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Ecclefechan and the Stars

Robert Crawford, 21 January 1988

The Crisis of the Democratic Intellect 
by George Davie.
Polygon, 283 pp., £17.95, September 1986, 0 948275 18 9
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... their Glasgow and Edinburgh lecture rooms Smith and Blair were busy translating their audiences. Andrew Hook has drawn attention to the widespread use of Blair’s Rhetoric in the United States. By the early 1760s, the Scotsman William Small was teaching Rhetoric and Belles Lettres to Jefferson at William and Mary. By 1768 John Witherspoon from the Laigh ...

Hey, Mister, you want dirty book?

Edward Said: The CIA, 30 September 1999

Who Paid the Piper? The CIA and the Cultural Cold War 
by Frances Stonor Saunders.
Granta, 509 pp., £20, July 1999, 1 86207 029 6
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... corporatised: what the CIA did covertly forty years ago is done openly by the Moral Majority, Pat Robertson and the National Rifle Association, and even they are only a very tiny part of an immense, palpitating hulk of profligate, ideologically discolouring squid. In the first years after World War Two there were principals who pulled strings, drafted ...

Perfectly Human

Jenny Diski: Lillie Langtry and Mrs Vladimir Nabokov, 1 July 1999

Lillie Langtry: Manners, Masks and Morals 
by Laura Beatty.
Chatto, 336 pp., £20, March 1999, 1 85619 513 9
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Véra (Mrs Vladimir Nabokov): Portrait of a Marriage 
by Stacy Schiff.
Random House, 456 pp., $27.95, April 1999, 0 679 44790 3
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... scout who spotted Kate Moss on a plane would have thought much the same as the painter Graham Robertson when he noticed Langtry walking past Apsley House. Lillie began her career as muse, model and archetype to the likes of Millais, Whistler, Burne-Jones, Watts and Poynter within the month. Society was just as quick to take her up. Vanity Fair gushed in ...

Woof, woof

Rosemary Hill: Auberon Waugh, 7 November 2019

A Scribbler in Soho: A Celebration of Auberon Waugh 
edited by Naim Attallah.
Quartet, 341 pp., £20, January 2019, 978 0 7043 7457 7
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... Jesus having sex with a variety of men, including Pontius Pilate. John Mortimer and Geoffrey Robertson appeared for the defence, but lost. Gay News was fined and its publisher given a suspended prison sentence. ‘I have an open mind about queer-bashing,’ Waugh’s diary reflected, ‘from one point of view it seems rather cruel … I simply don’t ...

Watching Me Watching Them Watching You

Andrew O’Hagan: Surveillance, 9 October 2003

... at their windows in their pyjama-bottoms and football scarves and shout surnames into the trees.‘Robertson! McCauley! O’Dwyer! Stenhouse!’They had children’s voices. They had spots and hostile memories, they had the beginnings of moustaches, but it was their eyes I can’t forget up at the windows. They hated their immediate confinement, but more than ...

Light Entertainment

Andrew O’Hagan: Our Paedophile Culture, 8 November 2012

... funding came from Social Services. Regular guests at their parties included the actor James Robertson Justice, who was one of Britain’s leading film stars in the 1940s and 1950s and reportedly a close friend of the Duke of Edinburgh. Princesses Marina and Alexandra are said to have attended. Among the former Duncroft girls to have come forward, one ...

‘My God was bigger than his’

Colin Kidd: The Republicans, 4 November 2004

The Right Nation: Why America Is Different 
by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge.
Allen Lane, 450 pp., £14.99, August 2004, 0 7139 9738 9
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Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet 
by James Mann.
Penguin, 448 pp., $16, September 2004, 0 14 303489 8
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Nixon’s Shadow: The History of an Image 
by David Greenberg.
Norton, 496 pp., £9.99, November 2004, 0 393 32616 0
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America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism 
by Anatol Lieven.
HarperCollins, 274 pp., £18.99, October 2004, 0 00 716456 4
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... the Democratic side of American political culture. Lieven traces the phenomenon back to the era of Andrew Jackson and describes the formation during the 1830s of a resilient tradition of ‘Jacksonian nationalism’. Although he recognises that occasional eruptions of nativism on the other side of American politics – the anti-Catholic ...

Festival of Punishment

Thomas Laqueur: On Death Row, 5 October 2000

Proximity to Death 
by William McFeely.
Norton, 206 pp., £17.95, January 2000, 0 393 04819 5
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Death Row: The Encyclopedia of Capital Punishment 
edited by Bonnie Bobit.
Bobit, 311 pp., $24.95, September 1999, 0 9624857 6 4
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... had graced the state flag since 1879 with the ‘stars and bars’: the blue and white cross of St Andrew on an in-your-face field of bright red. Its Civil War service done, this banner had rallied the Ku Klux Klan as it helped re-establish white power in the South during a half-century reign of terror. When, in 1993, the then Georgia Governor asked the ...

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