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Hush-Hush Boom-Boom

Charles Glass: Spymasters, 12 August 2021

The Quiet Americans: Four CIA Spies at the Dawn of the Cold War – A Tragedy in Three Acts 
by Scott Anderson.
Picador, 576 pp., £20, February, 978 1 5290 4247 4
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... Alexander Cockburn​ blamed Ian Fleming for the creation of the CIA. Without Fleming, Cockburn wrote on the fiftieth anniversary of the first James Bond novel, ‘the Cold War would have ended in the early 1960s. We would have had no Vietnam, no Nixon, no Reagan and no Star Wars ...

Brideshead and the Tower Blocks

Patrick Wright, 2 June 1988

Home: A Short History of an Idea 
by Witold Rybczynski.
Heinemann, 256 pp., £12.95, March 1988, 0 434 14292 1
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... the Vanities, includes a hypocritical left-wing English journalist (modelled, it would appear, on Alexander Cockburn) who prospers by turning out fawning articles for magazines like House and Garden. It also shows the English country-house interior turning up on Wall Street’s 50th floor: imported, cut down to size and squeezed into place by an ...

Driving through a Postcard

Christian Lorentzen: In New Hampshire, 3 March 2016

... for Sanders on the American left is hardly universal. In his column in the Nation, the late Alexander Cockburn rarely neglected an opportunity to trash him as a sellout to the Democratic machine, as well as being a gun-toting socialist who backed interventions in the former Yugoslavia and Afghanistan, reliably supported Israel, acquiesced to ...

Pseudo-Travellers

Ian Gilmour and David Gilmour, 7 February 1985

From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict 
by Joan Peters.
Joseph, 601 pp., £15, February 1985, 0 7181 2528 2
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... the most spectacular frauds ever published on the Arab-Israeli conflict’, and in the Nation Alexander Cockburn has called it ‘From Lies Immemorial’. Joan Peters puts forward the following case: the Jews have been in Palestine continuously, while the Palestinian Arabs have not; before the Zionist settlers arrived, Palestine was empty and ...

Culture Wars

W.J.T. Mitchell, 23 April 1992

... had tripped over one of Caroline’s dolls and broken his neck in the White House nursery’ – Alexander Cockburn, the Nation, 6 January 1992. The third argument is micro-historical. It punctures holes in the details, brings up contradictory testimony, offers alternative hypotheses. It tends to trail off into indeterminacy: we’ll never know who did ...

Carers or Consumers?

Barbara Taylor: 18th-Century Women, 4 November 2010

Women and Enlightenment in 18th-Century Britain 
by Karen O’Brien.
Cambridge, 310 pp., £17.99, March 2009, 978 0 521 77427 7
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... In 1779, a Scottish doctor called William Alexander published a two-volume History of Women. Alexander was a man of the Enlightenment who regarded politeness to women as a mark of civilisation. Savages and ‘musselmen’ might treat their women as sexual helots, but a gentleman was solicitous of his womenfolk ...

Will Turkey Invade?

Patrick Cockburn: With the Kurds, 15 November 2007

... raiding parties will not be able to find the small parties of rebel fighters. ‘Even Alexander the Great couldn’t bring this region under his rule,’ Bozan Tekin told me proudly. ‘Three out of five of our fighters are hiding in the mountains in Turkey and if the Turkish army can’t find them there, it will hardly find them in the Iraqi ...

Enemies For Ever

James Wolcott: ‘Making It’, 18 May 2017

Making It 
by Norman Podhoretz.
NYRB, 368 pp., £13.98, May 2017, 978 1 68137 080 4
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... Partisan Review crew, gone to dust. Even younger antagonists such as Christopher Hitchens and Alexander Cockburn predeceased him. Postwar Manhattan has receded into myth, the parties over, the status updates finished for good. Loved ones have also left, losses closer to home. Since the death of his daughter Rachel in 2013, the New York Times reported ...

Dark Emotions

Jenny Turner: The Women’s Liberation Movement, 24 September 2020

Misbehaviour 
directed by Philippa Lowthorpe.
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Nightcleaners 
directed by the Berwick Street Film Collective.
Lux/Koenig/Raven Row, £24, July 2019
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Sisterhood and After: An Oral History of the UK Women's Liberation Movement, 1968-present 
by Margaretta Jolly.
Oxford, 334 pp., £22.99, November 2019, 978 0 19 065884 7
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... which is based on that radio programme, and stars Keira Knightley as the feminist historian Sally Alexander. It’s positioned – as Pride (2014) was to Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners in the 1980s, and Made in Dagenham (2010) was to the Ford sewing machinists’ strike of 1968 – to allow viewers some minutes of unchallenging celebration that ...

Blessed, Beastly Place

Douglas Dunn, 5 March 1981

Precipitous City 
by Trevor Royle.
Mainstream, 210 pp., £6.95, May 1980, 0 906391 09 1
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RLS: A Life Study 
by Jenni Calder.
Hamish Hamilton, 362 pp., £9.95, June 1980, 0 241 10374 6
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Gillespie 
by J. MacDougall Hay.
Canongate, 450 pp., £4.95, November 1979, 0 903937 79 4
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Scottish Satirical Verse 
edited by Edwin Morgan.
Carcanet, 236 pp., £6.95, June 1980, 0 85635 183 0
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Collected Poems 
by Robert Garioch.
Carcanet, 208 pp., £3.95, July 1980, 0 85635 316 7
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... proper Scotland than could ever be accomplished by laws, statesmen or associations,’ wrote Henry Cockburn. After Scott’s death, the most significant literary figure in Edinburgh was not a Scotsman, but the reclusive Thomas de Quincey. Mr Royle treats him to a passing tip of the hat while he evokes the great magazines – as a friend of ‘Christopher ...

Diary

Mary-Kay Wilmers: Karl Miller Remembered, 9 October 2014

... was on secondment, as they used to say at the BBC. The real deputy editor was Oleg Kerensky, Alexander Kerensky’s grandson. The connection with world history made the thought of the job even more alluring – something to report to my father. The war had been the Listener’s heyday; in the 1940s it had a circulation of 100,000 or more; and, like the ...

Mohocks

Liam McIlvanney: The House of Blackwood, 5 June 2003

The House of Blackwood: Author-Publisher Relations in the Victorian Era 
by David Finkelstein.
Pennsylvania State, 199 pp., £44.95, April 2002, 0 271 02179 9
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... one, and Wilson remained indebted, throughout his academic career, to the silent assistance of Alexander Blair, an old college friend. Blair, an Englishman who had studied with Wilson at Glasgow, must have dreaded the arrival of every post, so assiduously did his former classmate badger him for advice. ‘Could you send me a good letter-full on the effect ...

You Muddy Fools

Dan Jacobson: In the months before his death Ian Hamilton talked about himself to Dan Jacobson, 14 January 2002

... Festival that you got the job with the ‘TLS’? Not entirely. That meeting firmed it up. Alexander Cockburn, who’d been at Keble and whom I’d known at Oxford, was working at the TLS and we’d carried on seeing each other. I’d done a few reviews for him. Anyway, Alex had talked me up a bit and then I met Arthur. And there was a job vacant ...

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