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We do not deserve these people

Anatol Lieven: America and its Army

20 October 2005
The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War 
by Andrew​ Bacevich.
Oxford, 270 pp., £16.99, August 2005, 0 19 517338 4
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... the Middle East is the argument that democracies are pacific, and that Muslim democracies will therefore eventually settle down peacefully under the benign hegemony of the US. Yet, as Andrew Bacevich points out in one of the most acute analyses of America to have appeared in recent years, the United States itself is in many ways a militaristic country, and becoming more so: at the end ...

Poor Hitler

Andrew​ O’Hagan: Toff Humour

15 November 2007
The Mitfords: Letters between Six Sisters 
edited by Charlotte Mosley.
Fourth Estate, 834 pp., £25, September 2007, 978 1 84115 790 0
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... are a mainstay of posh prose. Lines of this sort allowed people to think the great viceroy of India a wise and unburdened fellow, just as such lines allowed people to forgive the diarist Alan Clark any number of horrors so long as he raised a smile when he wrote them down. The talent to write poshly is quickly taken as the talent to write well. It remains a kind of honesty that English readers ...
13 November 1997
Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals 
edited by Niall Ferguson.
Picador, 548 pp., £20, April 1997, 9780330351324
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... of further possibilities, with proliferating further permutations making all the possible futures too complex for unilinear prediction. A germane point is well developed in a later essay by J.C.D. Clark, who seizes on the tension between sound arguments for contingency and a misguided development of far-reaching counterfactul examples of alternative futures: ‘The counterfactual assumes clearly ...

Heart-Stopping

Ian Hamilton

25 January 1996
Not Playing for Celtic: Another Paradise Lost 
by David Bennie.
Mainstream, 221 pp., £12.99, October 1995, 1 85158 757 8
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Achieving the Goal 
by David Platt.
Richard Cohen, 244 pp., £12.99, October 1995, 1 86066 017 7
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Captain’s Log: The Gary McAllister Story 
by Gary McAllister and Graham Clark.
Mainstream, 192 pp., £14.99, October 1995, 9781851587902
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Blue Grit: The John Brown Story 
by John Brown and Derek Watson.
Mainstream, 176 pp., £14.99, November 1995, 1 85158 822 1
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Kicking and Screaming: An Oral History of Football in England 
by Rogan Taylor and Andrew​ Ward.
Robson, 370 pp., £16.95, October 1995, 0 86051 912 0
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A Passion for the Game: Real Lives in Football 
by Tom Watt.
Mainstream, 316 pp., £14.99, October 1995, 1 85158 714 4
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... an England captain – would have been unthinkable in the old days. Ghosted lives still have a market, though. This season has already brought us Gary McAllister’s Captain’s Log (‘with Graham Clark’) and Blue Grit by Glasgow Rangers’ John Brown (‘with Peter Watson’). Would Brown reveal some juicy Gazza tales or give us the dirt on Graeme Souness? Not a chance. Gascoigne is not mentioned ...

Miss Dior, Prodigally Applied

Ian Patterson: Jilly Cooper

17 May 2017
Mount! 
by Jilly Cooper.
Corgi, 610 pp., £7.99, February 2017, 978 0 552 17028 4
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... seems to have changed since then as far as the main thrust of her fiction goes. The best-known figure in her novels is the most dominant of males, a character created from a mixture of Mr Rochester, Clark Gable, Casanova, the late Alan Clark MP, and – apparently – various dashing and extant English aristocrats, including Andrew Parker Bowles. Rupert Campbell-Black, wealthy landowner, sometime ...

Successive Applications of Sticking-Plaster

Andrew​ Saint: The urban history of Britain

1 November 2001
The Cambridge Urban History of Britain. Vol. III: 1840-1950 
edited by Martin Daunton.
Cambridge, 944 pp., £90, January 2001, 0 521 41707 4
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... know how gloomy a book they have written? Pessimism suffuses these pages from start almost to finish. ‘Why have so many of Britain’s great cities fared so badly in the 20th century?’ Peter Clark, the general editor of the series, asks in his preface. Turn the page, and Martin Daunton’s introduction descends with unconcealed relish into the ‘decay, corruption, stench and stickiness’ of ...

Artovsky Millensky

Andrew​ O’Hagan: The Misfit

1 January 2009
Arthur Miller, 1915-62 
by Christopher Bigsby.
Weidenfeld, 739 pp., £30, November 2008, 978 0 297 85441 8
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... to focus on what was real and what was fiction, on what freed her and what imprisoned her. At the end of The Misfits, Roslyn, Marilyn’s character, and the character of the divorced cowboy played by Clark Gable, ride off together in a truck under the stars. It seems like all dispute has been calmed into a semblance of future serenity. In fact, it would be Marilyn’s last film, and Gable’s too. At ...
10 November 1988
MacDiarmid 
by Alan Bold.
Murray, 482 pp., £17.95, September 1988, 0 7195 4585 4
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A Drunk Man looks at the Thistle 
by Hugh MacDiarmid, edited by Kenneth Buthlay.
Scottish Academic Press, 203 pp., £12.50, February 1988, 0 7073 0425 3
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The Hugh MacDiarmid-George Ogilvie Letters 
edited by Catherine Kerrigan.
Aberdeen University Press, 156 pp., £24.90, August 1988, 0 08 036409 8
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Hugh MacDiarmid and the Russian 
by Peter McCarey.
Scottish Academic Press, 225 pp., £12.50, March 1988, 0 7073 0526 8
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... which brought him publicity and the attention of the literary establishment. Northern Numbers included work by established names like John Buchan, as well as by newcomers like Grieve and his brother Andrew, whose verse (as Bold points out) Grieve later viciously attacked. Eventually, Andrew would break permanently with Christopher, describing him (with some justice) as ‘megalomaniac’. By 1920 ...
9 March 1995
... with government policy in the field of fibre-optics, in which area Leigh had been involved when a minister. Nicholas Scott has consoled himself since his departure from office with a consultancy with Clark and Smith Industries, whose products include many aimed at the disabled, for whom Scott was the responsible minister when in office. John McGregor (afterwards Lord McGregor) has rejoined merchant ...
18 May 2000
Franz Liszt. Vol. III: The Final Years, 1861-86 
by Alan Walker.
Faber, 594 pp., £45, February 1998, 0 571 19034 0
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The Romantic Generation 
by Charles Rosen.
HarperCollins, 720 pp., £14.99, March 1999, 0 00 255712 6
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Franz Liszt: Selected Letters 
edited by Adrian Williams.
Oxford, 1063 pp., £70, January 1999, 0 19 816688 5
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... his Vienna debut. (It never happened; or if it did, it happened in the privacy of Beethoven’s home.) There’s the one about Liszt the lady-killer. In reality, Liszt was more of a Cary Grant than a Clark Gable, more Don Ottavio than Don Giovanni – although he did play the latter on stage. According to Charles Rosen: ‘With his international reputation for erotic conquest already set’, Liszt must ...

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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... base, a neglected fixed-investment sector and an industry unprepared to face the brisk gale 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 ...

I, Lowborn Cur

Colin Burrow: Literary Names

22 November 2012
Literary Names: Personal Names in English Literature 
by Alastair Fowler.
Oxford, 283 pp., £19.99, September 2012, 978 0 19 959222 7
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... page of Bond’s great work. Why does the name of an actual ornithologist sound so right as the name of a fictional spy? Why couldn’t Fleming have used another pair of common monosyllables – John Clark, say? Bond is a solid, blue-chip, faith-giving kind of a name. Who wouldn’t prefer a government Bond under their mattress (we’re talking AAA British) to a petty clerk? Is your word your clerk? I ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 1999

20 January 2000
... Had I put on the recording myself the spell would have been nowhere near as powerful because self-induced. Why this should be I can’t think, though doubtless Proust would know. 7 September. Alan Clark dies. I never met him, though I saw him once in the street, noting then that he shared a walk with Denis Healey, both of them swinging their arms laterally as they walked in the manner of Soviet ...

White Lie Number Ten

Nicholas Jose: Australia’s aboriginal sovereignty

19 February 1998
Race Matters: Indigenous Australians and ‘Our’ Society 
edited by Gillian Cowlishaw and Barry Morris.
Aboriginal Studies Press, 295 pp., AUS $29.95, March 1998, 0 85575 294 7
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Aboriginal Sovereignty: Reflections on Race, State and Nation 
by Henry Reynolds.
Allen and Unwin, 221 pp., AUS $17.95, July 1996, 1 86373 969 6
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... Colonies, Lord Glenelg, and the Colonial Under-Secretary James Stephen (Virginia Woolf’s grandfather), with his Clapham Sect faith in the brotherhood of man. In the words of the historian Manning Clark, Stephen had come to the conclusion that ‘convicts and their descendants were corrupting, degrading and tormenting the least of God’s creatures – the Australian Aborigine’. Taking it as ...
7 September 2000
Irish America 
by Reginald Byron.
Oxford, 317 pp., £40, November 1999, 0 19 823355 8
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Remembering Ahanagran: Storytelling in a Family’s Past 
by Richard White.
Cork, 282 pp., IR£14.99, October 1999, 1 85918 232 1
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From the Sin-é Café to the Black Hills: Notes on the New Irish 
by Eamon Wall.
Wisconsin, 139 pp., $16.95, February 2000, 0 299 16724 0
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The Encyclopedia of the Irish in America 
edited by Michael Glazier.
Notre Dame, 988 pp., £58.50, August 1999, 0 268 02755 2
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... that the Famine should be included when genocide is studied in high school. ‘Almost anything you can say’ about Irish Americans ‘is both true and false’, the historian of Irish America Dennis Clark has warned. This isn’t helped by the fact that it has been notoriously difficult to follow the progress of Irish immigrants after their arrival in the United States. The census fails again here ...

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