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Montgomeries

David Fraser, 22 December 1983

Monty. Vol. II: Master of the Battlefield 1942-1944 
by Nigel Hamilton.
Hamish Hamilton, 863 pp., £12.95, October 1983, 0 241 11104 8
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Decision in Normandy: The Unwritten Story of Montgomery and the Allied Campaign 
by Carlo D’Este.
Collins, 555 pp., £12.95, October 1983, 0 00 217056 6
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... There were and there remain two extremes of opinion about Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, as well as a large number of intermediate positions. At one end of the scale are those who judge him a competent if somewhat pedestrian professional soldier who usually managed by good fortune to decline battle unless the odds were overwhelmingly in his favour, a general apt to forfeit the fruits of victory by excessive caution; an unimaginative commander with a very inflated view of his own talents and achievements, who was as conceited as he was uncharitable; an ill-mannered egocentric with a strong streak of unkindness ...

Hurricane Brooke

Brian Bond, 2 September 1982

Alanbrooke 
by David Fraser.
Collins, 604 pp., £12.95, April 1982, 0 00 216360 8
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... regimental service in Ireland and India was dominated by his love of sports and hunting, but Sir David Fraser rightly demolishes the conventional assumption that such interests are incompatible with professional zeal. In fact, Alan Brooke took soldiering extremely seriously, especially the acquisition of languages and every aspect of gunnery. He married ...

Just a Way of Having Fun

Eleanor Birne: John Piper, 29 March 2017

The Art of John Piper 
by David Fraser Jenkins and Hugh Fowler-Wright.
Unicorn, 472 pp., £45, June 2016, 978 1 910787 05 2
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... no such thing, and it is still hard to work out the rationale, even when you look for it in David Fraser Jenkins and Hugh Fowler-Wright’s The Art of John Piper, a nearly exhaustive survey of his career in all its phases. Fraser Jenkins, who curated the Tate’s 1983 retrospective on the occasion of Piper’s ...

Veni, vidi, video

D.A.N. Jones, 18 August 1983

Dangerous Pursuits 
by Nicholas Salaman.
Secker, 192 pp., £7.50, June 1983, 0 436 44086 5
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Monimbo 
by Robert Moss.
Weidenfeld, 384 pp., £7.95, August 1983, 0 297 78166 9
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The Last Supper 
by Charles McCarry.
Hutchinson, 427 pp., £8.96, May 1983, 0 09 151420 7
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Heartburn 
by Nora Ephron.
Heinemann, 179 pp., £7.95, July 1983, 0 434 23700 0
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August 1988 
by David Fraser.
Collins, 235 pp., £8.50, July 1983, 0 00 222725 8
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The Cure 
by Peter Kocan.
Angus and Robertson, 137 pp., £5.95, July 1983, 9780207145896
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... executants are as barbaric as the KGB. August 1988 is a more serious political novel. General Sir David Fraser has held high posts, most recently as British Military Representative to Nato in Brussels and as Commandant of the Royal College of Defence Studies in London. His story is intended as an argument against the case for unilateral nuclear ...

The Potter, the Priest and the Stick in the Mud

David A. Bell: Spain v. Napoleon, 6 November 2008

Napoleon’s Cursed War: Popular Resistance in the Spanish Peninsular War 
by Ronald Fraser.
Verso, 587 pp., £29.99, April 2008, 978 1 84467 082 6
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... that some historians of the period now ignore the Spanish War of Independence altogether. Ronald Fraser’s Napoleon’s Cursed War will not do much to help resolve the debate over the conflict’s significance. The author, best known for an acclaimed oral history of the Spanish Civil War, has done extensive research, and written a fluid and informative ...

‘Someone you had to be a bit careful with’

David Sylvester: Gallery Rogues, 30 March 2000

Groovy Bob: The Life and Times of Robert Fraser 
by Harriet Vyner.
Faber, 317 pp., £20, October 1999, 0 571 19627 6
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... culture. An authorised biography has now appeared of an English dealer of recent memory, Robert Fraser, 1937-86. His chequered career, terminated by Aids, lasted as long as it did only because of subsidies from his parents and getting away with not paying his debts, while the world at large remembers him for pictures showing him in a police van handcuffed ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Flashman, 9 May 2002

... blackguard Flashman, who never speaks to one without a kick or an oath’. George MacDonald Fraser’s series of novels about him – known collectively as The Flashman Papers, the first of which appeared in 1969 – are, I would guess, read much more widely than their worthy Victorian forebear, and deservedly so. Ditching all that pious ‘muscular ...

When students ruled the earth

D.A.N. Jones, 17 March 1988

1968: A Student Generation in Revolt 
by Ronald Fraser.
Chatto, 370 pp., £14.95, January 1988, 0 7011 2913 1
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Street Fighting Years: An Autobiography of the Sixties 
by Tariq Ali.
Collins, 280 pp., £12.95, November 1987, 9780002177795
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Sixty-Eight: The Year of the Barricades 
by David Caute.
Hamish Hamilton, 464 pp., £14.95, January 1988, 0 241 12174 4
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Nineteen Sixty-Eight: A Personal Report 
by Hans Koning.
Unwin Hyman, 196 pp., £10.95, April 1988, 9780044401858
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... however, by a quite different readership – the ‘student generation in revolt’ of Ronald Fraser’s title – and I was made to surrender my editorship to Tariq Ali. Before my dismissal, I appeared on television to defend the paper against A.J. Ayer, John Gross and Colin Welch – with a chairman who accused me of being a disciple of Sorel, a writer ...

Virgin’s Tears

David Craig: On nature, 10 June 1999

Nature: Western Attitudes since Ancient Times 
by Peter Coates.
Polity, 246 pp., £45, September 1998, 0 7456 1655 0
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... were arguing vigorously that the journals and other descriptive writings of explorers such as David Thompson, Simon Fraser and Alexander MacKenzie were the first contributions to Canadian literature, and these works teem with a sense of the forests and prairies, lakes and rivers as the inexhaustible new land in which ...

Looking back

Hugh Thomas, 7 July 1983

The Spanish Civil War 
by David Mitchell.
Granada, 208 pp., £9.95, December 1982, 0 246 11916 0
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... Paracuellos – probably the biggest single atrocity of the Spanish war. In Blood of Spain Ronald Fraser made a splendid case for oral history by recording the views and recollections of a great many witnesses – modest, and no doubt the more trustworthy for that – to all these events. The books in question go further than ever in reminding us that if a ...

Institutions

Alan Ryan, 26 November 1987

Ruling Performance: British Governments from Attlee to Thatcher 
edited by Peter Hennessy and Anthony Seldon.
Blackwell, 344 pp., £25, October 1987, 0 631 15645 3
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The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Political Institutions 
edited by Vernon Bogdanor.
Blackwell, 667 pp., £45, September 1987, 0 631 13841 2
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Judges 
by David Pannick.
Oxford, 255 pp., £12.95, October 1987, 0 19 215956 9
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... idealists. What do these ancient arguments have to do with the world of Ruling Performance, with David Pannick’s reflections on the English judiciary, or with Vernon Bogdanor’s Encyclopedia of Political Institutions? For one thing, they cast light on the hopes and fears most of us entertain in the face of government activity of all sorts. Realists who ...

Travelling in the Wrong Direction

Lorna Finlayson: Popular Feminism, 4 July 2019

Empowered: Popular Feminism and Popular Misogyny 
by Sarah Banet-Weiser.
Duke, 220 pp., £18.99, November 2018, 978 1 4780 0291 8
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Darkness Now Visible: Patriarchy’s Resurgence and Feminist Resistance 
by Carol Gilligan and David Richards.
Cambridge, 162 pp., £21.99, August 2018, 978 1 108 47065 0
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Feminism for the 99 Per Cent: A Manifesto 
by Cinzia Arruzza, Tithi Bhattacharya and Nancy Fraser.
Verso, 85 pp., £7.99, March 2019, 978 1 78873 442 4
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... of feminism and the politics to which it has acquiesced. This is exemplified by Carol Gilligan and David Richards in Darkness Now Visible, as they seek to account for Trump’s rise ‘seemingly out of nowhere’. They tell an intricate psychological story, based on Gilligan’s earlier work on moral reasoning in boys and girls, about the ways in which ...

Unhappy Childhoods

John Sutherland, 2 February 1989

Trollope and Character 
by Stephen Wall.
Faber, 397 pp., £17.50, September 1988, 0 571 14595 7
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The Chronicler of Barsetshire: A Life of Anthony Trollope 
by R.H. Super.
Michigan, 528 pp., $35, December 1988, 0 472 10102 1
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Dickens: A Biography 
by Fred Kaplan.
Hodder, 607 pp., £17.95, November 1988, 0 340 48558 2
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Charlotte Brontë 
by Rebecca Fraser.
Methuen, 543 pp., £14.95, October 1988, 9780413570109
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... fifth volume of the Pilgrim letters and Nina Burgis’s introduction to the Clarendon edition of David Copperfield.) But it seems that Dickens first confided the material to Forster in 1847. Forster, of course, had already lined himself up as the great inimitable’s Boswell. There was the tantalising promise that Dickens might write more – a whole ...

Revenges

Ronald Fraser, 7 February 1991

Gorbals Voices, Siren Songs 
by Ralph Glasser.
Chatto, 209 pp., £13.95, April 1990, 0 7011 3445 3
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A Place for Us 
by Nicholas Gage.
Bantam, 419 pp., £14.95, February 1990, 0 593 01515 0
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The Hidden Damage 
by James Stern.
Chelsea, 372 pp., £17.95, February 1990, 1 871484 01 4
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... a considerable post-war phenomenon, the cause of new cultural divides and personal tensions, as David Mercer’s television plays of the Sixties so clearly portrayed. For Glasser, the Sixties represented nothing much more than a ‘rejection of cultural tradition’, a nihilism ‘soon to become a badge of conformity’. His entry into the English ...

Thanks to the Tea Party

Steve Fraser: 1970s America, 17 March 2011

Pivotal Decade: How the United States Traded Factories for Finance in the 1970s 
by Judith Stein.
Yale, 367 pp., £25, May 2010, 978 0 300 11818 6
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Stayin’ Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class 
by Jefferson Cowie.
New Press, 464 pp., £19.99, September 2010, 978 1 56584 875 7
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... sick and tired of? How do you remain the party of business and a party of the majority when, as David Rockefeller complained, ‘people are blaming business and the enterprise system for all the problems of our society’? How to finesse the passage of regulatory legislation in the areas of occupational health and safety, the environment and consumer ...

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