sun 27/09/2020

history

Spotlight on The Troubles: A Secret History, BBC Four review - Ulster's bitter sectarian war revisited

“The Troubles” is a polite euphemism for the ferocious storm of sectarian violence and political chaos which convulsed Northern Ireland for 30 years, before being brought to a close by 1998’s Good Friday Agreement. Irish journalist Darragh MacIntyre...

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William Dalrymple: The Anarchy review – masterly history of the first rogue corporation

Serious historians don’t much care for counter-factual speculations. Readers, however, often enjoy them. So here’s mine. In 1780, the seemingly invincible forces of the East India Company had suffered a crushing defeat at Pollilur, west of Madras....

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Karl Marlantes: Deep River review - growing pains of a nation of immigrants

Karl Marlantes’s Deep River is an all-American novel. And why should it not be? Marlantes is an all-American author. He grew up in small-town Oregon, attended Yale (and Oxford), fought and was heavily awarded as a Marine in Vietnam, then settled...

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Prince Albert: A Victorian Hero Revealed, Channel 4 review - dramatic documentary filled with intelligent detail

It may sound perverse to say it, but Albert was the perfect twenty-first century prince. Thrust into the heart of the British monarchy he was simultaneously an oppressed outsider who – despite his reputation as the most handsome prince in Europe (...

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DVD: Are You Proud?

Ashley Joiner’s expansive documentary Are You Proud? opens with the testament of a redoubtable nonagenarian remembering his experiences as a gay man in World War II. Though followed by the admission that he had to live his later life as a lie, it’s...

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Our Women on the Ground: Essays by Arab Women Reporting from the Arab World ed. Zahra Hankir review – journalism from the front lines

Many of the women in this pioneering collection of essays have faced unimaginable hardship in their pursuit of truth – persecution by extremist groups as well as the loss of family members and friends. The tone of this collection is, however, best...

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Evita, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre review - a diva dictator for 2019

Following a triumphant resurrection of Jesus Christ Superstar, now playing at the Barbican, the Park works its magic on another of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Seventies rock operas. Jamie Lloyd’s stripped-down, super-sleek, contemporary take...

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The Anvil, Royal, Purves, BBCPO, Gernon, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester - disturbing, baffling and moving

Two hundred years ago next month, an assembly of around 60,000 people gathered on St Peter’s Fields in Manchester to protest about their lack of political representation. Speakers addressed the crowd, bands played and banners were carried.The local...

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Frank Turner, King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow review - songs about love, friendship and putting the world to rights

“When I was a small boy growing up in the south of England,” says Frank Turner - pausing just long enough for the anticipated good-natured jeering from the Scottish crowd - “I dreamed of playing the legendary King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut.”It may sound...

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Frank Bowling, Tate Britain review - a marvel

In a photograph taken in 1962, Frank Bowling leans against a fireplace in his studio. His right hand rests on the mantlepiece which bears books, fixative and spirit bottles, his left rests out of sight on the small of his back. His attire is...

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Vasily Grossman: Stalingrad review - a Soviet national epic

Stalingrad is the companion piece to Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate, which on its (re)publication in English a decade ago was acclaimed as one of the greatest Russian (and not only Russian) novels of the 20th century. For its sense of the sheer...

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Blu-ray: The Best of British Transport Films

The British Transport Commission was created in 1948 by the Atlee government, an ambitious attempt to organise rail, road and water transport under a single unwieldy umbrella (for a time it was the world’s largest employer, with a staff of over 900,...

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