Adam Shatz is a Contributing Editor at the London Review of Books. (March 2016)

Le Jazz Hot

Juliette Gréco and Miles Davis at the Salle Pleyel, Paris, 1949
Jazz is an art that inspires possessive devotion, and nowhere more so than in France. That proud sense of ownership is understandable: Paris opened its arms to jazz when it was a motherless child back home, a music associated with brothels, race mixing, and other vices. The American clarinetist Sidney …

The Beautiful Sounds of Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix performing at the Royal Albert Hall, London, 1969
Shortly before his death at age twenty-seven on September 18, 1970, Jimi Hendrix told his friend Colette Mimram that he didn’t have much time left. He’d heard it from a fortune-teller in Morocco, and he believed her. Hendrix, who’d grown up penniless, could earn $14,000 a minute playing his white …

Bird!

Charlie Parker in a photo booth, Kansas City, 1940
“Bird was kind of like the sun, giving off the energy we drew from him,” Max Roach said of the alto saxophonist Charlie Parker. The sun set early for Parker, who died at thirty-four of pneumonia on March 12, 1955. He was a world-class musician, but he was also a world-class addict. His body was so haggard that the doctor who examined him estimated his age at fifty-three.

The Jewish Question

Jean Daniel, who turned eighty-five in early July, has a strong claim to being France’s most eminent journalist. The editorial director of Le Nouvel Observateur, the center-left weekly he founded in 1964, Daniel has played a role in French political society that has no equivalent in American letters, with the …

In Search of Hezbollah-II

A visitor trying to discover who controls Lebanon’s south, the heartland of Lebanese Shiism, soon finds that Hezbollah flags fly from the wreckage of demolished tanks abandoned by the Israeli army when it withdrew from Lebanon in 2000. The smiling face of Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the prominent Shiite cleric who …

In Search of Hezbollah

Beirut used to be known as the Paris of the Middle East, and in the well-to-do Christian and Sunni quarters of the city, the capital of Lebanon still manages to cast a spell. The central business district—a battleground on the dividing line between Christian East Beirut and Muslim West Beirut …

Algeria’s Failed Revolution

General Khaled Nezzar is often called the “godfather” of Algeria. He is a senior member of the group of generals, active and retired, who control from behind the scenes the pouvoir—the military-financial “power” that rules the country. He lives in Hydra Le Paradou, an elegant neighborhood of white stone villas …

The Torture of Algiers

  1. In the fall of 1957, Louisette Ighilahriz, a twenty-year-old soldier in the Front de Libération Nationale (FLN), the Algerian nationalist underground seeking to end French rule, was captured by French paratroopers on the outskirts of Algiers. Badly wounded in battle, she was transferred to a prison in the …