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Timebends: A Life 
by Arthur Miller.
Methuen, 614 pp., £17.95, November 1987, 0 413 41480 9
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Vivien Leigh: The Life of Vivien Leigh 
by Alexander Walker.
Weidenfeld, 342 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 297 79118 4
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... husband were nearing their conclusion. To his biography of that beautiful and damned creature Alexander Walker brings knowledge, sympathy and tact in equal measure: Vivien is the best account we could possibly expect while key figures in the drama are still living. He is especially good on the early life and convent schooldays, and his chronicle of her ...

Hogshit and Chickenshit

Michael Rogin, 1 August 1996

Washington Babylon 
by Alexander Cockburn and Ken Silverstein.
Verso, 316 pp., £31.95, May 1996, 1 85984 092 2
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... Republican budget-busting efforts to swell defence spending and revive the multi-billion dollar Star Wars fantasy (the scheme is science fiction but the profits are real), Clinton has abandoned all talk of a peace dividend. It requires only a slight turn of the kaleidoscope, therefore, to acquire a second perspective, one that turns the defeat of the ...


John Lloyd: Report from Moscow, 4 July 1996

... file, I read Pavel Voshchanov – once Yeltsin’s press secretary, now Komsomolskaya Pravda’s star commentator – in his column of 31 January: ‘the Communists do not really want to be in power because they would have to take responsibility for all that happens – and if they fail, it would be their second exit from power, this time for a long ...


Peter Parsons: Rooting around Oxyrhyncus, 4 June 2015

... who ‘travelled the world to gratify his stomach and appetites even lower’. By the time of Alexander the Great the canon had more or less solidified, the bedrock of what was then, and would remain, ‘a classical education’. With Alexander’s conquests Greek emigrants gained possession of the whole Near East. The ...

The Charm before the Storm

Mary-Kay Wilmers, 9 July 1987

Speak, Memory 
by Vladimir Nabokov.
Penguin, 242 pp., £3.95, May 1987, 0 14 008623 4
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The Russian Album 
by Michael Ignatieff.
Chatto, 191 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 7011 3109 8
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The Making of a Peacemonger: The Memoirs of George Ignatieff 
prepared in association with by Sonja Sinclair.
Toronto, 265 pp., £15, July 1985, 0 8020 2556 0
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A Little of All These: An Estonian Childhood 
by Tania Alexander.
Cape, 165 pp., £12.50, March 1987, 0 224 02400 0
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... revolt, was commander of the Corps des Pages for twenty-five years, and presided late in life over Alexander II’s Council of Ministers; his grandfather, Count Nicholas, described by Lord Salisbury as ‘an amusing, joking man without regard for the truth’, negotiated the treaty which concluded the Russo-Turkish War and, as ...


David Fraser, 22 December 1983

Monty. Vol. II: Master of the Battlefield 1942-1944 
by Nigel Hamilton.
Hamish Hamilton, 863 pp., £12.95, October 1983, 0 241 11104 8
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Decision in Normandy: The Unwritten Story of Montgomery and the Allied Campaign 
by Carlo D’Este.
Collins, 555 pp., £12.95, October 1983, 0 00 217056 6
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... describes his mood at that time as stemming from ‘injured professionalism’. His exchanges with Alexander – given here – were petty and pettish. There is little attempt at military analysis in this work, but both in Sicily and Italy many readers will regard Hamilton as remarkably generous to Monty, and unjust to his critics. The last parts of this book ...

Trapped in Miss America’s Boudoir

Glyn Maxwell, 27 April 2000

... and were giving it to us. They’d made us Masters of the Universe, and it felt, as in the time of Alexander, that what they’d created would last for ever. It didn’t though, did it? Don’t get me started. Four decades later, I think we all agree that a domestic apocalypse is under way, and that American manhood is under siege. How do you think that’s ...


Jon Halliday, 2 June 1983

In the Service of the Peacock Throne: The Diaries of the Shah’s Last Ambassador to London 
by Parviz Radji.
Hamish Hamilton, 343 pp., £12.50, April 1983, 0 241 10960 4
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... three of the four people who have had information about themselves embargoed: Princess Ashraf, Alexander Haig and Richard (‘Dick’) Helms. Manifestly evasive though the diaries are, they are nonetheless exceptionally illuminating on two issues: on the last years of the Shah’s regime, seen from the inside; and on how to try to nobble Britain’s media ...

Dark Emotions

Jenny Turner: The Women’s Liberation Movement, 24 September 2020

directed by Philippa Lowthorpe.
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directed by the Berwick Street Film Collective.
Lux/Koenig/Raven Row, £24, July 2019
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Sisterhood and After: An Oral History of the UK Women's Liberation Movement, 1968-present 
by Margaretta Jolly.
Oxford, 334 pp., £22.99, November 2019, 978 0 19 065884 7
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... which is based on that radio programme, and stars Keira Knightley as the feminist historian Sally Alexander. It’s positioned – as Pride (2014) was to Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners in the 1980s, and Made in Dagenham (2010) was to the Ford sewing machinists’ strike of 1968 – to allow viewers some minutes of unchallenging celebration that ...

At the Whitechapel

Anne Wagner: Hannah Höch, 20 February 2014

... demonstrates, her work doesn’t answer Freud’s riddle: instead it cuts right through it, as Alexander did the Gordian knot. Höch, granted, was an artist, not a conqueror, and her scissors required more precision than force. Or perhaps we should say that the force of her cutting was metaphorical rather than physical, as it had to be if the task was to ...

At the National Gallery

Peter Campbell: Fakes, 22 July 2010

... imaging, gas chromatography and various sorts of microscopy. In 1874, when the collection of Alexander Barker, the son of a fashionable boot-maker, came up for sale at Christie’s, the National Gallery acquired two Botticellis: both long pictures of Venus, one with three putti (An Allegory), the other with four baby satyrs and Mars (Venus and Mars). An ...

Short Cuts

J. Hoberman: The CIA’s Animal Farm, 5 July 2007

... the juicy detail that Orwell’s widow, Sonia, was wooed with the promise of meeting her favourite star, Clark Gable – but, as detailed by Daniel Leab in Orwell Subverted: The CIA and the Filming of ‘Animal Farm’ (Pennsylvania, $55), the operation was real. Leab is a historian who has done extensive research into the production of Hollywood’s Cold War ...

Short Cuts

Jeremy Harding: Depardieu in Belgium, 24 January 2013

... cuisine. Maybe he should reconsider. Imagine a minister of local culture who is also a national star of revivalist Russian cinema. Depardieu has already tested the water. In Salzburg in 2010 he took the role of narrator in a performance of Prokofiev’s oratorio Ivan Grozny (Op. 116), arranged by Abram Stasevich and based on Eisenstein’s texts for the ...

Short Cuts

Daniel Soar: On @, 28 May 2009

... say? This is why it might not be insane to give some credence to the suggestion made in passing by Alexander Humez and Nicholas Humez in On the Dot: The Speck that Changed the World (Oxford, £13.99), an excellent history of another underexamined typographical mark, that Tomlinson – though employed by the US Department of Defense at the time, and on the ...

Aphrodite bends over Stalin

John Lloyd, 4 April 1996

... is obvious, and perhaps inevitable as Russia joins the international cultural circuit. That its star figures should be trying, by every means, to get rich is also inevitable: they have after all long been envious guests on their foreign colleagues’ estates and in their palatial apartments. Lacking the old means of coercion over its artists, Russian ...

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