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John Bayley, 26 May 1994

D-Day: Those Who Were There 
by Juliet Gardiner.
Collins and Brown, 192 pp., £16.99, April 1994, 1 85585 204 7
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D-Day 1944: Voices from Normandy 
by Robin Neillands and Roderick De Normann.
Orion, 320 pp., £5.99, April 1994, 1 85797 448 4
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Battle Tactics of the Western Front: The British Army’s Art of Attack 
by Paddy Griffiths.
Yale, 286 pp., £20, May 1994, 0 300 05910 8
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The D-Day Encyclopedia 
edited by David Chandler and James Lawton Collins.
Helicon, 665 pp., £35, January 1994, 0 09 178265 1
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D-Day 1944 
edited by Theodore Wilson.
Kansas, 420 pp., £34.95, May 1994, 0 7006 0674 2
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Decision in Normandy 
by Carlo D’Este.
HarperCollins, 554 pp., £10.99, April 1994, 0 06 092495 0
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... campaign, first published in 1983, is in a different class altogether, as are the essays edited by Theodore Wilson. The most comprehensive is of course the big encyclopedia, which in addition to all the alphabetical facts contains a choice store of those super-facts to which browsers in good reference works become wholly addicted. We learn, for ...

The Powyses

D.A.N. Jones, 7 August 1980

After My Fashion 
by John Cowper Powys.
Picador, 286 pp., £2.50, June 1980, 0 330 26049 9
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Weymouth Sands 
by John Cowper Powys.
Picador, 567 pp., £2.95, June 1980, 0 330 26050 2
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Recollections of the Powys Brothers 
edited by Belinda Humfrey.
Peter Owen, 288 pp., £9.95, May 1980, 0 7206 0547 4
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John Cowper Powys and David Jones: A Comparative Study 
by Jeremy Hooker.
Enitharmon, 54 pp., £3.75, April 1979, 0 901111 85 6
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The Hollowed-Out Elder Stalk 
by Roland Mathias.
Enitharmon, 158 pp., £4.85, May 1979, 0 901111 87 2
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John Cowper Powys and the Magical Quest 
by Morine Krissdottir.
Macdonald, 218 pp., £8.95, February 1980, 0 354 04492 3
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... Big guns (J. B. Priestley, G. Wilson Knight, George Steiner, Angus Wilson) have been booming the name of John Cowper Powys for many years, outraged that other big guns will not join the salute. In the first number of the Powys Review, in 1977, George Steiner blamed Dr Leavis for praising Theodore Francis Powys above John Cowper, thus denying J ...

Short Cuts

John Lanchester: Who’s Afraid of the Library of America?, 19 June 2008

... A plop on the doormat and Volume 177 in the Library of America is in the house: Edmund Wilson’s writings from the 1930s and 1940s, including Classics and Commercials, The Triple Thinkers and The Wound and the Bow. There is something appropriate and even – without wanting to be corny about it – moving about seeing Wilson take his place in the Library of America ...

Flip-flopping

Emily Wilson: Can heroes hesitate and still be heroic?, 17 November 2005

Hesitant Heroes: Private Inhibitions, Cultural Crisis 
by Theodore Ziolkowski.
Cornell, 163 pp., £17.50, March 2004, 0 8014 4203 6
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... someone who never hesitates. As soon as he has made up his mind, he acts. But in Hesitant Heroes Theodore Ziolkowski identifies texts central to the Western canon – the Oresteia, the Aeneid, Parzival, Hamlet, Wallenstein – which show heroes who hesitate at the moment of decision. He argues that each of these works uses the personal hesitation of a single ...

Sour Plums

John Lanchester, 26 October 1989

The Letters of John Cheever 
edited by Benjamin Cheever.
Cape, 397 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 224 02689 5
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Mary McCarthy 
by Carol Gelderman.
Sidgwick, 430 pp., £12.95, March 1989, 0 283 99797 4
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The company she keeps 
by Mary McCarthy.
Weidenfeld, 246 pp., £4.50, October 1989, 0 297 79649 6
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... committee. An open letter published in the magazine New Masses, and signed by fifty luminaries, Theodore Dreiser and Lillian Hellman among them, urged committee members to resign. Some did so, but McCarthy, seeing an attempt on the part of the (then influential) American Communist Party to stifle debate, did not: she started to make herself an expert on the ...

Ordained as a Nation

Pankaj Mishra: Exporting Democracy, 21 February 2008

The Wilsonian Moment: Self-Determination and the International Origins of Anti-Colonial Nationalism 
by Erez Manela.
Oxford, 331 pp., £17.99, July 2007, 978 0 19 517615 5
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... often heard in student Communist circles in India. Ho was an indigent worker in Paris when Woodrow Wilson arrived in the city in 1919 with a plan to make the world ‘safe for democracy’. Inspired by Wilson’s advocacy of national self-determination, Ho sought an audience with the US president, hoping to persuade him to ...

Denizens of Baghdad’s Green Zone, take note

Andrew Bacevich: America’s Forgotten General, 20 April 2006

Leonard Wood: Rough Rider, Surgeon, Architect of American Imperialism 
by Jack McCallum.
New York, 368 pp., $34.95, December 2005, 0 8147 5699 9
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... cultivated a variety of useful patrons – his patients included the wife of President McKinley; Theodore Roosevelt, assistant secretary of the navy, was among his closest friends – Wood saw the war as an opportunity to escape from a medical profession that he found dull and claustrophobic. So in 1898, he reinvented himself. Along with Roosevelt, perhaps ...

Inside Every Foreigner

Jackson Lears: America Intervenes, 21 February 2019

Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Political Life 
by Robert M. Dallek..
Allen Lane, 692 pp., £30, November 2017, 978 0 241 31584 2
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... who has apparently made his peace with the warfare state. As Dallek sees him, FDR, like his cousin Theodore Roosevelt, was an ‘instinctively brilliant politician’ who consulted opinion polls but ‘principally relied on his feel for the public mood’. Descendants of the New York Anglo-Dutch elite, both men got along fine with ordinary voters despite their ...

A Bit of Chaos

Margaret MacMillan: The Great War and After, 5 February 2015

The Deluge: The Great War and the Remaking of Global Order 
by Adam Tooze.
Allen Lane, 672 pp., £30, May 2014, 978 1 84614 034 1
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... had reached prewar levels. True, the US had failed to join the League of Nations, which Woodrow Wilson had nearly killed himself trying to create, but Americans were at its headquarters in Geneva as observers and the US worked with the European powers throughout the 1920s towards the objectives of the League. In a sign of how wartime passions were ...

Short Cuts

Geoffrey Wheatcroft: Gordon Brown, 7 June 2007

... that book did include some men by no means universally admired: George Norris, who attacked the Wilson administration’s infringement of neutrality during the Great War, or Robert Taft, who criticised the Nuremberg Trials as retroactive justice. In Brown’s book, there isn’t a page that anyone would find controversial or objectionable, unless there are ...

Welfare in America

William Plowden, 11 July 1991

American Social Welfare Policy: A Structural Approach 
by Howard Karger and David Stoesz.
Longman, 371 pp., £18.95, November 1990, 0 8013 0193 9
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America’s Misunderstood Welfare State 
by Theodore Marmor, Jerry Mashaw and Philip Harvey.
Basic Books, 268 pp., $22.95, October 1990, 9780465001224
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The American Prospect 
edited by Paul Starr and Robert Kuttner.
New Prospect, 168 pp., $31
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... The term was further defined, and given academic respectability, by the sociologist William Julius Wilson. Taking broadly the same groups, he characterised them as ‘that heterogeneous grouping of families and individuals who are outside the mainstream of the American occupational system’. Wilson argued that as the middle ...

I was the Left Opposition

Stuart Middleton: Max Eastman, 22 March 2018

Max Eastman: A Life 
by Christoph Irmscher.
Yale, 434 pp., £35, August 2017, 978 0 300 22256 2
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... and he rode the upsurge of progressivism and socialism that resulted in the candidacies of Theodore Roosevelt and the socialist Eugene Debs in the presidential election of 1912. Alongside Crystal, who was a prominent workers’ rights campaigner, he cut a figure in pre-war Greenwich Village, where artistic, political and moral conventions were ...

Little Lame Balloonman

August Kleinzahler: E.E. Cummings, 9 October 2014

E.E. Cummings: The Complete Poems, 1904-62 
edited by George James Firmage.
Liveright, 1102 pp., £36, September 2013, 978 0 87140 710 8
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E.E. Cummings: A Life 
by Susan Cheever.
Pantheon, 209 pp., £16, February 2014, 978 0 307 37997 9
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... Dylan Thomas, Octavio Paz, Louis Zukofsky and Charles Olson. As did any number of critics: Edmund Wilson, Harry Levin, Jacques Barzun, Lionel Trilling, Guy Davenport. Were all of them hornswoggled, taken in by the surface polish and acrobatics of Cummings’s style and, those who knew him, by his great personal charm, unable to register the paucity of ...

On the imagining of conspiracy

Christopher Hitchens, 7 November 1991

Harlot’s Ghost 
by Norman Mailer.
Joseph, 1122 pp., £15.99, October 1991, 0 7181 2934 2
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A Very Thin Line: The Iran-Contra Affairs 
by Theodore Draper.
Hill and Wang, 690 pp., $27.95, June 1991, 0 8090 9613 7
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... have been the foundation of the storied ‘Reagan revolution’? Contemporary historians like Theodore Draper, Arthur Schlesinger and Garry Wills, or political journalists like Seymour Hersh, Lou Cannon and Robert Woodward, deal with this difficulty in various ways, but seldom succeed for long in firing the general consciousness. This is because they are ...

What difference did she make?

Eric Hobsbawm, 23 May 1991

A Question of Leadership: Gladstone to Thatcher 
by Peter Clarke.
Hamish Hamilton, 334 pp., £17.99, April 1991, 0 241 13005 0
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The Quiet Rise of John Major 
by Edward Pearce.
Weidenfeld, 177 pp., £14.99, April 1991, 0 297 81208 4
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... it made very little difference that the man on the bridge was Andrew Johnson and not Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and not McKinley, Mrs Wilson and not Woodrow Wilson, Truman and not Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson and not Kennedy, Ford and not Nixon, or even that there was nobody in the ...

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