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Child of Evangelism

James Wood, 3 October 1996

The Quest for God: A Personal Pilgrimage 
by Paul Johnson.
Weidenfeld, 216 pp., £14.99, March 1996, 0 297 81764 7
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Is There a God? 
by Richard Swinburne.
Oxford, 144 pp., £20, February 1996, 0 19 823544 5
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God in Us: A Case for Christian Humanism 
by Anthony Freeman.
SCM, 87 pp., £5.95, September 1993, 0 344 02538 1
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Robert Runcie: The Reluctant Archbishop 
by Humphrey Carpenter.
Hodder, 401 pp., £20, October 1996, 0 340 57107 1
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... promises of the New Testament – ‘If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will give it’ (John 14) – seemed not to be a promise. Faith might move mountains, but in an invisible mountain range. And I noticed that when people were speaking in tongues, instead of producing a nonsense version of English, they seemed to produce a tourist’s imitation of ...

Anyone for Eternity?

John Leslie, 23 March 1995

The Physics of Immortality: Modern Cosmology, God and the Resurrection of the Dead 
by Frank Tipler.
Macmillan, 528 pp., £20, January 1995, 0 333 61864 5
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... be ugly, he argues, and hence (a step sure to raise many eyebrows) unlikely to be good physics. Freeman Dyson, he notes, has shown how life and thought might continue for ever in an endlessly expanding universe despite the constantly increasing cold, or rather because of it. Dyson explains that as temperatures fell more and more, information processing ...

Manufactured Humbug

Frank Kermode: A great forger of the nineteenth century, 16 December 2004

John Payne Collier: Scholarship and Forgery in the 19th Century 
by Arthur Freeman and Janet Ing Freeman.
Yale, 1483 pp., £100, August 2004, 0 300 09661 5
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... and fabrications of others, and had justified doubts about some of the work of one senior scholar, John Payne Collier. Halliwell was still only 20 when, in 1840, he joined three distinguished figures – Alexander Dyce, Charles Knight and Collier – in founding the Shakespeare Society. Collier was then around fifty, with another forty-odd years to live. He ...

Other People

Dinah Birch, 6 July 1989

The Middleman, and Other Stories 
by Bharati Mukherjee.
Virago, 197 pp., £11.95, June 1989, 1 85381 058 4
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The Burning Boys 
by John Fuller.
Chatto, 128 pp., £10.95, June 1989, 9780701134648
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Termination Rock 
by Gillian Freeman.
Pandora, 182 pp., £12.95, June 1989, 0 04 440352 6
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by Joan Aiken.
Gollancz, 254 pp., £11.95, June 1989, 0 575 04502 7
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... presents a razor-sharp reflection of a world which is disconnected, but not without hope. John Fuller’s The Burning Boys is interested in other kinds of separation. David’s mother is killed in the Blitz, and he goes to live with his down-to-earth grandmother and nubile young aunt. His life goes underground. David covertly observes the strange ...

The Plight of the Poor in the Midst of Plenty

Jeremy Waldron: John Rawls, 15 July 1999

Collected Papers 
by John Rawls, edited by Samuel Freeman.
Harvard, 627 pp., £24.95, June 1999, 0 674 13739 6
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... John Rawls is best known as the author of a large book of ‘grand theory’, A Theory of Justice, that changed the face and refreshed the spirit of political philosophy when it was published in 1971. He is also the author of about forty scholarly articles, beginning with a chapter on ethics from his Princeton dissertation in 1951 and culminating with a short piece on Hiroshima, published in Dissent on the 50th anniversary of the first use of nuclear weapons against civilian targets ...


A.J.P. Taylor: A historian writes for fun, 19 May 1983

... I have recently read The History Men by John Kenyon. I remember reading a different book, The History Man by Malcolm Bradbury, some years ago. I did not find Bradbury’s book at all funny, which I am told it is intended to be. After a careful reading I had not the slightest inkling of what the book was supposed to be about ...

Emotional Sushi

Ian Sansom: Tony, Nick and Simon, 9 August 2001

One for My Baby 
by Tony Parsons.
HarperCollins, 330 pp., £15.99, July 2001, 0 00 226182 0
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How to Be Good 
by Nick Hornby.
Viking, 256 pp., £16.99, May 2001, 0 670 88823 0
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Little Green Man 
by Simon Armitage.
Viking, 246 pp., £12.99, August 2001, 0 670 89442 7
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... voice proves impossible to disguise: How to Be Good’s Katie Carr is About a Boy’s Will Freeman is the High Fidelity Rob is the same autobiographical voice familiar to readers of Fever Pitch. Fortunately, it is a voice of apparently inexhaustible and androgynous charm. Hornby was never really writing Lad Lit, which if it exists at all would only be ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Long Good Friday’, 2 July 2015

The Long Good Friday 
directed by John MacKenzie.
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... them, they aren’t behind the bombings and the killing, they don’t know anything. The director, John Mackenzie, uses an elegant stylistic effect to make this point, so that we get it subliminally before we are anywhere near working out its contours. The camera keeps arriving at a scene – a country cottage seen from a small distance, the interior of the ...

Burrinchini’s Spectre

Peter Clarke, 19 January 1984

That Noble Science of Politics: A Study in 19th-Century Intellectual History 
by Stefan Collini, Donald Winch and John Burrow.
Cambridge, 385 pp., £25, November 1983, 9780521257626
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... Donald Winch has long been known for path-breaking studies of the Smithian and Keynesian epochs. John Burrow’s elegant anatomy of the evolutionary paradigm in Victorian Britain has recently been succeeded by a rightfully acclaimed historiographical work. Though three names appear upon the title page, they have pooled their intellectual capital to a ...

Besieged by Female Writers

John Pemble: Trollope’s Late Style, 3 November 2016

Anthony Trollope’s Late Style: Victorian Liberalism and Literary Form 
by Frederik Van Dam.
Edinburgh, 180 pp., £70, January 2016, 978 0 7486 9955 1
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... but it also suggests the possibility of some psychosexual crisis. We know from the memoirs of John Addington Symonds that boys weren’t likely to leave Harrow sexually innocent, and it could be significant that Trollope destroyed all his youthful journals because he thought they were too revealing. Since his father was bankrupt and he had failed to win a ...

Why are you still here?

James Meek: Who owns Grimsby?, 23 April 2015

... again, a rhythm that sent pulses of cash-rich fishermen racing to the fleshpots and trinketries of Freeman Street, the backbone of the Victorian town, which ran from the docks to the Marsh districts where the fishermen lived. They would walk away from the cashier at the docks, get into a cab and let the meter run through all their sprees and benders and ...

His Whiskers Trimmed

Matthew Karp: Robert E. Lee in Defeat, 7 April 2022

Robert E. Lee: A Life 
by Allen Guelzo.
Knopf, 585 pp., $27.99, September 2021, 978 1 101 94622 0
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... of a more graceful age. Lee’s biographers used to fall into the second camp. Douglas Southall Freeman’s four-volume biography, published in 1934 and 1935, was the standard text for many decades. Freeman drove past Lee’s statue in Richmond every day on his way to work and saluted it. But more recent biographers, even ...


Sean French: Fortress Wapping, 6 March 1986

... anything different from someone like Murdoch? What do we think we will gain by holding out? Simon Freeman counters by saying that if we go now, tamely and without negotiation, when we actually have some power, then we might as well forget about union organisation down at Wapping. Murdoch will have won and that will be that. We vote on the following ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2019, 2 January 2020

... tell me.26 January. We are comfortably ensconced in our Weekend First seats at King’s Cross when John Bercow comes along the platform. Not quite the elegant, slightly flamboyant figure one sees in the Commons, he’s in a scruffy suede jacket and, according to the trolley attendant, sitting in standard class, where he is happy to have a conversation about ...

Dangerous Play

Mike Selvey, 23 May 1985

Gubby Allen: Man of Cricket 
by E.W. Swanton.
Hutchinson, 311 pp., £12.95, April 1985, 0 09 159780 3
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Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack: 1985 
edited by John Woodcock.
Wisden, 1280 pp., £11.95, April 1985, 0 947766 00 6
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... newspapers.* Last summer? Well, that problem was solved last week when the Gospel according to St John, all 1300 pages of it, beat the dust out of the doormat. It is a sure sign that spring is in the air when Wisden arrives. While there is a good twelve months browse therein, one flick through is enough to stir the brain cells. It is the cricketer’s holy ...

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