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No One Left to Kill

Thomas Jones: Achilles, 24 May 2001

Achilles 
by Elizabeth Cook.
Methuen, 116 pp., £12.99, March 2001, 0 413 75740 4
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... cuttlefish – at which point she starts to enjoy it. This has a touch of Monty Python’s Life of Brian about it (‘You mean you were raped?’ Brian asks his mother; ‘Well, at first,’ she replies) but, unpalatable as this mode of ‘seduction’ is to modern sensibility, it’s how it’s done in classical myth, the ...

Who is Stewart Home?

Iain Sinclair, 23 June 1994

... Angels, racist shenanigans in local politics, meningitis, necrotising fasciitis. The birthplace of Brian Jones. The malign triangulation of royal residences.Meat and drink to Home who is gleefully stomping the bollocks out of what he perceives to be an effete and self-regarding culture. He gives the name of the professionally enraged right-wing ...

A Misreading of the Law

Conor Gearty: Why didn’t Campbell sue?, 19 February 2004

Report of the Inquiry into the Circumstances Surrounding the Death of Dr David Kelly CMG 
by Lord Hutton.
Stationery Office, 740 pp., £70, January 2004, 0 10 292715 4
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... made that ‘there had been a number of similar claims in the media and that the evidence of Dr Brian Jones’ – a senior government scientist – ‘showed that the report that there was concern in intelligence circles was correct.’9 As far as Lord Hutton was concerned, all this was neither here nor there. The ‘communication by the media of ...

Not Iran, Not North Korea, Not Libya, but Pakistan

Norman Dombey: The Nuclear Threat, 2 September 2004

... told me the DPRK had bartered missile technology for centrifuge blueprints from Pakistan. Brian Jones, who retired from the Defence Intelligence Analysis Staff of the Ministry of Defence just before the invasion of Iraq last year, and who gave evidence to the Hutton and Butler inquiries, has emphasised that the development of nuclear weapons ...

The Right Kind of Pain

Mark Greif: The Velvet Underground, 22 March 2007

The Velvet Underground 
by Richard Witts.
Equinox, 171 pp., £10.99, September 2006, 9781904768272
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... in Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, and following useful love affairs with Alain Delon, Bob Dylan and Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, was determined to get into music one way or another. The Velvet Underground managed to sneak away from Warhol without utterly alienating him, and became a real rock band, albeit an unusual one, with ever-changing ...

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 McCown.
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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... be described as a novel. The Open Door is entangled with reality in a different way. Its hero, Brian Seaton, returns to his native Nottingham in 1949, after serving with the RAF in Malaya. Increasingly absorbed in reading and writing, he is directionless, reluctant to resume the pub-and-factory life he used to know. Before his demobilisation is ...

Fundamentally Goyish

James Wood: Zadie Smith, 3 October 2002

The Autograph Man 
by Zadie Smith.
Hamish Hamilton, 420 pp., £16.99, September 2002, 0 241 13998 8
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... a tendency to elongate into lists whenever possible (of the ‘there were ten things that Brian really disliked’ kind); kooky epigraphs, mixing high and low authorities; long, feverish run-on sentences, desperately semaphoring their gross mimetic appetite, their need to capture as much of ‘the madness of the times’ as possible, as much of ‘the ...

Who will stop them?

Owen Hatherley: The Neo-Elite, 23 October 2014

The Establishment and How They Get Away with It 
by Owen Jones.
Allen Lane, 335 pp., £16.99, September 2014, 978 1 84614 719 7
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... Part​ of what makes Owen Jones such a phenomenally successful figure by left-of-Labour standards is his ability to be several things at once. He is both insider, reporting back to ‘us’ about what ‘they’ think, and outsider, as shocked and angry about it as ‘we’ might be. He was brought up in Sheffield, Falkirk and Stockport and speaks in a sharp Mancunian accent, but he is also an Oxford graduate, with all the connections that can entail ...

Lawful Resistance

Blair Worden, 24 November 1988

Algernon Sidney and the English Republic 1623-1677 
by Jonathan Scott.
Cambridge, 258 pp., £27.50, August 1988, 0 521 35290 8
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Seeds of Liberty: 1688 and the Shaping of Modern Britain 
by John Miller.
Souvenir, 128 pp., £15.95, July 1988, 0 285 62839 9
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Reluctant Revolutionaries: Englishmen and the Revolution of 1688 
by W.A. Speck.
Oxford, 267 pp., £17.50, July 1988, 9780198227687
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War and Economy in the Age of William III and Marlborough 
by D.W. Jones.
Blackwell, 351 pp., £35, September 1988, 0 631 16069 8
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Robert Harley: Speaker, Secretary of State and Premier Minister 
by Brian Hill.
Yale, 259 pp., £25, June 1988, 0 300 04284 1
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A Kingdom without a King: The Journal of the Provisional Government in the Revolution of 1688 
by Robert Beddard.
Phaidon, 192 pp., £14.95, November 1988, 9780714825007
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... cause against France. We know, too, that for a long time the Revolution was far from secure. D.W. Jones, whose War and Economy in the Age of William III belongs to that dying breed of works on economic history which non-specialists have a chance of understanding and enjoying, brings out the freak economic good fortune which enabled England, and thus its new ...

Not Enjoying Herself

Jenny Diski: Princess Margaret, 16 August 2007

Princess Margaret: A Life Unravelled 
by Tim Heald.
Weidenfeld, 346 pp., £20, July 2007, 978 0 297 84820 2
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... according to Tim Heald, her latest biographer, who has previously committed to paper the lives of Brian Johnston,2 Denis Compton,3 Barbara Cartland4 and Prince Philip,5like the other four biographical subjects she was also a household word in her day. This had nothing to do with hard work and natural ability – as, I would argue, it did in the other four ...

Hazlitteering

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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... back an imaginary past, an epoch of freedom and justice. The phrase is not Hazlitt’s but Stanley Jones’s, and gives an idea of the crispness of Jones’s style, as the instance does of the erudition with which he has reached into every cranny of Hazlitt’s distracted polemical existence. His book is a monument of ...

So Ordinary, So Glamorous

Thomas Jones: Eternal Bowie, 5 April 2012

Starman: David Bowie, the Definitive Biography 
by Paul Trynka.
Sphere, 440 pp., £9.99, March 2012, 978 0 7515 4293 6
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The Man Who Sold the World: David Bowie and the 1970s 
by Peter Doggett.
Bodley Head, 424 pp., £20, September 2011, 978 1 84792 144 4
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... failed all his O-levels except art because he was too busy playing his sax. Born plain old David Jones in Brixton in January 1947, he grew up in Bromley, and spent his first years of struggling would-be stardom in Beckenham. He’d been in half a dozen bands as a saxophonist, a singer and a mime artist; he’d styled himself as a Mod, a hippy and a ...

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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... few. Yet almost at once there came rumblings from Cambridge. Maurice Cowling, John Vincent, Andrew Jones and others rightly emphasised the Victorian politician’s relative autonomy from popular pressure, and cleverly unveiled the feebleness of provincial and popular reformers when they tried to operate at Westminster or Whitehall. Since 1979 Thatcherite ...

A Cheat, a Sharper and a Swindler

Brian Young: Warren Hastings, 24 May 2001

Dawning of the Raj: The Life and Trials of Warren Hastings 
by Jeremy Bernstein.
Aurum, 319 pp., £19.99, March 2001, 1 85410 753 4
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... on Hindu law and Charles Wilkins’s pioneering translation of the Bhagavad-Gita. When Sir William Jones, the inspirational instigator of Indo-European studies, arrived in Bengal as a judge, Hastings was one of his strongest supporters. Though it has long been fashionable to denigrate such work as being Orientalist, it’s difficult to find anything in it that ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Stop-Loss’, 8 May 2008

Stop-Loss 
directed by Kimberly Peirce.
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... other three recent American war movies I know of: Paul Haggis’s In the Valley of Elah (2007), Brian de Palma’s Redacted (2007) and the newly released Stop-Loss, directed by Kimberly Peirce. This is her second film, and in certain curious ways a follow-up to the troubling Boys Don’t Cry (1999) – she herself signals the continuity by having the main ...

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