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10 February 1994
Spider’s Web: Bush, Saddam, Thatcher and the Decade of Deceit 
by Alan Friedman.
Faber, 455 pp., £17.50, November 1993, 0 571 17002 1
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The Unlikely Spy 
by Paul Henderson.
Bloomsbury, 294 pp., £16.99, September 1993, 0 7475 1597 2
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... It was the patrician Alan Clark who most accurately summed up the approach of the British and American Governments to the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. Nothing, he reckoned, was better for business than a lot of foreigners killing one another. This has been true of all foreign wars throughout the ages, but for businessmen of the Clark mentality a hot war in the Eighties which demanded endless supplies of expensive weaponry and technology was almost too good to be true ...

Mid-Century Male

Christopher Glazek: Edmund White

19 July 2012
Jack Holmes and His Friend 
by Edmund White.
Bloomsbury, 390 pp., £18.99, January 2012, 978 1 4088 0579 4
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... it as one of the few contemporary novels he liked. The book was reviewed in the New York Times by Alan Friedman, the author of a forgotten novel called Hermaphrodeity, who described it as ‘a nearly inscrutable mystery’ powered by ‘camp, vamp and very damp wit’. He praised White’s ‘poetic brilliance’ and ‘hard, gem-like style’ but ...

What’s fair about that?

Adam Swift: Social Mobilities

23 January 2020
Social Mobility and Its Enemies 
by Lee Elliot Major and Stephen Machin.
Pelican, 272 pp., £8.99, September 2018, 978 0 241 31702 0
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Social Mobility and Education in Britain 
by Erzsébet Bukodi and John Goldthorpe.
Cambridge, 249 pp., £19.99, December 2018, 978 1 108 46821 3
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The Class Ceiling: Why It Pays to Be Privileged 
by Sam Friedman and Daniel Laurison.
Policy, 224 pp., £9.99, January, 978 1 4473 3610 5
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... government rebranded Labour’s Child Poverty Commission as the Social Mobility Commission, with Alan Milburn as its head. Milburn gave a lot of attention to recruitment to elite positions – his flagship report was on fair access to the professions – but the commission’s analyses and recommendations as a whole were much more extensive, including work ...

The Rise and Fall of Thatcherism

Peter Clarke: Eight years after

10 December 1998
... to produce alibis, to set the record straight, to shore up their reputations (and their bank balances). The outcome was a battle of the books, fuelled by a desire for vindication, which meant that the secrets of the Thatcher Government were dragged into the public domain with a haste which some may call unseemly but which a contemporary historian can ...


Anthony Holden

6 November 1980
The United States in the 1980s 
edited by Peter Duignan and Alvin Rabushka.
Croom Helm, 868 pp., £14.95, August 1980, 0 8179 7281 1
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... not least because its opening contribution comes from her favourite TV star and economist, Milton Friedman, the man for whom the British economy is now what St Paul’s was to Sir Christopher Wren: Si monumentum requiris, circumspice. Professor Friedman’s contribution, an extract from his book-of-the-(TV)-film, Free to ...

On Thatcher

Karl Miller

25 April 2013
... don’t feel it applies to Thatcher, any more than ‘uninteresting’ does. The BBC turned, for balance presumably, to old enemies, fastening on a rant from the ex-firebrand Derek Hatton. Liverpool hates her, ran the message, for doing bad things to Liverpool. Perhaps the day will dawn when Liverpool is said to hate someone for doing bad things to ...


Peter Clarke

6 July 1995
The Path to Power 
by Margaret Thatcher.
HarperCollins, 656 pp., £24, June 1995, 0 00 255050 4
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... reason to doubt this, or a related comment on Keynesianism; ‘Before I ever read a page of Milton Friedman or Alan Walters, I just knew that these assertions could not be true.’ She readily makes the link from economics to values, insisting that members of Bloomsbury, with their ‘rejection of the Victorian virtues in ...
3 March 1983
... a capital ‘h’, and without the stronger proprietorial claims now well-established. Philip Friedman, pioneer of Jewish history under the Nazis, used it: but only as a descriptive equivalent with several others, and he seems to have preferred the expression ‘the Jewish Catastrophe’. At this stage ‘holocaust’ may have been more commonly attached ...
27 September 1990
Moving the Mountain: Inside the Perestroika Revolution 
by Abel Aganbegyan, translated by Helen Szamuely.
Bantam, 248 pp., £14.95, October 1989, 0 593 01818 4
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Gorbachev’s Struggle for Economic Reform: The Soviet Reform Process 
by Anders Aslund.
Pinter, 219 pp., £35, May 1989, 0 86187 008 5
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... gets his main economic advice from men who think about the economy in much the same way as Alan Walters (a great favourite in Eastern European Finance Ministries) and Milton Friedman; and the same is true of Boris Yeltsin. In Czechoslovakia (Vaclav Klaus, Finance Minister), Hungary (Petr Bod, Industry Minister) and ...

11 September 1973

Christopher Hitchens: Crimes against Allende

11 July 2002
Pinochet in Piccadilly: Britain and Chile’s Hidden History 
by Andy Beckett.
Faber, 280 pp., £15.99, May 2002, 0 571 20241 1
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... in prewar Chile, Allende had arranged to give refuge to many anti-Franco Spaniards and Catalans and Basques. Moreover, he had sent a delegation to the Bolivian frontier in late 1968, to rescue the cadaverous survivors of Che Guevara’s doomed insurgency. If you visit the Bodeguita del Medio in Havana today, there to sample the bogus Hemingway-style ...

Pound Foolish

Kit McMahon

9 May 1996
Politics and the Pound: The Conservatives’ Struggle with Sterling 
by Philip Stephens.
Macmillan, 364 pp., £20, March 1996, 0 333 63296 6
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... rate. The theoretical underpinning for this framework was thought to have been provided by Milton Friedman and the then fashionable theory of Rational Expectations. Friedman’s views were put forward to the public in the form of simple-minded graphs purporting to show that movements in the money supply were always followed ...

In place of fairies

Simon Schaffer

2 December 1982
Stolen Lightning: The Social Theory of Magic 
by Daniel O’Keefe.
Martin Robertson, 581 pp., £17.50, September 1982, 0 85520 486 9
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Scienze, Credenze Occulti, Livelli di Cultura 
edited by Paola Zambelli.
Leo Olschki, 562 pp., April 1982, 88 222 3069 8
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... hosts of local historians. Current interest in magic, as exemplified by the work of writers like Alan Macfarlane or Keith Thomas, owes more to this attitude than it does to O’Keefe’s conspiracy of Californian hippies, oriental gurus and sinister denizens of the Warburg. In this conference, for example, Burke shows that the élitist (and confused) notion ...


Andrew O’Hagan: Pukey poetry anthologies

4 November 2004
Poems to Last a Lifetime 
edited by Daisy Goodwin.
HarperCollins, 308 pp., £18.99, October 2004, 0 00 717707 0
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All the Poems You Need to Say I Do 
edited by Peter Forbes.
Picador, 197 pp., £10, October 2004, 0 330 43388 1
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... for their readers. Currently riding high are Why Your Life Sucks: And What You Can Do about It by Alan Cohen, When Children Grieve: For Adults to Help Children Deal with Death, Divorce, Pet Loss, Moving and Other Losses by John James and Russell Friedman, and Bodylove: Learning to Like Our Looks and Ourselves: A Practical ...

Double Doctrine

Colin Kidd: The Enlightenment

5 December 2013
The Enlightenment and Why It Still Matters 
by Anthony Pagden.
Oxford, 436 pp., £20, May 2013, 978 0 19 966093 3
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... II liberalism and obscurantism. Yet the Church’s anathemas of modernity are to an extent counterbalanced by a polite engagement with cutting-edge inquiry. The papacy has supported an astronomical observatory since the 18th century, located most recently at Castel Gandolfo, with outposts elsewhere, including Arizona. Nor does it flinch from an engagement with ...

Credibility Brown

Christopher Hitchens

17 August 1989
Where there is greed: Margaret Thatcher and the Betrayal of Britain’s Future 
by Gordon Brown.
Mainstream, 182 pp., £4.95, May 1989, 1 85158 233 9
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CounterBlasts No 3: A Rational Advance for the Labour Party 
by John Lloyd.
Chatto, 57 pp., £2.99, June 1989, 0 7011 3519 0
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... that impends in 1992. A rather candid reply to a Parliamentary question, given early last year by Alan Clark, summarises the whole position neatly. Mr Clark had been invited to say which OECD countries spent either more or less of their gross product on fixed investment than did the United Kingdom. He responded: Comparisons for most OECD countries are ...

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