Stylishly but consistently wrong

To describe this book as badly timed is an understatement. It isn’t just badly timed, it is atrociously badly timed, grotesquely badly timed, even obscenely badly timed. Although it is simply a collection of Gore Vidal’s essays, written between 1992 and 2000, and contains, among other things, entertaining portraits of Charles Lindbergh, Clare Boothe Luce …

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After the fall of the Wall

Up to a point, the life story of Alexander Smolensky reads like a morally uplifting, even spiritually enriching rags-to-riches parable. With an absent father and a mother whose Austrian background qualifed her, in Stalin’s Soviet Union, as an ‘enemy of the people,’ Smolensky grew up in poverty. Refused entry to higher education because of his …

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Girl Suicide Bombers

Last weekend, following the Friday suicide of Ayat Akhras, an 18-year-old Palestinian girl who blew herself up at the entrance to a Jerusalem supermarket, the BBC broadcast a small segment of the video tape she had recorded beforehand.

The Slippery Pole

In elections held last September, the people of Poland chose a man named Leszek Miller to be their prime minister. After this happened, I sat back and waited for the reaction in Western Europe. I waited, and I waited. Nothing happened.

Dancing to Greet the New Dawn

Although she lived well into the era of silent movies, there are no filmed images of Isadora Duncan in motion. Because she was camera-shy, there are very few photographs of her either, and those that exist invariably show her draped in togas, striking dramatic poses.

The Propaganda War

By any standard, historical or moral, the treatment of al Qaeda and Taliban prisoners in Guantanamo Bay has been outstanding, even exemplary. Why, then, have European and international airwaves been ringing this week with howls of condemnation?

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