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The passions of Woody Guthrie

The Guardian, February 2005 ‘Ramblin’ Man: The Life and Times of Woody Guthrie’ by Ed Cray, Norton, £18.99 Review by Mike Marqusee Had Woody Guthrie not been cremated, his spirit surely would have erupted from the grave in the early hours of 3rd November, as Republicans celebrating Bush’s re-election in Washington bellowed out his anthem,… Read more

Patriot Acts

The Nation, 13 December Review: Washington Gone Crazy: Senator Pat McCarran and the Great American Communist Hunt by Michael J Ybarra; Reds: McCarthyism in Twentieth Century America by Ted Morgan; Treasonable Doubt: The Harry Dexter White Spy Case by R. Bruce Craig; Alger Hiss’s Looking Glass Wars: The Covert Life of a Soviet Spy by… Read more

In orbit with Arnie

The Guardian, 26 June, 2004 Review: Why Arnold Matters: The Rise of a Cultural Icon by Michael Blitz and Louise Krasniewicz, Basic Books After Arnold Schwarzenegger’s election victory in California, no one wants to be caught under-estimating the power of celebrity. But there’s a danger of over-estimating it, and of over-simplifying it, too. Why Arnold… Read more

Moore’s do-it-yourself insurgency

Review of Dude, Where’s My Country? by Michael Moore The Independent, 17 October 2003 Can the left communicate to a wide popular audience? Can it free itself of the prison of jargon? Can it reach out to the unconverted? New Labour and its co-thinkers in the Democratic party decided that the only answer to these… Read more

Genealogy of the Unabomber

Review of Harvard and the Unabomber: The Education of an American Terrorist by Alton Chase The Independent, 3 September 2003 For sixteen years, Ted Kaczynski led the FBI a merry dance, stuffing his intricately crafted parcel bombs with tantalising, impenetrable clues. By 1995, his campaign had struck sixteen targets – grad students, computer store managers,… Read more

The great race

Mike Marqusee on Donald McRae’s evocation of the hurdles faced by Joe Louis and Jesse Owens The Guardian, 16 November, 2002 Review of In Black and White: The Untold Story of Joe Louis and Jesse Owens by Donald McRae, Scribner. In 1936, under the irritated gaze of Hitler and the Nazi high command, the sprinter and long jumper… Read more

Apartheid in the ring

Mike Marqusee cheers Dancing Shoes Is Dead: A Tale of Fighting Men in South Africa by Gavin Evans, a hard-hitting memoir of South African boxing The Guardian, 9 February 2002 Ever since the ringside cry of “Don’t let the nigger win!” went up at the epic 1810 bout between the black American ex-slave Molineux and… Read more