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The Great Sorting

Ben Rogers: Urban Inequality, 26 April 2018

The New Urban Crisis: Gentrification, Housing Bubbles, Growing Inequality and What We Can Do about It 
by Richard Florida.
Oneworld, 352 pp., £20, September 2017, 978 1 78607 212 2
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... Richard Florida​ has been having second thoughts. In 2002 he argued in The Rise of the Creative Class that the future of advanced economies lay not in manufacturing but in high-skilled areas of the service sector: engineering, design, fashion, media, finance, medicine and law. The industrial revolution had largely originated in cities, but in the 20th century, industry started to move away from them ...

Out of Sight, out of Mind

Frank Kermode: A.J. Ayer’s Winning Ways, 15 July 1999

A.J. Ayer: A Life 
by Ben Rogers.
Chatto, 402 pp., £20, June 1999, 9780701163167
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... A.J. Ayer, says Ben Rogers, had a ‘pampered upbringing, even by Edwardian standards’. He suffered much at prep school, then went to Eton, where he suffered less and got over it. The next move, to Christ Church, was painless. Oxford gave him Gilbert Ryle as his tutor and appointed him to a lectureship before he graduated ...

Ruling the Roast

David A. Bell: A Nation of Beefeaters, 25 September 2003

Beef and Liberty: Roast Beef, John Bull and the English Nation 
by Ben Rogers.
Chatto, 207 pp., £17.99, April 2003, 9780701169800
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... as young as two. Give it a child at an impressionable age, and it will have a customer for life. Ben Rogers is aware of food’s emotional power, and of its ability to create bonds between people. In Beef and Liberty, he has written a whimsical, amusing, informative book about the English and their favourite meat. Long before the phrase ‘you ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Bookshops, 14 December 2000

... haven’t had a very good year. On 4 January, the first working day of the new millennium, Ben Rogers wrote in the Guardian that he was ‘surprised to wander into the philosophy section’ of their Gower Street store: not very surprising behaviour for a philosopher, you might think, except that he discovered ‘someone’ had ‘divided the whole ...

Against the Current

Paul Rogers: British Sea Power, 6 February 2020

... Sultan Qaboos, died on 10 January, Prince Charles, Boris Johnson, the current defence secretary, Ben Wallace, and the chief of the armed forces, General Sir Nick Carter, were quick to fly out. The new defence accord is surely the reason. Qaboos had ruled for half a century and was treated as a benign head of state by UK governments and the media – if not ...

America and Israel

Ian Gilmour, 18 February 1982

The Struggle for Peace in the Middle East 
by Mahmoud Riad.
Quartet, 365 pp., £11.95, October 1981, 0 7043 2297 8
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Palestinian Self-Determination 
by Hassan Bin Talal.
Quartet, 138 pp., £6.95, July 1981, 0 7043 2312 5
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This Year in Jerusalem 
by Kenneth Cragg.
Darton, Longman and Todd, 192 pp., £5.95, February 1982, 0 232 51524 7
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... for re-election; and then he insisted on Israel’s total evacuation of Sinai in 1957, even though Ben Gurion had claimed that it was not part of Egypt and that it ‘had been liberated’ by the Israelis. Israel, of course, has not controlled every move in America’s Middle Eastern policy. Some – but not all – administrations try to escape that control ...

Mistrial

Michael Davie, 6 June 1985

The Airman and the Carpenter: The Lindbergh Case and the Framing of Richard Hauptmann 
by Ludovic Kennedy.
Collins, 438 pp., £12.95, April 1985, 0 00 217060 4
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... than ten thousand words a day for the Herald Tribune. Celebrities who dropped by included Ginger Rogers, Moss Hart, Lynn Fontanne, Jack Dempsey, Robert ‘Believe-it-or-not’ Ripley, Elsa Maxwell and Jack Benny. They were in court less because of Hauptmann than because of Lindbergh, the biggest celebrity of them all. It is a sign of the passing of time that ...

A Joke Too Far

Colin Burrow: My Favourite Elizabethan, 22 August 2002

Sir John Harington and the Book as Gift 
by Jason Scott-Warren.
Oxford, 273 pp., £45, August 2001, 0 19 924445 6
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... John Heywood, whom Harington greatly admired, but the most spry anticipate the sharpness of Ben Jonson, which is probably why Jonson was keen to dismiss them in conversation with William Drummond as ‘but narrations’. His most lastingly popular epigram was ‘Treason doth neuer prosper? What’s the reason?/for if it prosper, none dare call it ...

Foreign Body

Tim Winton, 22 June 1995

Patrick White: Letters 
edited by David Marr.
Cape, 678 pp., £35, January 1995, 0 224 03516 9
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... his modest and neglected peer. There are moments, too, in his long relationship with Viking’s Ben Huebsch, but the brightest example, the most sustained retraction of the claws, is reserved for Philip Garland, the brain-damaged son of his long-suffering cousin Peggy. At length and with great care he writes of animals, music and travel, gently encouraging ...

Room 6 at the Moonstone

Adam Mars-Jones: Bill Clegg, 5 November 2015

Did You Ever Have a Family 
by Bill Clegg.
Cape, 293 pp., £12.99, August 2015, 978 0 224 10235 3
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... a fiercely compartmentalised life, but achieves wholeness on her own terms. The day her husband, Ben, died, she put the house on the market and moved back in with her four sisters. Hadn’t she always said that she had them for talking and Ben for everything else? Her whole generation is contentedly divided, their father a ...

You Know Who You Are

Colin Kidd: About Last Year, 25 January 2018

Fall Out: A Year Of Political Mayhem 
by Tim Shipman.
William Collins, 559 pp., £25, November 2017, 978 0 00 826438 3
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... of her ostentatiously highbrow co-chief. The botched 2017 manifesto, co-authored by Timothy and Ben Gummer, was designed to be a philosophical restatement of Conservative principles, communitarian, interventionist and anti-free market: nothing so menial as an advertisement for a party trying to win an election. The two chiefs of staff took very different ...

Snakes and Leeches

Rosemary Hill: The Great Stink, 4 January 2018

One Hot Summer: Dickens, Darwin, Disraeli and the Great Stink of 1858 
by Rosemary Ashton.
Yale, 352 pp., £25, July 2017, 978 0 300 22726 0
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... the obscure and the forgotten. Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning plan their elopement. Samuel Rogers entertains the Gräfin Hahn-Hahn, a romantic novelist who has come to meet her English public and disappoints them by turning out to have false teeth and a glass eye. The painter Benjamin Haydon approaches a crisis in his unhappy career. Browning annoys ...

On the Salieri Express

John Sutherland, 24 September 1992

Doctor Criminale 
by Malcolm Bradbury.
Secker, 343 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 436 20115 1
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The Promise of Light 
by Paul Watkins.
Faber, 217 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 571 16715 2
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The Absolution Game 
by Paul Sayer.
Constable, 204 pp., £13.99, June 1992, 0 09 471460 6
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The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman 
by Louis de Bernières.
Secker, 388 pp., £14.99, August 1992, 0 436 20114 3
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Written on the Body 
by Jeanette Winterson.
Cape, 190 pp., £13.99, September 1992, 0 224 03587 8
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... much detail, and walk-on cameos by ascertainably ‘real’ 1990 guests – John Major, Richard Rogers, Neil Kinnock and, of course, the richly despised Howard Jacobson. Francis Jay gives an impromptu television interview in which, with all the authority of one who has studied deconstruction at Sussex, he dismisses the shortlisted candidates as writers of ...

The Price of Pickles

John Lanchester: Planet Wal-Mart, 22 June 2006

The Wal-Mart Effect: How an Out-of-Town Superstore Became a Superpower 
by Charles Fishman.
Allen Lane, 294 pp., £12.99, May 2006, 0 7139 9825 3
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Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price 
directed by Robert Greenwald.
November 2005
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... and was running a small department store in Newport, Arkansas belonging to a franchise called Ben Franklin. Walton had grown up in Missouri and attended the state university, then gone on to a clerical job during the war. He married Helen Robson, borrowed some money from her lawyer-banker father, then opened his ...

In the Teeth of the Gale

A.D. Nuttall, 16 November 1995

The Oxford Book of Classical Verse in Translation 
edited by Adrian Poole and Jeremy Maule.
Oxford, 606 pp., £19.99, October 1995, 0 19 214209 7
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... and Sullivan in the metrically exuberant, sexually discreet translation of Benjamin Bickley Rogers. But the under-presence of the ancient freedom is everywhere, for those with ears to hear. The charge of not-quite-perfectly-concealed, intense homoerotic emotion in Housman’s scoutmasterish ‘love of comrades’ is a good example. It might almost be ...

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