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Wedded to the Absolute

Ferdinand Mount: Enoch Powell, 26 September 2019

Enoch Powell: Politics and Ideas in Modern Britain 
by Paul Corthorn.
Oxford, 233 pp., £20, August 2019, 978 0 19 874714 7
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... birthday in 2012 drew contributions from all the paladins of the Tory right: Roger Scruton, Andrew Roberts, Simon Heffer, Iain Duncan Smith. His stream of long, considered speeches continued to ripple through Tory minds, all the more perhaps because they were now running underground. During his wilderness years Powell became the Baptist of the ...

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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... German plans for the invasion of England. Within a few months, Le Queux had got Field-Marshal Lord Roberts and Harmsworth to believe there were 50,000 German waiters spying in London. No, 80,000 German soldiers, said Roberts, employed mostly on the railways. No, 350,000 German soldiers, said Colonel Driscoll DSO, working as ...

Sisterhoods

Brian Harrison, 6 December 1984

Significant Sisters: The Grassroots of Active Feminism 1839-1939 
by Margaret Forster.
Secker, 353 pp., £12.50, September 1984, 0 436 16113 3
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Stepping Stones to Women’s Liberty: Feminist Ideas in the Women’s Movement 1900-1918 
by Les Garner.
Gower, 142 pp., £15, July 1984, 0 435 32357 1
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Women First: The Female Tradition in English Physical Education 1880-1980 
by Sheila Fletcher.
Athlone, 194 pp., £18, July 1984, 0 485 11248 5
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A Woman’s Place: An Oral History of Working-Class Women 1890-1940 
by Elizabeth Roberts.
Blackwell, 246 pp., £14.95, September 1984, 0 631 13572 3
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... and ably re-creates the college’s mood and impact. Oral evidence lies at the heart of Elizabeth Roberts’s rich and careful study of early 20th-century women in their family context. ‘Often, at the beginning of a series of interviews,’ she writes, her informants ‘expressed surprise that anyone should be interested in their ...

Too Obviously Cleverer

Ferdinand Mount: Harold Macmillan, 8 September 2011

Supermac: The Life of Harold Macmillan 
by D.R. Thorpe.
Pimlico, 887 pp., £16.99, September 2011, 978 1 84413 541 7
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The Macmillan Diaries Vol. II: Prime Minister and After 1957-66 
edited by Peter Catterall.
Macmillan, 758 pp., £40, May 2011, 978 1 4050 4721 0
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... which serves only to implicate the lot of them. Then he wheels on the historians Robert Blake and Andrew Roberts to argue that secret diplomacy and suppressio veri are necessary to the successful prosecution of war: in Blake’s words, ‘no one of sense will regard such falsehoods in a particularly serious light.’ This sort of unabashed realpolitik is ...

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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... was unedifying.’ In conclusion, Davis quotes the poignant warning of a famous father, Alderman Roberts of Grantham, in 1946: ‘You have only to look around the world today and find that efforts are being made to govern countries without local authorities, and we want to avoid that by all means in this country.’ The collapse of Britain’s particular ...

Upriver

Iain Sinclair: The Thames, 25 June 2009

Thames: Sacred River 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Vintage, 608 pp., £14.99, August 2008, 978 0 09 942255 6
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... There were messages of endorsement from Lady Antonia Fraser and the feisty historian Andrew Roberts; the Economist saluted the new edition as ‘impeccably postmodern’; 5000 free copies were distributed to schools, a Trojan horse for early indoctrination in traditional values that would be reinforced by emphatic TV explainers vamping ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: Selling my hair on eBay, 6 January 2022

... turn someone smiling, loving almost.23 March. Asked by the Guardian if I would like to interview Andrew McMillan, the poet. Though I’m an admirer I say no, only because if I did it would be as much about myself as about McMillan and how his life has been very different from mine.24 March. Rupert asks me about Worship Street, where I lodged in the early ...

A Plumless Pudding

John Sutherland: The Great John Murray Archive Disaster, 18 March 2004

... Melville and Washington Irving were all published from Albemarle Street. J.M.W. Turner and David Roberts provided illustrations for Murray Books. Granted, it’s a major archive. But the firm’s traditional dislike of fiction and poetry somewhat undercuts the sales pitch. Murray’s pre-eminence over the centuries has been in travel literature ...

A House Full of No One

Colm Tóibín, 6 February 1997

Heaven’s Coast: A Memoir 
by Mark Doty.
Cape, 305 pp., £16.99, October 1996, 0 224 04390 0
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Atlantis 
by Mark Doty.
Cape, 95 pp., £7, July 1996, 0 224 04400 1
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This Wild Darkness: The Story of My Death 
by Harold Brodkey.
Fourth Estate, 177 pp., £14.99, November 1996, 1 85702 546 6
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PWA: Looking Aids in the Face 
by Oscar Moore.
Picador, 185 pp., £6.99, November 1996, 0 330 35193 1
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... Now, with the appearance of Heaven’s Coast: A Memoir, we know that Doty’s boyfriend Wally Roberts was dying slowly from Aids when these poems were being written. Doty also kept a diary during that time, some of which he quotes in the memoir. Heaven’s Coast deals with each change in Wally’s illness; the book is a charting of the mixture of the ...

Short Cuts

Frederick Wilmot-Smith: Plainly Unconstitutional, 21 October 2021

... early in the court’s history, the chief justice reached a decision that President Andrew Jackson disliked, Jackson is said to have remarked: ‘John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it.’) If the court’s decisions are not seen as legitimate, its power could fade.Stephen Breyer, a Supreme Court justice since 1994, is ...

The New Narrative

John Kerrigan, 16 February 1984

The Oxford Book of Narrative Verse 
edited by Iona Opie and Peter Opie.
Oxford, 407 pp., £8.95, September 1983, 0 19 214131 7
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Time’s Oriel 
by Kevin Crossley-Holland.
Hutchinson, 61 pp., £4.95, August 1983, 0 09 153291 4
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On Gender and Writing 
edited by Michelene Wandor.
Pandora, 166 pp., £3.95, September 1983, 0 86358 021 1
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Stone, Paper, Knife 
by Marge Piercy.
Pandora, 144 pp., £3.95, September 1983, 9780863580222
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The Achievement of Ted Hughes 
edited by Keith Sagar.
Manchester, 377 pp., £27.50, March 1983, 0 7190 0939 1
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Ted Hughes and Paul Muldoon 
Faber, £6.95, June 1983, 0 571 13090 9Show More
River 
by Ted Hughes and Peter Keen.
Faber, 128 pp., £10, September 1983, 0 571 13088 7
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Quoof 
by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 64 pp., £4, September 1983, 0 571 13117 4
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... deliberately excluded from consideration.’ It’s a well-timed question, with Blake Morrison and Andrew Motion’s advocacy of narrative in The Penguin Book of Contemporary British Poetry being so widely and respectfully read, and well-directed too, since it clarifies what’s confused in the Penguin introduction by the editors’ simultaneous recommendation ...

Breast Cancer Screening

Paul Taylor, 5 June 2014

... of screening for cancer. ‘The NHS spends a significant amount of money on health screening,’ Andrew Miller, the chair of the committee, said, ‘and it is important that this is underpinned by good scientific evidence.’ But the awkward truth is that much of the evidence is contested. The argument over breast cancer screening has been going on for ...

Mexxed Missages

Elaine Showalter: A road trip through Middle America, 4 November 2004

... for the Steelers.’ The city is home to the Andy Warhol Museum on Sandusky Street, where Andrew Warhola was born in 1928. As the director John Waters has said, every kid needs someone really bad to look up to, and the Warhol legacy carries on that counter-cultural role for a new generation. The museum recently organised an exhibition of the prison ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2004, 6 January 2005

... to play Scripps the religious boy, and doesn’t even bother to mention that he plays the piano; Andrew Knott from Wakefield, who comes in like the wind has blown the door open and knows the scene off by heart, as do several of the others. This is new, as actors would normally expect to read the scene and if they are bad readers, as many actors are, this ...

Britain’s Thermonuclear Bluff

Norman Dombey and Eric Grove, 22 October 1992

... that he was getting and went back to the US. Cook was more sympathetic and arranged for Keith Roberts, who knew the details of the Ward proposal, and Bryan Taylor, who had just joined the Aldermaston staff, to continue work on two-stage radiation implosion devices. They were assisted in the design work by the recruitment of several members of the Harwell ...

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