The writer and political activist Mike Marqusee, who has died of cancer aged 61, enjoyed an intellect as dazzling as it was unique. A true polymath, he made the most of a boundless curiosity and a powerful memory to educate himself, and others, about a kaleidoscope of topics: Renaissance art, cricket and empire, British labour politics, Indian history and culture, Zionism, the music of AndalucĂ­a and Tamil Nadu, the poetry and art of William Blake, the American civil rights movement, the films of John Ford, the songs of Bob Dylan. The list could go on and on.

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