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Welfare in America

William Plowden, 11 July 1991

American Social Welfare Policy: A Structural Approach 
by Howard Karger and David Stoesz.
Longman, 371 pp., £18.95, November 1990, 0 8013 0193 9
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America’s Misunderstood Welfare State 
by Theodore Marmor, Jerry Mashaw and Philip Harvey.
Basic Books, 268 pp., $22.95, October 1990, 9780465001224
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The American Prospect 
edited by Paul Starr and Robert Kuttner.
New Prospect, 168 pp., $31
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... actually made things worse. This thesis was popularised in the influential book Losing ground, by Charles Murray, published in 1984. Murray noted the inconclusive findings of social research. He pointed out that since 1965 generous rates of social security benefit had been available to workers and non-workers alike. He ...

Pull the Other One

Ian Hacking, 26 January 1995

The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life 
by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray.
Free Press, 845 pp., £25, November 1994, 0 02 914673 9
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... was a chorus of élite liberal denunciations. The New Republic of 31 October ran a piece by Murray followed by 18 criticisms. Stephen Jay Gould spoke out in the New Yorker of 28 November. I especially recommend Alan Ryan’s analysis in the New York Review of Books of 17 November, followed in the 1 December issue by ...

The market taketh away

Paul Foot, 3 July 1997

Number One Millbank: The Financial Downfall of the Church of England 
by Terry Lovell.
HarperCollins, 263 pp., £15.99, June 1997, 0 00 627866 3
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... This organisation very soon started to show signs of the malaise it was set up to cure. One man, Charles Knight Murray, assumed great power over the Church estates, but forgot to tell the Commissioners that he was a director of the London, Chatham and Dover Railway and an eager speculator in railway shares. To pay for his ...

Got to keep moving

Jeremy Harding, 24 May 1990

Crosstown Traffic: Jimi Hendrix and Post-War Pop 
by Charles Shaar Murray.
Faber, 247 pp., £7.99, November 1989, 0 571 14936 7
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Autobiography 
by Miles Davis and Quincy Troupe.
Macmillan, 400 pp., £13.95, February 1990, 0 333 53195 7
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... before it hit the ground is a familiar one in the mythology of the pop idol. It is the gist of Charles Shaar Murray’s book about Jimi Hendrix, who enjoyed a great career as a virtuoso guitar player between 1966 and 1970, when he died in a London hospital after an overdose of sleeping pills. In a sparkling homage, far ...

Good New Idea

John Lanchester: Universal Basic Income, 18 July 2019

... a single cash payment, given to everyone, irrespective of circumstances. In the frank words of Charles Murray, he of The Bell Curve: ‘What I want is a grand compromise between the left and the right. We on the right say: “We will give you huge government, in terms of the amount of money we spend. You give us small government, in terms of the ...

Whatever happened to Ed Victor?

Jenny Diski, 6 July 1995

Hippie Hippie Shake: The Dreams, the Trips, the Trials, the Love-ins, The Screw Ups … The Sixties 
by Richard Neville.
Bloomsbury, 376 pp., £18.99, May 1995, 0 7475 1554 9
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... parents? Hey, let’s have ourselves a past. In Schoolkids Oz, one of the teenage guest editors. Charles Shaar Murray (now a revered, middle-aged rock music critic), issued an interesting warning. Talking about the popularity of straight, commercial pop music (‘Sugar, Sugar, Honey, Honey’), and the often dire ...

Short Cuts

Rosemary Hill: Successive John Murrays, 8 November 2018

... Some things​ in the relations between authors and publishers never change. Dear Mr Murray, edited by David McClay (John Murray, £16.99), a collection of letters written to six generations of the Murray family, is full of familiar complaints ...

Motherblame

Anna Vaux: Motherhood, 21 May 1998

Bad Mothers: The Politics of Blame in 20th-Century America 
edited by Molly Ladd-Taylor and Lauri Umansky.
New York, 416 pp., £16, April 1998, 0 8147 5119 9
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Madonna and Child: Towards a New Politics of Motherhood 
by Melissa Benn.
Cape, 288 pp., £12.99, January 1998, 0 224 03821 4
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... according to Ladd-Taylor and Umansky – wrote into law many of the recommendations made by Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein in their book The Bell Curve, in which they charged that single motherhood correlates positively with child poverty and crime, and urged that welfare benefits be taken away as a disincentive to further ...

At which Englishman’s speech does English terminate?

Henry Hitchings: The ‘OED’, 7 March 2013

Words of the World: A Global History of the ‘Oxford English Dictionary’ 
by Sarah Ogilvie.
Cambridge, 241 pp., £17.99, November 2012, 978 1 107 60569 5
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... to the left of the headword. Murray’s successors William Craigie and Charles Onions tussled over whether to maintain this practice. Proofs of the Supplement dated 11 September 1929 retain Murray’s so-called tramlines; in the next proofs, dated 2 July 1930, they are gone ...

A Plumless Pudding

John Sutherland: The Great John Murray Archive Disaster, 18 March 2004

... family, after the takeover of the firm by Smith, Elder & Co (itself soon to be taken over by John Murray). A descendant – loyally named Richard Bentley – had lovingly conserved and catalogued them for posterity. In 1967, the BL acquired a tranche of early Macmillan papers: Harold Macmillan, it seems, was keen that the family firm’s archive should remain ...

Too Young

James Davidson: Lord Alfred Douglas, 21 September 2000

Bosie: A Biography of Lord Alfred Douglas 
by Douglas Murray.
Hodder, 374 pp., £20, June 2000, 0 340 76770 7
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... havoc on reaching actual size, but he was less impressive and more sinister than that, a King Charles spaniel of vicious temperament, a cute Walt Disney rattlesnake, or a beautiful child vampire. He was hardly an angel in the 1890s, but he truly blossomed after Oscar’s death, when he converted to heterosexuality and the Catholic Church. Wilde called him ...

Running out of Soil

Terry Eagleton: Bram Stoker and Irish Protestant Gothic, 2 December 2004

From the Shadow of Dracula: A Life of Bram Stoker 
by Paul Murray.
Cape, 356 pp., £18.99, July 2004, 0 224 04462 1
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... Realism can refer to the representational mode of an art form, or to its cognitive effect. Paul Murray quotes me in this book as claiming that the Irish literary tradition is one of ‘largely non-realistic works’, whereas what I actually wrote was ‘non-realist’. ‘Realistic’ is a value term, whereas ‘realist’ is not, or not necessarily. One ...

Sticky Wicket

Charles Nicholl: Colonel Fawcett’s Signet Ring, 28 May 2009

The Lost City of Z 
by David Grann.
Simon and Schuster, 339 pp., £16.99, February 2009, 978 1 84737 436 3
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... and those under him were closely scrutinised for any tremulousness of the upper lip. James Murray, an eminent Scottish biologist who accompanied Fawcett’s 1911 expedition along the upper Heath River, was tested particularly harshly, being an interloper from the more showily dramatic – and better-funded – world of polar ...

Diary

Frank Kermode: Everybody loves the OED, 20 April 1989

... the typography, which looks good, though a keen eye might miss some of the beauties of hot metal.Murray’s system of registering pronunciation has been replaced by the International Phonetic Alphabet. Foreign alphabets, except Greek, are now transliterated. These and other changes are explained in the scrupulous Introduction. Altogether the number of words ...

Diary

Chris Mullin: The Birmingham Bombers, 21 February 2019

... other people in the dock, charged with conspiracy to cause explosions. One of them was Michael Murray, a workmate of two of the six, who made no secret of his membership of the IRA. In the best IRA tradition he chose not to participate in the proceedings. His presence in the dock alongside the six was deeply damaging to their case. This is no doubt the ...

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