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White Power

Thomas Meaney, 1 August 2019

Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America 
by Kathleen Belew.
Harvard, 330 pp., £23.95, April 2018, 978 0 674 28607 8
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Revolutionaries for the Right Anti-Communist Internationalism and Paramilitary Warfare in the Cold War 
by Kyle Burke.
North Carolina, 337 pp., June 2018, 978 1 4696 4073 0
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... The New World Order (1991) claimed to unveil a vast Jewish-capitalist conspiracy, while Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein’s pseudoscience blockbuster, The Bell Curve (1994), laboured to justify America’s racial hierarchy. In 1989, Beam had already put the question to his brethren: ‘Now that the threat of communist takeover in the ...

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good, though a keen eye might miss some of the beauties of hot metal.Murray’s system of registering pronunciation has been replaced by the International Phonetic Alphabet.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 ...

Eminent Athenians

Hugh Lloyd-Jones, 1 October 1981

The Greek Heritage in Victorian Britain 
by Frank Turner.
Yale, 461 pp., £18.90, April 1981, 0 300 02480 0
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... is well illustrated, though I hope no future author will reproduce the ghastly portrait of Gilbert Murray by a relation which the National Portrait Gallery foolishly accepted. The Victorians made the Greeks out to have been far more like themselves than they can have been: by now anthropology and sociology have shown how dangerous analogies between their ...

Handbooks

Valerie Pearl, 4 February 1982

The Shell Guide to the History of London 
by W.R. Dalzell.
Joseph, 496 pp., £12.50, July 1981, 0 7181 2015 9
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... subsequent works on London have been more or less indebted to Cunningham’s Handbook.’ John Murray, who published Cunningham, was also the publisher of many best-selling foreign handbooks (his mansion in Wimbledon built on the proceeds was nicknamed ‘Handbook Hall’), and he commissioned the author to turn his history into a London guidebook in time ...

Watch this man

Pankaj Mishra: Niall Ferguson’s Burden, 3 November 2011

Civilisation: The West and the Rest 
by Niall Ferguson.
Allen Lane, 402 pp., £25, March 2011, 978 1 84614 273 4
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... great empires of Asia were unchallenged, even if this is hardly an idea that should be credited to Charles Murray, a co-author of The Bell Curve. Asian leaders and intellectuals, as mute here as in all Ferguson’s books, were the keenest analysts of Europe’s enhanced capacity to kill, as well as of its innovation of nation-statehood. Mirza Abu Taleb ...

White Sheep at Rest

Neal Ascherson: After Culloden, 12 August 2021

Culloden: Battle & Aftermath 
by Paul O’Keeffe.
Bodley Head, 432 pp., £25, January, 978 1 84792 412 4
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... Balmerino and Lord Kilmarnock used their last moments together to dismiss the idea that Prince Charles Edward Stuart, their ‘bonnie prince’, could have signed such an order. They both ‘vehemently denied’ it before they walked to the scaffold. Whether Cumberland himself was aware of the forgery, or even arranged it, is not known.The duke was ...
Bowie 
by Jerry Hopkins.
Elm Tree, 275 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 241 11548 5
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Alias David Bowie 
by Peter Gillman and Leni Gillman.
Hodder, 511 pp., £16.95, September 1986, 0 340 36806 3
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... Terry Burns, who was sent to Cane Hill, a Surrey asylum for the insane, and committed suicide. (Charles Chaplin’s mother also ended up in Cane Hill.) Thirdly, the Gillmans want to interpret Bowie’s lyrics. These three interests make for a long, probing book. The American rock expert, Jerry Hopkins, has written a shorter, neater book, not much interested ...

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 ...

Davie’s Rap

Neil Corcoran, 25 January 1990

Under Briggflatts: A History of Poetry in Great Britain 1960-1988 
by Donald Davie.
Carcanet, 261 pp., £18.95, October 1989, 0 85635 820 7
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Annunciations 
by Charles Tomlinson.
Oxford, 55 pp., £5.95, November 1989, 0 19 282680 8
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Possible Worlds 
by Peter Porter.
Oxford, 68 pp., £6.95, September 1989, 0 19 282660 3
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The boys who stole the funeral: A Novel Sequence 
by Les Murray.
Carcanet, 71 pp., £6.95, October 1989, 0 85635 845 2
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... to reinforce it, and he would probably take confirmation in it from the other books under review. Charles Tomlinson’s Annunciations and Peter Porter’s Possible Worlds share Renaissance Virgins for cover illustrations. Tomlinson’s is Lorenzo Lotto’s Annunciation, in which the angel has just leapt spectacularly over the balcony, terrifying the cat, to ...

Bob Hawke’s Australia

Michael Davie, 6 October 1983

... he had been president for a decade of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. It was as if Len Murray had decided to have a go at politics and had suddenly been propelled into Downing Street. Except that Hawke is no Len Murray. Mr Murray, for all his sound qualities, presents the air ...

That sh—te Creech

James Buchan: The Scottish Enlightenment, 5 April 2007

The Enlightenment and the Book: Scottish Authors and Their Publishers in 18th-Century Britain, Ireland and America 
by Richard Sher.
Chicago, 815 pp., £25.50, February 2007, 978 0 226 75252 5
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... Other scholars, such as William Zachs in his study of the London-based Scottish publisher John Murray, have passed this way but none with such labour or at such Darntonian length. The heart or backbone of Sher’s enterprise is an ‘empirical database’ of 115 Scottish authors and 360 works published after the Forty-Five. While such list-making appears ...

Toshie Trashed

Gavin Stamp: The Glasgow School of Art Fire, 19 June 2014

... we have to deal both with the commercialisation of his legacy – the ‘Mockin’tosh’, as Murray Grigor termed it, that fills the shops – and the tendency to see him as a lone figure instead of a man who, like all great artists, did not just borrow but stole, from others and from the past. I used to wonder what all those visitors in the grip of the ...

Ancient Orthodoxies

C.K. Stead, 23 May 1991

Antidotes 
by C.H. Sisson.
Carcanet, 64 pp., £6.95, March 1991, 0 85635 908 4
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Dog Fox Field 
by Les Murray.
Carcanet, 103 pp., £6.95, February 1991, 0 85635 950 5
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True Colours 
by Neil Powell.
Carcanet, 102 pp., £6.95, March 1991, 0 85635 910 6
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Eating strawberries in the Necropolis 
by Michael Hulse.
Harvill, 63 pp., £5.95, March 1991, 0 00 272076 0
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... and the elegant languid lofting into the air – but I don’t see them in the poem. When Les Murray writes, ‘the white-faced heron hides in the drain with her spear,’ or when Allen Curnow writes, ‘the small wind instruments in the herons’ throats / play an incorrigible music,’ there is in each case the shock of something quite particular, and ...

Callaloo

Robert Crawford, 20 April 1989

Northlight 
by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 81 pp., £8.95, September 1988, 0 571 15229 5
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A Field of Vision 
by Charles Causley.
Macmillan, 68 pp., £10.95, September 1988, 0 333 48229 8
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Seeker, Reaper 
by George Campbell Hay and Archie MacAlister.
Saltire Society, 30 pp., £15, September 1988, 0 85411 041 0
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In Through the Head 
by William McIlvanney.
Mainstream, 192 pp., £9.95, September 1988, 1 85158 169 3
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The New British Poetry 
edited by Gillian Allnutt, Fred D’Aguiar, Ken Edwards and Eric Mottram.
Paladin, 361 pp., £6.95, September 1988, 0 586 08765 6
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Complete Poems 
by Martin Bell, edited by Peter Porter.
Bloodaxe, 240 pp., £12.95, August 1988, 1 85224 043 1
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First and Always: Poems for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital 
edited by Lawrence Sail.
Faber, 69 pp., £5.95, October 1988, 0 571 55374 5
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Birthmarks 
by Mick Imlah.
Chatto, 61 pp., £4.95, September 1988, 0 7011 3358 9
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... had nothing to do with Mars, everything to do with home, the place where Craig Raine (like Murray or Dunn) feels richest. Surely Martianism comes from the ‘Ithaca’ section of Ulysses, the quintessence of home seen from abroad. Home can be a bit smug, though; and sometimes constricting. The poetic celebrants of home at the moment tend not to be ...

O brambles, chain me too

Tom Paulin: Life and Vowels of Andrew Marvell, 25 November 1999

World Enough and Time: The Life of Andrew Marvell 
by Nicholas Murray.
Little, Brown, 294 pp., £20, September 1999, 0 316 64863 9
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Marvell and Liberty 
edited by Warren Chernaik and Martin Dzelzainis.
Macmillan, 365 pp., £47.50, July 1999, 0 333 72585 9
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Andrew Marvell 
edited by Thomas Healy.
Longman, 212 pp., £12.99, September 1998, 0 582 21910 8
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... Though he was soon to change his views, the best readings of his poetry are sensitive, as Nicholas Murray points out, to the ‘strangeness of his genius’, and avoid tidy ideological categories. We need to attend to the ‘uncanny tremor of implication’ that makes the lucid surfaces of his poems ‘shimmer with a sense of something undefined and ...

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