived, and we assumed our positions, waiting like Victorian waxworks for the buzz to turn into a creak on the stairs. My friend Gillian Anderson (she had asked me to accompany her) got the giggles and had to be calmed. But she was completely composed by the time the royal couple entered the room, walking slowly, looking completely and utterly ...

The Myth of 1940

Angus Calder

16 October 1980
Collar the lot! How Britain Interned and Expelled its Wartime Refugees 
by Peter Gillman and Leni Gillman.
Quartet, 334 pp., £8.95, May 1980, 0 7043 2244 7
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A Bespattered Page? The Internment of ‘His Majesty’s Most Loyal Enemy Aliens’ 
by Ronald​ Stent.
Deutsch, 282 pp., £7.95, July 1980, 0 233 97246 3
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... do important war work. After forty years in which very little has appeared in print on the subject, two new books appear almost simultaneously, each attempting a full account. Both the Gillmans and Ronald Stent have looked at official papers, both have interviewed ex-internees. Yet their work has been less overlapping than complementary. Peter Gillman is a member of the Sunday Times ‘Insight’ team ...
27 October 1988
... There seem to have been several Oliver Norths. There was Oliver North the Patriot, whom Robert McFarlane would describe as ‘an imaginative, aggressive, committed young officer’, Ronald Reagan’s personally approved ‘hero’. There was Oliver North the Man of God, the born-again Christian from the charismatic Episcopal Church of the Apostles who believed that the Lord had healed ...

Who needs a welfare state?

Deborah Friedell: The Little House Books

22 November 2012
The Little House Books 
by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Library of America, 1490 pp., £56.50, August 2012, 978 1 59853 162 6
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The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of ‘Little House on the Prairie’ 
by Wendy McClure.
Riverhead, 336 pp., £10, April 2012, 978 1 59448 568 8
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... The actual Walnut Grove had been dying, without even enough people to support a small grocery store. Now more than 250 Hmong live there, and run two grocery stores. Little House on the Prairie was Ronald Reagan’s favourite television programme and also, by some accounts, Saddam Hussein’s. It was based on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s eight novels, which have now entered the Library of America as The ...

Who Will Lose?

David Edgar

23 September 2008
Inside the Presidential Debates: Their Improbable Past and Promising Future 
by Newton Minow and Craig LaMay.
Chicago, 219 pp., £11.50, April 2008, 978 0 226 53041 3
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... a surrogate opponent – would prove decisive in debate series from Ford/Carter in 1976 to Bush/Clinton in 1992. Prep was never more significant than in the debates of 1980 and 1984, in both of which Ronald Reagan’s surrogate opponent was David Stockman, a young former radical who went on to head the Office of Management and Budget before resigning over the budget deficit in Reagan’s second term ...

We Do Ron Ron Ron, We Do Ron Ron

James Meek: Welcome to McDonald’s

24 May 2001
Fast-Food Nation 
by Eric Schlosser.
Allen Lane, 356 pp., £9.99, April 2001, 0 7139 9602 1
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... beef additives and containing twice as much fat for its weight as a hamburger – eight chicken processors ended up with about two thirds of the US market. They too are wary of their employees. A.D. Anderson, one of the founders of the slaughterhouse giant Iowa Beef Packers (IBP), said of the new assembly-line slaughter and carcass-dismembering system he helped pioneer: ‘We’ve tried to take the skill ...

Route to Nowhere

Peter Mair: European parties of the Left

4 January 2001
The Heart Beats on the Left 
by Oskar Lafontaine, translated by Ronald​ Taylor.
Polity, 219 pp., £12.99, September 2000, 0 7456 2582 7
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... are more constrained than ever. On the one hand, the room for manoeuvre is increasingly limited by the evident and overwhelming consensus in favour of neo-liberalism, a consensus which, as Perry Anderson recently argued in his relaunch of New Left Review, ‘rules undivided across the globe: the most successful ideology in world history’. On the other hand, in a post-Cold War and, more locally ...

Nobel Savage

Steven Shapin: Kary Mullis

1 July 1999
Dancing Naked in the Mind Field 
by Kary Mullis.
Bloomsbury, 209 pp., £12.99, March 1999, 0 7475 4376 3
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... creative spirit came on an evening in April of 1983, sometimes in May. Anyway, the buckeyes were in bloom; Mullis’s little silver Honda Civic was purring through the vineyards and redwoods of the Anderson Valley; and his mind wandered. Life is sweet, he thought: ‘I am a big kid with a new car and a full tank of gas. I have shoes that fit. I have a woman sleeping next to me and an exciting problem, a ...

Paper this thing over

Colin Kidd: The Watergate Tapes

5 November 2015
The Nixon Tapes: 1971-72 
by Douglas Brinkley and Luke Nichter.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 758 pp., $35, July 2014, 978 0 544 27415 0
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The Nixon Defence: What He Knew and When He Knew It 
by John W. Dean.
Penguin, 784 pp., £14.99, June 2015, 978 0 14 312738 3
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Washington Journal: Reporting Watergate and Richard Nixon’s Downfall 
by Elizabeth Drew.
Duckworth Overlook, 450 pp., £20, August 2014, 978 0 7156 4916 9
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Chasing Shadows: The Nixon Tapes, the Chennault Affair and the Origins of Watergate 
by Ken Hughes.
Virginia, 228 pp., $16.95, August 2015, 978 0 8139 3664 2
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The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan 
by Rick Perlstein.
Simon and Schuster, 860 pp., £25, August 2014, 978 1 4767 8241 6
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... and his aides became aware of a concerted domestic espionage programme directed at the White House by his own chiefs of staff. While investigating leaks to the influential muckraking journalist Jack Anderson, agents discovered that the naval yeoman Charles Radford, who was assigned to the joint chiefs’ liaison office of the National Security Council, had been pillaging the desks, briefcases and burn ...

A Toast at the Trocadero

Terry Eagleton: D.J. Taylor

18 February 2016
The Prose Factory: Literary Life in England since 1918 
by D.J. Taylor.
Chatto, 501 pp., £25, January 2016, 978 0 7011 8613 5
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... is nothing amiss with attending to the literature of a particular nation, but in the era in question that body of writing was shaped by avant-garde currents by no means confined to Kensington. Perry Anderson (not, one imagines, Taylor’s favourite political thinker) has argued that modernist experiment on a major scale is generally underpinned by a history of political upheaval, one which culminated in ...

Hopi Mean Time

Iain Sinclair: Jim Sallis

18 March 1999
Eye of the Cricket 
by James Sallis.
No Exit, 190 pp., £6.99, April 1998, 1 874061 77 7
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... premature anti-Fascists’) and carcinogenic cowboy alcoholics ready and willing to build careers on the blacklist. The virus that would surface decades later, disguised as Richard Nixon or Ronald Reagan, began here. Fault lines in the American psyche are most obvious at the interface of showbiz saccharine and the political process: Monroe’s birthday tribute to JFK, Sinatra as MC at the ...

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