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Stalin’s Spy: Richard Sorge and the Tokyo Espionage Ring 
by Robert Whymant.
Tauris, 368 pp., £25, October 1996, 1 86064 044 3
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... disbelieved, Sorge slipped his story to a drinking acquaintance at the bar of the Imperial – Joseph Needham of the New York Herald Tribune. Needham’s pusillanimous editors covered their rears by running it, but buried deep among the baseball scores. Sorge, however, had earned credibility with his Moscow controllers, who were soon desperate to have his ...

Japan goes Dutch

Murray Sayle: Japan’s economic troubles, 5 April 2001

... the current business customs of English-speakers, is a cloudy concept; but most authorities follow Joseph Schumpeter in seeing credit creation by, or through, a banking system as its distinctive feature. Historical experience suggests that pioneering, credit-based capitalism is effective on frontiers, before competitors have arrived and whittled profits below ...

The Future of the Labour Party

Barbara Wootton, 18 December 1980

Healey’s Eye 
by Denis Healey.
Cape, 191 pp., £7.95, September 1980, 0 224 01793 4
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The Role of the Trade Unions: The Granada Guildhall Lectures 
by James Prior, Tony Benn and Lionel Murray.
Granada, 96 pp., £1, August 1980, 0 586 05386 7
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Rank and File 
by Hugh Jenkins.
Croom Helm, 179 pp., £9.95, September 1980, 0 7099 0331 6
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The Tragedy of Labour 
by Stephen Haseler.
Blackwell, 249 pp., £7.95, September 1980, 9780631113416
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Labour into the Eighties 
edited by David Bell.
Croom Helm, 168 pp., £9.95, September 1980, 0 7099 0443 6
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... In the Granada Lectures each contributor says just what one would expect him to say. Len Murray reviews the relations between the unions and governments (of either colour) and offers moderate but constructive proposals for the future, while James Prior, also in moderate terms, outlines his view of the role of the unions and describes those changes in ...

The money’s still out there

Neal Ascherson: The Scottish Empire, 6 October 2011

To the Ends of the Earth: Scotland’s Global Diaspora, 1750-2010 
by T.M. Devine.
Allen Lane, 397 pp., £25, August 2011, 978 0 7139 9744 6
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The Inner Life of Empires: An 18th-Century History 
by Emma Rothschild.
Princeton, 483 pp., £24.95, June 2011, 978 0 691 14895 3
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... because of his Highland ancestry. It wasn’t until the 1960s that radicals like Tom Nairn and Murray Grigor began to satirise ‘the Tartan Monster’ as the product of a false consciousness which excused Scots from contemplating their real past and possible future. Highlandism’s most powerful vehicle was the British Army. Within a few years of the 1745 ...

New Ground for the Book Trade

John Sutherland, 28 September 1989

... with non-publishing or foreign management at the highest level. Penguin, Hamish Hamilton, Michael Joseph, Frederick Warne and Longman – all once imprints with independent identities – now congregate within the Pearson group (best known for its ownership of the Financial Times). Random House UK (whose American parent was long since swallowed up by RCA) own ...

Good Things

Michael Hofmann, 20 April 1995

Heart’s Journey in Winter 
by James Buchan.
Harvill, 201 pp., £14.99, April 1995, 9780002730099
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... way of saying that he was for ten years a foreign correspondent of the FT; his authority (like Joseph Roth’s, say) is altogether deeper, more committed, more structural, than that of journalism. He reminds me of Washington DC in Lowell’s distich: ‘The stiff spokes of this wheel / touch the sore spots of the earth.’ It is a ...


Rosemary Ashton, 17 October 1985

Troubled Lives: John and Sarah Austin 
by Lotte Hamburger and Joseph Hamburger.
Toronto, 288 pp., £19.50, May 1985, 0 8020 2521 8
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... John Austin. Needless to say, Austin achieved nothing in his lifetime. He refused offers from John Murray to republish his London University lectures, not entirely, as the Hamburgers fairly suggest, out of indolence, but also because his ideas on the law and related political questions had changed. From Benthamite radical in favour of democracy, law reform and ...

Is his name Alwyn?

Michael Hofmann: Richard Flanagan’s Sticky Collage, 18 December 2014

The Narrow Road to the Deep North 
by Richard Flanagan.
Chatto, 448 pp., £16.99, July 2014, 978 0 7011 8905 1
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... perfectly well involve huge and catastrophic feelings, for the reader as well, as witness, say, Joseph Roth’s The Emperor’s Tomb. Amy’s marriage to the publican Keith is similarly trotted out in material terms, as a cheaper class of cushion-cover: ‘It felt like the Edwardian horsehair furniture he had refused her requests to replace after their ...

Thanks to the Fels-Naptha Soap King

Miles Taylor: George Lansbury, 22 May 2003

George Lansbury: At the Heart of Old Labour 
by John Shepherd.
Oxford, 407 pp., £35, September 2002, 0 19 820164 8
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... election campaigns for a series of Liberal wannabes – Samuel Montagu, Jane Cobden and J.A. Murray Macdonald – before, like many of his generation, switching over in 1892 to Henry Hyndman’s Social Democratic Federation. A year later, he was elected to the Poplar Poor Law Board. Poplar now became the Lansbury family’s fiefdom. He himself was a ...

A Regular Bull

Christopher Hitchens, 31 July 1997

Whittaker Chambers: A Biography 
by Sam Tanenhaus.
Random House, 640 pp., $35, February 1997, 0 394 58559 3
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... time took the opposing view. Let’s see now. An unstable fantasy-merchant signs up as an agent of Joseph Stalin. He lives a series of lies for almost a decade, and cultivates the habits and practices of deception. He then tries to go straight, and denounces his former comrades. But he steadfastly denies that Communists and fellow-travellers were involved in ...

Menagerie of Live Authors

Francesca Wade: Marys Shelley and Wollstonecraft, 8 October 2015

Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley 
by Charlotte Gordon.
Hutchinson, 649 pp., £25, April 2015, 978 0 09 195894 7
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... school, but was determined to support herself by writing. In this she was helped by the publisher Joseph Johnson, whose three o’clock salons – known as ‘a Menagerie of Live Authors’ – introduced her to the work of Thomas Paine, William Blake, Benjamin Franklin and Joseph Priestley. Johnson taught her to ...

All Together Now

John Lloyd: The British Trade Union, 19 October 2000

British Trade Unions and Industrial Politics. Vol. I: The Postwar Compromise, 1945-64 
edited by John McIlroy and Nina Fishman et al.
Ashgate, 335 pp., £35, January 2000, 0 7546 0018 1
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British Trade Unions and Industrial Politics. Vol. II: The High Tide of Trade Unionism, 1964-79 
edited by John McIlroy and Nina Fishman et al.
Ashgate, 389 pp., £35, January 2000, 0 7546 0018 1
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The TUC: From the General Strike to New Unionism 
by Robert Taylor.
Palgrave, 299 pp., £45, September 2000, 0 333 93066 5
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... of the democratic forces which are at work in industry and in every other part of society,’ Len Murray, the General Secretary of the TUC from 1974 to 1984 and a harsh realist, argued one year into the Thatcher Administration. He lived (and lives still) to see himself proved wrong. ‘Democratic forces’ were not destroyed by Thatcher, but redefined. The ...

All my eye and Betty Martin

Roy Harris, 1 December 1983

A Dictionary of Mottoes 
by L.G. Pine.
Routledge, 303 pp., £9.95, October 1983, 9780710093394
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Newspeak: A Dictionary of Jargon 
by Jonathon Green.
Routledge, 263 pp., £9.95, October 1983, 0 7100 9685 2
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The Oxford Miniguide to English Usage 
by E.S.C. Weiner.
Oxford, 412 pp., £1.95, October 1983, 0 19 869127 0
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The Oxford Dictionary of Current Idiomatic English: Volume II 
by A.P. Cowrie, R. Mackin and I.R. McCaig.
Oxford, 685 pp., £12.50, October 1983, 0 19 431150 3
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A Dictionary of the Teenage Revolution and its Aftermath 
by Kenneth Hudson.
Macmillan, 203 pp., £12.95, October 1983, 0 333 28517 4
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A Dictionary of Catch-Phrases 
by Eric Partridge.
Routledge, 278 pp., £5.95, October 1983, 0 7100 9989 4
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... modern lexicography was founded. The great lexicographers of the 19th century, including Sir James Murray, without whose work the Oxford family of dictionaries would not exist today, based lexicography upon the concept of objective historical description. They may not always have been faithful to that concept in practice: but at least they paid lip-service to ...

Scrum down

Paul Smith, 14 November 1996

Making Men: Rugby and Masculine Identity 
edited by John Nauright and Timothy Chandler.
Cass, 260 pp., £35, April 1996, 0 7146 4637 7
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... imperial world force was already looking shadowy, with the failure of imperial federation and Joseph Chamberlain’s concept of imperial Zollverein to grip colonial sentiment. Rugby was in part, for South Africans especially, a means of adapting British cultural implantations for the creation of a distinctive and differentiating identity. The alienness of ...

White Lie Number Ten

Nicholas Jose: Australia’s aboriginal sovereignty, 19 February 1998

Race Matters: Indigenous Australians and ‘Our’ Society 
edited by Gillian Cowlishaw and Barry Morris.
Aboriginal Studies Press, 295 pp., AUS $29.95, March 1998, 0 85575 294 7
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Aboriginal Sovereignty: Reflections on Race, State and Nation 
by Henry Reynolds.
Allen and Unwin, 221 pp., AUS $17.95, July 1996, 1 86373 969 6
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... of the beach through which the first gaggle of British colonists looked for the natives who Sir Joseph Banks, urging the settlement, had said would not pose much of a problem. That line, across which black Australia stared back, was a threshold between visibility and invisibility: the Eora could see the First Fleeters, but the First Fleeters, peering into ...

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