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15 August 1991
The Iraqi Revolution of 1958: The Old Social Classes Revisited 
edited by Robert Fernea and William Roger Louis.
Tauris, 232 pp., £35, May 1991, 1 85043 318 6
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Instant Empire: Saddam Hussein’s Ambition for Iraq 
by Simon Henderson.
Mercury House, 271 pp., £8.99, June 1991, 1 56279 007 2
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Saddam Hussein: A Political Biography 
by Efraim Karsh and Inari Rautsi.
Brassey, 307 pp., £17.95, April 1991, 0 08 041326 9
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The Gulf Between Us: The Gulf War and Beyond 
edited by Victoria Brittain.
Virago, 186 pp., £5.99, June 1991, 1 85381 386 9
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Under Siege in Kuwait: A Survivor’s Story 
by Jadranka Porter.
Gollancz, 250 pp., £4.99, July 1991, 9780575051850
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... Revolution of 1968 gradually emerged as the second-ranking Ba’th leader, and then, long before his formal recognition as President in 1979, as the real leader of Iraq, is told in Instant Empire by SimonHenderson of the Financial Times and in Saddam Hussein by Efraim Karsh and Inari Rautsi, an Israeli and a Finnish academic. Both books honestly admit difficulties over sources and make efforts to ...

One Screw Short

Owen Bennett-Jones: Pakistan’s Bomb

18 July 2019
Pakistan’s Nuclear Bomb: A Story of Defiance, Deterrence and Deviance 
by Hassan Abbas.
Hurst, 341 pp., £25, January 2018, 978 1 84904 715 9
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...  some of it hidden in a cardboard box under a layer of fruit, some in a canvas bag.The story’s provenance was rock-solid: the source was a British journalist turned Washington think-tanker, SimonHenderson, who had established a relationship with Khan in the 1970s while working in Pakistan as a stringer for the BBC and the Financial Times. They kept in touch. Khan had good reason to unburden ...

Big Acts

Ross McKibbin

19 February 1981
Portrait of a Progressive: The Political Career of Christopher, Viscount Addison 
by Kenneth Morgan and Jane Morgan.
Oxford, 326 pp., £15, May 1980, 9780198224945
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... development of the National Insurance Act of 1911 (he had been one of the country’s leading anatomists before entering politics), of his break with Lloyd George in 1921, when he joined what Arthur Henderson in 1917 called the long and interesting list of former ministers waiting to tell the truth about Lloyd George (Addison waited less long than Henderson), and, above all, of the origins and passing of ...

The Only Way

Sam Kinchin-Smith: Culinary Mansplaining

4 January 2018
... to direct at English blindspots – modernist architecture, provincial glamour, France – in his excellent television programmes. But thanks to some of the cooks cited in his bibliography – Simon Hopkinson, say, whose Roast Chicken and Other Stories (Ebury, £16.99) is a founding text of contemporary cookbook-writing, or Fergus Henderson, whose St John restaurants trained many of London’s ...

Crypto-Republican

Simon​ Adams: Was Mary Queen of Scots a Murderer?

11 June 2009
Burghley: William Cecil at the Court of Elizabeth I 
by Stephen Alford.
Yale, 412 pp., £25, May 2008, 978 0 300 11896 4
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... discussion: the letters were genuine but doctored to make them incriminating. Hosack suggested that some were actually written by Mary to Lord Darnley at an earlier date. His leading opponent, T.F. Henderson, dismissed this theory on the grounds that, unlike Bothwell, Darnley could not read French, but we can no longer be so sure of that. In 1965, a Newcastle doctor, M.H. Armstrong Davison, advanced the ...
5 November 1981
Michael Foot: A Portrait 
by Simon​ Hoggart and David Leigh.
Hodder, 216 pp., £8.95, September 1981, 0 340 27600 2
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... a piss-up in a brewery? The Edwardian pioneers had no settled leader (the SDP has sound scriptural precedent here): Keir Hardie’s talents were other than those of a Parliamentary chairman; Arthur Henderson was dull; Ramsay MacDonald was both great orator and skilled tactician, though his critics within the Party were numerous well before the First World War broke out. During that war, a number of ...

Bad Character

Andrew O’Hagan: Saul Bellow

20 May 2015
The Life of Saul Bellow: To Fame and Fortune, 1915-64 
by Zachary Leader.
Cape, 812 pp., £35, May 2015, 978 0 224 08467 3
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... of his life, Bellow was considered by his family to be a straight failure. They didn’t care for his books and they didn’t care for themselves in them. His elder brother, Maury (the basis for Simon in The Adventures of Augie March, Julius in Humboldt’s Gift, Shura in Herzog, and at least two other characters), was a liberty-taking, criminally minded businessman who loved his bookish brother ...

Soul Bellow

Craig Raine

12 November 1987
More die of heartbreak 
by Saul Bellow.
Alison Press/Secker, 335 pp., £10.95, October 1987, 0 436 03962 1
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... the cold alleys flames tore from the salamander cans of people selling chestnuts.’ In Augie March, his girlfriend’s father wears ‘a white drill suit and a helmet with a nipple at the top’. In Henderson the Rain King, Henderson has a ‘helmet with its nipple at the top’. In Seize the day, Mr Rappaport’s ear cartilage is ‘twisted like a cabbage heart’, while in Humboldt’s Gift a Pole ...

The Politics of Good Intentions

David Runciman: Blair’s Masochism

8 May 2003
... significance: the Constitution of the new German Republic. Instead, Eisner chose to go to Berne to attend a convention of European socialists, whose delegates included Ramsay MacDonald and Arthur Henderson, and which produced nothing. The convention was designed as a continuation of the regular prewar gatherings of the Socialist International, at which various factions had squabbled and bickered before ...

Colloquially Speaking

Patrick McGuinness: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945

1 April 1999
The Penguin Book of Poetry from Britain and Ireland since 1945 
edited by Simon​ Armitage and Robert Crawford.
Viking, 480 pp., £10.99, September 1998, 0 670 86829 9
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The Firebox: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945 
edited by Sean O’Brien.
Picador, 534 pp., £16.99, October 1998, 0 330 36918 0
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... or David Wright and John Heath-Stubbs. All three were friends of Graham, and their inclusion might have helped the Forties and Fifties out of their New Apocalypse v. Movement stand-off. Hamish Henderson, whose 1948 Elegies for the Dead in Cyrenaica (reprinted by Polygon in 1990) falls on the right side of the 1945 divide, is surprisingly absent, the more so as he was one of the founders of Scottish ...
5 June 1997
... New Labour has yet to produce such dramatic instant results, but it hasn’t done badly. First there was the emblematic flight to Brussels by the little-known new Foreign Office minister, Doug Henderson, to sign up to the European Union’s Social Chapter, followed by the restoration of the Civil Service unions to GCHQ. Then came Robin Cook’s declaration in favour of a landmine ban – achieved by ...
22 May 1986
The Lamberts: George, Constant and Kit 
by Andrew Motion.
Chatto, 388 pp., £13.95, April 1986, 0 7011 2731 7
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... small masterpieces of Firbankian tristesse’), but the entire Constant section relies far too heavily on Richard Shead’s excellent critical biography, currently unavailable, issued in 1973 by Simon Publications, London. Motion admits his debt in the Acknowledgements, but virtually nothing we are told hasn’t stemmed from Shead; the narrative sequence is reduplicated (Motion’s account of ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: Allelujah!

3 January 2019
... asking the congregation to get up and give Ben a standing ovation. Which we do and which becomes almost Stalinist as no one wants to be the first to stop clapping. Coming out I find myself behind Simon Williams, who has been mentioned by his son as one of Ben’s closest friends and am cheered by the possibility that if Ben could play Ambrose, so could Simon – which happily he does. But ‘lovely ...
21 August 1997
Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life 
by Jon Lee Anderson.
Bantam, 814 pp., £25, April 1997, 0 593 03403 1
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Compañero: The Life and Death of Che Guevara 
by Jorge Castañeda, translated by Marina Castañeda.
Bloomsbury, 480 pp., £20, October 1997, 0 7475 3334 2
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... Essentially, it is a book about the errors of those agencies, and their small triumphs. Brian Moser and I have walk-on parts in Ryan’s tale. Moser inadvertently destroyed the reputation of Douglas Henderson, the American Ambassador in La Paz in 1967, by filming him playing croquet while Bolivia burned. My own report about CIA involvement in the Bolivian war evidently fuelled a debate which led the CIA ...

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