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Daniel Soar: The vexed issue of Labour Party funding

19 October 2006
... two people have been arrested during the inquiry so far; 14 are said to have been interviewed under caution, and there is still a chance that Blair will be too. When it was revealed that Sir ChristopherEvans, the venture capitalist founder of Merlin Biosciences, had been arrested and questioned about his £1 million loan before the 2005 election, he said: ‘The reason I made the loan was precisely ...

Aliens

John Sutherland

21 January 1982
Brave Old World 
by Philippe Curval, translated by Steve Cox.
Allison and Busby, 262 pp., £6.95, November 1981, 0 85031 407 0
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The Insider 
by Christopher Evans.
Faber, 215 pp., £6.95, November 1981, 0 571 11774 0
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Genetha 
by Roy Heath.
Allison and Busby, 185 pp., £6.95, November 1981, 0 85031 410 0
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From the Heat of the Day 
by Roy Heath.
Allison and Busby, 159 pp., £6.50, October 1979, 0 85031 325 2
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One Generation 
by Roy Heath.
Allison and Busby, 202 pp., £2.50, March 1981, 9780850312546
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Sardines 
by Nuruddin Farah.
Allison and Busby, 250 pp., £7.95, November 1981, 0 85031 408 9
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... lot in an extra-terrestrial spirit of dulce et decorum est. In unambitious SF, aliens tend to be diabolically nasty, as in Alien itself, or deistically nice, as in Spielberg’s Close Encounters. Evans’s visitor is, in the repertoire of SF gimmickry, a ‘body-snatcher’. These are traditionally unpleasant and very sneaky. It’s a pleasing twist to devise a parasite with conscience and not too ...

Diary

Thomas Jones: My Life as a Geek

22 June 2006
... In 1979-80, a six-part documentary called The Mighty Micro was broadcast on ITV. Written and presented by the late ChristopherEvans of the National Physical Laboratory, and based on his book of the same name, the series looked at the ways the world might be changed by the microcomputer revolution. The BBC responded with a more ...
5 February 1981
... for it at the hands of the law. He died in 1953 in circumstances so far not completely explained. I first heard of Turing in 1975 when I was writing a magazine piece on machine intelligence. Dr ChristopherEvans of the National Physical Laboratories gave me an article by Turing, published in 1950 in Mind, entitled ‘Computing Machinery and Intelligence’. In it he proposed the ‘imitation game’ as ...

Echoes from the Far Side

James Sheehan: The European Age

18 October 2017
The Pursuit of Power: Europe 1815-1914 
by Richard J. Evans.
Penguin, 848 pp., £12.99, June 2017, 978 0 14 198114 7
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... defined power as ‘the ability of an individual or group to achieve their own goals or aims when others are trying to prevent them from realising them’. The pursuit of power was not, as Richard Evans seems to suggest in his introduction, a distinctive feature of 19th-century Europe. What changes over time is not the fact that people seek power, but the means by which they do it, as well as the ...

I want to love it

Susan Pedersen: What on earth was he doing?

18 April 2019
Eric Hobsbawm: A Life in History 
by Richard J. Evans.
Little, Brown, 800 pp., £35, February, 978 1 4087 0741 8
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... but skitters away from any further revelations. He reminds himself of the difference between historical and autobiographical questions and then hares off to tackle the former. This means that Richard Evans had an untilled field before him. Based on unrestricted access to Hobsbawm’s personal archive, this is one of those doorstopper biographies that can get published in Britain even when the subject ...

Memoriousness

E.S. Turner

15 September 1988
Memories of Times Past 
by Louis Heren.
Hamish Hamilton, 313 pp., £15.95, July 1988, 0 241 12427 1
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Chances: An Autobiography 
by Mervyn Jones.
Verso, 311 pp., £14.95, September 1987, 0 86091 167 5
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... foreign correspondent, had hoped to become editor of the Times in succession to William ReesMogg, when Rupert Murdoch bought the newspaper. Heren was told that, at 61, he was too old. Under Harold Evans he failed to flourish (‘Evans trashes me, to use the US Army expression, and most of my former colleagues in his book Good Times, Bad Times’), so he took his redundancy money and settled for ...

Diary

Paul Foot: Awaiting the Truth about Hanratty

11 December 1997
... the pulverising she’d got from the prosecution at the trial. She was more sure than ever that Hanratty had stayed in her house on the night of the murder, 22 August 1961. She was backed up by Terry Evans, whom Hanratty had met in Rhyl some months before the murder. Evans had not been in Rhyl on 22 August but he had heard later from several people that a young Londoner had been looking for him that ...

Kissinger’s Crises

Christopher​ Serpell

20 December 1979
The White House Years 
by Henry Kissinger.
Weidenfeld/Joseph, 1476 pp., £14.95
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... discipline. But at least part of the explanation for this metamorphosis from professorial exposition to lucid narration lies in a sentence found in the foreword to the present book: ‘Harold Evans, assisted by Oscar Turnill, read through the entire volume with a brilliant editorial eye; they taught me what skilled and intelligent editing can contribute to organisation and to lightening prose ...

Still messing with our heads

Christopher​ Clark: Hitler in the Head

7 November 2019
Hitler: A Life 
by Peter Longerich.
Oxford, 1324 pp., £30, July 2019, 978 0 19 879609 1
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Hitler: Only the World Was Enough 
by Brendan Simms.
Allen Lane, 668 pp., £30, September 2019, 978 1 84614 247 5
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... also that it became a tool of power politics, drawing satellite governments into a web of criminal complicity from which there could be no escape. As Lucy Dawidowicz argued many years ago and Richard Evans reminded us more recently, Hitler’s ‘war against the Jews’ really was a war against the Jews. Simms’s monocausal approach creates an inertia at the heart of his narrative. Hitler, having been ...

Something else

Jonathan Coe

5 December 1991
In Black and White 
by Christopher​ Stevenson.
New Caxton Press, 32 pp., £1.95
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The Tree of Life 
by Hugh Nissenson.
Carcanet, 159 pp., £6.95, September 1991, 0 85635 874 6
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Cley 
by Carey Harrison.
Heinemann, 181 pp., £13.99, November 1991, 0 434 31368 8
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... a monumental tetralogy, puts pressure on the boundaries of the form by insisting that it absorb a near-infinity of characters, events and incidental detail. Less ambitious, but more subversive, Christopher Stevenson and Hugh Nissenson seek to dismantle the system from within by producing novels which look like something else altogether: a form of experimentation which often has rather puritanical ...
5 April 1990
A Form of Sound Words: The Religious Poetry of Christopher​ Smart 
by Harriet Guest.
Oxford, 293 pp., £35, October 1989, 0 19 811744 2
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... Harriet Guest’s starting-point is Donald Davie’s suggestion in 1958 that Christopher Smart might be considered ‘the greatest poet between Pope and Wordsworth’. Her intelligent and carefully argued book does not deliver quite the far-reaching reassessment of Smart’s status Davie ...

Fraternisation

Eric Evans

26 July 1990
Scottish Society 1500-1800 
edited by R.A. Houston and I.D. Whyte.
Cambridge, 298 pp., £30, February 1989, 0 521 32522 6
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... historical ideas and techniques developed further south or by seeking to share insights to advance a truly ‘British’ history. Within Scotland, at least, much has changed in the past two decades. Christopher Smout’s History of the Scottish People, 1560-1830, published in 1972, was pioneering social history, and much of Professor Smout’s subsequent work on religion, literacy and the economy in ...

Outside Swan and Edgar’s

Matthew Sweet: The life of Oscar Wilde

5 February 1998
The Wilde Album 
by Merlin Holland.
Fourth Estate, 192 pp., £12.99, October 1997, 1 85702 782 5
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Cosmopolitan Criticism: Oscar Wilde’s Philosophy of Art 
by Julia Prewitt Brown.
Virginia, 157 pp., $30, September 1997, 9780813917283
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The Cambridge Companion to Oscar Wilde 
edited by Peter Raby.
Cambridge, 307 pp., £37.50, October 1997, 9780521474719
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Wilde The Novel 
by Stefan Rudnicki.
Orion, 215 pp., £5.99, October 1997, 0 7528 1160 6
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Oscar Wilde 
by Frank Harris.
Robinson, 358 pp., £7.99, October 1997, 1 85487 126 9
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Moab is my Washpot 
by Stephen Fry.
Hutchinson, 343 pp., £16.99, October 1997, 0 09 180161 3
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Nothing … except My Genius 
by Oscar Wilde.
Penguin, 82 pp., £2.99, October 1997, 0 14 043693 6
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... of his work appeared last October alone. The Telegraph still uses him as sexual deviancy’s whipping-boy (‘his behaviour often hovered dangerously close to being that of a paedophile,’ snorted Christopher Hart on the day Brian Gilbert’s movie Wilde was released). Julia Prewitt Brown sees him as a philosophical heavyweight; and celebrates his ‘dodginess’ in order to instal him in a post-dualist ...

At the Party

Christopher​ Hitchens

17 April 1986
Hollywood Babylon II 
by Kenneth Anger.
Arrow, 323 pp., £5.95, January 1986, 0 09 945110 7
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Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan 
by Robin Wood.
Columbia, 336 pp., $25, October 1985, 0 231 05776 8
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... about Martin Scorsese and the absence of family life in Raging Bull and Taxi Driver? ‘The only family in Taxi Driver is Iris’s (strictly off-screen and marginal); neither Jimmy Doyle nor Francine Evans appear to have any parents; Jake LaMotta’s are mentioned but never seen, and are allowed no explicit influence on the film’s events. It is as if Scorsese felt compelled to resist and repress any ...

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