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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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... and problems of Operation Overlord. But Carlo d’Este’s history of the whole Normandy campaign, first published in 1983, is in a different class altogether, as are the essays edited by TheodoreWilson. 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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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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... Most of us, it seems, tend to think of the ‘hero’ as 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 ...

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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... enterprise, when she started to get telephone calls from Communist acquaintances warning her off the 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 ...

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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... Early in The Wilsonian Moment, Erez Manela tells a story about Ho Chi Minh that I 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 ...

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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... his participation a decade before in the epic 3000-mile pursuit of the warrior-chief Geronimo. Having 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 ...

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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... recover economically from the war and by the late 1920s production in most European countries 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 ...

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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... tensions with the Soviet Union. Dallek views FDR from the perspective of a mid-century liberal 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 ...

Short Cuts

Geoffrey Wheatcroft: Gordon Brown

7 June 2007
... to denounce any or all of these. The title echoes John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage, but 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 ...

Little Lame Balloonman

August Kleinzahler: E.E. Cummings

8 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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... and Marianne Moore who sang his praises, but other, very different kinds of poet too: Robert Graves, 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 ...

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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... the progressive publisher Oswald Garrison Villard. The world of activism and public speaking suited Eastman, 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 ...

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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... and all the other walking wounded who crowded New York City’s sidewalks in the late Seventies’. 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 ...
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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... reason other than their leadership potential. And yet the great US ship of state has sailed on as though 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 White House at all ...

No Accident

Zachary Leader: Gore Vidal’s Golden Age

21 June 2001
The Golden Age: A Novel 
by Gore Vidal.
Little, Brown, 467 pp., £17.99, October 2000, 0 316 85409 3
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... are Emma’s daughter, Caroline Sanford, and Caroline’s half-brother, Blaise. The most important historical figures are Hay, Henry Adams, William Randolph Hearst, and Presidents McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, though there are cameo appearances from many others, including Adams’s brother Brooks, author of the imperialist manifesto Law of Civilisation and Decay (1895), and Henry James, as well ...

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