Curtis Cate

The late Curtis Cate was the author of The Ides of August, devoted to the Berlin Wall crisis of 1961.

Latest by Curtis Cate in Chronicles

Results: 41 Articles found.
  • May 24, 2017

    Gigantic Weaknesses

    One of the sights that most amazed me as I approached the center of Moscow for the first time was a huge poster, stretched across the flat rooftop of a large building not far from the Kremlin, boldly advertising PHILIPS in large letters that needed no further explanation.

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  • A No-Longer-Broken City
    January 2007

    A No-Longer-Broken City

    It is a strange experience, after an absence of 25 years, to revisit a city with which one was once linked by ties of solidarity. Stranger still was it to discover that Berlin, while it has been extraordinarily transformed in many respects, has remained extraordinarily unchanged in others.

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  • July 2006

    Down to Earth—With a Thud!

    The history of Berlin over the past 16 years—more exactly, since the dramatic fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989—offers an almost classic example of how wild dreams conceived in a moment of euphoria can so easily collapse into a mood of grudging resignation.

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  • April 2006

    The Right to Blaspheme?

    The vociferous and, at times, incendiary uproar that suddenly erupted in early February with the publication in Paris of 12 “satanic drawings,” supposedly caricaturing Muhammad, offered the world one more proof of the extent to which, thanks to radio, television, and computers, our rapidly shrinking planet has now become a global village.

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  • March 2006

    Dynamic Paralysis

    Appearances, as we all know (or should know), are often deceptive, just as one’s memory is often fallible and by no means a sure guide as to what one has really and truly observed.

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  • How Cosmopolitan Can One Become?
    February 2006

    How Cosmopolitan Can One Become?

    A friend of mine who worked for more than 30 years for the ILO (International Labor Organization) in Geneva was standing in a post-office queue one day when he noticed that the man just in front of him was in a curiously agitated state.

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  • A Hydra With Two Heads
    August 2005

    A Hydra With Two Heads

    On Tuesday, May 31, just two days after a decisive 55-percent majority of French voters had rejected the treaty proposal for a constitution for Europe, simultaneously destroying the president’s waning prestige and the fragile unity of France’s Socialist Party, Jacques Chirac staggered his supporters and detractors by pulling an extraordinary two-eared hybrid from his conjuror’s top hat.

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  • May 2005

    Farewell to Indolence?

    Spain, Voltaire once observed (expressing the scorn that many Frenchmen feel for those unlucky enough to have been born on the wrong side of the Pyrenees), is “le pays de la pareses”—the land of laziness.

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  • January 2005

    Stakhanovism in Reverse

    Last April, Claude Imbert, editor in chief of the moderately conservative weekly Le Point, dared to make an astonishing mea culpa.

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  • August 2004

    Military Unintelligence

    Nothing is riskier in life—at any rate, for those interested in discovering that elusive thing, the “truth”—than to assume that what one has personally experienced years ago can be a useful guide in judging present problems.

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  • July 2004

    Gigantic Weaknesses

    One of the sights that most amazed me as I approached the center of Moscow for the first time was a huge poster, stretched across the flat rooftop of a large building not far from the Kremlin, boldly advertising PHILIPS in large letters that needed no further explanation.

    Read More
  • May 2004

    Islam in France

    Last March, in a characteristically bold move, Nicolas Sarkozy turned up at a huge Muslim jamboree staged in the giant hangars of the onetime Le Bourget Airport, north of Paris.

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  • April 2004

    Gigantic in Everything

    When you visit a foreign capital for the first time, sooner or later you are likely to be asked the question: “What do you think of our country?” or “What is your impression of this city?”

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  • January 2004

    Monumental in Everything

    I have before me, as I write these lines, a handsome white envelope, marked in pale-blue characters with the six-pronged, anchor-fish-hook-crown emblem of this once imperial and still maritime city, which was offered to me by a friend as I was leaving St. Petersburg.

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  • October 2003

    A Sentimental Return

    Returning to a city you once loved is always a perilous experience, for it is so easy to be disappointed—as happened to me several years ago when I returned to Venice, a seaborne city I had not seen for more than 40 years.

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  • July 2003

    How Anti-American Are the French?

    It is an old truism, so ancient that it can probably be traced as far back as Aristotle, that politics is not an exact science. Indeed, we could say of it what Napoleon, who knew a thing or two about politics, once said with admirable concision of the Art of War: that it is “tout d’exécution”—entirely a matter of execution.

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  • The Tarantulas
    March 2002

    The Tarantulas

    Ortega y Gasset once judiciously observed that “Man reaches truth with hands bloodied from the strangling of a hundred platitudes.”

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  • January 2002

    Mad Cow Madness

    One of the hallmarks of our crazy, crazed, and increasingly raucous age is the insidious war that is being waged in most regions of the Western world against silence, virtually blackballed as an undesirable, something to be avoided at almost any cost, lest it induce boredom and reduce one to a piteous state of solitary rumination.

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  • October 2001

    Ethnicity as a Way of Life

    Years ago, an Hungarian friend of mine, eager to finish a novel, decided to go to Corsica to find the peace and quiet he craved. Some six months later, after he returned to Paris, I asked him if, during his stay, he had picked up any Corsican.

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  • June 2000

    Exhibitionism as a Way of Life

    In mid-January, those Parisians (like myself) who are still interested in literary matters were aroused from the smug complacency in which we had been wallowing for several weeks, as dazed survivors of the millennial earthquake and the pyrotechnic cancan put on by a shameless Eiffel Tower, by an unexpected thunderclap.

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Results: 41 Articles found.



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