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Poor Cow

Tim Radford, 5 September 1996

Lethal Legacy: BSE – The Search for Truth 
by Stephen Dealler.
Bloomsbury, 307 pp., £5.99, April 1996, 9780747529408
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BSE: The Facts 
by Brian Ford.
Corgi, 208 pp., £4.99, May 1996, 0 552 14530 0
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Agriculture and Health Committees. Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD): Recent Developments 
HMSO, 149 pp., £17, May 1996, 0 10 237796 0Show More
Beyond Beef: The Rise and Fall of the Cattle Culture 
by Jeremy Rifkin.
Thorsons, 353 pp., £8.99, June 1996, 0 7225 2979 1
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... solvents to extract the fat because it was dangerous for their employees. Another, advanced by Brian Ford in The Facts, is that nobody wanted the fat any more. Another is that the workload required a more efficient way of processing carcasses – a kind of continuous disassembly line, rather than processing a ‘batch’ at a time. Labour Party ...

Early Lives

P.N. Furbank, 5 June 1986

The Inner I: British Literary Autobiography of the 20th Century 
by Brian Finney.
Faber, 286 pp., £14.95, September 1985, 0 571 13311 8
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... Brian Finney speaks of the study of autobiography as a ‘yawning gap’ in British scholarship. It is also, to judge from myself, a yawning gap in one’s own thoughts, which this is a good moment to try to fill. Finney has his own perspective, which is much concerned, first, with the ‘truth’ factor and attendant perceptual problems; secondly with autobiography as psychotherapy; and thirdly with the (large) function assigned to the reader by an autobiography ...

Odd Union

David Cannadine, 20 October 1994

Mrs Jordan’s Profession: The Story of a Great Actress and a Future King 
by Claire Tomalin.
Viking, 415 pp., £18, October 1994, 0 670 84159 5
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... correspondence with the Duke of Clarence was edited and published by Arthur Aspinall, and in 1965 Brian Forthergill produced a lengthy and appreciative study of Mrs Jordan as an actress. Why, then, has Claire Tomalin, a biographer who excels in the recovery of the lives of lost women, sought to tell again a story which has already been more than ...

A Car of One’s Own

Andrew O’Hagan: Chariots of Desire, 11 June 2009

... Finance companies have been refusing to insure companies supplying parts to the British arms of Ford and General Motors. The British car industry may be closer to collapse than it has been at any time during its collapse-friendly modern history. Thanks to ‘scrapping schemes’, in which buyers are given a voucher for nearly €2500 towards the purchase of ...


Ronan Bennett: Being Irish in New York, 6 April 1995

... mischievous matchmakers, innocent fun, uileann pipes, sea-wind in the hair. Even if you swap John Ford’s Ireland for something more urban and contemporary, say that of Roddy Doyle, in which a good night out is more likely to involve soul music and a ‘ride’, it is still possible to find yourself idealising: Ford and ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Stop-Loss’, 8 May 2008

directed by Kimberly Peirce.
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... and Hal Ashby’s Coming Home and Michael Cimino’s The Deer Hunter both date from 1978. Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now was 1979. In their separate ways these films were all about damage done to Americans; any damage done to others was incidental, part of some larger story that wasn’t going to get told. John Wayne’s film The Green Berets ...

Votes for Women, Chastity for Men

Brian Harrison, 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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... ageing and patently humane people in their pebble-dashed, trimly-gardened terrace house in Sea-ford, or in their bow-fronted sitting-room in Croydon. She presents her informants with all the skills of the journalist and we see from her book how interviews can lend impact and immediacy to studies of recent social movements. Moorehead has also taken the ...

A Slight Dash of the Tiresome

Brian Harrison, 9 November 1989

The Blind Victorian: Henry Fawcett and British Liberalism 
edited by Lawrence Goldman.
Cambridge, 199 pp., £25, August 1989, 0 521 35032 8
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... themselves out of the political arena, and were therefore entirely uninterested in him. Ford Madox Brown’s sentimental portrait of Fawcett, shielded against his disability by a devoted wife, appears on the cover of the book and leads one to expect the worst. Yet the cover is profoundly misleading about the book’s overall approach: Goldman’s ...

Sea Creatures

Peter Campbell, 23 July 1987

Sidney Nolan: Such is life 
by Brian Adams.
Hutchinson, 275 pp., £16.95, June 1987, 0 09 168430 7
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Andrew Wyeth: The Helga Pictures 
by John Wilmerding.
Viking, 208 pp., £25, September 1987, 9780670817665
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Faces 1966-1984 
by David Hockney and Marco Livingstone.
Thames and Hudson, 96 pp., £8.95, June 1987, 0 500 27464 9
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... of his vision was lost in the larger themes and grander schemes of his European phase. Brian Adams’s biography is clumsily written. He trips over himself grievously when he tries to explain things frankly as well as painlessly. He sums up the relationship with the Reeds, which emerges in the book as the most important formative influence on ...


Frank Kermode, 24 July 1986

The Moronic Inferno and Other Visits to America 
by Martin Amis.
Cape, 208 pp., £9.95, July 1986, 0 224 02385 3
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... of what he writes is ‘trash, and lazily obsessive trash, too’. Joan Didion is suitably seared. Brian de Palma, the light-fingered flash trash movie brute who can’t even walk properly, is asked by the interviewer to explain ‘why his films make no sense’, not a sequitur in sight. Neither do Hitchcock’s, says the genius; neither does life. Gore Vidal ...


Paul Foot: The Labour Party’s vacillation over rail privatisation, 28 October 1999

... so firmly by so many Labour politicians that it was believed even in the big corporations. Brian Souter, chairman of the burgeoning bus company Stagecoach, told a Commons Committee two years later that in 1995 nobody in the industry would touch rail privatisation ‘with a bargepole’. The prospect of Labour doing what it said it would was enough to ...

How many nipples had Graham Greene?

Colm Tóibín, 9 June 1994

... friend: ‘Five rows in front of me all in a row were Kissinger, Nelson Rockefeller, Ladybird, Ford, Mrs Carter and Mondale. Somehow these political stars all seem to be like dwarfs when you see them in the flesh. However, I had a wonderful suite at the Shoreham and everybody seemed to use Tanqueray in the Dry Martinis.’ He wrote to writers whom he ...


John Bayley, 22 March 1990

Hazlitt: A Life. From Winterslow to Frith Street 
by Stanley Jones.
Oxford, 397 pp., £35, October 1989, 0 19 812840 1
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Shakespearean Constitutions: Politics, Theatre, Criticism 1730-1830 
by Jonathan Bate.
Oxford, 234 pp., £27, September 1989, 0 19 811749 3
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... or watching it is ‘like going on a journey’. But by taking a close look at the six volumes of Brian Vickers’s Shakespeare: The Critical Heritage, Bate shows that one John Potter had stoutly defended the play’s oddities many years earlier in the Theatrical Review. The real aficionados had always been enlightening and surprising in their championship of ...


Patricia Lockwood: America is a baby, 3 December 2020

... Georgia had just tipped 1400 votes in favour of Joe Biden. If Georgia’s arch-villain governor, Brian Kemp, had still been in charge of our state elections as he was in 2016, he would have personally eaten those 1400 votes and died at the vet’s of an obstructed bowel, rather than let that happen. But the unthinkable had come to pass: Georgia had gone ...

All change. This train is cancelled

Iain Sinclair: The Dome, 13 May 1999

... Chichester, visits by Samuel Pepys, location work for the latest Jane Austen or for Harrison Ford (more bombs) in Patriot Games – are trumpeted, while the dark history of the Greenwich marshes, a decayed industrial wilderness, is brutally elided. The tongue of poisoned land, a couple of miles to the east of the Royal Naval College (film set, banqueting ...

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