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Dogface

Ian Hamilton

28 September 1989
Wartime: Understanding and Behaviour in the Second World War 
by Paul Fussell.
Oxford, 330 pp., £15, September 1989, 0 19 503797 9
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War like a Wasp: The Lost Decade of the Forties 
by Andrew Sinclair.
Hamish Hamilton, 312 pp., £17.95, October 1989, 0 241 12531 6
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... and as a leader of men he believed that he had failed. In one attack, thanks to his ‘cowardice’, several of his men had died: a lieutenant, Fussell had lingered ‘as far in the rear’ of his platoon ‘as was barely decent’: before the day was over I had been severely rebuked by a sharp-eyed lieutenant-colonel who threatened court-martial if ...

Blights

Patricia Craig

23 April 1987
A Darkness in the Eye 
by M.S. Power.
Heinemann, 212 pp., £10.95, April 1987, 0 434 59961 1
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The Stars at Noon 
by Denis Johnson.
Faber, 181 pp., £9.95, March 1987, 0 571 14607 4
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Like Birds in the Wilderness 
by Agnes Owens.
Fourth Estate, 138 pp., £9.95, March 1987, 0 947795 51 0
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Fool’s Sanctuary 
by Jennifer Johnston.
Hamish Hamilton, 132 pp., £8.95, April 1987, 0 241 12035 7
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A Fatal Inversion 
by Barbara Vine (Ruth Rendell).
Viking, 317 pp., £10.95, March 1987, 0 670 80977 2
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Sisters of the Road 
by Barbara Wilson.
Women’s Press, 202 pp., £3.95, March 1987, 0 7043 4073 9
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The price you pay 
by Hannah Wakefield.
Women’s Press, 245 pp., £4.95, March 1987, 0 7043 4072 0
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... thinks this unduly unbigoted policeman. Here we have an instance of the author bending over backwards to point up the contortions in Irish affairs. The basic thriller-writer’s plot involves power struggles of one kind or another, and its effectiveness, in part, may be gauged by the amount of intricacy and irony that goes into it. The Power trilogy is ...
30 December 1982
The Penguin Book of Contemporary British Poetry 
edited by Blake Morrison and Andrew Motion.
Penguin, 208 pp., £1.95, October 1982, 0 14 042283 8
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The Rattle Bag 
edited by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes.
Faber, 498 pp., £10, October 1982, 0 571 11966 2
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... Penguin of 1962, The New Poetry, selected and introduced by A. Alvarez. Blake Morrison and Andrew Motion are well aware that there is something comically factitious about the stance that has to be adopted by each new spokesman on the poetry scene – ‘we are not,’ they say, ‘the first anthologists this century to have made such a claim.’ Indeed ...
16 March 1989
Chekhov: A Spirit Set Free 
by V.S. Pritchett.
Hodder, 235 pp., £12.95, January 1989, 0 340 37409 8
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... Cherry Orchard, and who evades all attempts to trap him into marriage with Madame Ranevskaya’s ward. Chekhov, as Pritchett says, ‘admired this self-made man’, and sharply warned Stanislavsky that he must not be played as the traditional grasping vulgarian of a stock stage part. Pritchett intuits that Chekhov himself had ‘an unusually low sexual ...

St Marilyn

Andrew O’Hagan: The Girl and Me

6 January 2000
The Personal Property of Marilyn Monroe 
Christie’s, 415 pp., $85, September 1999, 0 903432 64 1Show More
The Complete Marilyn Monroe 
by Adam Victor.
Thames and Hudson, 339 pp., £29.95, November 1999, 0 500 01978 9
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Marilyn Monroe 
by Barbara Leaming.
Orion, 474 pp., £8.99, October 1999, 0 7528 2692 1
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... of the 20th century. They may be right. Norma Jeane Mortensen was born in June 1926 in the charity ward of Los Angeles General Hospital. Her mother Gladys Baker was now and again mad, leaving her daughter troubled but free to dream up an alternative life, and to develop her vital allure reading movie magazines. Norma Jeane had a keen sense of how to conquer ...

Beast of a Nation

Andrew O’Hagan: Scotland’s Self-Pity

31 October 2002
Stone Voices: The Search for Scotland 
by Neal Ascherson.
Granta, 305 pp., £16.99, September 2002, 1 86207 524 7
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... than politics does. The people have no real commitment to the public sphere, and are not helped towards any such commitment by the dead rhetoric of the young Parliament. Yet the problem is not the Parliament, it’s the people, and the people’s drowsy addiction to imagined injury – their belief in a paralysing historical distress – which makes the ...

Brief Encounters

Andrew O’Hagan: Gielgud and Redgrave

5 August 2004
Gielgud's Letters 
edited by Richard Mangan.
Weidenfeld, 564 pp., £20, March 2004, 0 297 82989 0
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Secret Dreams: A Biography of Michael Redgrave 
by Alan Strachan.
Weidenfeld, 484 pp., £25, April 2004, 0 297 60764 2
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... and momentary impulse. Of course I’ve been tortured by the thought that I acted stupidly afterwards, insisting on tackling it without advice of any kind – but I expect it would all have come out anyway – and I just couldn’t bear the idea of a case and weeks of obscene publicity – even if I had got off with a clean sheet the slur would still have ...
11 April 2013
... of state for health. The public inquiry was set up in 2010 by the then secretary of state, Andrew Lansley, to investigate further the findings of a previous inquiry, commissioned by the Labour health minister Andy Burnham and intended ‘primarily to give those most affected by poor care an opportunity to tell their stories’. Many such stories had ...
29 August 1991
Russell’s Idealist Apprenticeship 
by Nicholas Griffin.
Oxford, 409 pp., £45, January 1991, 0 19 824453 3
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Philosophical Papers 
by F.P. Ramsey, edited by D.H. Mellor.
Cambridge, 257 pp., £30, August 1990, 0 521 37480 4
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The Philosophy of F.P. Ramsey 
by Nils-Eric Sahlin.
Cambridge, 256 pp., £27.50, November 1990, 0 521 38543 1
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... edition splits in two parts: Volumes II to XI containing his philosophical work, and Volume XII onwards his ethical, personal and political papers. As is often the case with this sort of multi-volume edition, the order in which the volumes have been published is somewhat erratic, but it is already clear that the series is a model of its kind – it is ...
21 January 1988
Troublesome People: Enemies of War, 1916-1986 
by Caroline Moorehead.
Hamish Hamilton, 344 pp., £14.95, April 1987, 0 241 12105 1
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Sex and Suffrage in Britain, 1860-1914 
by Susan Kingsley Kent.
Princeton, 295 pp., £22, June 1987, 0 691 05497 5
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Women, Marriage and Politics, 1860-1914 
by Pat Jalland.
Oxford, 366 pp., £19.50, November 1986, 0 19 822668 3
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An Edwardian Mixed Doubles: The Bosanquets versus the Webbs. A Study in British Social Policy, 1890-1929 
by A.M. McBriar.
Oxford, 407 pp., £35, July 1987, 0 19 820111 7
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... forth into the vast unknowns of social class, religious denomination and regional culture. Edward Thompson’s Making of the English Working Class (1963) was a landmark here, and we now possess histories of feminism, pacifism, of the movements against slavery and cruelty to animals, and for free trade, family allowances, factory-hours and public ...

That’s democracy

Theo Tait: Dalton Trumbo

2 March 2000
Johnny Got His Gun 
by Dalton Trumbo.
Prion, 222 pp., £5.99, May 1999, 1 85375 324 6
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... in an unknown hospital. The nurses’ hands, the vibrations caused by people walking around the ward, the pain of the sheets against his wounds are his only contact with the outside world. He is unable to separate the present from his hallucinations of the past: work and love in Los Angeles, his upbringing in Colorado. Trumbo cleverly writes the reader into ...

Howard’s End

John Sutherland

18 September 1986
Redback 
by Howard Jacobson.
Bantam, 314 pp., £10.95, September 1986, 0 593 01212 7
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Coming from behind 
by Howard Jacobson.
Black Swan, 250 pp., £2.95, April 1984, 0 552 99063 9
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Peeping Tom 
by Howard Jacobson.
Black Swan, 351 pp., £2.95, October 1985, 0 552 99141 4
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... Howard Jacobson began writing novels late in life. As he tells it, the life was nothing much to write about. He was born in Manchester in 1942. His family was Jewish with a modest upward mobility track leading from Salford to Whitefield via Prestwich. The Jacobsons evidently made it to Prestwich ...
1 August 1985
Refugee Scholars in America: Their Impact and their Experiences 
by Lewis Coser.
Yale, 351 pp., £25, October 1984, 0 300 03193 9
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The Viennese Enlightenment 
by Mark Francis.
Croom Helm, 176 pp., £15.95, May 1985, 0 7099 1065 7
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The Jews of Vienna, 1867-1914: Assimilation and Identity 
by Marsha Rozenblit.
SUNY, 368 pp., $39.50, July 1984, 0 87395 844 6
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... as the names of William Johnston, William McGrath, Carl Schorske, Allan Janik, Stephen Toulmin, Andrew Whiteside and John Boyer testify.* There are a number of plausible reasons for this. The first and most obvious is the great diaspora of Central European scholars brought about by the rise of Nazism in the 1930s – though some intellectuals, like ...
28 May 1992
Barcelona 
by Robert Hughes.
Harvill, 575 pp., £20, May 1992, 0 00 272078 7
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Barcelonas 
by Manuel Vazquez Montalban, translated by Andrew Robinson.
Verso, 210 pp., £17.95, May 1992, 0 86091 353 8
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Cities of Spain 
by David Gilmour.
Murray, 214 pp., £17.95, March 1992, 0 7195 4833 0
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Red City, Blue Period: Social Movements in Picasso’s Barcelona 
by Temma Kaplan.
California, 266 pp., $30, April 1992, 0 520 07507 2
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... and a man of great personal austerity. He was run over by a tram in 1926, and put in a public ward at the hospital because no one knew who he was. His architecture – the Palau Güell, the Parque Güell, the Casa Mila, the ill-fated and still unfinished Sagrada Familia – was, in Hughes’s terms, ‘the delayed baroque that Barcelona never ...
9 November 1989
Stirrings Still 
by Samuel Beckett.
Calder, 25 pp., £1,000, March 1989, 0 7145 4142 7
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Nohow On: Company, Ill Seen Ill Said, Worstward Ho 
by Samuel Beckett.
Calder, 128 pp., £10.95, February 1989, 0 7145 4111 7
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‘Make sense who may’: Essays on Samuel Beckett’s Later Works 
edited by Robin Davis and Lance Butler.
Smythe, 175 pp., £16, March 1989, 0 86140 286 3
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... two texts under review. Nohow On, consisting of Company (1980), Ill Seen Ill Said (1982) and Worstward Ho (1983), is inexplicably typeset in English Monotype Bodoni 357 instead of the much sturdier Times used for the Collected Shorter Prose and the Bembo in which the three works were set when printed separately. The result is a shoddy-looking ...

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