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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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... and ‘democracy’ against Soviet totalitarianism. One of the rare dissenters, Charles Burton Marshall, is quoted here as saying that this bizarre operation to ‘counter Communism’ by trying ‘to break down ... doctrinaire thought patterns’ and anti-American attitudes throughout the world was ‘just about as totalitarian as one can get’. ...

Boy Gang

Peter Prince, 19 January 1984

Minor Characters 
by Joyce Johnson.
Collins, 262 pp., £7.95, May 1983, 0 00 272511 8
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Neurotica: The Authentic Voice of the Beat Generation 1948-1951 
edited by Jay Landesman and G. Legman.
Jay Landesman, 535 pp., £19.95, July 1981, 0 905150 26 0
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Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac 
by Gerald Nicosia.
Grove, 767 pp., £14.95, October 1983, 0 394 52270 2
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... perished in New York at the end of 1951. It carried the early work of such future luminaries as Marshall McLuhan, Anatole Broyard, Allen Ginsberg, Kenneth Patchen, Chandler Brossard. But out of over eighty ‘authentic’ voices, exactly nine were female, and none of these was destined for future fame. As Joyce Johnson remembers it, these were voices that ...

Head over heart for Europe

Peter Pulzer, 21 March 1991

Ever Closer Union: Britain’s Destiny in Europe 
by Hugh Thomas.
Hutchinson, 96 pp., £7.99, January 1991, 0 09 174908 5
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The Challenge of Europe: Can Britain win? 
by Michael Heseltine.
Pan, 226 pp., £5.99, February 1991, 9780330314367
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... of a United States of Europe in his Zurich speech of 1946, Bevin who was the chief begetter of the Marshall Plan. But European unity was for others: Britain still operated the three intersecting circles, of which the Atlantic and the Commonwealth loomed larger than Europe. We did not refuse economic co-operation with the Continent, as at first ...

So far, so-so

Peter Clarke, 6 June 1996

One Hundred Years of Socialism 
by Donald Sassoon.
Tauris, 965 pp., £35, April 1996, 9781850438793
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... socialists who approved of its redistributive effects as much as by dry-eyed American opponents of Marshall Aid who feared that they were footing the bill, or by home-grown reactionaries who developed paranoid theories about a tax-and-spend New Jerusalem. Yet what Britain was doing, in ways that accorded with its own traditions of social legislation, was ...

Other People’s Rooms

Peter Campbell, 7 April 1994

Inside Culture 
by David Halle.
Chicago, 261 pp., £23.95, January 1993, 0 226 31367 0
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Buildings of the United States: The Buildings of Michigan 
by Kathryn Bishop Eckert.
Oxford, 603 pp., £27.50, June 1993, 0 19 506149 7
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Buildings of the United States: The Buildings of Iowa 
by David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim.
Oxford, 565 pp., £27.50, June 1993, 0 19 506148 9
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... photograph on the jacket gives the story a sharper edge: Halle bears some resemblance to Peter Sellers in one of his manic roles. That Pei, architect of the Louvre Pyramid, thought Halle’s study out of order is not surprising, but he was mistaken if he thought it crudely reductionist. As a prelude to his analysis Halle describes the kinds of house ...

Tortoises with Zips

David Craig: The Snow Geese by William Fiennes, 4 April 2002

The Snow Geese 
by William Fiennes.
Picador, 250 pp., £14.99, March 2002, 0 330 37578 4
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... he finds in a cabin west of Winnipeg. The seemingly exhaustive transcript of the reminiscences of Marshall the railroad hobo, who talked at him continuously for the thousand miles from Winnipeg to Churchill via Thompson. The furnishings, food and remarkable happenings in Dally’s Diner on Logan Street, Aberdeen, South Dakota, as our hero waits for the snow ...

The Beast on My Back

Gerald Weissmann, 6 June 1996

The Harmony of Illusions: Inventing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder 
by Allan Young.
Princeton, 327 pp., £28, March 1996, 0 691 03352 8
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... you got a tourniquet, Robin?’ and he answered apologetically, ‘I’m afraid I haven’t, Peter,’ I looked at the second man. Only his clothes distinguished him as a human being, and they were badly charred. His face was gone: in place of it was a huge yellow vegetable. The eyes blinked in it, eyes without lashes, and a grotesque huge mouth dribbled ...

True Grit

David Craig, 8 February 1996

Wainwright: The Biography 
by Hunter Davies.
Joseph, 356 pp., £16.99, October 1995, 0 7181 3909 7
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... she shooed them out of the house: ‘Everybody out,’ she cried, ‘he’s back!’ His son Peter shared Wainwright’s walks when he was a boy. Touching black and white snapshots show him neatly dressed, standing alone in a green trod between limestone walls, dutifully consulting a map. In his fifties he had to retire early, joints swollen with ...

Exit Humbug

David Edgar: Theatrical Families, 1 January 2009

A Strange Eventful History: The Dramatic Lives of Ellen Terry, Henry Irving and Their Remarkable Families 
by Michael Holroyd.
Chatto, 620 pp., £25, September 2008, 978 0 7011 7987 8
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... and concluding that it could go either way. Formally, too, he errs on the side of prudence. Unlike Peter Ackroyd, Holroyd doesn’t insert fictional passages; nor does he emulate Edmund Morris’s insertion of himself – as a schoolboy – into a life of Ronald Reagan. But he’s there nonetheless. It’s been possible to detect Holroyd’s presence in his ...

Strutting

Linda Colley, 21 September 1995

All the Sweets of Being: The Life of James Boswell 
by Roger Hutchinson.
Mainstream, 238 pp., £17.50, May 1995, 1 85158 702 0
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James Boswell’s ‘Life of Johnson’ 
edited by Marshall Waingrow.
Edinburgh, 518 pp., £75, March 1995, 0 7486 0471 5
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Johnson and Boswell: The Transit of Caledonia 
by Pat Rogers.
Oxford, 245 pp., £30, April 1995, 0 19 818259 7
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... as a foolish parasite on Johnson’s greatness, a ‘tomtit twittering on an eagle’s back’, as Peter Pindar had called him. Then, in 1925, the seesaw that had always been Boswell’s fate tilted once again. That year saw the beginning of one of three remarkable American initiatives, all linked in some way to Yale University, that would considerably enrich ...

Wright and Wrong

Peter Campbell, 10 November 1988

Many Masks: A Life of Frank Lloyd Wright 
by Brendan Gill.
Heinemann, 544 pp., £20, August 1988, 0 434 29273 7
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... but a glance from the corner of my eye showed me that an expansive mood was descending on him. At Marshall Field’s he saw a chair that struck his fancy.   ‘One hundred and twenty-five dollars,’ read the sales person from the ticket that dangled from the arm.   ‘I’ll lake a dozen, send them up to Taliesin.’ Next he ordered a dozen Chinese ...

Two-Faced

Peter Clarke, 21 September 1995

LSE: A History of the London School of Economics and Political Science 
by Ralf Dahrendorf.
Oxford, 584 pp., £25, May 1995, 0 19 820240 7
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... outlook, at a time when liberal economists – the majority – looked to the Cambridge of Alfred Marshall for a lead. In resisting the Marshallian hegemony in the establishment of economics as an academic discipline, the LSE made room for dissenters who resisted the all-embracing claims of a theoretical model in favour of an appeal to the practical outcome ...

Put it in your suitcase

Nicholas Penny: Sotheby’s, 18 March 1999

Sotheby’s: Bidding for Class 
by Robert Lacey.
Little, Brown, 354 pp., £20, May 1998, 0 316 64447 1
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Sotheby’s: Inside Story 
by Peter Watson.
Bloomsbury, 325 pp., £7.99, May 1998, 0 7475 3808 5
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... bits of the ‘brilliantly flawed lifetimes’, as he puts it, of the dreadful Duke and Duchess. Peter Watson’s Sotheby’s: Inside Story is also related to a television programme – one that appeared the year before, in 1997. Here the auction house was accused of conniving in the sale of illegally excavated and exported antiquities and of organising the ...

Saint or Snake

Stefan Collini: Ann Oakley on Richard Titmuss, 8 October 2015

Father and Daughter: Patriarchy, Gender and Social Science 
by Ann Oakley.
Policy, 290 pp., £13.99, November 2014, 978 1 4473 1810 1
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... in 1950. We have numerous testimonies to the galvanising power of what the sociologist T.H. Marshall termed ‘a flawless masterpiece’: ‘Everyone who read the book shared my excitement,’ the American social analyst Eveline Burns recalled. Yet revisiting it today one is immediately struck by the density of information and the lack of any ...

What does she think she looks like?

Rosemary Hill: The Dress in Your Head, 5 April 2018

... post-feminist or anti-feminist film, or just in some baffling way French. In the Guardian, Peter Bradshaw went for ‘provocative’, before deciding it was a ‘startlingly strange rape-revenge black comedy’. I didn’t think it was as strange as all that and I did think it was funny, but what really struck me was that every woman I knew who had ...

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