Tag: Books

A strange tale of Palestine and Hollywood

| December 16, 2016 | 0 Comments
A strange tale of Palestine and Hollywood

Ben Hecht was a famous screenwriter and author who invented a pair of movie genres — the gangster film and the screwball comedy — and wrote two of the best Hitchcocks: Spellbound and Notorious. In fact, he wrote literally scores of fine films, often without credit, as was common practice in Hollywood in the ’30s […]

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Little-known fact: Winston Churchill was a shopaholic

| October 4, 2016 | 0 Comments
Little-known fact: Winston Churchill was a shopaholic

In 1929, Winston Churchill, who was then the chancellor of the exchequer in Stanley Baldwin’s government, was making a tour of Canada and the U.S. In a speech in Vancouver on Sept. 23, he said, “We see Canada growing in every way — education, civilization, numbers and wealth.” That was the day prices on U.S. […]

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Diplomatic behaviour

| June 30, 2016 | 0 Comments
Diplomatic behaviour

Many authors who write thick biographies of important political or cultural figures follow up later by editing their subject’s letters or private papers for publication. Norman Hillmer of Carleton University, perhaps the leading academic historian of Canadian-U.S. relations, has done the reverse. In 2013, he published O.D. Skelton: The Work of the World, 1923-1941 (McGill-Queen’s […]

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Revisionism revisited

| March 22, 2016 | 0 Comments
Revisionism revisited

As it happened, Ronald C. Rosbottom, a professor of French culture at Amherst College in New England, was in Paris on Jan. 7, 2015, the day of the terrorist attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo. A bit of bad luck, one might say, but perhaps a bit of good luck as well, for Rosbottom […]

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A search for the middle ground

| January 4, 2016 | 0 Comments
A search for the middle ground

In 1962, George Woodcock, the Vancouver literary and social critic, published what turned out to be his most famous book, one that has stayed in print ever since. He called it Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements. He always described himself as a “philosophical anarchist,” a phrase coined in reaction to that stereotype […]

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Out of Africa

| September 27, 2015 | 0 Comments
Out of Africa

In 2008, a British journalist named Tom Burgis, who helped cover Africa for the Financial Times, witnessed the mass murder of men, women and children at a place called Jos, along the invisible boundary that separates Nigeria’s Muslim north from its mostly Christian south. But the full effect of what he saw there didn’t strike […]

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Fu Manchu to you too

| June 23, 2015 | 0 Comments
Fu Manchu to you too

Here’s a story that’s been passed along in my family — which means that it’s most likely not true. The story is that my grandfather met Sax Rohmer, probably in San Francisco in 1919. Rohmer (real name: Arthur Henry Ward) was the British author of the Fu Manchu short stories and novels that did so […]

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An Iran-born Armenian-American in Turkey

| April 4, 2015 | 0 Comments
An Iran-born Armenian-American in Turkey

Meline Toumani is a young Iranian-born Armenian who grew up in New Jersey and began her writing career as an editorial assistant at the New York Times. So it was one day that she was in Times Square, a block from the office, when she saw the annual street protest of Turkish people with signs […]

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A different look at Islam

| January 5, 2015 | 0 Comments
A different look at Islam

As Diplomat is published only four times a year, I have a devil of a time rooting out books that haven’t already been reviewed everywhere else but are nonetheless, I hope, ones of topical interest to our readers. The situation is made more complicated by what seems to me (though this may be middle age […]

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Wars both hot and cold

| September 26, 2014 | 0 Comments
Wars both hot and cold

As soon as the Second World War was over, the French began fighting a decade-long hit-and-run guerrilla conflict against left-wing nationalists in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, the three pieces of the map that made up French Indochina. Eventually they lost their patience, deciding to wipe out the enemy by luring them into one big killing […]

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