Books

Focus on 'free' world's blinkers and censors

March 23, 2012

Nick Cohen's latest book begins at the end of the Cold War. Many liberals saw 1989 as a year of triumph for the West: the totalitarian regimes of the East had finally fallen, liberal democracy would spread, and freedom of speech would flourish.

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The Patagonian Hare

By Natasha Lehrer, March 23, 2012

'I have been told a thousand times by a thousand different people that I ought to write the story of my life, that it was rich, multi-faceted and unique, and it deserved to be told."

Thus, Claude Lanzmann sets the tone in the introduction to his 500-plus-page memoir, a tone of shameless immodesty, an avowed self-belief that somehow simultaneously suggests its opposite.

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Viennese whirls

By Eva Tucker, March 23, 2012

The first 100 pages of William Boyd's Waiting for Sunrise (Bloomsbury, £18.99)are set in the Vienna of 1913, its Jewish element quietly implicit. On a hot, August day, young English actor Lysander Rief is on his way to consult a psychiatrist called John Bensimon. In the consulting room, he meets feisty sculptress, Esther, better known as Hettie.

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Review: The Street Sweeper

By David Herman, March 9, 2012

By Elliot Perlman
Faber & Faber, £14.99

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Review: The Wonderbox

By Rebecca Abrams, March 9, 2012

By Roman Kriznaric
Profile Books, £14.99

'The principal and proper work of history is to instruct and enable men, by the knowledge of actions past, to bear themselves prudently in the present and providently in the future." Seventeenth-century philosopher Thomas Hobbes's maxim underpins Roman Kriznaric's cultural history-cum-lifestyle guide.

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What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank

By David Herman, March 2, 2012

Nathan Englander
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £12.99

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Fings Ain't Wot They Used To Be: The Lionel Bart Story

By Paul Lester, March 2, 2012

David and Caroline Stafford
Omnibus £19.95

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Interview: Shalom Auslander

By Simon Rocker, February 24, 2012

When I started Shalom Auslander's Hope: a Tragedy (reviewed in the JC of February 10), I suggested my wife try his previous book, Foreskin's Lament. A mistake. As she read, she laughed so often and so loudly that I had trouble concentrating.

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Review: The Foundling

By Hephzibah Anderson, February 24, 2012

Agnès Desarthe
Faber, £12.99

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Review: Israel and the European Left

By Vernon Bogdanor, February 17, 2012

By Colin Shindler
Continuum, £17.99

In the early 20th century, Eastern European Jews had two love affairs - with Communism and with Zionism. But the Communists betrayed them. The Hungarian intellectual, Arthur Koestler, compared his time as a Communist with the deception practised on Jacob when he slept with the ugly Leah instead of Rachel.

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