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What’s our line?

Henry Gee, 27 January 1994

The Neandertals: Changing the Image of Mankind 
by Eric Trinkaus and Pat Shipman.
Cape, 454 pp., £20, April 1993, 0 224 03648 3
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In Search of the Neanderthals: Solving the Puzzle of Human Origins 
by Christopher Stringer and Clive Gamble.
Thames and Hudson, 247 pp., £18.95, May 1993, 0 500 05070 8
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Self-Made Man and His Undoing 
by Jonathan Kingdon.
Simon and Schuster, 369 pp., £20, March 1993, 0 671 71140 7
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... enjoyed by most successful academics in England.’ In Search of the Neanderthals, by Clive Gamble and the sainted Christopher Stringer, is more sober and mature, but it, too, has its agenda. Contemporary prehistorians generally agree that humanity can trace its roots back to Africa, about 2.5 million years ago. By 1.8 million years ...

When We Were Nicer

Steven Mithen: History Seen as Neurochemistry, 24 January 2008

On Deep History and the Brain 
by Daniel Lord Smail.
California, 271 pp., £12.95, December 2007, 978 0 520 25289 9
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... did the process by which farming spread out from such centres. Recent books by Graeme Barker and Clive Gamble argue against the notion of a Neolithic revolution. They favour long-term continuity: a slow and gradual change from the Palaeolithic to the Neolithic with no discernible thresholds. I am on the side of Smail and struggle to understand how my ...

Sir Norman Foster’s Favourite Building

Graham Coster, 11 March 1993

Wide Body: The Making of the 747 
by Clive Irving.
Hodder, 384 pp., £17.99, February 1993, 0 340 53487 7
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... motif of the modern age, however, it has to be the Boeing 747 (its elephantine nickname, Clive Irving reveals, was coined by the British press, much to the manufacturer’s disapproval). In a recent television programme in the BBC’s Building Sights series, the architect Sir Norman Foster picked the 747 as his favourite building. ‘With about three ...

Diary

Clive James, 19 August 1982

... assaults are just not on Unless you’ve got the air clasped in your fist. This is the biggest gamble since Inchon, And there the Yanks had more planes than they knew Quite what do do with. We’ve got precious few. Not that the Harrier falls short of being A modern miracle of engineering. When it performs you can’t grasp what you’re seeing: A ...

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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... for stardom he then went ahead with it on his own authority while Churchill was abroad. When the gamble went wrong, the cover-up began. Authors were inspired to write books explaining that the raid, though costly, had been a great success. The official Canadian historian was heavily briefed and accepted much of the Mountbatten version. Churchill was more ...

The Demented Dalek

Richard J. Evans: Michael Gove, 12 September 2019

Michael Gove: A Man in a Hurry 
by Owen Bennett.
Biteback, 422 pp., £20, July 2019, 978 1 78590 440 0
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... patriotic narrative stretching from Alfred and the cakes to the imperial triumphs of ‘Clive of India’ (Gove’s term): it was an academic discipline, like physics or economics, it had its methods just as they did, and central to what teachers sought to convey to their pupils was the ability to consider rival interpretations of the past and to ...

Doomed to Draw

Ben Jackson: Magnus Carlsen v. AI, 6 June 2019

The Grandmaster: Magnus Carlsen and the Match that Made Chess Great Again 
by Brin-Jonathan Butler.
Simon and Schuster, 211 pp., £12.99, November 2018, 978 1 9821 0728 4
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Game Changer: AlphaZero’s Groundbreaking Chess Strategies and the Promise of AI 
by Matthew Sadler and Natasha Regan.
New in Chess, 416 pp., £19.95, January 2019, 978 90 5691 818 7
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... attempt to target Carlsen’s king by opening up the king’s side. This manoeuvre was a bit of a gamble. Though he had prepared a defence with an unusual rook move, he had exposed his king to Carlsen’s active queen. Over the course of the next few moves, Carlsen managed to bring his rook, knight and dark-square bishop into the attack. He advanced a pawn ...

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