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9 September 1993
Fire and Blood: The True Story of David Koresh and the Waco Siege 
by David Leppard.
Fourth Estate, 182 pp., £5.99, June 1993, 1 85702 166 5
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Preacher of Death: The Shocking Inside Story of David Koresh and the Waco Siege 
by Martin King and Marc Breault.
Signet, 375 pp., £4.99, May 1993, 0 451 18000 3
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... Eighty-six people died in the Waco siege in April, including the ‘prophet’ David Koresh and 17 children fathered by him. David Leppard, a crime reporter with the SundayTimes Insight team who covered the Waco story, describes well and knowledgeably the appalling build-up of weapons in the compound of the Branch Davidians’ ranch and the information and assumptions that led the two ...

Funnies

Caroline Moorehead

5 February 1981
Siege! Princes Gate 
by the Sunday Times​ ‘Insight’ Team.
Hamlyn, 131 pp., May 1980, 0 600 20337 9
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Siege: Six Days at the Iranian Embassy 
by George Brock.
Macmillan, 144 pp., £1.95, May 1980, 0 333 30951 0
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Who dares wins 
by Tony Geraghty.
Arms and Armour, 256 pp., £8.95, July 1980, 9780853684572
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... I was going to get back alive.’ And among the hostages was Lavasani, a 29-year-old Islamic zealot who was ready, some thought eager, to die. (According to the Observer account, richer than the SundayTimes version in detail and background, the former Press Attaché at the Embassy, who had recently returned home and so narrowly escaped being a hostage, said later: ‘I really wish I had been ...
31 March 1988
Maxwell 
by Joe Haines.
Macdonald, 525 pp., £12.95, March 1988, 0 356 17172 8
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Maxwell: The Outsider 
by Tom Bower.
Aurum, 374 pp., £12.95, March 1988, 0 948149 88 4
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Maxwell: A Portrait of Power 
by Peter Thompson and Anthony Delano.
Bantam, 256 pp., £12.95, February 1988, 0 593 01499 5
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Goodbye Fleet Street 
by Robert Edwards.
Cape, 260 pp., £12.95, March 1988, 0 224 02457 4
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... colour. Mostly they show him hobnobbing with crowned heads, presidents or prime ministers, with a pop star or a footballer thrown in. One picture, more puzzling than some, is captioned ‘Maxwell and team, about to leave Ulan Bator in the Mirror jet’. What can conceivably be the Mirror’s interest in Outer Mongolia? Why does the Mirror need a globe-girdling jet? And is it not a bit tricky getting ...

By San Carlos Water

Neal Ascherson

18 November 1982
Authors take sides on the Falklands 
edited by Cecil Woolf and Jean Moorcroft Wilson.
Cecil Woolf, 144 pp., £4.95, August 1982, 0 900821 63 9
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The Falklands War: The Full Story 
by the Sunday Times​ ‘Insight’ Team.
Deutsch and Sphere, 276 pp., £2.50, October 1982, 0 233 97515 2
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The Winter War: The Falklands 
by Patrick Bishop and John Witherow.
Quartet, 153 pp., £2.95, September 1982, 0 7043 3424 0
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Iron Britannia: Why Parliament waged its Falklands war 
by Anthony Barnett.
Allison and Busby, 160 pp., £2.95, November 1982, 0 85031 494 1
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Falklands/Malvinas: Whose Crisis? 
by Martin Honeywell.
Latin American Bureau, 135 pp., £1.95, September 1982, 0 906156 15 7
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Los Chicos de la Guerra 
by Daniel Kon.
Editorial Galerna, Buenos Aires, August 1982
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A Message from the Falklands: The Life and Gallant Death of David Tinker, Lieut RN 
compiled by Hugh Tinker.
Junction, 224 pp., £3.50, November 1982, 0 86245 102 7
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... question about the rights and wrongs. The place was ours, and we went and took it back.’ In The Winter War, Patrick Bishop and John Witherow (who went with the Task Force for the Observer and the Times) conclude: The war had everything in its favour. It was neat and tidy. It had a simple motive and a simple response … No war is to be wished for, but if they have to be fought, this was a better ...
22 October 1992
Nuclear Ambiguity: The Vanunu Affair 
by Yoel Cohen.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 297 pp., £10.99, July 1992, 1 85619 150 8
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... nuclear bomb. Eventually, after discussions with other fellow-residents at the church mission, Vanunu decided to do so. Guerrero was not a famous journalist at all, but a hustler. He contacted the SundayTimes in London, and offered them Vanunu’s story for £250,000, to be paid, apparently, exclusively to himself. Vanunu does not seem to have been part of that deal, and indeed from first to last ...
20 November 1986
Bowie 
by Jerry Hopkins.
Elm Tree, 275 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 241 11548 5
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Alias David Bowie 
by Peter Gillman and Leni Gillman.
Hodder, 511 pp., £16.95, September 1986, 0 340 36806 3
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... phrases pop out of pub jukeboxes, and extracts from his movies catch the eye on pub videos, whether he is embracing a Chinese girl or being executed by Japanese soldiers; his image appears in the Sunday-paper magazines, artistically displayed in sundry poses. As actor, mime, musician and crowd-poet, he has chanted his eerie music and frightening stories in thronged arenas; he has strutted in high ...
12 December 1996
Full Disclosure 
by Andrew Neil.
Macmillan, 481 pp., £20, October 1996, 0 333 64682 7
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... In early 1983, Rupert Murdoch, Britain’s most powerful newspaper proprietor, offered the editorship of the SundayTimes to the crusted royalty-worshipper and Tory, Alastair Burnet. Burnet refused, pleading old age, but came up at once with an alternative. ‘You should,’ he told Murdoch, ‘go for the best young ...

Text-Inspectors

Andrew O’Hagan: The Good Traitor

24 September 2014
No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the Surveillance State 
by Glenn Greenwald.
Hamish Hamilton, 259 pp., £20, May 2014, 978 0 241 14669 9
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... losing a story or missing a vital exclusive. But MacAskill was not put off by Greenwald and Poitras’s protectionism and they went to Hong Kong in a posse. Compared to any other major leak in recent times, the material passed on was not only of the highest order but beautifully organised. If there was a Zen prize for whistleblowers, Snowden would win without trying: he checks and labels everything, he ...

The Myth of 1940

Angus Calder

16 October 1980
Collar the lot! How Britain Interned and Expelled its Wartime Refugees 
by Peter Gillman and Leni Gillman.
Quartet, 334 pp., £8.95, May 1980, 0 7043 2244 7
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A Bespattered Page? The Internment of ‘His Majesty’s Most Loyal Enemy Aliens’ 
by Ronald Stent.
Deutsch, 282 pp., £7.95, July 1980, 0 233 97246 3
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... Both the Gillmans and Ronald Stent have looked at official papers, both have interviewed ex-internees. Yet their work has been less overlapping than complementary. Peter Gillman is a member of the SundayTimes ‘Insight’ team, and he and his wife, scenting conspiracy in top places, offer a detailed narrative of Government policies in the making. Mr Stent, himself a former internee, knows far less ...

A Misreading of the Law

Conor Gearty: Why didn’t Campbell sue?

19 February 2004
Report of the Inquiry into the Circumstances Surrounding the Death of Dr David Kelly CMG 
by Lord Hutton.
Stationery Office, 740 pp., £70, January 2004, 0 10 292715 4
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... Scarletts, the Tebbits, down to the lowest ranks of personnel in the Ministry of Defence – that makes the report so extraordinarily one-sided. The analogy with the Widgery Report into the Bloody Sunday killings in 1972 is wrong on many scores but in one respect it is spot on: the government may over time come to regret the inexorable recitation of official good behaviour in the Hutton Report, just ...
17 September 1987
Bernard Berenson. Vol. II: The Making of a Legend 
by Ernest Samuels.
Harvard, 680 pp., £19.95, May 1987, 0 674 06779 7
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The Partnership: The Secret Association of Bernard Berenson and Joseph Duveen 
by Colin Simpson.
Bodley Head, 323 pp., £15, April 1987, 9780370305851
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... Revenue Service wanted to know. Have you any idea of Berenson’s ‘fortune’, he asked a friend, adding that he meant this dans le sens le plus vulgaire du mot. Colin Simpson, formerly of the SundayTimes ‘Insight’ team, has written a book which reveals more than has ever formerly been known about the single most important factor in Berenson’s fortune – his association with the most ...
3 July 1980
Association Football and English Society: 1863-1915 
by Tony Mason.
Harvester, 278 pp., £15.95, January 1980, 0 85527 797 1
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... ignorance or neglect of both extra-English and modern football into relief. In the Thirties, that is to say, I grew up surrounded by Austrian football, where the constructive role of our ‘Miracle Team’s’ centre-half was crucial: Smistik was his name, he played for Rapid, and my early teenage memories of his many outstanding moves are fresher than my recollection of Mr Mason’s descriptions of ...

Shop Talk

John Lennard

27 January 1994
Jargon: Its Uses and Abuses 
by Walter Nash.
Blackwell, 214 pp., £16.99, September 1993, 9780631180630
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... declared that ‘Mr Hudson writes with the elegance, precision and wit of a Fowler ... a delight to read and a mine of useful instruction’, while Peter Clayton, in the sterner fashion befitting the Sunday Telegraph, thought that ‘it’s not often you get a hook so worthy of purpose, so forthright, so amusing and yet so balanced.’ The reviewer for the Scotsman, traditionally anonymous, was given ...

Pseud’s Corner

John Sutherland

17 July 1980
Duffy 
by Dan Kavanagh.
Cape, 181 pp., £4.95, July 1980, 0 224 01822 1
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Moscow Gold 
by John Salisbury.
Futura, 320 pp., £1.10, March 1980, 0 7088 1702 5
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The Middle Ground 
by Margaret Drabble.
Weidenfeld, 248 pp., £5.95, June 1980, 0 297 77808 0
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The Boy Who Followed Ripley 
by Patricia Highsmith.
Heinemann, 292 pp., £6.50, April 1980, 0 434 33520 7
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... author, each catering to different preferences in the general area of women’s historical romance. In the opposite way, genre fiction can employ pseudonymy to combine under one authorial label a team of hacks. Famous examples are the Sexton Blake factory and the Ellery Queen partnership. Pseudonymy, all this is to say, creates freedoms from the cramp of single author, single style, single ...

The Best Stuff

Ian Jack: David Astor

1 June 2016
David Astor: A Life in Print 
by Jeremy Lewis.
Cape, 400 pp., £25, March 2016, 978 0 224 09090 2
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... brother, I was an Observer reader as a schoolboy. On most Sundays in the year or two either side of 1960 he would take the bus six miles to our nearest town and return with a paper that augmented the Sunday Post – delivered to the door that morning by the village newsagent – and its claustrophobic worldview formed fifty years before in Presbyterian Dundee. Where the Observer’s wider and obviously ...

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