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Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 1986, 18 December 1986

... to find some students who have gone pot-holing and not come up. A young caver from our village, David Anderson, is one of the rescue team. The water is rising and as he is going down he slips into a narrow gulley. Though he is roped up, the force of the torrent is too much for his companions: as they struggle to pull him out, his light still shining ...

How did they get away with it?

Bernard Porter: Britain’s Atrocities in Kenya, 3 March 2005

Histories of the Hanged: Britain’s Dirty War in Kenya and the End of Empire 
by David Anderson.
Weidenfeld, 406 pp., £20, January 2005, 0 297 84719 8
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Britain’s Gulag: The Brutal End of Empire in Kenya 
by Caroline Elkins.
Cape, 475 pp., £20, January 2005, 9780224073639
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... and, according to official figures, killed around 12,000 in combat, though the real figure, in David Anderson’s view, is ‘likely to have been more than 20,000’. In addition, Caroline Elkins claims, up to 100,000 died in the detention camps. It is the scale of the British atrocities in Kenya that is the most startling revelation of these ...

Skipwith and Anktill

David Wootton: Tudor Microhistory, 10 August 2000

Travesties and Transgressions in Tudor and Stuart England 
by David Cressy.
Oxford, 351 pp., £25, November 1999, 0 19 820781 6
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A House in Gross Disorder: Sex, Law, and the Second Earl of Castlehaven 
by Cynthia Herrup.
Oxford, 216 pp., £18.99, December 1999, 0 19 512518 5
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... Both David Cressy and Cynthia Herrup believe they are writing microhistory, a word coined by Italians, but used to describe above all the work of Natalie Zemon Davis (The Return of Martin Guerre, 1983) and Robert Darnton (The Great Cat Massacre, 1984). Microhistorians have turned to the verbatim records of interrogations kept in the law courts of early modern Europe (or at least those parts of Europe where Roman law procedures were followed) to reconstruct the detailed stories of individual trials ...

Did more mean worse?

Michael Brock, 23 October 1986

Government and the Universities in Britain: Programme and Performance 1960-1980 
by John Carswell.
Cambridge, 181 pp., £19.50, January 1986, 9780521258265
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... since both of the ‘heads’ on the Committee came from independent schools. Dame Kitty Anderson had presided over North London Collegiate since 1944; Anthony Chenevix-Trench moved from Brad-field to Eton while the Committee was operating. ‘His contributions,’ as Mr Carswell tells us, ‘were few.’ There was no voice on the Committee from ...

Memories of Lindsay Anderson

Alan Bennett, 20 July 2000

... thoughts occur like ‘I bet Tom Stoppard doesn’t have to do this’ or ‘There is no doubt David Hare would have deputed this to an underling.’ So I was happy to read in Gavin Lambert’s Mainly about Lindsay Anderson* that Lindsay harboured similar thoughts about such self-imposed menialities. On the eve of ...

In Hell

Marina Warner: Wat Phai Rong Wua, 13 September 2012

... In 1975 Benedict Anderson first visited the extensive monastery of Wat Phai Rong Wua, one of dozens in central Thailand; he returned in the 1990s and again a few years ago. Any wat is an imagined community, and this one, a Buddhist Disneyland, presents a special case for Anderson, whose curious book, The Fate of Rural Hell: Asceticism and Desire in Buddhist Thailand, enlivened with startlingly brash photographic evidence, is about currents in the national imagination, about modernity and about forms of religious practice (Seagull, £6 ...

Mockney Rebels

Thomas Jones: Lindsay Anderson, 20 July 2000

Mainly about Linsay Anderson 
by Gavin Lambert.
Faber, 302 pp., £18.99, May 2000, 0 571 17775 1
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... witness the Shelley memorial at University College, Oxford. The first time I saw If ..., Lindsay Anderson’s 1968 fable of public school rebellion, was at a screening organised by Winchester College’s film society. One of the documentaries Anderson made in the early 1950s was called Wakefield Express, about the local ...

Two Men in a Boat

Ian Aitken, 15 August 1991

John Major: The Making of the Prime Minister 
by Bruce Anderson.
Fourth Estate, 324 pp., £16.99, June 1991, 9781872180540
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‘My Style of Government’: The Thatcher Years 
by Nicholas Ridley.
Hutchinson, 275 pp., £16.99, July 1991, 0 09 175051 2
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... electoral gutter in the moment of her own humiliation to tout for votes for her favourite. Bruce Anderson has nevertheless written the best of the three journalists’ books on the Major succession to be published so far. That is not entirely surprising, since his credentials are unusually good. Not only was he an admired (by me, at any rate – his ...

What We Have

David Bromwich: Tarantinisation, 4 February 1999

The Origins of Postmodernity 
by Perry Anderson.
Verso, 143 pp., £11, September 1998, 1 85984 222 4
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The Cultural Turn: Selected Writings on the Postmodern, 1983-98 
by Fredric Jameson.
Verso, 206 pp., £11, September 1998, 1 85984 182 1
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... embrace of the high-tech lifestyle of the very rich was another of the things affirmed, as Perry Anderson suggests when summarising an argument by Charles Jencks: In a society where information now mattered more than production, ‘there is no longer an artistic avant-garde’ since ‘there is no enemy to conquer’ in the global electronic network. In the ...

Too Glorious for Words

Bernard Porter: Lawrence in Arabia, 2 April 2014

Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East 
by Scott Anderson.
Atlantic, 592 pp., £25, March 2014, 978 1 78239 199 9
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... that surrounded his reputation both in his own day and afterwards, as reflected in the 1962 David Lean biopic, presenting him as the romantic hero – tall, blue-eyed, in flowing robes – he always wanted to be. His failures are familiar to anyone who has taken any serious interest in him, and were only too painfully known to himself. He either led or ...

Home Stretch

John Sutherland: David Storey, 17 September 1998

A Serious Man 
by David Storey.
Cape, 359 pp., £16.99, June 1998, 9780224051583
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Saville 
by David Storey.
Vintage, 555 pp., £6.99, June 1998, 0 09 927408 6
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... Say ‘David Storey’ and readers of my (and his) generation will recall the final shot of This Sporting Life: Frank Machin (Richard Harris), mired, spavined, raising himself on the rugby field to lurch back into hopeless battle. His life as a professional is over. Football chews up its workforce faster even than the pits ...

He huffs and he puffs

John Upton: David Blunkett, the Lifers and the Judges, 19 June 2003

... of murderers. A few days later, the Law Lords delivered a landmark decision in the case of Anthony Anderson, a double murderer who had brought an application for judicial review of the terms of his sentence against the Home Office. Had Hindley lived, the Lords’ judgment in Anderson’s favour might also have led to her ...

Who Will Lose?

David Edgar, 23 September 2008

Inside the Presidential Debates: Their Improbable Past and Promising Future 
by Newton Minow and Craig LaMay.
Chicago, 219 pp., £11.50, April 2008, 978 0 226 53041 3
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... than in the debates of 1980 and 1984, in both of which Ronald Reagan’s surrogate opponent was David Stockman, a young former radical who went on to head the Office of Management and Budget before resigning over the budget deficit in Reagan’s second term. Stockman had been employed by the independent candidate John ...

Diary

Patrick Cockburn: A report from Baghdad, 18 March 2004

... explain that they didn’t expect to be fighting this kind of war. In a dark hut, Staff Sgt Jeremy Anderson, leader of a squad of eight sappers, says he and his men were trained to deal with big conventional minefields such as those laid by the old Soviet army. Nobody thought they would be dealing with the sort of amateur but lethal devices planted by ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’, 16 April 2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel 
directed by Wes Anderson.
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... were not at home, stayed at the best hotels, where in the words of the leading character in Wes Anderson’s new film, their needs were met ‘before the needs were needed’. The wealthy were pampered, and the pampered felt wealthy. Is the Grand Budapest Hotel of the movie in Budapest? How could you ask? Budapest is just a name, a link to Eastern ...

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