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Blood Boiling

Paul Foot: Corporate takeover, 22 February 2001

Captive State: The Corporate Takeover of Britain 
by George Monbiot.
Macmillan, 430 pp., £12.99, September 2000, 0 333 90164 9
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No Logo 
by Naomi Klein.
Flamingo, 501 pp., £8.99, January 2001, 0 00 653040 0
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... past my eyes, I found myself remembering each of them in their days as radical reformers: Brian Wilson, once abrasive editor of the West Highland Free Press and socialist champion of the Scottish Highlands, now defending the Government’s policies on the bridge to Skye; Nick Raynsford, whom I recall coming to see me at the Daily Mirror to seek more ...

Spookery, Skulduggery

David Runciman: Chris Mullin, 4 April 2019

The Friends of Harry Perkins 
by Chris Mullin.
Scribner, 185 pp., £12, March 2019, 978 1 4711 8248 8
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... recognisable as an amalgam of the passing generation of Labour heavyweights, from Benn himself to Barbara Castle and bruisers like Denis Healey and Eric Heffer. Its atmosphere derived from the lurid tales of spookery and skulduggery that emerged in the dying days of Harold Wilson’s premiership, when the longstanding ...

A Dreame of Passion

Barbara Everett: Shakespeare’s Most Peculiar Play, 2 January 2003

... the most extensive case in Shakespeare of the VD joke: ‘sorry fooling’ indeed, as Dover Wilson remarked. Certainly there is relevance to the play’s brothels. But it might be possible to go further, and believe that this passage of reference to sexual disease introduces early into Measure for Measure what might be called the Body’s ...

Coalition Phobia

Brian Harrison, 4 June 1987

Labour People, Leaders and Lieutenants: Hardie to Kinnock 
by Kenneth O. Morgan.
Oxford, 370 pp., £12.95, April 1987, 0 19 822929 1
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J. Ramsay MacDonald 
by Austen Morgan.
Manchester, 276 pp., £19.50, June 1987, 0 7190 2168 5
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Sylvia Pankhurst: Portrait of a Radical 
by Patricia Romero.
Yale, 334 pp., £17.50, March 1987, 0 300 03691 4
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Sylvia and Christabel Pankhurst 
by Barbara Castle.
Penguin, 159 pp., £3.95, May 1987, 0 14 008761 3
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... he does not flinch from analysing those who reached the top – MacDonald, Attlee, Gaitskell, Wilson. But he has just as much to say about those dedicated but less well-known people who did so much to build up the Labour Party’s machine: Henderson, Morrison, Dalton and Rita Hinden. And in the figure of Morgan Phillips this third major strength of the ...

The Angry Men

Jean McNicol: Harriet Harman, 14 December 2017

A Woman’s Work 
by Harriet Harman.
Allen Lane, 405 pp., £20, February 2017, 978 0 241 27494 1
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The Women Who Shaped Politics 
by Sophy Ridge.
Coronet, 295 pp., £20, March 2017, 978 1 4736 3876 1
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... rights for women and so on, they were often reluctant to be ‘cast in the feminist role’, as Barbara Castle put it. Class had always been the primary determinant of Labour Party policy: you improved the position of women by helping their class, and you did that chiefly by helping their fathers and husbands earn a decent ‘family wage’. Labour women ...

Look Me in the Eye

Julian Bell: Art and the Brain, 8 October 2009

Splendours and Miseries of the Brain: Love, Creativity and the Quest for Human Happiness 
by Semir Zeki.
Wiley-Blackwell, 234 pp., £16.99, November 2008, 978 1 4051 8557 8
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Neuroarthistory: From Aristotle and Pliny to Baxandall and Zeki 
by John Onians.
Yale, 225 pp., £18.99, February 2008, 978 0 300 12677 8
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Echo Objects: The Cognitive Work of Images 
by Barbara Maria Stafford.
Chicago, 281 pp., £20.50, November 2008, 978 0 226 77052 9
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... notably, Semir Zeki – have pointed art studies in a significant new direction. John Onians and Barbara Maria Stafford, both art historians, certainly think so, though Neuroarthistory and Echo Objects argue the case in quite different ways. What might the far view be, from this new bend in the road? Suppose we could arrive at adequate physical descriptions ...

Scoop after Scoop

Ian Jack: Chapman Pincher’s Scoops, 5 June 2014

Dangerous to Know: A Life 
by Chapman Pincher.
Biteback, 386 pp., £20, February 2014, 978 1 84954 651 5
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... denies any particular bias against Labour governments, and is sorry to have fallen out with Harold Wilson (who later expressed sadness that he hadn’t known Pincher was a fellow Yorkshireman, telling him: ‘It would have made a difference, you know’). But while it may be true that he needled Tory as well as Labour administrations, provoking Harold ...

Kipling’s Lightning-Flash

Barbara Everett, 10 January 1991

... Honeysuckle and the Bee’. Not everyone likes this extraordinary story. Both Angus Wilson and Kingsley Amis have protested at its terse, incomprehensible oddity, and called it frankly bad. But most other admirers of Kipling, and indeed of good fiction in general, find it in its strange way consummate, haunting and powerful. But a powerful ...

Dark Emotions

Jenny Turner: The Women’s Liberation Movement, 24 September 2020

Misbehaviour 
directed by Philippa Lowthorpe.
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Nightcleaners 
directed by the Berwick Street Film Collective.
Lux/Koenig/Raven Row, £24, July 2019
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Sisterhood and After: An Oral History of the UK Women's Liberation Movement, 1968-present 
by Margaretta Jolly.
Oxford, 334 pp., £22.99, November 2019, 978 0 19 065884 7
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... the proletarian sex-class. ‘Socialist’ feminism, on the other hand, was more typical of Harold Wilson’s Britain, with its relatively powerful labour movement and bustling Marxist far left. Rowbotham had been a member of the Labour Party and the International Socialists, and worked with members of the International Marxist Group. Campbell was then a ...

Keeping up the fight

Paul Delany, 24 January 1991

D.H. Lawrence: A Biography 
by Jeffrey Meyers.
Macmillan, 446 pp., £19.95, August 1990, 0 333 49247 1
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D.H. Lawrence 
by Tony Pinkney.
Harvester, 180 pp., £30, June 1990, 0 7108 1347 3
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England, My England, and Other Stories 
by D.H. Lawrence, edited by Bruce Steele.
Cambridge, 285 pp., £37.50, March 1990, 0 521 35267 3
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The ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ Trial (Regina v. Penguin Books Limited) 
edited by H. Montgomery Hyde.
Bodley Head, 333 pp., £18, June 1990, 0 370 31105 1
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Boy 
by James Hanley.
Deutsch, 191 pp., £11.99, August 1990, 0 233 98578 6
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D.H. Lawrence: A Literary Life 
by John Worthen.
Macmillan, 196 pp., £27.50, September 1989, 0 333 43352 1
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... It may be that a partnership between art and sickness is a trademark of High Modernism, as Edmund Wilson argued in The Wound and the Bow. But if so, Lawrence wanted to be in a different business. Modernist sickness is more likely to be neurasthenia or hypochondria than the real thing, and to Lawrence, such sickness represents the fatal flaw of the modern ...

Burlington Bertie

Julian Symons, 14 June 1990

The Last Modern: A Life of Herbert Read 
by James King.
Weidenfeld, 364 pp., £25, May 1990, 0 297 81042 1
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... 19 entered Leeds University, where he encountered modern art in the form of pictures by Gauguin, Wilson Steer, Augustus John, William Nicholson, and woodcuts by Kandinsky, collected by the University’s Vice-Chancellor. Frank Rutter, curator of Leeds Art Gallery, completed the boy’s artistic education. He had already begun to write poems, in free verse ...

Make use of me

Jeremy Treglown: Olivia Manning, 9 February 2006

Olivia Manning: A Life 
by Neville Braybrooke and June Braybrooke.
Chatto, 301 pp., £20, November 2004, 0 7011 7749 7
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... A great many novels nowadays are just travel books,’ Ivy Compton-Burnett grumbled to Barbara Pym in 1960. ‘Olivia has just published one about Bulgaria.’ She hadn’t noticed that the setting of The Great Fortune is in fact Romania. But she had a point. Journeys, voluntary and enforced, are big in Olivia Manning’s work, as they had been in the first forty years of her life, and the painter manqué in her always made the most of topographical detail ...

Von Hötzendorff’s Desire

Margaret MacMillan: The First World War, 2 December 2004

Cataclysm: The First World War as Political Tragedy 
by David Stevenson.
Basic Books, 564 pp., £26.50, June 2004, 0 465 08184 3
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... political leaders from dreaming of capturing British markets. Yet as Stevenson points out, Woodrow Wilson was determined on defeating Germany (or, as he often preferred to see it, ‘Prussian militarism’) as a precondition for a lasting peace. Austria-Hungary was fighting for its survival against the threat of nationalism represented so clearly by Serbia’s ...

Don’t wear yum-yum yellow

Theo Tait: Shark Attack!, 2 August 2012

Demon Fish: Travels through the Hidden World of Sharks 
by Juliet Eilperin.
Duckworth, 295 pp., £18.99, January 2012, 978 0 7156 4291 7
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... The third best-protected species is the great white, described approvingly here by E.O. Wilson as ‘one of the four or five last great predators of humanity’. Eilperin, an environmental reporter for the Washington Post, has travelled the world trying to understand sharks and human interactions with them. She has swum with reef sharks in the ...

Life at the Pastry Board

Stefan Collini: V.S. Pritchett, 4 November 2004

V.S. Pritchett: A Working Life 
by Jeremy Treglown.
Chatto, 308 pp., £25, October 2004, 9780701173227
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... need to remember that his time coincided roughly with that of American candidates such as Edmund Wilson and Lionel Trilling, and special allowance might have to be made for the senses in which Cyril Connolly was ‘influential’ or George Orwell a ‘man of letters’. But I would be surprised if any serious contender for that title between about 1930 and ...

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