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Wounds

Stephen Fender, 23 June 1988

Hemingway 
by Kenneth Lynn.
Simon and Schuster, 702 pp., £16, September 1987, 0 671 65482 9
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The Faces of Hemingway: Intimate Portraits of Ernest Hemingway by those who knew him 
by Denis Brian.
Grafton, 356 pp., £14.95, May 1988, 0 246 13326 0
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... in 1932, the hero of which, as Kenneth Lynn cogently expresses it, is not ‘a haunted Nick Adams, or a crippled Jake Barnes, or a hollowed-out Frederic Henry, but an overbearing know-it-all named Ernest Hemingway’. Max Eastman said Hemingway had false hair on his chest. Gertrude Stein, in The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, called his courage into ...

Coma-Friendly

Stephen Walsh: Philip Glass, 7 May 2015

Words without Music: A Memoir 
by Philip Glass.
Faber, 416 pp., £22.50, April 2015, 978 0 571 32372 2
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... situation now is very different. At the age of 78, and with the possible exception of John Adams, Glass can be regarded as the most famous – certainly the most successful – of all the composers who emerged from the minimalist revolution of the 1960s. Perhaps because he shed the technical apparatus of such iconic pieces as Reich’s Drumming and ...

In Search of Monsters

Stephen W. Smith: What are they doing in Mali?, 7 February 2013

... the head with a mallet. He went on to quote the sixth president of the United States, John Quincy Adams: ‘America goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy.’ Well, not any longer perhaps. But France has done precisely that. 24 ...

Barriers of Silliness

J.I.M. Stewart, 1 July 1982

The Great Detectives: Seven Original Investigations 
by Julian Symons.
Orbis, 143 pp., £7.95, October 1981, 0 85613 362 0
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Critical Observations 
by Julian Symons.
Faber, 213 pp., £9.95, October 1981, 0 571 11688 4
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As I walked down New Grub Street: Memories of a Writing Life 
by Walter Allen.
Heinemann, 276 pp., £8.95, November 1981, 0 434 01829 5
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... unsolved. It is perhaps the lavish, accomplished and indefinably sinister illustrations by Tom Adams that make this so triumphantly a bumper book for buffs. Mr Adams’s portraits of the seven great detectives reappear as a circle of medallions on the dust-jacket. Thus synoptically viewed, they strike me, perplexedly, as ...

Never Knowingly Naked

David Wootton: 17th-century bodies, 15 April 2004

Common Bodies: Women, Touch and Power in 17th-Century England 
by Laura Gowing.
Yale, 260 pp., £25, September 2003, 0 300 10096 5
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... Katherine Osborne, examined for illegitimate pregnancy in 1664, gave in to the demands of William Adams when he promised to look after her if she became pregnant: Being demanded why she did not cry out whilst [he] did attempt that fact, his wife being at that time dressing of her child by the fireside in the kitchen and near unto the place, saith the reason ...

Warfare State

Thomas Meaney, 5 November 2020

The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities 
by John J. Mearsheimer.
Yale, 320 pp., £20, November 2018, 978 0 300 23419 0
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Republic in Peril: American Empire and the Liberal Tradition 
by David Hendrickson.
Oxford, 304 pp., £25.49, December 2017, 978 0 19 066038 3
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... waiting, ‘indispensable to the continuance and integrity of the Union itself’, as John Quincy Adams described it in 1823. In imitation of British freelance imperialists such as James Brooke, the ‘white rajah’ who ruled the state of Sarawak on Borneo as a private fiefdom in the mid-19th century, America produced its own brand of freebooters, including ...

Diary

David Bromwich: The Establishment President, 13 May 2010

... of Jefferson to the party of territorial expansion and property rights under Andrew Jackson and Stephen Douglas; while the Whig party, once associated with John Adams, under the new name of Republicans extended the cause of liberty beyond the right of property. ‘I remember,’ Lincoln wrote in 1859, once being amused ...

Fed up with Ibiza

Jenny Turner: Sybille Bedford, 1 April 2021

Sybille Bedford: An Appetite for Life 
by Selina Hastings.
Chatto, 432 pp., £35, November 2020, 978 1 78474 113 6
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... total lack of formal education. So she started writing about the law instead, in pieces about the Stephen Ward and Lady Chatterley trials for Esquire, Jack Ruby for Life, the Frankfurt Auschwitz trial for the Saturday Evening Post. ‘The law, the workings of the law, the daily application of the law to people and situations, is an essential element in a ...

The Dynamitards

John Horgan, 19 January 1984

Political Violence in Ireland: Government and Resistance since 1848 
by Charles Townshend.
Oxford, 445 pp., £22.50, December 1983, 0 19 821753 6
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... to all known forms of political antibiotics. The degree to which the IRA in general, or Mr Gerry Adams in particular, may have been responsible for this or that outrage is largely a matter of theology. It is not just that the IRA – and indeed most similar para-military organisations on either side of the Northern conflict – have a well-known track record ...

Into the Second Term

R.W. Johnson: New Labour, 5 April 2001

Servants of the People: The Inside Story of New Labour 
by Andrew Rawnsley.
Hamish Hamilton, 434 pp., £17.99, September 2000, 0 241 14029 3
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Mandelson and the Making of New Labour 
by Donald Macintyre.
HarperCollins, 638 pp., £6.99, September 2000, 0 00 653062 1
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Mo Mowlam: The Biography 
by Julia Langdon.
Little, Brown, 324 pp., £16.99, September 2000, 0 316 85304 6
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Ann Widdecombe: Right from the Beginning 
by Nicholas Kochan.
Politico’s, 302 pp., September 2000, 1 902301 55 2
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The Paymaster: Geoffrey Robinson, Maxwell and New Labour 
by Tom Bower.
Simon and Schuster, 272 pp., £17.99, March 2001, 0 7432 0689 4
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The Future of Politics 
by Charles Kennedy.
HarperCollins, 235 pp., £17.99, September 2000, 0 00 710131 7
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... a kaleidoscope of groups stretching from Ian Paisley’s branch of the Unionists through to Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness and whoever they officially or unofficially represent. Typically, this ‘peaceful solution’ seems to involve shuffling Northern Ireland into a closer relationship with the Irish Republic and trying to get the spectrum of political ...

The Great National Circus

Eric Foner: Punch-Ups in the Senate, 22 November 2018

The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War 
by Joanne Freeman.
Farrar, Straus, 450 pp., £20.99, September 2018, 978 0 374 15477 6
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... and Daniel Webster, as well as eloquent spokesmen on both sides of the slavery question, such as Stephen Douglas and William Seward. John Quincy Adams didn’t consider it beneath him to serve in the House after his term as president. Such men offer a sharp contrast to the smaller-than-life mediocrities who occupy seats ...

At the White House’s Whim

Tom Bingham: The Power of Pardon, 26 March 2009

... office, President Clinton was more parsimonious in granting pardons than any president since John Adams two hundred years earlier. But he made up for this at the end when he cast aside the ordinary process for handling federal clemency applications and, in the words of the American lawyer Margaret Colgate, ‘enjoyed a final unencumbered opportunity to reward ...

Moral Lepers

John Banville: Easter 1916, 16 July 2015

Vivid Faces: The Revolutionary Generation in Ireland, 1890-1923 
by R.F. Foster.
Allen Lane, 433 pp., £10.99, May 2015, 978 0 241 95424 9
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... and perhaps an apology, however belated, for past intolerance. ‘We were all to blame,’ Gerry Adams is fond of saying these days, referring to all manner of atrocities, from mass slaughter to the covering up of child abuse; and, however reluctantly, one must agree with him. What the pre-1916 vivid-faced idealists would have made of ‘Dev’s ...

‘I’m coming, my Tetsie!’

Freya Johnston: Samuel Johnson’s Shoes, 9 May 2019

Samuel Johnson 
edited by David Womersley.
Oxford, 1344 pp., £95, May 2018, 978 0 19 960951 2
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... man. Most readers assume she was praising Johnson’s sober, rational side; Leslie Stephen, writing in 1878, went so far as to commend Tetty’s penetrative ‘good sense’ for discerning the same quality in Johnson, despite his ‘grotesque appearance’. But if we take Tetty’s ‘sensible’ to mean – as in this period it certainly could ...

Our Flexible Friends

Conor Gearty, 18 April 1996

Scott Inquiry Report 
by Richard Scott.
HMSO, 2386 pp., £45, February 1996, 0 10 262796 7
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... Government had all along been engaged in dialogue not with the mere ‘pseudo-terrorist’ Gerry Adams but with the IRA itself, via intermediaries specifically authorised to act on its behalf. If this did not breach Questions of Procedure for Ministers, then it is hard to know how its guidance can ever be disregarded. When Ian Paisley drew this to the ...

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