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Grotty Cecil

Simon Raven, 1 July 1982

Dornford Yates: A Tragedy 
by A.J. Smithers.
Hodder, 240 pp., £8.95, March 1982, 0 340 27547 2
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... same way as child-molesters tempt eight-year-olds with gaily-coloured sweets. But now comes A.J. Smithers with his biography to explain with patience and good humour that the truth was far more temperate and far less entertaining. The picture which emerges from this carefully compounded book reminds me of a married couple who featured in a French Reader ...

Tankishness

Peter Wollen: Tank by Patrick Wright, 16 November 2000

Tank: The Progress of a Monstrous War Machine 
by Patrick Wright.
Faber, 499 pp., £25, October 2000, 0 571 19259 9
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... happened to go into ‘one of those foreign bookshops off Leicester Square’ from which, so A.J. Smithers tells us in A New Excalibur (1986), he came out with a copy of the Scientific American for 18 February 1911, ‘which contained details of a much longer machine designed for moving heavy loads of an agricultural kind over bad surfaces’. An emissary was ...

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