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How do we know her?

Hilary Mantel: The Secrets of Margaret Pole, 2 February 2017

Margaret Pole: The Countess in the Tower 
by Susan Higginbotham.
Amberley, 214 pp., £16.99, August 2016, 978 1 4456 3594 1
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... shut away. But for the rest of his reign Henry VII would be plagued by pretenders, persistently rising from the dead. Because she was a girl Margaret did not represent the same threat. No one would stage a rebellion in her favour while there were male Yorkists to mount a challenge. Her early years are obscure. Her mother, the great heiress Isabel ...

Maigret’s Room

John Lanchester: The Home Life of Inspector Maigret, 4 June 2020

... of translators – Bellos and Whiteside and Schwartz, Anthea Bell, Linda Coverdale, David Coward, Howard Curtis, William Hobson, Sian Reynolds, David Watson – but, or and, one of the remarkable features of the project is how consistent the tone is across the books. When you look at the range of tones and voices in the same publisher’s multi-translator ...

Not Biographable

Patrick Collinson: The Faithful Thomas Cromwell, 29 November 2007

Thomas Cromwell: The Rise and Fall of Henry VIII’s Most Notorious Minister 
by Robert Hutchinson.
Weidenfeld, 360 pp., £20, February 2007, 978 0 297 84642 0
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... cartography of Christopher Saxton and his patrons, collaborators and surveyors, William Cecil, Lord Burghley, who was to Elizabeth I what Cromwell was to Henry VIII, could see England as a whole, and as a collection of coloured counties, together with lines of communication and the seats of its more notable inhabitants. This resource was not available to ...

The Darth Vader Option

Colin Kidd: The Tories, 24 January 2013

The Conservatives since 1945: The Drivers of Party Change 
by Tim Bale.
Oxford, 372 pp., £55, September 2012, 978 0 19 923437 0
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The Conservative Party from Thatcher to Cameron 
by Tim Bale.
Polity, 471 pp., £14.99, January 2011, 978 0 7456 4858 3
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Reconstructing Conservatism? The Conservative Party in Opposition, 1997-2010 
by Richard Hayton.
Manchester, 166 pp., £60, September 2012, 978 0 7190 8316 7
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... at bottom – to be non-ideological. In The Case for Conservatism (1947) Quintin Hogg, later Lord Hailsham, had contended that whereas socialism was an all-encompassing philosophy of change, Conservatism was a disposition of relative contentment, and one, moreover, that accorded a very circumscribed place to politics in the range of human ...

The Party and the Army

Ronan Bennett, 21 March 1996

... those who have always argued that Britain only listens to guns and bombs, that the Easter Rising and the War of Independence achieved what the Home Rulers at Westminster could not, that IRA guns and Semtex would force the Brits out – have generally held sway over those who argued that violence only polarised the situation and delayed British ...

Other People’s Mail

Bernard Porter: MI5, 19 November 2009

The Defence of the Realm: The Authorised History of MI5 
by Christopher Andrew.
Allen Lane, 1032 pp., £30, October 2009, 978 0 7139 9885 6
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... another explanation, however. It was just a ‘taboo’, he writes (quoting the historian Michael Howard), like ‘intra-marital sex’. Everyone knew it went on, and was ‘quite content that it should, but to speak, write or ask questions about it’ was ‘regarded as extremely bad form’. But that was not so, certainly at the start, and in connection ...

Why do white people like what I write?

Pankaj Mishra: Ta-Nehisi Coates, 22 February 2018

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy 
by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
Hamish Hamilton, 367 pp., £16.99, October 2017, 978 0 241 32523 0
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... the world, old legal and moral barriers were also dismantled at home. Just as Coates entered Howard University and began his harsh education in American history, the stage was set for a pitiless imposition of market discipline and evisceration of welfare-state protections. Such drastic socioeconomic re-engineering required a fresh public consensus, and a ...

Good History

Christopher Hill, 5 March 1981

After the Reformation: Essays in Honour of J.H. Hexter 
edited by Barbara Malament.
Manchester, 363 pp., £17.95, December 1980, 0 7190 0805 0
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Puritans and Adventurers 
by T.H. Breen.
Oxford, 270 pp., £10, October 1980, 0 19 502728 0
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On History 
by Fernand Braudel, translated by Sarah Matthews.
Weidenfeld, 226 pp., £10.95, January 1981, 0 297 77880 3
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Sociology and History 
by Peter Burke.
Allen and Unwin, 116 pp., £6.95, August 1980, 0 19 502728 0
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... Myth of the Middle Class’. Rightly pointing out that the middle class tends to be continually rising in historians’ accounts, and that the phrase is frequently used without proper definition, Hexter too easily knocks down his men of straw. Some historians argued that ‘the middle class’ ruled England in the 16th century; others argued that ‘the ...

Modern Brecht

Margot Heinemann, 5 August 1982

Bertolt Brecht in America 
by James Lyon.
Princeton, 408 pp., £11, January 1981, 0 691 06443 1
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Bertolt Brecht: Political Theory and Literary Practice 
edited by Betty Webber and Hubert Heinen.
Manchester, 208 pp., £15, February 1981, 0 7190 0806 9
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by Jan Needle and Peter Thomson.
Blackwell, 235 pp., £9, February 1981, 0 631 19610 2
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... squeezed out of them: in the theatre they provide the vehicles for self-seeking actors, ambitious Lord Chamberlains and profiteers out to make money from evening entertainments. They’re plundered and castrated; so they survive ... A rigid cult would be dangerous, like the ceremonial which forbade Byzantine courtiers to touch the persons of the nobility, so ...


David Bromwich: This was Orson Welles, 3 June 2004

Orson Welles: The Stories of His Life 
by Peter Conrad.
Faber, 384 pp., £20, September 2003, 0 571 20978 5
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... bells. The gigantic tripods had crossed the Hudson ‘the way a man crosses a brook’, and were rising ‘like a line of new towers on the city’s west side’. Now the Martian poison gas was oozing across Sixth Avenue. Now Fifth. The reporter coughed, and there was a sickly chiming of bells. Thirty-nine minutes passed before the programme identified ...

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