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Battle of Britain

Patrick O’Brian

7 July 1988
The Spanish Armada 
by Colin Martin and Geoffrey Parker.
Hamish Hamilton, 296 pp., £15, April 1988, 0 241 12125 6
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Armada 1588-1988 
by M.J. Rodriguez-Salgado.
Penguin and the National Maritime Museum, 295 pp., £12.95, April 1988, 0 14 010301 5
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Armada: A Celebration of the 400th Anniversary of the Defeat of the Spanish Armada 1588-1988 
by Peter Padfield.
Gollancz, 208 pp., £14.95, April 1988, 0 575 03729 6
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Froude’s ‘Spanish Story of the Armada’, and Other Essays 
edited by A.L. Rowse.
Sutton, 262 pp., £5.95, May 1988, 0 86299 500 0
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Ireland’s Armada Legacy 
by Laurence Flanagan.
Sutton, 210 pp., £9.95, April 1988, 9780862994730
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The Armada in the Public Records 
by N.A.M. Rodger.
HMSO, 76 pp., £5.95, April 1988, 0 11 440215 9
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The Spanish Armada: The Experience of War in 1588 
by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto.
Oxford, 300 pp., £14.95, June 1988, 0 19 822926 7
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... of our authors go so far back that one looks for Niall of the Nine Hostages on the next page. Perhaps the best thing to do is to plunge into the middle or just beyond and then work back and forth as ColinMartin and Geoffrey Parker do in The Spanish Armada. The first page shows Sir John Hawkins writing a dispatch to Walsingham dated from on board the Victory in the North Sea on 10 August 1588 ...

Avoiding Colin

Frank Kermode

6 August 1992
Moral Literacy: Or how to do the right thing 
by Colin​ McGinn.
Duckworth, 110 pp., £6.99, July 1992, 0 7156 2417 2
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The Space Trap 
by Colin​ McGinn.
Duckworth, 187 pp., £14.99, July 1992, 0 7156 2415 6
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... books seem to be less common, and in any case some quite important philosophers, doubting the claims of philosophy to have special wisdom qualifications, would think it presumptuous to write them. Colin McGinn does concede that specialist skills in philosophy don’t in themselves constitute a licence to preach or judge (‘morality isn’t the kind of thing in which you can have a special expertise ...

The White Tree

Colin​ Dayan: The Jena Six

1 November 2007
... Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,/Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees,’ as Billie Holiday sang – are part of a history that is erased with every new administration, with every Martin Luther King Day. But the return to chain gangs in the summer of 1995, the hitching of prisoners to posts in Alabama, the purging of books, both legal and religious, from prison libraries throughout ...

Stage Kiss

Martin​ Crimp

26 July 1990
... of Stephanie’s back garden. She injects at the base of the tooth, and the needle grates against the buried root. These days she wears surgical gloves for all procedures. Back at the stage door, Colin hands me a copy of the London Evening Standard. Picture of you, he says. In fact, it’s a picture of me and Clair. We’re holding hands at an HIV charity dinner. We both look tremendously famous ...

Wilsonia

Paul Foot

2 March 1989
The Wilson Plot: The Intelligence Services and the Discrediting of a Prime Minister 
by David Leigh.
Heinemann, 271 pp., £12.95, November 1988, 0 434 41340 2
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A Price too High 
by Peter Rawlinson.
Weidenfeld, 284 pp., £16, March 1989, 0 297 79431 0
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... MI5 officers in particular had fallen under the spell of the imaginative CIA agent James Angleton. Angleton became convinced that Wilson was a Russian agent and he conveyed this certainty to Arthur Martin and Peter Wright. Arthur Martin took on board Angleton’s ‘certainty’ that Hugh Gaitskell, Wilson’s predecessor as leader of the Labour Party, had been poisoned by the Russians so that Wilson ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: What’s in a name?

19 October 2000
... your pacifist sensibilities, you could always use your ill-gotten gains to buy stolen works of art. Should you decide to do so, however, you’d better watch out for Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn. Colin Renfrew, as he’s probably better known, is the author of Loot, Legitimacy and Ownership: The Ethical Crisis in Archaeology (Duckworth, £9.99). ‘Clandestine and unpublished digging of ...

Green Thoughts

Colin​ Ward

19 January 1989
Seasons of the Seal 
by Fred Bruemmer and Brian Davies.
Bloomsbury, 160 pp., £16.95, October 1988, 0 7475 0214 5
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Whale Nation 
by Heathcote Williams.
Cape, 191 pp., £15, August 1988, 0 224 02555 4
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Falling for a dolphin 
by Heathcote Williams.
Cape, 47 pp., £4.95, November 1988, 0 224 02659 3
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Prisoners of the Seas 
by K.A. Gourlay.
Zed, 256 pp., £25.95, November 1988, 0 86232 686 9
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Progress for a Small Planet 
by Barbara Ward.
Earthscan, 298 pp., £5.95, September 1988, 1 85383 028 3
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Future Earth: Exploring the Frontiers of Space 
edited by Nigel Calder and John Newell.
Christopher Helm, 255 pp., £14.95, November 1988, 9780747004202
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Sizewell B: An Anatomy of the Enquiry 
by Timothy O’Riordan, Ray Kemp and Michael Purdue.
Macmillan, 474 pp., £45, September 1988, 0 333 38944 1
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Early Green Politics 
by Peter Gould.
Harvester, 225 pp., £29.95, June 1988, 0 7108 1192 6
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Dreamers of the Absolute 
by Hans Magnus Enzensberger.
Radius, 312 pp., £7.95, October 1988, 0 09 173240 9
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The Coming of the Greens 
by Jonathon Porritt and David Winner.
Fontana, 287 pp., £4.95, September 1988, 0 00 637244 9
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Ecology and Socialism 
by Martin​ Ryle.
Radius, 122 pp., £5.95, October 1988, 0 09 182247 5
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... argues that unless harsh environmental realities are taken into account, ‘any socialist approach to building a fairer industrial society will be doomed to failure.’ This is the challenge to which Martin Ryle seeks to respond. In a closely-argued book he works his way through the relationship between green politics and the politics of the Left, and looks at other European countries where the green ...

What Fred Did

Owen Bennett-Jones: Go-Betweens in Northern Ireland

22 January 2015
... There is​ a sentence in Jonathan Powell’s Talking to Terrorists: How to End Armed Conflicts that raises intriguing questions about how the Northern Ireland peace process got underway.* ‘Martin McGuinness,’ Powell writes, ‘still denies sending the message stating that “our war is over” which started the correspondence with John Major, and it is pretty clear in retrospect that one of ...
6 September 2001
Napoleon the Novelist 
by Andy Martin.
Polity, 191 pp., £45, December 2000, 0 7456 2536 3
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... Andy Martin is unlikely to convince many readers that Napoleon conquered Europe only as compensation for his inability to write a sentimental novel. His attention to the Emperor’s literary ambitions is ...
4 November 1982
Powers of the Press: The World’s Great Newspapers 
by Martin​ Walker.
Quartet, 401 pp., £15, July 1982, 0 7043 2271 4
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Goodbye Gutenberg: The Newspaper Revolution of the 1980s 
by Anthony Smith.
Oxford, 367 pp., £3.95, January 1982, 9780198272434
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New Technology and Industrial Relations in Fleet Street 
by Roderick Martin.
Oxford, 367 pp., £17.50, October 1981, 9780198272434
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News Ltd: Why you can’t read all about it 
by Brian Whitaker.
Minority Press Group, 176 pp., £3.25, June 1981, 0 906890 04 7
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... information, it can promote or block a proper understanding of major events. A different kind of relationship, however, exists between newspapers and the national Establishment. On this point Martin Walker quotes approvingly the views of Wilbur Schramm: ‘Prestige papers are shaped, to an important degree, by what the leadership in the country wants to know and wants known. The leadership in ...

Diary

Tobias Jones: The politics of football

7 May 1998
... failed to operate effectively. The disaster was caused ‘not by hooliganism but by football’s political desire to react to hooliganism by erecting unforgiving steel cages which became coffins’, Colin Ward writes in All Quiet on the Hooligan Front (1996). Lord Justice Taylor produced his interim report on the tragedy on 1 August that year. The chief superintendent in charge, Taylor decided ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

5 May 2005
... has returned to the small screen, after a 15-year absence, with Christopher Eccleston – a huge improvement on the Doctor’s last four incarnations (in reverse order: Paul McGann, Sylvester McCoy, Colin Baker, Peter Davison), though obviously no match for Tom Baker – at the controls of a souped-up Tardis. As I write, he’s at the mercy of a gang of obese aliens who’ve long been lurking behind ...

At the New Whitechapel

Peter Campbell: Isa Genzken

30 April 2009
... Macuga links the painting’s showing at the Whitechapel in 1939 with more recent events. The tapestry, which hung outside the Security Council, was covered over to stop it forming a backdrop when Colin Powell was making the case for the Iraq war – a bronze bust of Powell forms part of the installation. In front of it at the Whitechapel is a circular glass case/ conference table, surrounded by ...

Men in Aprons

Colin​ Kidd: Freemasonry

7 May 1998
Who’s Afraid of Freemasons? The Phenomenon of Freemasonry 
by Alexander Piatigorsky.
Harvill, 398 pp., £25, August 1997, 1 86046 029 1
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... Our experience of Freemasonry is one of the minor peculiarities of the British. From The Grand Mystery of Freemasonry Discover’d (1724) and Samuel Prichard’s Masonry Dissected (1730) to Martin Short’s Inside the Brotherhood: Further Secrets of the Freemasons (1989), the dominant genre in Masonic literature has been the ‘exposure’. Rituals, passwords, oaths, handshakes and symbolic ...

Reluctant Psychopath

Colin​ MacCabe

7 October 1993
My Idea of Fun 
by Will Self.
Bloomsbury, 309 pp., £14.99, September 1993, 0 7475 1591 3
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... so there is no damnation. In the end the stakes for Ian Wharton’s soul are just too damned low. Burrough’s great tetralogy is one precursor of this novel, but an even more obvious ancestor is Martin Amis’s Money. Both the style and the range of social observation in My Idea of Fun reveal a pupil who has laboured hard at his master’s exercises. But in one respect the pupil has already ...

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