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The President’s Alternate

Fredrik Logevall: Bobby Kennedy, 18 May 2017

Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon 
by Larry Tye.
Ballantine, 624 pp., £15.58, May 2017, 978 0 8129 8350 0
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... Tye argues, Kennedy’s extraordinary appeal in his final years lay precisely in his ability to bridge gaps, between urban workers and suburban professionals, between rich and poor, between white and black and Latino. By his willingness to change and to transcend the standard political categories, Tye’s Kennedy could have become America’s ‘high priest ...

Masses and Classes

Ferdinand Mount: Gladstone, 17 February 2005

The Mind of Gladstone: Religion, Homer and Politics 
by David Bebbington.
Oxford, 331 pp., £55, March 2004, 0 19 926765 0
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... besides, the natural tendency of political biographers to concentrate on the political struggle. Roy Jenkins’s life gives us an entrancing account of the life of Victorian politicians: when they went to bed and got up, what they drank, what trains they took (Jenkins was a Bradshaw buff). But about what went on in Gladstone’s head Jenkins leaves us not ...

A Spanish girl is a volcano

John Pemble: Apostles in Gibraltar, 10 September 2015

John Kemble’s Gibraltar Journal: The Spanish Expedition of the Cambridge Apostles, 1830-31 
by Eric Nye.
Macmillan, 416 pp., £100, January 2015, 978 1 137 38446 1
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... hated the clichés and party-line posturing, and dismissed the pamphlet as ‘bloody rot’. Roy Campbell jeered at the Republicans: ‘The sodomites are on your side;/The cowards and the cranks.’ Ezra Pound said the enemy wasn’t Franco, but big-time international finance: ‘You are all had. Spain is an emotional luxury to a gang of sap-headed ...


Adam Shatz: Ornette Coleman, 16 July 2015

... one who knew how to ‘manipulate perceptions’, as one of his rivals told me. The trumpeter Roy Eldridge thought he was ‘jiving’. Miles Davis called him ‘all screwed up inside’, and wrote in his autobiography that Coleman ‘just came and fucked up everybody’.Coleman wasn’t the only jazz musician on the scene who was looking for a way out of ...

Do you like him?

Ian Jack: Ken Livingstone, 10 May 2012

You Can’t Say That: Memoirs 
by Ken Livingstone.
Faber, 710 pp., £9.99, April 2012, 978 0 571 28041 4
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... it, which laid the foundations of Livingstone’s politics. In this very long autobiography – Roy Jenkins managed Gladstone’s life in less – the most rewarding pages come near the beginning. A politician who believes he can still win power is likely to present himself in the best of lights, or at least suppress any awkward self-knowledge he may happen ...


Mary Hawthorne: The Luck of Walker Evans, 5 February 2004

Walker Evans 
by James Mellow.
Perseus, 654 pp., £15.99, February 2002, 1 903985 13 7
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... Evans’s horizons; and, eventually, he asked Evans to contribute his photographs of the Brooklyn Bridge to Harry and Caresse Crosby’s edition of The Bridge. With apparent casualness – the same casualness that got him into Williams – Evans went on to meet just about anyone in the art and literary worlds who it was or ...


Alan Bennett: Allelujah!, 3 January 2019

...  20 December 2017. Nick Hytner rings saying he hopes to put on the hospital play at the Bridge next year and had I had any thoughts about the title? Off the cuff I suggest Past Caring, which I’m sure has been used, but will serve, if only for the announcement of the season in the New Year.As an early Christmas present Bridget has given us a cow creamer she has made ...


Alan Bennett: A Shameful Year, 8 January 2004

... baronial pursuers, who eventually caught up and cut most of them down a little upstream at Radcot Bridge. 15 February. R. and I go down to Leicester Square at noon, the Tube as crowded as at rush hour, then walk up Charing Cross Road to where the march is streaming across Cambridge Circus. There seems no structure to it, ahead of us some SWP banners but ...


Alan Bennett: Bennett’s Dissection, 1 January 2009

... Samuel Palmer. In the afternoon we go over to Austwick and walk down the muddy lane to the clapper bridge. There are sheep and lambs everywhere and the beck is very full, gliding wickedly between the stones before flattening out over the fields. It’s a perfect scene and R. is just saying how we must try and keep it in mind next week (when I have to go into ...

The Last Witness

Colm Tóibín: The career of James Baldwin, 20 September 2001

... friend Eugene Worth did in 1946: he will finally jump to his death off the George Washington Bridge. Baldwin later said that there were no fictional antecedents for Rufus: ‘He was in the novel because I don’t think anyone had ever watched the disintegration of a black boy from that particular point of view. Rufus was partly responsible for his ...

What did they do in the war?

Angus Calder, 20 June 1985

Firing Line 
by Richard Holmes.
Cape, 436 pp., £12.95, March 1985, 0 224 02043 9
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The Right of the Line: The Royal Air Force in the European War 1939-1945 
by John Terraine.
Hodder, 841 pp., £14.95, March 1985, 0 340 26644 9
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The Bomber Command War Diaries: An Operational Reference Book 
by Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt.
Viking, 804 pp., £25, May 1985, 0 670 80137 2
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’45: The Final Drive from the Rhine to the Baltic 
by Charles Whiting.
Century, 192 pp., £7.95, March 1985, 0 7126 0812 5
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In the Ruins of the Reich 
by Douglas Botting.
Allen and Unwin, 248 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 9780049430365
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1945: The World We Fought For 
by Robert Kee.
Hamish Hamilton, 371 pp., £12.95, May 1985, 0 241 11531 0
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VE Day: Victory in Europe 1945 
by Robin Cross.
Sidgwick, 223 pp., £12.95, May 1985, 0 283 99220 4
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One Family’s War 
edited by Patrick Mayhew.
Hutchinson, 237 pp., £10.95, May 1985, 0 7126 0812 5
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Poems of the Second World War: The Oasis Selection 
edited by Victor Selwyn.
Dent, 386 pp., £12, May 1985, 0 460 10432 2
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My Life 
by Bert Hardy.
Gordon Fraser, 192 pp., £14.95, March 1985, 0 86092 083 6
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Victory in Europe: D Day to VE Day 
by Max Hastings and George Stevens.
Weidenfeld, 192 pp., £10.95, April 1985, 0 297 78650 4
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... Whiting claims melodramatically that Karl Timmerman, the US officer who captured that famous bridge over the Rhine at Remagen which the Germans had failed to blow up, settled our post-war fates adversely by preempting Montgomery’s crossing of the river further north and ‘changing’ the direction of the main Allied attack towards Bavaria. But ...


James Wolcott: Rick Moody, 19 September 2002

The Black Veil 
by Rick Moody.
Faber, 323 pp., £16.99, August 2002, 0 571 20056 7
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... me, after a night at Danceteria, to chop lines of that fell drug with her on her parents’ Roy Lichtenstein print.’ True co-dependency is achieved when he hooks up with Jen, a girlfriend who also gets regularly blitzed. When they host a dinner party together (bad idea), Jen’s too busy vomiting in the bathroom to greet the guests. As in most ...

Outfox them!

Sheila Fitzpatrick: Stalin v Emigrés, 8 March 2012

Showcasing the Great Experiment: Cultural Diplomacy and Western Visitors to the Soviet Union 1921-41 
by Michael David-Fox.
Oxford, 396 pp., £35, January 2012, 978 0 19 979457 7
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Moscow, the Fourth Rome: Stalinism, Cosmopolitanism and the Evolution of Soviet Culture, 1931-41 
by Katerina Clark.
Harvard, 420 pp., £25.95, November 2011, 978 0 674 05787 6
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Being Soviet: Identity, Rumour and Everyday Life under Stalin 
by Timothy Johnston.
Oxford, 240 pp., £55, August 2011, 978 0 19 960403 6
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Stalin’s Last Generation: Soviet Postwar Youth and the Emergence of Mature Socialism 
by Juliane Fürst.
Oxford, 391 pp., £63, September 2010, 978 0 19 957506 0
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All This Is Your World: Soviet Tourism at Home and Abroad after Stalin 
by Anne Gorsuch.
Oxford, 222 pp., £60, August 2011, 978 0 19 960994 9
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... avail. Stalin acquired a few contacts among foreign Communists resident in Moscow (the Indian M.N. Roy, the Finn Otto Kuusinen, the Hungarian economist Eugen Varga), but these people were marginal in the Comintern world of the 1920s. By the time another Stalin contact, the Bulgarian Georgi Dimitrov, took over the Comintern, the institution itself had become ...

Very like St Paul

Ian Sansom: Johnny Cash, 9 March 2006

The Man Called Cash: The Life, Love and Faith of an American Legend 
by Steve Turner.
Bloomsbury, 363 pp., £8.99, February 2006, 0 7475 8079 0
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Walk the Line 
directed by James Mangold.
November 2005
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... to Christ and begins to walk in the way of righteousness, as Alice Cooper, Bob Dylan, Marvin Gaye, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, Kris Kristofferson, and Natasha and Daniel Bedingfield have variously done before him. The father, of course, the Abraham, or at least the son of the father, the Avraham ben Avraham Avinu, the Charlton Heston of redemption rock, is ...

A Djinn speaks

Colm Tóibín: What about George Yeats?, 20 February 2003

Becoming George: The Life of Mrs W.B. Yeats 
by Ann Saddlemyer.
Oxford, 808 pp., £25, September 2002, 0 19 811232 7
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... fatigued by her almost daily task and I thinking and talking of little else. The first volume of Roy Foster’s biography of Yeats, taking us up to 1914, which was published in 1997 (the second and final volume will be published in the autumn), showed that while no statement or public position by Yeats could be taken at face value, this did not mean that he ...

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