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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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... 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 the early Victorian city – a hell from which the best ...

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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... 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 – or English readers of English writers – prize above ...

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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... 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 the end of the final day’s shooting, Arthur and Marilyn ...

O brambles, chain me too

Tom Paulin: Life and Vowels of Andrew Marvell, 25 November 1999

World Enough and Time: The Life of Andrew Marvell 
by Nicholas Murray.
Little, Brown, 294 pp., £20, September 1999, 0 316 64863 9
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Marvell and Liberty 
edited by Warren Chernaik and Martin Dzelzainis.
Macmillan, 365 pp., £47.50, July 1999, 0 333 72585 9
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Andrew Marvell 
edited by Thomas Healy.
Longman, 212 pp., £12.99, September 1998, 0 582 21910 8
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... to James Barry’s 1776 engraving The Phoenix or the Resurrection of Freedom. In the engraving Andrew Marvell is depicted with Milton, Locke and Algernon Sidney among the mourners at the bier of Britain’s traditional liberties. Across a pond the mourners can see a Neoclassical rotunda with an eagle-like phoenix raising its strong wings. Below the cupola ...

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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... 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 of the Cold War, Americans said yes to military power. The ...

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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... 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 (perhaps he arrived too late) and as for Souness: ‘I ...

Someone Else, Somewhere Else

Peter Clarke, 13 November 1997

Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals 
edited by Niall Ferguson.
Picador, 548 pp., £20, April 1997, 9780330351324
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... 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 identifiable alternative paths of development, whose ...

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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... 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 ...

MacDiarmid and his Maker

Robert Crawford, 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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... 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, Grieve was employed as a ...

No Longer Merely the Man Who Ate His Boots

Thomas Jones: The Northwest Passage, 27 May 2010

Arctic Labyrinth: The Quest for the Northwest Passage 
by Glyn Williams.
Allen Lane, 440 pp., £25, October 2009, 978 1 84614 138 6
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Franklin: Tragic Hero of Polar Navigation 
by Andrew Lambert.
Faber, 428 pp., £20, July 2009, 978 0 571 23160 7
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... inflexibility and his unfamiliarity with conditions in the far north were serious handicaps.’ Andrew Lambert, in his new biography of Franklin, an attempt to reclaim the explorer from both Victorian hagiography and subsequent disparagement, is less even-handed: ‘Whatever else had been achieved, Franklin had demonstrated a rare talent for ...

Aunt Twackie’s Bazaar

Andy Beckett: Seventies Style, 19 August 2010

70s Style and Design 
by Dominic Lutyens and Kirsty Hislop.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £24.90, November 2009, 978 0 500 51483 2
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... and fashionable homes, and upwardly mobile stars such as Bryan Ferry and Liza Minnelli and Ossie Clark. The London clothes shop Biba gets more entries in the index than anything else. How far the trends portrayed spread beyond the metropolis is rarely clear. A single photograph of a glamorous young Liverpool shop-owner called Maureen Bampton, wearing stack ...

The Party in Government

Conor Gearty, 9 March 1995

... 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 bankers Hill Samuel since his departure from the Transport ...

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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... 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 ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 1999, 20 January 2000

... 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 soldiery. Except I fancy ...

Adipose Tumorous Growths and All

Kevin Kopelson, 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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... 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 have known that the public would take Réminiscences de ...

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