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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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... 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 publicity for the single homeless people in ...
... madonna of bother, into everlasting power.Iain Sinclair, 27 February 1992The picture​ which Nigel Lawson draws of Thatcher herself is a remarkable testimony to the manner in which her government’s grand strategy was determined. Increasingly, ideas were translated into policy via will, whim and pique. The advice of responsible ministers was superseded ...

Trained to silence

John Mepham, 20 November 1980

The Sickle Side of the Moon: The Letters of Virginia Woolf, Vol. V, 1932-1935 
edited by Nigel Nicolson.
Hogarth, 476 pp., £12.50, September 1979, 0 7012 0469 9
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Leave the Letters till we’re dead: The Letters of Virginia Woolf, Vol. VI, 1936-41 
edited by Nigel Nicolson and Joanne Trautman.
Hogarth, 556 pp., £15, September 1980, 0 7012 0470 2
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The Diary of Virginia Woolf. Vol. III: 1925-1930 
edited by Anne Olivier Bell.
Hogarth, 384 pp., £10.50, March 1980, 0 7012 0466 4
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Virginia Woolf 
by Michael Rosenthal.
Routledge, 270 pp., £7.95, September 1979, 0 7100 0189 4
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Virginia Woolf’s Major Novels: The Fables of Anon 
by Maria DiBattista.
Yale, 252 pp., £11, April 1980, 0 300 02402 9
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... parts. They are revealing in that they tell us which parts she chose to play. With Vita Sackville-West she played a rather childish game, simulating intimacy by adopting animal personae. ‘Well, my faithless sheep dog’ and ‘Yes, my clever colly,’ she wrote. She had earlier enjoyed playing the lover with Vita, and had come as close with her as with ...

A Very Smart Bedint

Frank Kermode: Harold Nicolson, 17 March 2005

Harold Nicolson 
by Norman Rose.
Cape, 383 pp., £20, February 2005, 0 224 06218 2
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... superiors thought the book cheeky. Of course Some People was published many years before Nigel Nicolson’s Portrait of a Marriage (1973), which, with all the attendant volumes of correspondence and diaries, made Harold Nicolson and Vita Sackville-West more famous for their unusual private lives than for their ...

Passing-Out Time

Christopher Tayler: Patrick Hamilton’s drinking, 29 January 2009

The Slaves of Solitude 
by Patrick Hamilton.
Constable, 327 pp., £7.99, September 2008, 978 1 84529 415 1
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The Gorse Trilogy 
by Patrick Hamilton.
Black Spring, 603 pp., £9.95, June 2007, 978 0 948238 34 5
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... and Nietzsche during the 1920s, he was suspicious of highbrows: he had more connections in the West End than in universities or journalism and little feeling for most writing done after about 1918. Eliot, Huxley, Lawrence and Joyce were too ‘painfully subjective’, he wrote in 1939, giving their work ‘the character of meaningless ...


David Runciman: The Problem with English Football, 23 October 2008

... Like all smaller clubs they had to sell on many of their best players (including the outstanding Nigel Winterburn to Arsenal), but eccentricity or notoriety meant that others remained with the side long after they became the focus of attention. One was John Fashanu, an astonishingly crude player and an extremely articulate man, who went on to achieve further ...

Head over heart for Europe

Peter Pulzer, 21 March 1991

Ever Closer Union: Britain’s Destiny in Europe 
by Hugh Thomas.
Hutchinson, 96 pp., £7.99, January 1991, 0 09 174908 5
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The Challenge of Europe: Can Britain win? 
by Michael Heseltine.
Pan, 226 pp., £5.99, February 1991, 9780330314367
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... also the cause of her two most damaging Cabinet crises, the Westland affair and the resignation of Nigel Lawson; of her most ridiculous embarrassment, the Ridley affair; and of her one national electoral defeat, in the European elections of 1989. Perhaps if she had not insisted on inventing the poll tax, she might still be in Number Ten. But if so, she would ...

Footing the bill

Jonathan Parry, 9 June 1994

Aspects of Aristocracy: Grandeur and Decline in Modern Britain 
by David Cannadine.
Yale, 321 pp., £19.50, April 1994, 0 300 05981 7
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... middle classes, through mortgages and loans offered by local attorneys, insurance companies and West End and country banks. Though much of the money was channelled into agricultural improvement and the exploitation of mineral resources, a great deal still went on house-building, providing for younger children and conspicuous spending designed in part to ...

Sweetly Terminal

Edward Pearce, 5 August 1993

by Alan Clark.
Weidenfeld, 421 pp., £20, June 1993, 0 297 81352 8
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... Crazy-High Interest account. But what’s the use? Ash, ash, all is ash. Willie said that Nigel Wicks will be (sic) very good ... is very good ... BUT – a marvellous Willyism. Everyone says Wicks is useless. This seems the only satisfactory way to write about the Alan Clark Diaries: set out hunks and small slivers like a buffet for the prospective ...

Grand Old Man

Robert Blake, 1 May 1980

The Last Edwardian at No 10: An Impression of Harold Macmillan 
by George Hutchinson.
Quartet, 151 pp., £6.50, February 1980, 0 7043 2232 3
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... first came when Churchill in 1942 appointed him Minister Resident at Allied Headquarters in North-West Africa. It is not too much to say that the job ‘made’ him. It was essentially a position which depended on the influence its occupant could exert, not the power, which was negligible. Macmillan had an American mother and he spoke excellent French. As ...

Dummy and Biffy

Noël Annan, 17 October 1985

Secret Service: The Making of the British Intelligence Community 
by Christopher Andrew.
Heinemann, 616 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 434 02110 5
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The Secret Generation 
by John Gardner.
Heinemann, 453 pp., £9.95, August 1985, 0 434 28250 2
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Two Thyrds 
by Bertie Denham.
Ross Anderson Publications, 292 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 86360 006 9
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The Ultimate Enemy: British Intelligence and Nazi Germany 1933-1939 
by Wesley Wark.
Tauris, 304 pp., £19.50, October 1985, 1 85043 014 4
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... by journalists heaving with indignation at secret service inefficiency and treachery. Nigel West’s book on MI6 looks by comparison, like an exercise in name-dropping. Not that Mr Andrew does not have his throw-away lines. Sir Claude Dansey, that unattractive deputy head of MI6, was, it appears, seduced at the age of 16 by Robbie Ross. Tom ...

Where are we now?

LRB Contributors: Responses to the Referendum, 14 July 2016

... back in. A nightmare, my own: to be locked in a dark, stuffy nursery cupboard with Boris, Michael, Nigel and their pals. England will become a place the young want to get out of, in search of fresh air and light.James ButlerThere is​ now a knot at the centre of British politics. If politicians push for inclusion in the European Economic Area, in the hope of ...

A Long Forgotten War

Jenny Diski: Sheila Rowbotham, 6 July 2000

Promise of a Dream: A Memoir of the 1960s 
by Sheila Rowbotham.
Allen Lane, 262 pp., £18.99, July 2000, 0 7139 9446 0
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... into women’s history began. Rowbotham moved from a middle-class Tory Methodist upbringing in the West Riding to a London whose streets were paved with Marxism-Leninism in the approved manner of the times. A restrictive girls’ boarding school where she read extra-curricular Sartre and Kerouac and practised being Juliette Gréco in her time off, the Sorbonne ...


Frank Kermode: James Lees-Milne, 30 November 2000

Deep Romantic Chasm: Diaries 1979-81 
by James Lees-Milne, edited by Michael Bloch.
Murray, 276 pp., £22.50, October 2000, 0 7195 5608 2
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A Mingled Measure: Diaries 1953-72 
by James Lees-Milne.
Murray, 325 pp., £12.99, October 2000, 0 7195 5609 0
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Ancient as the Hills: Diaries 1973-74 
by James Lees-Milne.
Murray, 228 pp., £12.99, October 2000, 0 7195 6200 7
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... social status in the world; or provocative and combative and rude like Randolph, Edward Stanley, Nigel Birch and others’) and it seems he is unwilling even to be a gentleman. He notes that Somerset Maugham said that Kipling was ‘not quite a gent’. When Kipling said of somebody, ‘He’s a white man,’ Maugham thought: ‘How I wish, in order to ...

Did Harold really get it in the eye?

Patrick Wormald: The Normans, 3 June 2004

The Battle of Hastings, 1066 
by M.K. Lawson.
Tempus, 288 pp., £16.99, October 2003, 0 7524 1998 6
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The Normans: The History of a Dynasty 
by David Crouch.
Hambledon, 345 pp., £25, July 2002, 1 85285 387 5
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Domesday Book: A Complete Translation 
edited by Ann Williams and G.H. Martin.
Penguin, 1436 pp., £18.99, October 2003, 0 14 143994 7
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... when the Normans must have come closest to defeat, probably took place to the ridge’s south-west. The water shown here may well be the ‘sandy brook’ that would have given the field the name Senlac, taken by Freeman from the later but richly detailed account of the Anglo-Norman Orderic Vitalis. We may even glimpse the stakes of the defensive ...

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