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Iain Sinclair, 22 February 1996

Blake 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 399 pp., £20, September 1995, 1 85619 278 4
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol I: Jerusalem 
editor David Bindman, edited by Morton D. Paley.
Tate Gallery, 304 pp., £48, August 1991, 1 85437 066 9
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. II: Songs of Innocence and Experience 
series editor David Bindman, edited by Andrew Lincoln.
Tate Gallery, 210 pp., £39.50, August 1991, 1 85437 068 5
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol III: The Early Illuminated Books 
series editor David Bindman, edited by Morris Eaves, Robert Essick and Joseph Viscomi.
Tate Gallery, 288 pp., £48, August 1993, 1 85437 119 3
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. IV: The Continental Prophecies: America, Europe, The Song of Los 
editor David Bindman, edited by D.W. Dörbecker.
Tate Gallery, 368 pp., £50, May 1995, 1 85437 154 1
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. V: Milton, a Poem 
series editor David Bindman, edited by Robert Essick and Joseph Viscomi.
Tate Gallery, 224 pp., £48, November 1993, 1 85437 121 5
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. VI: The Urizen Books 
 editor David Bindman, edited by David Worrall.
Tate Gallery, 232 pp., £39.50, May 1995, 9781854371553
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... begged for copies of Barbara Pym, while Gregory spoke wistfully of Philip Larkin. Denton Welch was William Burroughs’s main intellectual squeeze. Ferlinghetti had high hopes for Jeremy Reed. The Beats were now heritage fodder, a potential Bloomsbury group. There was even talk of James Ivory optioning a Neal Cassady property. I wondered, thinking of Blake’s ...

Uncle Kingsley

Patrick Parrinder, 22 March 1990

The folks that live on the hill 
by Kingsley Amis.
Hutchinson, 246 pp., £12.95, March 1990, 0 09 174137 8
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Kingsley Amis: An English Moralist 
by John McDermott.
Macmillan, 270 pp., £27.50, January 1989, 9780333449691
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In the Red Kitchen 
by Michèle Roberts.
Methuen, 148 pp., £11.99, March 1990, 9780413630209
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See Under: Love 
by David Grossman, translated by Betsy Rosenberg.
Cape, 458 pp., £13.95, January 1990, 0 224 02640 2
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... Milk. The authenticity of Florence’s spiritual powers was vouched for by a Victorian scientist, William Crookes, who also became besotted with ‘Katie King’, the spirit whose materialisations were the high point of Florence Cook’s séances. There was no middle ground in the 19th-century Spiritualist debate. Either the voice you heard and the form you ...

On the Banks of the Tom

Sheila Fitzpatrick, 10 November 1994

Memoirs of Peasant Tolstoyans in Soviet Russia 
translated and edited by William Edgerton.
Indiana, 308 pp., £25, September 1993, 0 253 31911 0
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... revival as a collective farm in the late Forties, when Mazurin’s release from labour camp coincided with the need to rebuild the kolkhoz on a new location following a decision to start mining coal on the old site. That lasted until 1957, when the kolkhoz was turned into a state farm. There were fresh arrests of Tolstoyan ...

Poison and the Bomb

Norman Dombey, 20 December 2018

... Project, as Merkulov discovered, had commissioned three plants, known as Camps X, W and Y. Camp X, at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, was devoted to uranium enrichment; Camp W, at Hanford in Washington State, housed the reactors for producing plutonium; and Camp Y, at Los Alamos in New ...

Try the other wrist

Lara Feigel: Germany in the 1940s, 23 October 2014

The Temptation of Despair: Tales of the 1940s 
by Werner Sollors.
Harvard, 390 pp., £25.95, April 2014, 978 0 674 05243 7
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... exterminating them. Three months after the war, many Jewish DPs were still in concentration camp uniforms – ‘a rather hideous striped pyjama effect’ – while others were obliged to wear SS uniforms. Also troubling was the racial divide imposed by the US army on their rank and file. Sollors has turned up writing by Americans and Germans that ...

Some Flim-Flam with Socks

Adam Kuper: Laurens van der Post, 3 January 2002

Storyteller: The Many Lives of Laurens van der Post 
by J.D.F. Jones.
Murray, 505 pp., £25, September 2001, 0 7195 5580 9
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... Charles on a brief excursion to the fringes of the Kalahari and became the godfather of Prince William. These elevated contacts won him favourable, even awestruck publicity, though Private Eye regularly featured him uttering some New Age balderdash at which Prince Charles would murmur: ‘How true.’ Fortunately for him, no journalist discovered that as ...

Disorderly Cities

Richard J. Evans: WW2 Town Planning, 5 December 2013

A Blessing in Disguise: War and Town Planning in Europe, 1940-45 
edited by Jörn Düwel and Niels Gutschow.
DOM, 415 pp., €98, August 2013, 978 3 86922 295 0
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... were insanitary, and the sweetish smell of burning flesh wafted over from the extermination camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Yet on the whole, relations between the townspeople, the ever expanding I.G. Farben factory and the SS cohorts who ran the camp remained cordial. In March 1943, SS officers from the ...

Aid for the starving

Keith Griffin, 6 December 1984

The Quality of Mercy: Cambodia, Holocaust and Modern Conscience 
by William Shawcross.
Deutsch, 464 pp., £12.95, September 1984, 0 233 97691 4
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... William Shawcross’s The Quality of Mercy is a fascinating, detailed and moving study of the famine that struck Cambodia – or Kampuchea as it is now called – five years ago, and of the response of the rest of the world to the disaster that followed. The book can be read at several levels: as a memorial to a society that no longer exists, as a footnote to the history of the wars in Indochina and their aftermath, as the story of a large international relief operation, and as a cautionary tale of how humanitarian motives can become subverted by local and global political forces ...

Memoriousness

E.S. Turner, 15 September 1988

Memories of Times Past 
by Louis Heren.
Hamish Hamilton, 313 pp., £15.95, July 1988, 0 241 12427 1
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Chances: An Autobiography 
by Mervyn Jones.
Verso, 311 pp., £14.95, September 1987, 0 86091 167 5
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... Heren, the veteran foreign correspondent, had hoped to become editor of the Times in succession to William ReesMogg, when Rupert Murdoch bought the newspaper. Heren was told that, at 61, he was too old. Under Harold Evans he failed to flourish (‘Evans trashes me, to use the US Army expression, and most of my former colleagues in his book Good Times, Bad ...

Eternal Feminine

Ian Gregson, 7 January 1993

Landlocked 
by Mark Ford.
Chatto, 51 pp., £5.99, February 1992, 0 7011 3750 9
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The English Earthquake 
by Eva Salzman.
Bloodaxe, 64 pp., £5.95, May 1992, 1 85224 177 2
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Bleeding Heart Yard 
by William Scammell.
Peterloo, 63 pp., £6.95, May 1992, 1 871471 28 1
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The Game: Tennis Poems 
by William Scammell.
Peterloo, 48 pp., £6, June 1992, 1 871471 27 3
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Marconi’s Cottage 
by Medbh McGuckian.
Bloodaxe, 110 pp., £6.95, May 1992, 1 85224 197 7
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... a tendency to sound blasé or deadpan when the imagery becomes surreal. They also share a slightly camp mistrust of ‘angst’, so that where that wheat is unlike, as it were, road-movie wheat is where it’s used to mock a frustrated desire for transcendence. Where Ford differs from O’Hara is in his view of language. O’Hara’s manifesto ...

Shoot them to be sure

Richard Gott: The Oxford History of the British Empire, 25 April 2002

The Oxford History of the British Empire. Vol. I: The Origins of Empire 
edited by William Roger Louis and Nicholas Canny.
Oxford, 533 pp., £14.99, July 2001, 0 19 924676 9
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The Oxford History of the British Empire. Vol. II: The 18th Century 
edited by William Roger Louis and P.J. Marshall.
Oxford, 639 pp., £14.99, July 2001, 0 19 924677 7
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The Oxford History of the British Empire. Vol. III: The 19th Century 
edited by William Roger Louis and Andrew Porter.
Oxford, 774 pp., £14.99, July 2001, 0 19 924678 5
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The Oxford History of the British Empire. Vol. IV: The 20th Century 
edited by William Roger Louis and Judith Brown.
Oxford, 773 pp., £14.99, July 2001, 0 19 924679 3
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The Oxford History of the British Empire. Vol. V: Historiography 
edited by William Roger Louis and Robin Winks.
Oxford, 731 pp., £14.99, July 2001, 0 19 924680 7
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... debates of the last twenty years. The editor-in-chief of this immense project is William Roger Louis, an American – though famously Anglophile – scholar. When he was appointed dismay was expressed in conservative newspapers at the thought that a quintessentially British historical experience was to be in the hands of some renegade ...

Brave as hell

John Kerrigan, 21 June 1984

Enderby’s Dark Lady, or No End to Enderby 
by Anthony Burgess.
Hutchinson, 160 pp., £7.95, March 1984, 0 09 156050 0
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Shakespeare’s Sonnets: A Modern Edition 
edited by A.L. Rowse.
Macmillan, 311 pp., £20, March 1984, 0 333 36386 8
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... the little that was known, 18th-century antiquaries trusted in Warwickshire gossip, or, like William Ireland, forged what they wanted to find. The display of collective folly was extraordinary, yet the impulse behind it was not strictly fanciful: it stemmed less from a neglect of the facts than an uncontrolled craving to possess them. When Scott ...

Carnivals of Progress

John Ziman, 17 February 1983

Sir William Rowan Hamilton 
by Thomas Hankins.
Johns Hopkins, 474 pp., £19.50, July 1981, 0 8018 2203 3
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Gentlemen of Science: Early Years of the British Association for the Advancement of Science 
by Jack Morrell and Arnold Thackray.
Oxford, 592 pp., £30, August 1981, 0 19 858163 7
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The Parliament of Science: The British Association for the Advancement of Science 1831-1981 
edited by Roy MacLeod and Peter Collins.
Science Reviews, 308 pp., £12.25, September 1982, 0 905927 66 4
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... adoring and talented sisters, and innumerable sympathetic friends, including Maria Edgeworth and William Wordsworth. His scientific star never publicly waned: just before his death, in 1865, he was being honoured as one of the world’s greatest scientists. In the Encyclopaedia Britannica he merits a longer column than either of those two other Sir ...

The Great US Election Disaster

Hal Foster, 30 November 2000

... Florida coloured in undecided white) and the Plains states, all coloured in red. The Bush camp complained that the Gore challenge to the Florida count might divide the country, but the electoral map shows that it was already split. Indeed, if you swap red for Rebel grey, the map looks like the Civil War resumed and extended across the board, with an ...

It’ll all be over one day

James Meek: Our Man in Guantánamo, 8 June 2006

Enemy Combatant: A British Muslim’s Journey to Guantánamo and Back 
by Moazzam Begg and Victoria Brittain.
Free Press, 395 pp., £18.99, February 2006, 0 7432 8567 0
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... fears for his family and disillusionment with the practical realities of becoming a Muslim William Wallace in somebody else’s war stifled his yearning to be a righteous soldier. During the Bosnian conflict he visited the barracks of the Kateebah mujahedin, the Bosnian foreign legion, but stayed only three weeks and did not fight, although he ...

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