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Big Daddy

Linda Nochlin, 30 October 1997

American Visions: The Epic History of Art in America 
by Robert Hughes.
Harvill, 635 pp., £35, October 1997, 9781860463723
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... bimbos, as a not so grand finale. In between, we have everything from Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Cole to Thomas Eakins to Thomas Hart Benton; from Mary Cassatt to Georgia O’Keeffe to Eva Hesse; from the Shakers’ minimalism (good) to that of Barnett Newman (bad); from Bierstadt’s expansive, theatrical Western vistas to Edward Hopper’s cramped, seedy ...

Über-Tony

Ben Pimlott: Anthony Crosland, 3 September 1998

Crosland’s Future: Opportunity and Outcome 
by David Reisman.
Macmillan, 237 pp., £47.50, October 1997, 0 333 65963 5
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... Why is Tony Crosland one of the few Old Labour heroes that nobody mocks? Keir Hardie, G.D.H. Cole, Stafford Cripps, Gaitskell, even Nye Bevan, have become the subject of New Labour locker-room ribaldry. Yet to describe yourself as a ‘Crosland socialist’ still carries meaning. Maybe it is because of that sardonic smile, and an uneasy feeling that, if he were alive today, he would be doing the mocking ...

Performing Seals

Christopher Hitchens: The PR Crowd, 10 August 2000

Partisans: Marriage, Politics and Betrayal Among the New York Intellectuals 
by David Laskin.
Simon and Schuster, 319 pp., $26, January 2000, 0 684 81565 6
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... Norman Podhoretz). Queenie Leavis of course became an official widow, and it is les veuves on whom David Laskin relies most heavily in this relatively orderly account of sexual and matrimonial chaos. Diana Trilling outlived Lionel by many a book; Mary McCarthy enjoyed the same revenge on Edmund Wilson; the witches of Eastwick (lacking only their Hardwick) have ...

Steamy, Seamy

David Margolick: The Mob’s Cuban Kleptocracy, 20 March 2008

The Havana Mob: Gangsters, Gamblers, Showgirls and Revolutionaries in 1950s Cuba 
by T.J. English.
Mainstream, 400 pp., £17.99, September 2007, 978 1 84596 192 3
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... the Mob. Kennedy was not the only American celebrity on the Havana scene: Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Eartha Kitt, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald and Johnny Mathis performed in its nightclubs. George Raft practically moved in. The Cuban kleptocracy was too good to be true, and too good to last. And the seeds of its undoing sprouted at the same time as all ...

Don’t Look to the Ivy League

Howard Hotson, 19 May 2011

... And with regard to standards, the American company that owns BPP University College – which David Willetts granted university status only last year – recently lost its appeal in the US Supreme Court after being found guilty of defrauding its shareholders and is under investigation by the US Higher Learning Commission for deceiving students about the ...

Exhibitionists

Hal Foster: Curation, 4 June 2015

Ways of Curating 
by Hans Ulrich Obrist.
Penguin, 192 pp., £9.99, March 2015, 978 0 241 95096 8
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Curationism: How Curating Took Over the Art World – And Everything Else 
by David Balzer.
Pluto, 140 pp., £8.99, April 2015, 978 0 7453 3597 1
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... formation as an Ausstellungsmacher, and it is no more than touched on by the Canadian art critic David Balzer in his breezy book about ‘how curating took over the art world – and everything else’. But both do point out how far we have come from the original avatars of the term (whose root is cura or ‘care’): the curatores, the civil servants who ...

The Masks of Doom

Niela Orr, 21 January 2021

... to fillet felines these days.’ Some of us followed Doom because we thought we were too cool for David Blaine. Doom’s tricks were breath control, intricate rhyme schemes, a beating heart beneath the cold veneer, of which he gave us only occasional glimpses. Now you see it, now you don’t.In his six solo studio albums, numerous collaborations and ...

At the Movies

Andrew O’Hagan: M. Night Shyamalan, 17 July 2008

The Happening 
directed by M. Night Shyamalan.
June 2008
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... which was nominated for six Oscars and made more than $600 million. The little boy in the film, Cole Sear (played with audience-beguiling depth by Haley Joel Osment), sees dead people who don’t know they’re dead, and when the film came out it was not merely a success on every front, but, like every success of that sort, caused people to see it as ...

Like a Mosquito

Mattathias Schwartz: Drones, 4 July 2013

Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield 
by Jeremy Scahill.
Serpent’s Tail, 642 pp., £15.99, May 2013, 978 1 84668 850 8
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... Journalism) to more than 90 per cent of all the deaths in drone strikes (the ex-military officers David Kilcullen and Andrew McDonald Exum). In March 2012, the New York Times reported that all military-age males, armed or unarmed, are considered to be combatants unless there is posthumous evidence proving otherwise; the Obama administration recently disputed ...

Chamberlain for our Time

José Harris, 20 December 1984

Neville Chamberlain. Vol. I: 1869-1929 
by David Dilks.
Cambridge, 645 pp., £20, November 1984, 0 521 25724 7
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... business,’ observed his diametrical opposite, Lloyd George. Volume One of the new biography by David Dilks uses the voluminous Chamberlain diaries and letters drawn upon by Feiling, but supplements them with a mass of public and private archives not available in 1944. It elaborates in a quarter of a million words themes dealt with by Feiling in fifty ...

Thanks to the Fels-Naptha Soap King

Miles Taylor: George Lansbury, 22 May 2003

George Lansbury: At the Heart of Old Labour 
by John Shepherd.
Oxford, 407 pp., £35, September 2002, 0 19 820164 8
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... old George’ of Poplar had come to personify grassroots Labour in much the same way as David Blunkett of the ‘socialist republic’ of South Yorkshire did in the late 1970s. Shepherd sees Lansbury’s evolution into a Cockney icon as a parable of the working-class boy made good by a conversion to socialism. But some of the photographs which ...

Red silk is the best blood

David Thomson: Sondheim, 16 December 2010

Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954-81), with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes 
by Stephen Sondheim.
Virgin, 445 pp., £30, October 2010, 978 0 7535 2258 5
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... from Angela Lansbury to Bernadette Peters – he has to feel lucky to serve Sondheim. It was Cole Porter who was supposed to have marvelled to Rodgers and Hart: ‘It takes two of you?’ Yet many musicals come out of long-term partnerships: George and Ira Gershwin; Rodgers and Hart; Rodgers and Hammerstein; Sammy Cahn with Jule Styne, Jimmy Van Heusen ...

How good is it?

Diarmaid MacCulloch: Inside the KJB, 3 February 2011

The Holy Bible: King James Version, 1611 Text 
edited by Gordon Campbell.
Oxford, 1552 pp., £50, October 2010, 978 0 19 955760 8
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Bible: The Story of the King James Version 1611-2011 
by Gordon Campbell.
Oxford, 354 pp., £16.99, October 2010, 978 0 19 955759 2
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The King James Bible: A Short History from Tyndale to Today 
by David Norton.
Cambridge, 218 pp., £14.99, January 2011, 978 0 521 61688 1
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The King James Bible after 400 Years: Literary, Linguistic and Cultural Influences 
edited by Hannibal Hamlin and Norman Jones.
Cambridge, 364 pp., £25, December 2010, 978 0 521 76827 6
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Begat: The King James Bible and the English Language 
by David Crystal.
Oxford, 327 pp., £14.99, September 2010, 978 0 19 958585 4
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... shout their presence (the radically different visual effect of the original is illustrated in David Norton’s The King James Bible: A Short History from Tyndale to Today, as well as in Campbell’s own Bible, another history of the KJB). It’s a pity, but the change emphasises just how remote the modern ‘King James’ Bible is ...

What are we allowed to say?

David Bromwich, 22 September 2016

... the abominable to the merely unsavoury.In the case of Holocaust denial – the crime for which David Irving was sentenced to three years in prison and banned from returning to Austria – the fear of contagion in some countries is based on rational horror instructed by recent experience. That is the argument for making an exception to the belief that the ...

Iniquity in Romford

Bernard Porter: Black Market Britain, 23 May 2013

Black Market Britain 1939-55 
by Mark Roodhouse.
Oxford, 276 pp., £65, March 2013, 978 0 19 958845 9
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... with wartime controls was an aberration. (Wartime America was much less obedient.) Cartoon by David Langdon for ‘Punch’, November 1949. Mark Roodhouse’s answer to the crude question of just how much black market activity there was in Britain, both during the war and in the period of postwar austerity, is that, though widespread, it was far less so ...

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