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Divinely Ordained

Jackson Lears: God loves America, 19 May 2011

A World on Fire: An Epic History of Two Nations Divided 
by Amanda Foreman.
Penguin, 988 pp., £12.99, June 2011, 978 0 14 104058 5
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... sharper outlines. Second-tier players have their moment in the limelight: the secretary of state William Seward drinks too much and blusters about invading Canada; the US ambassador Charles Francis Adams keeps a stiff and chilly distance from London society, managing to seem both unformed and overly formal; the Confederate envoy James Mason says ...

Urgency Is Not Enough

Peter Campbell, 6 April 1995

Don’t Leave Me This Way: Art in the Age of Aids 
compiled by Ted Gott.
Thames and Hudson, 246 pp., £12.95, March 1995, 0 642 13030 2
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The End of Innocence: Britain in the Time of Aids 
by Simon Garfield.
Faber, 406 pp., £17.50, November 1994, 0 571 15353 4
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... best of Don’t Leave Me This Way – for example, the portrait photographs and captions in which William Yang records in pictures as plain as holiday snaps the sickness and death of a friend – is analogous to the personal accounts Garfield recorded for The End of Innocence. Such records (nearly always accompanied by words which explain who is HIV ...

I just get my pistol and shoot him right down

Eric Foner: Slave-Dealing, 22 March 2018

The Weeping Time: Memory and the Largest Slave Auction in American History 
by Anne C. Bailey.
Cambridge, 197 pp., £19.99, November 2017, 978 1 316 64348 8
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... in cash, with the remainder in interest-bearing instalments. The highest sum paid was $1750 for William, a carpenter – an immense amount at a time when the average working-class white person earned around $300 per year. George, Sue and their two young sons together went for $2480. The sale was managed by Joseph Bryan, a prominent slave dealer whose ...

A Hit of Rus in Urbe

Iain Sinclair: In Lea Valley, 27 June 2002

... was over the name. I favoured (homage to Izaak Walton) the Lea spelling, where they went for the (William) Burroughs-suggestive Lee. Inspector Lee. Willie Lee. Customised paranoia: double e, narrowed eyes glinting behind heavy-rimmed spectacles. The area alongside the M25, between Enfield Lock and High Beach, Epping Forest, carries another echo of ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2004, 6 January 2005

... Vorticism about it, like a three-dimensional version of the figures that populate the paintings of William Roberts. There’s a reluctance about the soldier, too, the heaviness of the figure more to do with resignation than any eager embracing of the military calling. One of my fellow conscripts in the army used to maintain that the pose of soldiers on war ...

Rat-a-tat-a-tat-a-tat-a-tat

David Runciman: Thatcher’s Rise, 6 June 2013

Margaret Thatcher: The Authorised Biography. Vol. I: Not for Turning 
by Charles Moore.
Allen Lane, 859 pp., £30, April 2013, 978 0 7139 9282 3
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... by Keith Joseph, her closest ally in the cabinet and the secretary of state for industry, Alfred Sherman at the staunchly Thatcherite Centre for Policy Studies turned his framed photo of Joseph to the wall. But even if the lady was for turning, she was not for giving up. The mistake made by the ‘wets’ in her government was to suppose that her ...

Husbands and Wives

Terry Castle: Claude & Marcel, Gertrude & Alice, 13 December 2007

Don’t Kiss Me: The Art of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore 
edited by Louise Downie.
Tate Gallery, 240 pp., £25, June 2006, 1 59711 025 6
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Two Lives: Gertrude and Alice 
by Janet Malcolm.
Yale, 229 pp., £16.99, October 2007, 978 0 300 12551 1
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... practitioner of the style in recent years has been the rubber-visaged, now slightly shopworn Cindy Sherman – known particularly for the gender-bending self-portraits she made in the 1970s and 1980s. Something about the genre seems to invite sexual self-mystification, but Cahun’s photographic experiments are truly extraordinary. In a discomfiting series of ...

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