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I just get my pistol and shoot him right down

Eric Foner: Slave-Dealing, 22 March 2018

The Weeping Time: Memory and the Largest Slave Auction in American History 
by Anne C.Bailey.
Cambridge, 197 pp., £19.99, November 2017, 978 1 316 64348 8
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... In pre-Civil War​ fugitive slave narratives – memoirs written by men and, occasionally, women who had escaped to freedom and hoped to convert readers to the cause of abolition – the most heart-rending passages described slave auctions and the separation of families that usually ensued ...

Ten Days that Shook Me

Alan Bennett, 15 September 1988

... I spent ten days in May in Russia on a visit arranged by the Great Britain-USSR Society. My colleagues were the novelists Paul Bailey, Christopher Hope and Timothy Mo (who also writes for Boxing News), the poet Craig Raine (who doesn’t) and the playwright Sue Townsend of Adrian Mole fame ...

Silly Buggers

James Fox, 7 March 1991

The Theatre of Embarrassment 
by Francis Wyndham.
Chatto, 205 pp., £15, February 1991, 0 7011 3726 6
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... I first met Francis Wyndham in 1968, when I went to the Sunday Times Magazine looking for a job. A thunderstorm in the Gray’s Inn Road had soaked my cheap lightweight blue suit, bought in Johclass="highlight-term">annesburg, and I was thinking my appearance had cost me my chance ...

F for Felon

Roy Porter: Policing and Punishment in London 1660-1750: Urban Crime and the Limits of Terror by J.M. Beattie., 4 April 2002

Policing and Punishment in London 1660-1750: Urban Crime and the Limits of Terror 
by J.M. Beattie.
Oxford, 491 pp., £48, July 2001, 0 19 820867 7
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... Given their importance as an instrument of social regulation, it’s odd that the law and law enforcement were so long cold-shouldered by historians. From the time of Blackstone, legal history remained the province of lawyers, whose labours of love bore more relation to the apologetic hermeneutics of Bible scholars than to ‘historical method ...

Outbreak of Pleasure

Angus Calder, 23 January 1986

Now the war is over: A Social History of Britain 1945-51 
by Paul Addison.
BBC/ Cape, 223 pp., £10.95, September 1985, 0 563 20407 9
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England First and Last 
by Anthony Bailey.
Faber, 212 pp., £12.50, October 1985, 0 571 13587 0
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A World Still to Win: The Reconstruction of the Post-War Working Class 
by Trevor Blackwell and Jeremy Seabrook.
Faber, 189 pp., £4.50, October 1985, 0 571 13701 6
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The Issue of War: States, Societies and the Far Eastern Conflict of 1941-1945 
by Christopher Thorne.
Hamish Hamilton, 364 pp., £15, April 1985, 0 241 10239 1
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The Hiroshima Maidens 
by Rodney Barker.
Viking, 240 pp., £9.95, July 1985, 0 670 80609 9
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Faces of Hiroshima: A Report 
by Anne Chisholm.
Cape, 182 pp., £9.95, August 1985, 0 224 02831 6
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End of Empire 
by Brain Lapping.
Granada, 560 pp., £14.95, March 1985, 0 246 11969 1
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Outposts 
by Simon Winchester.
Hodder, 317 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 340 33772 9
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... Towards the end of the Second World War, the Common Wealth Party produced a striking leaflet – ‘Again?’ – to play on the widespread fear among British voters that victory over Nazism was merely the prelude to a return to mass unemployment at home and continued international insecurity ...

My Cat All My Pleasure

Gillian Darley: Georgian Life, 19 August 2010

Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England 
by Amanda Vickery.
Yale, 382 pp., £20, October 2009, 978 0 300 15453 5
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... Cut-paper work from 1707 by the 17-year-old Anna Maria Garthwaite, who later became a designer of patterned silks for dresses In contrast to the still contentment of a Zoffany conversation piece or the energetic racket conjured up by Fielding’s novels, life indoors in Georgian England was frequently a dull, hard and miserable business ...

Vibrations

Margaret Anne Doody, 5 August 1993

The Culture of Sensibility: Sex and Society in 18th-century Britain 
by G.J. Barker-Benfield.
Chicago, 520 pp., £39.95, October 1992, 0 226 03713 4
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Eighteenth-Century Sensibility and the Novel: The Senses in Social Context 
by Ann Jessie van Sant.
Cambridge, 143 pp., £27.95, January 1993, 0 521 40226 3
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Drunks, Whores and Idle Apprentices: Criminal Biographies of the 18th Century 
by Philip Rawlings.
Routledge, 222 pp., £40, October 1992, 0 415 05056 1
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Mother Clap’s Molly House: The Gay Subculture in England 1700-1830 
by Rictor Norton.
Gay Men’s Press, 302 pp., £12.95, September 1992, 0 85449 188 0
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... give me leave to ask you ... what, in your opinion, is the meaning of the word sentimental, so much in vogue amongst the polite, both in town and country? In letters and common conversation, I have asked several who make use of it, and have generally ...

True Stories

Michael Irwin, 30 March 1989

Have the men had enough? 
by Margaret Forster.
Chatto, 251 pp., £12.95, March 1989, 0 7011 3400 3
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Aurora’s Motive 
by Erich Hackl, translated by Edna McC</span>own.
Cape, 117 pp., £10.95, March 1989, 0 224 02584 8
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The Open Door 
by Alan Sillitoe.
Grafton, 358 pp., £11.95, February 1989, 0 246 13422 4
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... Fiction derives from facts as paper derives from trees, but in either case the transformation can be left incomplete. While many a novel of the past twenty years or so has hinted or advertised its fictionality, others have asserted in various ways their entanglement with real life ...

Killing Stripes

Christopher Turner: Suits, 31 May 2017

Sex and Suits: The Evolution of Modern Dress 
by Anne Hollander.
Bloomsbury, reissue, 158 pp., £19.99, August 2016, 978 1 4742 5065 8
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The Suit: Form, Function and Style 
by Christopher Breward.
Reaktion, 240 pp., £18, May 2016, 978 1 78023 523 3
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... I went​ to Henry Poole & Co, the oldest tailor on Savile Row, for a fitting. Suits start at £5500, and I couldn’t afford to have one made, but the firm had agreed to teach me the principles of bespoke tailoring by measuring me for an invisible one, so I could at least engage in the fantasy: the emperor’s new clothes ...

Does one flare or cling?

Alice Spawls, 4 May 2016

‘Vogue’ 100: A Century of Style 
by Robin Muir.
National Portrait Gallery, 304 pp., £40, February 2016, 978 1 85514 561 0
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‘Vogue’ 100: A Century of Style 
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... The model​ Edie Campbell, long-legged, mullet-haired, horse-mad and posh, adorns the front and back covers of the March issue of British Vogue. On the front, she’s wearing a chiffon crepon dress by Gucci – a semi-see-through affair with cartoon-effect sequined appliqué collar, ruffles, epaulettes and bow ...

Is the lady your sister?

E.S. Turner: An innkeeper’s diary, 27 April 2000

An Innkeeper's Diary 
by John Fothergill.
Faber, 278 pp., £23.95, January 2000, 0 571 15014 4
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... John Fothergill, the high-handed host of the Spreadeagle at Thame between the world wars, described himself in Who’s Who as ‘Pioneer Amateur Innkeeper’. Evelyn Waugh, sending him a copy of Decline and Fall, inscribed it to ‘Oxford’s only civilising influence ...

Diary

Thomas Jones: Death in Florence, 21 June 2012

... always told it, was that her grandfather was pushed to his death down a liftshaft in Florence for the sake of his gold watch. It never occurred to me to wonder whether or not this was true. The events it related were too remote – a great-great-grandfather a hyphen too far. My ...

Sight, Sound and Sex

Adam Mars-Jones: Dana Spiotta, 17 March 2016

Innocents and Others 
by Dana Spiotta.
Scribner, 278 pp., £17.95, March 2016, 978 1 5011 2272 9
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... Long before​ electronic media came up with the phrase, literature had been relegated to the status of preferred ‘content provider’ for films. Bestsellers achieve special ontological status on the screen, and the classics get retrospective plastic surgery, so that Jay Gatsby receives the looks first of Robert Redford then Leonardo DiCaprio ...

Euro-Gramscism

Tom Nairn, 3 July 1980

Gramsci and Marxist Theory 
edited by Chantal Mouffe.
Routledge, 288 pp., £9.50, November 1979, 0 7100 0358 7
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Gramsci and the State 
by Christine Buci-Glucksmann.
Lawrence and Wishart, 470 pp., £14, February 1980, 9780853154839
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Gramsci’s Politics 
by Anne Showstack Sassoon.
Croom Helm, 261 pp., £12.95, April 1980, 9780709903260
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... As a child he was almost always alone. A tiny coffin and shroud stood in the house in Sardinia until he was 23, mute and awesome memorials to the time he almost bled to death, at the age of four. The frightful injury which had caused the haemorrhage left him a dwarf and a hunchback, in spite of repeated iodine rubs, and much familial pleading with the Holy Virgin ...

Criminal Justice

Ronan Bennett, 24 June 1993

... In October 1989 I was in Cuenca in southern Ecuador. Cuenca is a sleepy town, Ecuador – for reasons partly to do with climate and partly with the military’s intermittent but pointed interventions in political and economic life – a sleepy country ...

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