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Into the Big Tent

Benjamin Kunkel: Fredric Jameson, 22 April 2010

Valences of the Dialectic 
by Fredric Jameson.
Verso, 625 pp., £29.99, October 2009, 978 1 85984 877 7
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... Kulturkritik and the Marxian investigations of finance capital carried out by Giovanni Arrighi and David Harvey. One trait of postmodernism unmentioned by Jameson was the special difficulty critics and thinkers of recent generations have experienced in conveying their thoughts except through the medium of someone else’s; intellectuals today tend to ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: The ‘Onion’, 12 December 2002

... Kissinger thrown out of US News & World Report Mansion’: ‘Hank . . . just had a few too many Harvey Wallbangers, and we had to send him home. Nobody knows how to go off the deep end like the Kiss-Man.’ The Onion doesn’t only concern itself with global affairs and characters of international stature. The Kiss-Man jostles for column inches with Area ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’, 17 April 2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel 
directed by Wes Anderson.
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... on a false charge of murder, and of his escape with a band of thugs led by a bald and tattooed Harvey Keitel, impeccably playing Harvey Keitel. There is the dreadful family of Tilda Swinton (three ugly sisters, a spiteful son who is Adrien Brody got up to look like Salvador Dalí), and its hired assassin, Willem ...

Dry-Cleaned

Tom Vanderbilt: ‘The Manchurian Candidate’, 21 August 2003

The Manchurian Candidate: BFI Film Classics 
by Greil Marcus.
BFI, 75 pp., £8.99, July 2002, 0 85170 931 1
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... There is no evidence that Lee Harvey Oswald saw The Manchurian Candidate, which was released in 1962, a year before Kennedy’s assassination. A more plausible cinematic influence on him is Suddenly (1954), in which Frank Sinatra plays a President’s assassin who acquired his taste for killing in the Second World War ...

Still Dithering

Norman Dombey: After Trident, 16 December 2010

... On the eve of the Liberal Democrat Party Conference in September the armed forces minister, Nick Harvey, a Lib Dem, told MPs that ‘the government had decided in principle to renew Trident.’ A few days later, Nick Clegg told the conference that he opposed ‘a like-for-like Trident replacement’ and suggested that ‘the money would be better spent on frontline military operations ...

Forgive us our debts

Benjamin Kunkel: The History of Debt, 10 May 2012

Paper Promises: Money, Debt and the New World Order 
by Philip Coggan.
Allen Lane, 294 pp., £20, December 2011, 978 1 84614 510 0
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Debt: The First 5000 Years 
by David Graeber.
Melville House, 534 pp., £21.99, July 2011, 978 1 933633 86 2
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... writer Philip Coggan, and in Debt: The First 5000 Years by the anthropologist and activist David Graeber, which situates the same stretch of modern history within the vast tidal shifts, across five millennia of Eurasian history, between monetary regimes founded on precious metals and those based on ‘virtual credit money’. In August 1971, Nixon ...

What’s going on, Eric?

David Renton: Rock Against Racism, 22 November 2018

Walls Come Tumbling Down: The Music and Politics of Rock Against Racism, 2 Tone and Red Wedge 
by Daniel Rachel.
Picador, 589 pp., £12.99, May 2017, 978 1 4472 7268 7
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... to be gaining a presence not just in politics but in pop culture too. That same month, May 1976, David Bowie was photographed at Victoria Station on his return to Britain after two years in North America. Standing in an open-topped Mercedes, he appeared to give his fans some kind of open-handed, straight-armed – possibly fascist – salute. Soon afterwards ...

Deal of the Century

David Thomson: As Ovitz Tells It, 7 March 2019

Who Is Michael Ovitz? 
by Michael Ovitz.
W.H. Allen, 372 pp., £20, September 2018, 978 0 7535 5336 7
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... of ‘Whatever happened to … ?’ So who was he? Michael Ovitz was born in Chicago in 1946 to David, the son of Jewish Romanian immigrants. David was a liquor salesman for Seagram’s but he worked weekends too, selling patio furniture to support his family after they moved to Encino in the San Fernando Valley. ‘The ...

He had it all

Alex Harvey: Fitzgerald’s Decade, 5 July 2018

Paradise Lost: A Life of F. Scott Fitzgerald 
by David S. Brown.
Harvard, 424 pp., £21.95, May 2017, 978 0 674 50482 0
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‘I’d Die for You’ and Other Lost Stories 
by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Scribner, 384 pp., £9.99, April 2018, 978 1 4711 6473 6
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... and fiction. Fitzgerald shared with his hero Gatsby an untimely death and barely attended funeral. David Brown’s thorough biography, Paradise Lost, emphasises that Fitzgerald lived with the constant tension between the desire to be a ‘whole man’ and the recognition of its impossibility. His life was full of drama and destruction: reckless spending, high ...

Shaggy Fellows

David Norbrook, 9 July 1987

A History of Modern Poetry: Modernism and After 
by David Perkins.
Harvard, 694 pp., £19.95, April 1987, 0 674 39946 3
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Collected Poems 
by Geoffrey Hill.
Penguin, 207 pp., £3.95, September 1985, 0 14 008383 9
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The Poetry of Geoffrey Hill 
by Henry Hart.
Southern Illinois, 305 pp., $24.95, January 1986, 0 8093 1236 0
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... his own. Beauty is no absolute guarantee of truth or morality; art may illuminate or corrupt. As David Perkins points out in Modernism and After, Pound is incomparable amongst modern poets for the rhythmic subtlety of his evocation of sensuous beauty, of the play of light and shade. For Perkins, this lyricism is the redeeming feature of his poetry. He ...

Scandal in Pittsburgh

David Nasaw: Andrew Mellon, 19 July 2007

Mellon: An American Life 
by David Cannadine.
Allen Lane, 779 pp., £30, November 2006, 0 7139 9508 4
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... their personal lives. ‘Though Judge Mellon had rebelled decisively against his own father,’ David Cannadine writes in his new biography of the judge’s son Andrew, ‘he had no intention of tolerating any such conduct in the next generation … The judge regarded his sons as essentially extensions of himself.’ When Andrew Mellon was in his teens, his ...

We’ve done awfully well

Karl Miller: The Late 1950s, 18 July 2013

Modernity Britain: Opening the Box, 1957-59 
by David Kynaston.
Bloomsbury, 432 pp., £25, June 2013, 978 0 7475 8893 1
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... present instalment, Modernity Britain: Opening the Box, covers the narrow gap from 1957 to 1959. David Kynaston tells the story in his own measured words, and he also tells it in the often loud and uninhibited words of others – authors, newspapers, diarists, eminent politicians, Mass Observation respondents. Man, it seems, is an indignant animal. Kynaston ...

Late Deceiver

Robert Blake, 17 September 1981

Anthony Eden 
by David Carlton.
Allen Lane, 528 pp., £20, August 1981, 0 7139 0829 7
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... to have fallen on Robert Rhodes James. If so, it is an excellent decision. Meanwhile Mr David Carlton has produced a scholarly, well-written work of some five hundred pages. The author admits very fairly that it is in the nature of an interim verdict since the official records of the 1950s, including the Suez crisis, are closed under the Thirty Year ...

A Long Silence

David A. Bell: ‘Englishness’, 14 December 2000

Englishness Identified: Manners and Character, 1650-1850 
by Paul Langford.
Oxford, 389 pp., £25, April 2000, 9780198206811
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... and serve his meals in his carriage: beefsteak, ‘ketchup and soy, and Cayenne pepper, and Harvey sauce, and a bottle of port wine, from that warehouse the carriage, in which his master seemed desirous of carrying England about the world with him.’ In the 18th century, typical English cooking did not involve conscientiously boiling something to ...

Jewish Blood

Michael Church, 7 February 1985

Moving Pictures: Memories of a Hollywood Prince 
by Budd Schulberg.
Penguin, 500 pp., £4.95, September 1984, 0 14 006769 8
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Baku to Baker Street: The Memoirs of Flora Solomon 
by Barnet Litvinoff.
Collins, 230 pp., £11.95, June 1984, 0 00 217094 9
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Wilfrid Israel: German Jewry’s Secret Ambassador 
by Naomi Shepherd.
Weidenfeld, 286 pp., £12.95, March 1984, 0 297 78308 4
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The Smiths of Moscow: A Story of Britons Abroad 
by Harvey Pitcher.
Swallow House Books, 176 pp., £5.95, September 1984, 0 905265 01 7
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Family Secrets 
by David Leitch.
Heinemann, 242 pp., £8.95, October 1984, 0 434 41345 3
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... of Scots boilermakers who throve quietly as Russia’s industrial revolution picked up steam. Harvey Pitcher’s chronicle of three generations is the distillation of a much fuller chronicle kept by Harry Smith, the last boss, who quit in 1917. The trouble with Harry is that he is more interested in boilermaking than in social observation. On the run from ...

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