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Staggering on

Stephen Howe, 23 May 1996

The ‘New Statesman’: Portrait of a Political Weekly, 1913-31 
by Adrian Smith.
Cass, 340 pp., £30, February 1996, 0 7146 4645 8
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... In 1950 a venerable, once highly successful, long-ailing magazine quietly expired. Richard Usborne, the assistant editor in its dying days, later recalled an aficionado’s touching reaction. ‘When the Strand finally folded in 1950, my old sixth-form master wrote to me regretfully: “I loved the dear old Strand. To tell you the truth, I have not opened a copy of it in this century ...

Like What Our Peasants Still Are

Landeg White: Afrocentrism, 13 May 1999

Afrocentrism: Mythical Pasts and Imagined Homes 
by Stephen Howe.
Verso, 337 pp., £22, June 1998, 1 85984 873 7
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... believe these are serious questions, requiring patient and scholarly rebuttal? Afrocentrism, says Stephen Howe, comes in two varieties. The first is an interest in Africa and its culture reinforced by the belief ‘that Eurocentric bias has blocked or distorted knowledge of Africans and their cultures’. Although it has been around for some time, it has ...

On Trying to Be Portugal

Geoffrey Wheatcroft: Zionist Terrorism, 6 August 2009

‘A Senseless, Squalid War’: Voices from Palestine 1945-48 
by Norman Rose.
Bodley Head, 278 pp., £20, March 2009, 978 0 224 07938 9
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Major Farran’s Hat: Murder, Scandal and Britain’s War against Jewish Terrorism 1945-48 
by David Cesarani.
Heinemann, 290 pp., £20, March 2009, 978 0 434 01844 4
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... Much the same language has been used by Irish nationalists, though in Ireland and Empire (2000) Stephen Howe points out that if Irish history was ‘colonial’, then ‘it was as part of a picture in which, literally, all European history is colonial history,’ that before the 1960s most Irish nationalists simply ‘did not use the ...

Our Flexible Friends

Conor Gearty, 18 April 1996

Scott Inquiry Report 
by Richard Scott.
HMSO, 2386 pp., £45, February 1996, 0 10 262796 7
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... govern the whole question of military exports to Iran and Iraq for the duration of the war. The ‘Howe Guidelines’ (after the Foreign Secretary) were as follows: 1. We should maintain our consistent refusal to supply any lethal equipment to either side. 2. Subject to that overriding consideration, we should attempt to fulfil existing contracts and ...

Rigging the Death Rate

Paul Taylor, 11 April 2013

... was published. The problems at the infirmary had become public largely through the efforts of Stephen Bolsin, a consultant anaesthetist with an interest in clinical audit, a process in which clinicians’ outcomes are measured. Bolsin became worried about the competence of these two surgeons to perform some of the more risky operations on small ...

Oh those Lotharios

Alison Light: Jean Lucey Pratt, 17 March 2016

A Notable Woman: The Romantic Journals of Jean Lucey Pratt 
edited by Simon Garfield.
Canongate, 736 pp., £12.99, April 2016, 978 1 78211 572 4
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... Club, precursor of International Pen, but finds its literary milieu ‘alarmingly refined’ (Stephen Spender lectures on Poetic Drama, ‘loathing the suburbs’). She gives up the Daily Mail and starts reading the New Statesman. In 1936 her father dies unexpectedly. At 26 Jean has £300 a year, rent from the family home, and a portfolio of stocks and ...

After Gibraltar

Conor Gearty, 16 November 1995

... he was applauding. A subtler Tory response came from the former Foreign Secretary Lord Howe, who suggested that the case was further evidence of the need immediately to make the European Convention on Human Rights part of UK domestic law, so that its terms could in future be applied by British judges sitting in ordinary cases in Britain, without ...

Hey, Mister, you want dirty book?

Edward Said: The CIA, 30 September 1999

Who Paid the Piper? The CIA and the Cultural Cold War 
by Frances Stonor Saunders.
Granta, 509 pp., £20, July 1999, 1 86207 029 6
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... and mass killings. Yet it still gives me an eerie feeling to read about people like George Orwell, Stephen Spender and Raymond Aron, to say nothing of less admirable characters of the Melvin Lasky stripe, taking part in surreptitiously subsidised anti-Communist ventures – magazines, symphony orchestras, art exhibitions – or in the setting up of foundations ...

Seeing yourself dead

Nicolas Tredell, 21 February 1991

Love in a Life 
by Andrew Motion.
Faber, 62 pp., £11.99, March 1991, 0 571 16101 4
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Three Variations on the Theme of Harm: Selected Poetry and Prose 
by Douglas Oliver.
Paladin, 255 pp., £6.99, November 1990, 0 586 08962 4
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Spoils of War 
by John Eppel.
Carrefour Press, 48 pp., August 1989, 0 620 13315 5
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Music for Brass 
by Brian Waltham.
Peterloo, 64 pp., £5.95, November 1990, 1 871471 20 6
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by Rosamund Stanhope.
Peterloo, 64 pp., £5.95, November 1990, 1 871471 19 2
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... A local taxi-driver remarks: ‘The past is one flat field of shit.’ The nightmare from which Stephen Dedalus, like Karl Marx, tried to awake has turned anal: history is a featureless faecal plain. It allows, as in Eastern Europe in 1989, only brief, doubtful moments of triumph and widespread public participation. The levelling of the past, the loss of a ...

Every Latest Spasm

Christopher Hitchens, 23 June 1994

A Rebel in Defence of Tradition: The Life and ‘Politics’ of Dwight Macdonald 
by Michael Wreszin.
Basic Books, 590 pp., £17.99, April 1994, 0 465 01739 8
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... only to divide and reassemble in Capri or San Francisco the next. (The peripatetic paradigm is Sir Stephen Spender, but Macdonald made an effort to run him close.) Third, he was an adopter of causes and had a pronounced tendency to look for the orphaned ones. If a thing was already sayable, he would be that much less interested in defending its right to be ...

John McEnroe plus Anyone

Edward Said: Tennis, 1 July 1999

The Right Set: The Faber Book of Tennis 
edited by Caryl Phillips.
Faber, 327 pp., £12.99, June 1999, 0 571 19540 7
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... Laver, Roy Emerson, John Newcombe and Fred Stolle (plus lesser stars like Don Candy and Bob Howe). I wanted to know more about South African tennis during apartheid, which gave rise to Sturgess, Gordon and Jean (his sister) Forbes, plus the colourful Abe Segal, and fine Davis-Cuppers like Bob Hewitt, Ian Vermaak, Trevor Fancutt, Owen Williams – as ...

The Iceman Cometh

Ross McKibbin: Tony Adams, 6 January 2000

by Tony Adams and Ian Ridley.
HarperCollins, 384 pp., £6.99, August 1999, 0 00 218795 7
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... be a social drinker. He recalls that after the match which won Arsenal the Premiership in 1998, Stephen Hughes in the general excitement sprayed beer over him, some of which went on his lips: ‘It made me angry and I told him so – after which the poor kid spent the whole time apologising to me.’ Much of the book is inevitably about football, and ...

A Common Playhouse

Charles Nicholl: The Globe Theatre, 8 January 2015

Shakespeare and the Countess: The Battle That Gave Birth to the Globe 
by Chris Laoutaris.
Fig Tree, 528 pp., £20, April 2015, 978 1 905490 96 7
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... countryman Mr Wm Shak would procure us monei … I will like of as I shall heare when & wheare & howe.’ Some fifty yards further along Carter Lane a curving street slopes down to the left: this marks the eastern boundary of the monastic precinct. It is now called St Andrew’s Hill but in Shakespeare’s day was known less salubriously as Puddle Wharf ...

All That Gab

James Wolcott: The Upsides of Sontag’s Downsides, 24 October 2019

Sontag: Her Life 
by Benjamin Moser.
Allen Lane, 832 pp., £30, September 2019, 978 0 241 00348 0
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... landmark zoological study ‘The New York Intellectuals’, published in Dissent in 1968, Irving Howe patronised Sontag as ‘a publicist able to make brilliant quilts from grandmother’s patches’, a ‘highly literate spokesman’ for those ‘who have discarded or not acquired intellectual literacy’. But the notion that Sontag was slumming or ...

Not Enough Delilahs

Andrew O’Hagan: Lillian Ross, 4 July 2019

by Lillian Ross.
NYRB, 219 pp., £14.99, June 2019, 978 1 68137 315 7
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... the prose and didn’t think it malicious. Others disagreed. The matter was taken up by Irving Howe in the New Republic. ‘Nothing more cruel has happened to an American writer,’ he wrote, ‘than the Lillian Ross interview, a scream of vanity and petulance that only a journalistic Delilah would have put into print.’ Friend or ex-friend, she had got ...

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