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Someone else’s shoes

Geoffrey Hawthorn, 23 November 1989

A Treatise on Social Justice. Vol. I: Theories of Justice 
by Brian Barry.
Harvester, 428 pp., £30, May 1989, 0 7450 0641 8
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Innocence and Experience 
by Stuart Hampshire.
Allen Lane, 195 pp., £16.95, October 1989, 0 7139 9027 9
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... As Brian Barry suggests, the question of justice arises when custom loses its grip; when the prevailing social myth and what Stuart Hampshire calls its ‘fallacy of false fixity’ – that relations cannot be other than they are – is exposed. This is not to say that new fixed entities are never then proposed to replace the myth ...


Frank Kermode: Theatre of Violence, 7 October 1982

... the rewards that came his way from England’s Eliza and her ministers. Six or seven years ago, Brian Phelan wrote a television play called Article Five, which was founded on data collected by Amnesty concerning the trade in instruments of torture and their use by governments pretty well everywhere. The BBC filmed the play but suppressed it at the last ...

Rigging the Death Rate

Paul Taylor, 11 April 2013

... that there should be more openness and transparency. In 2004, Paul Aylin and others, including Brian Jarman, an emeritus professor of primary care at Imperial College who had been on the panel of the Bristol inquiry, published figures in the BMJ comparing the performance of different units doing open-heart surgery on children under one year old during ...

Bernard Levin: Book Two

Clive James, 6 December 1979

Taking Sides 
by Bernard Levin.
Cape, 281 pp., £6.50, September 1979, 0 330 26203 3
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... not even regular exposure to the Ring cycle can assuage. Confidently predicting, in 1977, that Brian Inglis’s book Natural and Supernatural would be greeted by a chorus of rejection from terrified scientists, Levin never noticed that it was greeted by a chorus of indifference. Fantasising flat out, Levin insists that Science is blindly determined to deny ...

Garbo & Co

Paul Addison, 28 June 1990

1940: Myth and Reality 
by Clive Ponting.
Hamish Hamilton, 263 pp., £15.99, May 1990, 0 241 12668 1
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British Intelligence in the Second World War. Vol. IV: Security and Counter-Intelligence 
by F.H. Hinsley and C.A.G. Simkins.
HMSO, 408 pp., £15.95, April 1990, 0 11 630952 0
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Unauthorised Action: Mountbatten and the Dieppe Raid 1942 
by Brian Loring Villa.
Oxford, 314 pp., £15, March 1990, 0 19 540679 6
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... following the Blitz. The missing factor in Ponting’s analysis is popular patriotism. A.J.P. Taylor tells how, after the fall of France, strangers would stop him in the street and say: ‘Poor old Hitler. He’s done for himself now that he’s taken us on.’ Here was the consciousness tapped by Churchill and Priestley on the radio, a conviction that ...

National Treasure

Christopher Hitchens, 14 November 1996

Jacqueline Bouvier: An Intimate Memoir 
by John Davis.
Wiley, 256 pp., £14.99, October 1996, 0 471 12945 3
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... a treat by my editors at Condé Nast, who use the place as a sort of staff canteen. My old friend Brian McNally, demonstrating that le patron mange ici, occasionally lets me sit at his table. I have learned not to point and squeak and say: ‘Look, isn’t that the girl from Dirty Dancing!’ Everybody acts very unconcerned about celebrity, though you get the ...

America Explodes

Adam Shatz, 18 June 2020

... little more than memorable speeches. Floyd’s death not only follows the killings of Breonna Taylor, an emergency medic shot dead while asleep in bed in her home in Kentucky by police officers looking for drug dealers operating out of a different house, and Ahmaud Arbery, a jogger murdered by a group of men who claimed to be making a ‘citizen’s ...


Ronan Bennett, 16 December 1993

De Valera: Long Fellow, Long Shadow 
by Tim Pat Coogan.
Hutchinson, 772 pp., £20, October 1993, 9780091750305
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... they remind Catholics to keep Clear of Republicanism, killings like these can be useful, as John Taylor, an MP from the ‘respcetable’ side of Unionism and a Minister of Home Affairs in the days of Stormont, has acknowledged. Another Stormont MP, now very happily deceased, took the logic of his strong feelings about Northern Catholics a stage further. In ...

Modern Shakespeare

Graham Bradshaw, 21 April 1983

The Taming of the Shrew 
edited by H.J. Oliver.
Oxford, 248 pp., £9.50, September 1982, 0 19 812907 6
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Henry V 
edited by Gary Taylor.
Oxford, 330 pp., £9.50, September 1982, 0 19 812912 2
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Troilus and Cressida 
edited by Kenneth Muir.
Oxford, 205 pp., £9.50, September 1982, 0 19 812903 3
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Troilus and Cressida 
edited by Kenneth Palmer.
Methuen, 337 pp., £12.50, October 1982, 0 416 47680 5
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... margins. A critical preference may largely depend on the reader’s particular needs: I admired’ Brian Morris’s New Arden Shrew when it appeared, but Oliver provides a very deft account of textual issues which Morris discusses in exhaustive and exhausting detail. This appears to correspond with an Oxford ‘policy decision’. Muir provides a lucid summary ...

Not bloody likely

Paul Foot, 26 March 1992

Bloody Sunday in Derry: What really happened 
by Eamonn McCann, Maureen Shiels and Bridie Hannigan.
Brandon, 254 pp., £5.99, January 1992, 0 86322 139 4
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... security forces. Would they at last teach the cheeky croppies from Derry a lesson? Had not John Taylor, Northern Ireland’s Home Affairs Minister, declared, after the shooting of Cusack and Beattie: ‘I feel that it may be necessary to shoot even more in the forthcoming months’? Had not the newly-formed extremist Democratic Unionist Party announced on ...

Histories of Australia

Stuart Macintyre, 28 September 1989

The Oxford History of Autralia. Vol III: 1860-1900 
by Beverley Kingston.
Oxford, 368 pp., £22.50, July 1989, 0 19 554611 3
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The Road from Coorain: An Australian Memoir 
by Jill Ker Conway.
Heinemann, 238 pp., £12.95, September 1989, 0 434 14244 1
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A Secret Country 
by John Pilger.
Cape, 286 pp., £12.95, September 1989, 0 224 02600 3
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Convict Workers: Reinterpreting Australia’s Past 
edited by Stephen Nicholas.
Cambridge, 246 pp., $45, June 1989, 0 521 36126 5
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... to the absent centre. This could no longer mean – as it had meant for Clark or Woodward or Taylor – the public endeavours of influential men to control national events. It would have to accommodate the greatly enlarged range of contingent relationships that the new social history had uncovered. It would need to attend to the politics of the workplace ...

Still it goes on

Paul Foot, 4 November 1993

Ambushed: My Story 
by Judith Ward.
Vermilion, 177 pp., £9.99, September 1993, 0 09 177820 4
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... for sorting out the evidence and communicating with the defence in the Ward case was Mr Brian Walsh, now a QC and the leading counsel on the North-East barristers’ circuit. The top barrister in the Ward case, John Cobb QC, is dead. The second QC brought in to prosecute Judith Ward, then a rising star at the bar called Peter ...


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 ...

Little More than an Extension of France

Hugo Young: The British Isles, 6 January 2000

The Isles: A History 
by Norman Davies.
Macmillan, 1222 pp., £30, November 1999, 9780333763704
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... by Alfred and the Danes and Harold and the Conqueror has no place whatsoever for Hywell Dda, for Brian Boru, for Kenneth Mac Alpin or Macbeth.’ The culprits here were the Victorian historians, writing from and into their imperial time, as if all previous events had led up to the glorious present. Some famous names come under the Davies hammer, as he ...

A life, surely?

Jenny Diski: To Portobello on Angel Dust, 18 February 1999

The Ossie Clark Diaries 
edited by Henrietta Rous.
Bloomsbury, 402 pp., £20, October 1998, 0 7475 3901 4
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... at all clear about it. The Ossie who partied every night, snorted coke with Mick, Marianne and Brian Jones, made frocks for Faye Dunaway, Elizabeth Taylor, Sharon Tate, Brigitte Bardot and Liza Minnelli, slept with Celia Birtwell, David Hockney, Patrick Prockter, Wayne Sleep and assorted tall, thin models: was he the one ...

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