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Nothing to Fall Back On

Charles Tripp: Invading Iraq in 1914, 5 July 2007

Tigris Gunboats: The Forgotten War in Iraq 1914-17 
by Wilfred Nunn.
Chatham, 288 pp., £19.99, March 2007, 978 1 86176 308 2
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... either incompetent or fired by ambition that blinded them to other considerations. Major-General Townshend, for example, pressed on northwards to Ctesiphon in 1915, which brought him within thirty miles or so of Baghdad. He did so against his better judgment, knowing that he had a relatively small force, no reserves and overstretched lines of ...

How to Grow a Weetabix

James Meek: Farms and Farmers, 16 June 2016

... built, garrulous man in his mid-sixties. A pupil at Gordonstoun at the same time as Prince Charles, cousin to a baronet with a large estate in Suffolk, he combines a confident, commanding air and the love of a good story with a peevish ability to articulate complaints in such a way that aligns his personal disadvantage with the disadvantage to the ...

Dev and Dan

Tom Dunne, 21 April 1988

The Hereditary Bondsman: Daniel O’Connell, 1775-1829 
by Oliver MacDonagh..
Weidenfeld, 328 pp., £16.95, January 1988, 0 297 79221 0
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Eamon de Valera 
by Owen Dudley Edwards.
University of Wales Press, 161 pp., £19.95, November 1987, 0 7083 0986 0
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Nationalism and Popular Protest in Ireland 
edited by C.H.E. Philpin.
Cambridge, 466 pp., £27.50, November 1987, 0 521 26816 8
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Northern Ireland: Soldiers talking, 1969 to Today 
by Max Arthur.
Sidgwick, 271 pp., £13.95, October 1987, 0 283 99375 8
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War as a Way of Life: A Belfast Diary 
by John Conroy.
Heinemann, 218 pp., £12.95, February 1988, 0 434 14217 4
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... special chapters on Belfast, South Armagh, bomb-disposal and (most interesting of all) the UDR. Charles Townshend, in his important analysis, Political Violence in Ireland: Government and Resistance since 1848, stressed the problems for the British state in attempting to counteract terrorism, in Ireland as a whole before 1921, and in Northern Ireland ...

Blue Suede Studies

Hugh Barnes, 19 December 1985

Elvis and Me 
by Priscilla Beaulieu Presley and Sandra Harman.
Century, 320 pp., £9.95, October 1985, 0 7126 1131 2
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Are you lonesome tonight? 
by Alan Bleasdale.
Faber, 95 pp., £3.95, September 1985, 0 571 13732 6
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Elvis and Gladys 
by Elaine Dundy.
Weidenfeld, 353 pp., £12.95, April 1985, 9780297782100
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The Johnny Cash Discography 
by John Smith.
Greenwood, 203 pp., £29.95, May 1985, 0 313 24654 8
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Horse’s Neck 
by Pete Townshend.
Faber, 95 pp., £6.95, May 1985, 9780571138739
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Like Punk Never Happened 
by Dave Rimmer.
Faber, 191 pp., £4.95, October 1985, 0 571 13739 3
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Starlust: The Secret Fantasies of Fans 
by Fred Vermorel and Judy Vermorel.
Comet, 253 pp., £4.95, August 1985, 0 86379 004 6
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The Beatles 
by Hunter Davies.
Cape, 498 pp., £12.95, December 1985, 0 224 02837 5
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... in Memphis – where the Presleys moved in search of work – is irresistible after the fashion of Charles White’s paean to Little Richard’s hometown of Macon, or the yarns associated with Buddy Holly straining at the leash in Lubbock, Texas. Dundy maps out Elvis’s nocturnal wanderings, away from the family home, down to Beale or Union Street, which were ...

Maurice Thomson’s War

Perry Anderson, 4 November 1993

Merchants and Revolution: Commercial Change, Political Conflict and London’s Overseas Traders 1550-1653 
by Robert Brenner.
Cambridge, 734 pp., £40, March 1993, 0 521 37319 0
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The Nature of the English Revolution 
by John Morrill.
Longman, 466 pp., £32, June 1993, 0 582 08941 7
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... agenda for debate on the English Revolution since the Seventies. Kevin Sharpe’s Personal Rule of Charles I, Conrad Russell’s Fall of the British Monarchies and John Morrill’s Nature of the English Revolution all represent distinct standpoints, but certain common features continue to stand out. Rejecting both constitutional explanations of the Caroline ...

Seizing the Senses

Derek Jarrett, 17 February 2000

Edmund Burke. Vol. I: 1730-84 
by F.P. Lock.
Oxford, 564 pp., £75, January 1999, 0 19 820676 3
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... a ministry made up of the Marquis of Rockingham and his adherents – Edmund told his friend Charles O’Hara that ‘Will and I are down on their lists and I hope and believe will be attended to.’ They were. William was appointed under-secretary to Walpole’s friend Henry Seymour Conway, who became one of the King’s two Secretaries of State, and ...

Then place my purboil’d Head upon a Stake

Colin Burrow: British and Irish poetry, 7 January 1999

Poetry and Revolution: An Anthology of British and Irish Verse 1625-1660 
edited by Peter Davidson.
Oxford, 716 pp., £75, July 1998, 0 19 818441 7
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... to many poets in the 1630s, is an answer to a request for a warlike elegy from his friend Aurelian Townshend. Printed without its companion piece and pretext, as it was in the 1640 volume of Carew’s verse, the poem seems to support the popular view of a ‘Cavalier’ poet: big collars, big hats, big hair, long nights with claret by the fire, and verse ...

A Terrible Bad Cold

John Sutherland, 27 September 1990

by Peter Ackroyd.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 1195 pp., £19.95, September 1990, 1 85619 000 5
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... Great Oven. The Fever Patch. Babylon. The Great Wen. In the early autumn of 1822 the ten-year-old Charles Dickens entered his kingdom. At any moment of excitement Ackroyd is prone to such ventriloquism. He does not describe the squalor of Warren’s Thames-side blacking factory – he feels it and bang goes the grammar again: This is the haunted place of ...

Iraq Must Go!

Charles Glass: The Making and Unmaking of Iraq, 3 October 2002

... for Kurds, Sunni Arabs and Shiite Arabs. Britain would divide Syria, and unite Iraq. After General Townshend surrendered Kut on 29 April 1916, Buchan and the rest of the propaganda unit at Wellington House mobilised opinion for the liberation of Turkey’s non-Turkish subjects. They published horror stories of Turkish rapine, some true, but many fabricated ...

Yeats and Violence

Michael Wood: On ‘Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen’, 14 August 2008

... Beckett, Happy Days The Irish propensity for violence is well known; at least to the English. Charles Townshend, Political Violence in Ireland In 1934, Marina Tsvetaeva wrote an essay called ‘Poets with History and Poets without History’. All poets, she said, belong to one or the other of these categories, and it becomes clear that the poet with ...

Intellectual Liberation

Blair Worden, 21 January 1988

Catholics, Anglicans and Puritans 
by Hugh Trevor-Roper.
Secker, 317 pp., £17.50, November 1987, 0 436 42512 2
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Archbishop William Laud 
by Charles Carlton.
Routledge, 272 pp., £25, December 1987, 0 7102 0463 9
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Clarendon and his Friends 
by Richard Ollard.
Hamish Hamilton, 367 pp., £15, September 1987, 0 241 12380 1
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by Nicholas Tyacke.
Oxford, 305 pp., £30, February 1987, 0 19 822939 9
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Criticism and Compliment: The Politics of Literature in the England of Charles
by Kevin Sharpe.
Cambridge, 309 pp., £27.50, December 1987, 0 521 34239 2
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... there is Laudianism, the new-fangled High Churchmanship which was awarded political ascendancy by Charles I. Then, opposed to it, there is the old-fashioned Calvinism of that doyen of Puritan scholars, the Archbishop of Armagh, James Ussher. Although the first system was less dogmatic than the second, both of them closed their adherents’ minds. Between them ...
... were mostly old, and the Irish Parliamentary Party had never fully recovered from the fall of Charles Stewart Parnell. (Parnell, first elected to the House of Commons in 1875, and known for his charisma, cunning and strategic skills, was dubbed ‘the uncrowned king of Ireland’. He was brought down in 1890, having been named by William O’Shea as ...

Separation Anxiety

Eric Foner, 18 April 1996

A Struggle for Power: The American Revolution 
by Theodore Draper.
Little, Brown, 544 pp., £25, March 1996, 0 316 87802 2
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... cites other historians they are likely to be long-forgotten practitioners of Imperial history like Charles McLean Andrews, Samuel Beer and Herbert Osgood.) A prolific writer on 20th-century politics, Draper has concentrated in his 13 previous books on events in which he was either a participant or a close observer. The books include studies of American ...

The Great Scots Education Hoax

Rosalind Mitchison, 18 October 1984

The Companion to Gaelic Scotland 
edited by Derick Thomson.
Blackwell, 363 pp., £25, December 1983, 0 631 12502 7
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Experience and Enlightenment: Socialisation for Cultural Changes in 18th-Century Scotland 
by Charles Camic.
Edinburgh, 301 pp., £20, January 1984, 0 85224 483 5
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Knee Deep in Claret: A Celebration of Wine and Scotland 
by Billy Kay and Cailean Maclean.
Mainstream, 232 pp., £9.95, November 1983, 0 906391 45 8
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Education and Opportunity in Victorian Scotland: Schools and Universities 
by R.D. Anderson.
Oxford, 384 pp., £25, July 1983, 0 19 822696 9
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Scotland: The Real Divide 
edited by Gordon Brown and Robin Cook.
Mainstream, 251 pp., £9.95, November 1983, 0 906391 18 0
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Wealth and Virtue: The Shaping of Political Economy in the Scottish Enlightenment 
edited by Istvan Hont and Michael Ignatieff.
Cambridge, 371 pp., £35, November 1983, 0 521 23397 6
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... the author, ‘is not even an 18th-century Scottish word.’ My respect for the past goes up. Charles Camic believes, I think, that the great men of the Enlightenment could pioneer new areas of thought only if they had been removed from their fathers’ influence at an early age, and later subjected to university in large, impersonal classes. So Adam ...

Moral Lepers

John Banville: Easter 1916, 16 July 2015

Vivid Faces: The Revolutionary Generation in Ireland, 1890-1923 
by R.F. Foster.
Allen Lane, 433 pp., £10.99, May 2015, 978 0 241 95424 9
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... that broke out in 1919, as later nationalist piety would insist. It is startling to read, in Charles Townshend’s fine study, The Republic: The Fight for Irish Independence, the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) leader, John O’Leary who, in Yeats’s poem, shared his grave with the corpse of ‘romantic Ireland’, observing that the ...

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