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Wafted to India

Richard Gott: Unlucky Wavell, 5 October 2006

Wavell: Soldier and Statesman 
by Victoria Schofield.
Murray, 512 pp., £30, March 2006, 0 7195 6320 8
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... obituary when he was killed in Kenya in 1953 during the Mau-Mau rebellion. William ‘Strafer’ Gott, my father’s cousin, was a general in the Western Desert under Wavell, appointed by Churchill to run the Eighth Army in 1942 and then immediately killed on his way to Cairo (and replaced by Bernard Montgomery). Penderel Moon, my mother’s brother, a ...

Liberation Music

Richard Gott: In Memory of Cornelius Cardew, 12 March 2009

Cornelius Cardew: A Life Unfinished 
by John Tilbury.
Copula, 1069 pp., £45, October 2008, 978 0 9525492 3 9
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... avant-garde – Webern, Boulez and Stockhausen – to which his contemporaries Susan Bradshaw and Richard Rodney Bennett were also drawn. The mecca for music students in those days was Stockhausen’s headquarters at Darmstadt, where the ‘Darmstadt Headbangers’, as Tom Lubbock describes them, treated Britten and Shostakovich with derision as ...

Diary

Richard Gott: Víctor Jara’s Chile, 17 September 1998

... Although I had lived for some of the previous decade in Santiago, I was not in Chile on 11 September 1973, the day 25 years ago when the government of Salvador Allende was overthrown. I was sitting in the Guardian’s old building in the Grays Inn Road when the news came in over the wires, but could not immediately fly to Chile, having a longstanding engagement to drive my family from Sussex to Yorkshire to establish them in a new home ...

Diary

Richard Gott: Paraguayan Power, 21 February 2008

... At one end of the desolate park that stretches down from the public buildings of Asunción to the bay adjacent to the Paraguay River, where conquistadors first found refuge in the 16th century, stands a strange construction of concrete and metal that looks more like a contemporary artwork than a memorial. Scrambled within the cement are bronze hands sticking out and an upturned human face, crushed beneath an immense cube of concrete: the destroyed remains of the statue of General Alfredo Stroessner, one of the infamous dictators of the second half of the 20th century ...

Sacred Text

Richard Gott: Guatemala, 27 May 1999

Rigoberta Menchú and the Story of All Poor Guatemalans 
by David Stoll.
Westview, 336 pp., £20, February 1999, 0 8133 3574 4
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... suddenly found themselves denounced by their students. A decent liberal anthropologist called Richard Newbold Adams, the doyen of US Guatemalan studies at the time and a distinguished professor at Austin, Texas, had worked in the rural areas in the Fifties and wrote a US Government-funded study entitled Receptivity to Communist-Fomented Agitation in Rural ...

Shoot them to be sure

Richard Gott: The Oxford History of the British Empire, 25 April 2002

The Oxford History of the British Empire. Vol. I: The Origins of Empire 
edited by William Roger Louis and Nicholas Canny.
Oxford, 533 pp., £14.99, July 2001, 0 19 924676 9
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The Oxford History of the British Empire. Vol. II: The 18th Century 
edited by William Roger Louis and P.J. Marshall.
Oxford, 639 pp., £14.99, July 2001, 0 19 924677 7
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The Oxford History of the British Empire. Vol. III: The 19th Century 
edited by William Roger Louis and Andrew Porter.
Oxford, 774 pp., £14.99, July 2001, 0 19 924678 5
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The Oxford History of the British Empire. Vol. IV: The 20th Century 
edited by William Roger Louis and Judith Brown.
Oxford, 773 pp., £14.99, July 2001, 0 19 924679 3
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The Oxford History of the British Empire. Vol. V: Historiography 
edited by William Roger Louis and Robin Winks.
Oxford, 731 pp., £14.99, July 2001, 0 19 924680 7
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... on slave labour imported from Africa. In a chapter on the development of the Caribbean islands, Richard Sheridan underestimates the role of slave labour. ‘The New World plantation represented the capitalistic exploitation of land,’ he writes, ‘with a combination of African labour, European technology and management, Asiatic and American ...

Robinson’s Footprints

Richard Gott: Hugo Chávez and the Venezuelan Revolution, 17 February 2000

... The mountains of Venezuela rise up almost sheer from the shores of the Caribbean, with gashes of red earth below and vivid green forest above, the peaks entirely lost in grey cloud. From the aeroplane window I have often liked to imagine this as the land on which the local Indians stood when they first discovered Columbus on their beach in 1498 – although he landed some four hundred miles to the east, on the Peninsula de Paría, across the water from Trinidad ...

The Ribs of Rosinante

Richard Gott, 21 August 1997

Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life 
by Jon Lee Anderson.
Bantam, 814 pp., £25, April 1997, 0 593 03403 1
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Compañero: The Life and Death of Che Guevara 
by Jorge Castañeda, translated by Marina Castañeda.
Bloomsbury, 480 pp., £20, October 1997, 0 7475 3334 2
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... accounts of Guevara’s impact on the conference, and his inconclusive private discussions with Richard Goodwin, one of Kennedy’s advisers. But this is well-trodden ground, and there is little new material. Many Latin American governments were still run by civilians, and under popular pressure to extend the hand of friendship to Cuba. But the American ...

Perfidy, Villainy, Intrigue

Ramachandra Guha: The Black Hole, 20 December 2012

Britain’s Empire: Resistance, Repression and Revolt 
by Richard Gott.
Verso, 568 pp., £25, November 2011, 978 1 84467 738 2
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The Black Hole of Empire: History of a Global Practice of Power 
by Partha Chatterjee.
Princeton, 425 pp., £19.95, April 2012, 978 0 691 15201 1
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... crimes of the British long after the empire has been abandoned. The latest to join the list are Richard Gott and Partha Chatterjee. Gott, who describes himself as ‘a historian in private practice’, has written a wide-ranging study of resistance to British rule in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, North America and the ...

Diary

Tariq Ali: In Cochabamba, 21 June 2007

... I could get a flight to La Paz and a connection to Europe via Brazil. Hearing me reminisce with Richard Gott, who was also defending humanity, and who had been the Guardian’s chief Latin America correspondent in 1967, a young Telesur journalist from Madrid said: ‘God. It’s just like listening to Spanish Civil War veterans returning to ...

Gotterdämmerung

Christopher Hitchens, 12 January 1995

... talked to anyone in the past week or so who doesn’t believe that this was and is true of Richard Gott. I don’t say this with any sense or intention of accommodating to the prevailing wind, since Gott has disliked me intensely for more than twenty years and last January wrote a loopy letter to this ...

America first

Felipe Fernández-Armesto, 7 January 1993

European Encounters with the New World: From Renaissance to Romanticism 
by Anthony Pagden.
Yale, 212 pp., £18.95, January 1993, 0 300 05285 5
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New Worlds, Ancient Texts: The Power of Tradition and the Shock of Discovery 
by Anthony Grafton, April Shelford and Nancy Siraisi.
Harvard, 282 pp., £23.95, October 1992, 0 674 61875 0
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The Imaginative Landscape of Christopher Columbus 
by Valerie Flint.
Princeton, 233 pp., £16, August 1992, 0 691 05681 1
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Land without Evil: Utopian Journeys across the South American Watershed 
by Richard Gott.
Verso, 299 pp., £18.95, January 1993, 0 86091 398 8
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... from American examples. If tragic and passionate stories were alone enough to make a book, Richard Gott’s Land without Evil would be equally good. As he shunts up and down improbable South American railway lines, Gott recalls and retells the journeys of some of the travellers – mainly 17th and 18th-century ...

De Mortuis

Christopher Driver, 28 June 1990

The Ruffian on the Stair: Reflection on Death 
edited by Rosemary Dinnage.
Viking, 291 pp., £14.99, April 1990, 0 670 82763 0
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Death, Ritual and Bereavement 
edited by Ralph Houlbrooke.
Routledge, 250 pp., £35, October 1990, 0 415 01165 5
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In the Face of Death 
by Peter Noll, translated by Hans Noll.
Viking, 254 pp., £15.99, April 1990, 0 670 80703 6
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... occupation and living wage (a black-humoured task dreamt up for my convalescence by the well-named Richard Gott) arrived 22 years late: in 1968 I sent a memorandum to the then editor proposing a daily warts-and-all profile of a man or woman lately dead – in other words, a Not-the-Times obituary column. Now it is universally agreed in the four serious ...

Plan Colombia

Malcolm Deas, 5 April 2001

... they are not participants in its troubles. Even President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela (about whom Richard Gott has recently written in the LRB) has done no more than strike an occasional ‘Bolivarian’ populist attitude. Few countries in the last two centuries have been as little involved as Colombia in international wars, which may be one of the ...

But I wanted a crocodile

Thomas Meaney: Castro in Harlem, 4 February 2021

Ten Days in Harlem: Fidel Castro and the Making of the 1960s 
by Simon Hall.
Faber, 276 pp., £17.99, September 2020, 978 0 571 35306 4
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... to Moscow less out of ideological alignment than because he didn’t have much of an ideology. As Richard Gott writes in his history of Cuba:When the Cuban revolutionaries came to run the country they were at a loss … First they tried one thing, then another: they imported foreign economists; they tried import-substitution; they sought ...

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