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Designing criminal policy

David Garland, 10 October 1991

Reconstructing the Criminal: Culture, Law and Policy in England, 1830-1914 
by Martin Wiener.
Cambridge, 391 pp., £30, February 1991, 9780521350457
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... histories much more sceptical and critical than the first. Writers such as Douglas Hay, E.P. Thompson, Michael Ignatieff, and especially Michel Foucault, retold the story in a much more analytical and sophisticated way, showing how criminal justice developments were tied into wider social movements such as the rise of ...

Secretly Sublime

Iain Sinclair: The Great Ian Penman, 19 March 1998

Vital Signs 
by Ian Penman.
Serpent’s Tail, 374 pp., £10.99, February 1998, 1 85242 523 7
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... prose to celestial poetry. (They hadn’t read, these promoters of the Penman in Hollywood fable, Michael Moorcock’s minatory letters to J.G. Ballard, the grind of lost years and aborted projects.) So, obviously, when I met Penman, this Schrader yarn was the one I put to him. Why did he come back? Where did it all go wrong? The truth was less ...

Ethnic Cleansers

Stephen Smith, 8 October 1992

Four Hours in My Lai: A War Crime and its Aftermath 
by Michael Bilton and Kevin Sim.
Viking, 430 pp., £17.99, May 1992, 0 670 83233 2
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Tiger Balm: Travels in Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia 
by Lucretia Stewart.
Chatto, 261 pp., £10.99, June 1992, 0 7011 3892 0
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... and its Metaphors’. In their attempt to answer the intractable ‘why’ of the massacre, Michael Bilton and Kevin Sim sense that the contributory factors they painstakingly assemble don’t quite amount to a reason, and reach for the viral theory. ‘Atrocity,’ they opine, ‘is like a virus known to strike soldiers in combat.’ Charlie Company of ...

Taking Flight

Thomas Jones: Blake Morrison, 7 September 2000

The Justification of Johann Gutenberg 
by Blake Morrison.
Chatto, 259 pp., £14.99, August 2000, 0 7011 6965 6
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... endorse this: ‘The books here on my shelves have countless examples of similar behaviour.’When Michael Ryan murdered 14 people in Hungerford in 1987 (and then killed himself), the idea was put about that he’d been motivated by watching Rambo videos. That someone could, apparently without motive, massacre strangers on the streets of a Berkshire town was ...

‘I love you, defiant witch!’

Michael Newton: Charles Williams, 8 September 2016

Charles Williams: The Third Inkling 
by Grevel Lindop.
Oxford, 493 pp., £25, October 2015, 978 0 19 928415 3
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... of poets – she and her husband, Wilfred Meynell, also nurtured the talent of the wayward Francis Thompson. Meynell found the meanings ‘crowded’ in Williams’s early poems; it’s a relief she was spared the later ones. With his taste for ritual and belonging, it’s something of a surprise that Williams didn’t join Meynell in the Catholic ...

Do what you wish, du Maurier

E.S. Turner, 31 March 1988

Maxwell 
by Joe Haines.
Macdonald, 525 pp., £12.95, March 1988, 0 356 17172 8
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Maxwell: The Outsider 
by Tom Bower.
Aurum, 374 pp., £12.95, March 1988, 0 948149 88 4
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Maxwell: A Portrait of Power 
by Peter Thompson and Anthony Delano.
Bantam, 256 pp., £12.95, February 1988, 0 593 01499 5
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Goodbye Fleet Street 
by Robert Edwards.
Cape, 260 pp., £12.95, March 1988, 0 224 02457 4
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... obstacle to his final ambition of success in America’ (where much harder questions are asked). Thompson and Delano, musing over ‘the secret cache in the Alps’, wonder if he has walled himself into Liechtenstein instead of walling others out. Bower’s book bears the mark of two foreign connections, having been ‘set in Hong Kong, printed in ...

What are we telling the nation?

David Edgar: Thoughts about the BBC, 7 July 2005

Uncertain Vision: Birt, Dyke and the Reinvention of the BBC 
by Georgina Born.
Vintage, 352 pp., £10.99, August 2005, 0 09 942893 8
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Building Public Value: Renewing the BBC for a Digital World 
BBC, 135 pp.Show More
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... by the head of serials, Jonathan Powell, produced by the Birmingham regional drama head, Michael Wearing, and scheduled before Martin had finished the scripts. Third, as a result of its plural structure, the department had gained and kept its reputation as a producer-led, oppositional space, not just for Edge of Darkness, but for Alan Bleasdale’s ...

The ‘R’ Word

Adam Smyth: For the Love of the Binding, 4 November 2021

Book Ownership in Stuart England 
by David Pearson.
Oxford, 352 pp., £69.99, January, 978 0 19 887012 8
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... writings of the Church Fathers and biblical commentaries, he also had works by Edmund Spenser, Michael Drayton, Montaigne, Petrarch, Tasso and Boccaccio. The earl of Leicester’s library at Penshurst included books in many languages on the latest in beekeeping, drainage, poetry, forestry, military strategy, heraldry, optics and surgery.Sometimes a ...

Reach-Me-Down Romantic

Terry Eagleton: For and Against Orwell, 19 June 2003

George Orwell 
by Gordon Bowker.
Little, Brown, 495 pp., £20, May 2003, 0 316 86115 4
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Orwell: The Life 
by D.J. Taylor.
Chatto, 448 pp., £20, June 2003, 0 7011 6919 2
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Orwell: Life and Times 
by Scott Lucas.
Haus, 180 pp., £8.99, April 2003, 1 904341 33 0
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... executioners claim to believe in it too, any more than you find Morocco unpleasant just because Michael Portillo drops in on the place occasionally. In Orwell’s view, it was the Stalinist Left that had betrayed the common people, not democratic socialists like himself. Orwell first encountered Stalinism in the squalid betrayals of the Spanish Civil ...

Living like a moth

Michael Ignatieff, 19 April 1990

The Other Russia: The Experience of Exile 
by Michael Glenny and Norman Stone.
Faber, 475 pp., £14.99, March 1990, 0 571 13574 9
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Inferences on a Sabre 
by Claudio Magris, translated by Mark Thompson.
Polygon, 87 pp., £9.95, May 1990, 0 7486 6036 4
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... Atlantis of the European mind, as vivid beneath the waves as it was above them. Norman Stone and Michael Glenny’s book is a scrapbook of Atlantis, an oral history of survivors from the sinking. Many of them were in their eighties when Glenny’s tape-recorder finally reached them in their close, cluttered rooms and for this alone – preserving these ...

Post-Nationalism

Geoffrey Hawthorn, 3 December 1992

English Questions 
by Perry Anderson.
Verso, 370 pp., £39.95, May 1992, 0 86091 375 9
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A Zone of Engagement 
by Perry Anderson.
Verso, 384 pp., £39.95, May 1992, 0 86091 377 5
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... of its ‘long national tradition’. Sentimentally, he now recalls, they offended patriots (E.P. Thompson especially). ‘Intellectually, they disturbed canonical Marxist opinion, as transmitted from Capital. Politically, they nettled the Labourism of reformists and the ouvriérisme of revolutionaries.’ In the beginning, they recovered two sets of ...

Hey, Mister, you want dirty book?

Edward Said: The CIA, 30 September 1999

Who Paid the Piper? The CIA and the Cultural Cold War 
by Frances Stonor Saunders.
Granta, 509 pp., £20, July 1999, 1 86207 029 6
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... E.P. Thompson called it the ‘Natopolitan’ world: that is, not just Nato plus all the Cold War military and political institutions that were integral to it, but also a mentality whose web extended over a lot more activity and thought, even in the minds of individuals, than anyone at the time had suspected. Of course there were the revelations in the mid-Sixties about Encounter and the CIA, and later in the US and Britain a stream of disclosures about covert counter-insurgency in every form, from secretly underwritten academic research to assassinations and mass killings ...

Tortoises with Zips

David Craig: The Snow Geese by William Fiennes, 4 April 2002

The Snow Geese 
by William Fiennes.
Picador, 250 pp., £14.99, March 2002, 0 330 37578 4
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... hobo, who talked at him continuously for the thousand miles from Winnipeg to Churchill via Thompson. The furnishings, food and remarkable happenings in Dally’s Diner on Logan Street, Aberdeen, South Dakota, as our hero waits for the snow geese to leave the prairie sloughs and sail northwards on a following wind. Fiennes is an observant traveller, and ...

Whose Candyfloss?

Christopher Hilliard: Richard Hoggart, 17 April 2014

Richard Hoggart: Virtue and Reward 
by Fred Inglis.
Polity, 259 pp., £25, October 2013, 978 0 7456 5171 2
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... of Literacy, like other popular non-fiction books of the time, such as Culture and Society and Michael Young and Peter Willmott’s Family and Kinship in East London, was read by most people in the Pelican edition). He became a member of Allen Lane’s brains trust. Hoggart turned to the publisher for funding when he was setting up the Birmingham Centre ...

Short Cuts

Christian Lorentzen: The Weiner Trilogy, 29 August 2013

... female and uncloseted homosexual mayor of Gotham; she’s also been tarred as an accomplice of Michael Bloomberg in rendering New York a city run by and for the rich. To her left, at least tactically, is public advocate Bill de Blasio, a veteran of Bill Clinton’s administration, who focuses on inequality; his script sounds like an awkward adaptation of ...

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