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State of the Art

John Lanchester

1 June 1989
Manchester United: The Betrayal of a Legend 
by Michael Crick and David​ Smith.
Pelham, 246 pp., £14.95, May 1989, 0 7207 1783 3
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Football in its Place: An Environmental Psychology of Football Grounds 
by David Canter, Miriam Comber and David​ Uzzell.
Routledge, 173 pp., £10.95, May 1989, 0 415 01240 6
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... and less skilful, our defenders growing taller and stupider, as in some dark 19th-century fantasy of racial degeneration. Luckily the hearties don’t have it all their own way. Michael Crick’s and David Smith’s book describes how, at the same time as Stan Cullis was assembling his Wolves team, Matt Busby at Manchester United was embarking on a managerial career uniquely committed to attractive ...

Nanny knows best

Michael Stewart

4 June 1987
Kinnock 
by Michael Leapman.
Unwin Hyman, 217 pp., £11.95, May 1987, 0 04 440006 3
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The Thatcher Years: A Decade of Revolution in British Politics 
by John Cole.
BBC, 216 pp., £12.95, April 1987, 0 563 20572 5
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Thatcherism and British Politics: The End of Consensus? 
by Dennis Kavanagh.
Oxford, 334 pp., £22.50, March 1987, 0 19 827522 6
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The New Right: The Counter-Revolution in Political, Social and Economic Thought 
by David​ Green.
Wheatsheaf, 238 pp., £22.50, March 1987, 0 7450 0127 0
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... a good man in a position made impossible by historical developments, one will not find much in either Michael Leapman’s sympathetic and readable portrait, or John Cole’s lively and good-humoured canter over the events of the last decade, to change one’s mind. The nature of the Labour Party’s – and Kinnock’s – problem was vividly illustrated by what happened when James Callaghan resigned ...

Costume Codes

David​ Trotter

12 January 1995
Rebel Women: Feminism, Modernism and the Edwardian Novel 
by Jane Eldridge Miller.
Virago, 241 pp., £15.99, October 1994, 1 85381 830 5
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... Braby, a novelist and author of marital advice books, was not alone in observing a ‘spirit of strange unrest’ among married women. She advocated better sex education for girls, a ‘preliminary canter’ (of a chaste description) for women before marriage, and ‘wild oats for wives’ (wild but chaste, that is). Miller scrupulously records the tremors of strange unrest in novels by the well known ...

Diary

David​ Trotter: Bearness

7 November 2019
... recumbency prevails, punctuated by a wallow in the pond, or a minute or two of gently gyratory sit-down pilates. Then, gradually, the more energetic stir themselves, for sociability, or a brief canter, or mock combat. A suave hydraulic conjuring trick hoists the gladiators onto their hind legs. As they loom opposite each other, squaring up expansively, the pale crescents splashed across their ...
31 October 1996
A History of Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths 
by Karen Armstrong.
HarperCollins, 474 pp., £20, July 1996, 0 00 255522 0
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Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years 
by Israel Shahak.
Pluto, 118 pp., £11.99, April 1994, 9780745308180
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City of the Great King: Jerusalem from David​ to the Present 
edited by Nitza Rosovsky.
Harvard, 562 pp., £25.50, April 1996, 0 674 13190 8
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Jerusalem in the 20th Century 
by Martin Gilbert.
Chatto, 400 pp., £20, May 1996, 0 7011 3070 9
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Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict 
by Norman Finkelstein.
Verso, 230 pp., £39.95, December 1995, 1 85984 940 7
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To Rule Jerusalem 
by Roger Friedland and Richard Hecht.
Cambridge, 554 pp., £29.95, June 1996, 0 521 44046 7
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... about 1800 BC. Since then it has changed hands some twenty-five times, been destroyed 17 times, and its inhabitants have frequently been massacred. Round about 1000 BC, the city was captured by King David. Assuming that he existed – and there is no archaeological or other evidence for him, or for Solomon, Moses or Joshua, outside the Bible, the relevant books of which were written hundreds of years ...

Malfunctioning Sex Robot

Patricia Lockwood: Updike Redux

10 October 2019
Novels, 1959-65: ‘The Poorhouse Fair’; ‘Rabbit, Run’; ‘The Centaur’; ‘Of the Farm’ 
by John Updike.
Library of America, 850 pp., £36, November 2018, 978 1 59853 581 5
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... and that would be another victim for 9/11.’ Taste and tact had departed hand in hand; I had been reading too much John Hoyer Updike. In a 1997 review for the New York Observer, the recently kinged David Foster Wallace diagnosed how far Updike had fallen in the esteem of a younger generation. ‘Penis with a thesaurus’ is the phrase that lives on, though it is not the levelling blow it first ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I Didn’t Do in 2007

3 January 2008
... generally pretty curt. In one house in the street, though, they are assured of a warmer welcome, as Jonathan M. is never wont to turn down the chance of a debate and likes nothing better than a brisk canter through the arguments against the existence of God and the literal truth of the Bible. Two hapless evangelists had just had half an hour of this and were staggering down the steps licking their ...

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