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Smoking big cigars

David Herd, 23 July 1992

Goodstone 
by Fred Voss.
Bloodaxe, 180 pp., £7.95, November 1991, 1 85224 198 5
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... The first collection from the West Coast poet Fred Voss takes its title from the mythical aircraft company which is an amalgam of all the Californian machine shops that Voss has sweated in for the past 15 years. From his inconspicuous position as a machinist on the factory floor, Voss describes the conflicts and frustrations which daily beset the American blue-collar worker ...

Heavy Lifting

John Palattella: John Ashbery, 7 June 2001

Other Traditions 
by John Ashbery.
Harvard, 168 pp., £15.50, October 2000, 0 674 00315 2
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John Ashbery and American Poetry 
by David Herd.
Manchester, 245 pp., £45, September 2000, 0 7190 5597 0
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... of neglect: John Clare, Thomas Lovell Beddoes, Raymond Roussel, John Wheelwright, Laura Riding and David Schubert. ‘I myself value Schubert more than Pound or Eliot,’ Ashbery says, and one can imagine some members of his audience gasping. In the introduction to his 1966 anthology, 19th-Century British Minor Poets, Auden provides four tests for being a ...

Like a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader

John Lloyd: Globalisation, 2 September 1999

The Lexus and the Olive Tree 
by Thomas Friedman.
HarperCollins, 394 pp., £19.99, May 1999, 0 00 257014 9
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Global Transformation 
by David Held and Anthony McGrew.
Polity, 515 pp., £59.50, March 1999, 0 7456 1498 1
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... in any country, including America, are ultimately helpless before what he calls the ‘electronic herd’ of stockbrokers, bond and currency dealers, mutual and pension fund executives, merchant bankers, individual investors and the financial advisers, analysts and journalists who swarm about them. This is the herd which ...

Agents of Their Own Abuse

Jacqueline Rose: The Treatment of Migrant Women, 10 October 2019

... child. Before the law, or outside it? ‘How is the institution of the removal centre legal?’ David Herd asks in his afterword to Refugee Tales (2016), a collection of stories gathered from refugees by campaigners. ‘Since, in conventional terms, it plainly offends legal principles, what relation does such a site have to the law?’ There are for ...

Everyone, Then No One

David Nasaw: Where have all the bowler hats gone?, 23 February 2006

Hatless Jack: The President, the Fedora and the Death of the Hat 
by Neil Steinberg.
Granta, 342 pp., £12, August 2005, 1 86207 782 7
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... or a baseball cap today did not and does not signify that one is a member of some faceless herd. Hats can and do reveal, disguise or parody social status, while at the same time highlighting aspects of individual personality. Why, then, if men’s hats have been such a multivariate sign of class and personality, did they go the way of the corset? For ...

Follow the Science

James Butler, 16 April 2020

... meanwhile allowing the virus to spread – so that the general population eventually acquired ‘herd immunity’. The plan did not involve mass testing, or technological tracking and contact tracing of the kind seen in South Korea and Singapore.The published minutes of the meetings of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) and ...

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 settlers had to strive to make ...

Journos de nos jours

Anthony Howard, 8 March 1990

Alan Moorehead 
by Tom Pocock.
Bodley Head, 311 pp., £16.95, February 1990, 0 370 31261 9
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Loyalties: A Son’s Memoir 
by Carl Bernstein.
Macmillan, 254 pp., £15.95, January 1990, 0 333 52135 8
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Downstart 
by Brian Inglis.
Chatto, 298 pp., £15.95, January 1990, 0 7011 3390 2
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... to be drab places: their defiant survival into the age of the Amex Gold Card is evidence of the herd instinct of the newspaper trade. That instinct remains, in some respects, surprising. Journalists, after all, come in all shapes and sizes, with an especially strong line in outsize egos. Superficially, one might have expected the members of more ...

Malcolm and the Masses

Clive James, 5 February 1981

Malcolm Muggeridge: A Life 
by Ian Hunter.
Collins, 270 pp., £6.95, November 1980, 0 00 216538 4
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... should be ‘exaltation’, although it is hard to be sure. Referring to ‘the historian David Irving’ is like referring to the metallurgist Uri Geller. There were, I think, few ballpoint pens in 1940. On page 160 the idea that the USA passed straight from barbarism to decadence is praised as if it had been conceived by Muggeridge, instead of Oscar ...

One Does It Like This

David A. Bell: Talleyrand, 16 November 2006

Napoleon’s Master: A Life of Prince Talleyrand 
by David Lawday.
Cape, 386 pp., £20, September 2006, 0 224 07366 4
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... there. The two most familiar images of the men express the contrast eloquently. First, there is David’s brilliant portrait of Napoleon on his rearing charger in the Alps, seemingly master of the wind, rocks and sky; second, Chateaubriand’s acid description of Talleyrand hobbling into the presence of Louis XVIII with the help of Napoleon’s sinister ...

Signs of Affection

J.Z. Young, 1 October 1981

The Oxford Companion to Animal Behaviour 
edited by David McFarland.
Oxford, 657 pp., £17.50, July 1981, 0 19 866120 7
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... It is doing something that affects survival, such as escaping, keeping up with the herd, hunting, migrating. These are the uses of movement. A similar criticism applies to many of the articles. If the book is to be about behaviour, it should surely deal with general activities and with the internal mechanisms that regulate them. For ...

Performing Seals

Christopher Hitchens: The PR Crowd, 10 August 2000

Partisans: Marriage, Politics and Betrayal Among the New York Intellectuals 
by David Laskin.
Simon and Schuster, 319 pp., $26, January 2000, 0 684 81565 6
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... Norman Podhoretz). Queenie Leavis of course became an official widow, and it is les veuves on whom David Laskin relies most heavily in this relatively orderly account of sexual and matrimonial chaos. Diana Trilling outlived Lionel by many a book; Mary McCarthy enjoyed the same revenge on Edmund Wilson; the witches of Eastwick (lacking only their Hardwick) have ...

Bloody Brilliant Banter

Theo Tait: ‘A Natural’, 4 May 2017

A Natural 
by Ross Raisin.
Cape, 343 pp., £14.99, March 2017, 978 1 910702 66 6
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... enclosed, distinctive world of their own. There are very few good British novels about sport, and, David Peace aside, hardly any about football – despite its place in our culture. In A Natural, Raisin delves into the life of a lower league English football team – a subject never covered before, as far as I know, in literary fiction. Perhaps it doesn’t ...

You win, I win

Philip Kitcher: Unselfish behaviour, 15 October 1998

Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behaviour 
by Elliott Sober and David Sloan Wilson.
Harvard, 400 pp., £18.50, May 1998, 0 674 93046 0
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... be solved by vague appeals to the idea that co-operative behaviour is good for the flock, the herd or the species. There are alternatives, however. If altruists direct their helpful behaviour towards relatives, then the genes associated with altruism may spread, because they are present in the beneficiaries and transmitted to their offspring; or if ...

The Exploding Harpoon

Kathleen Jamie: Whales, 8 August 2013

The Sea Inside 
by Philip Hoare.
Fourth Estate, 374 pp., £18.99, June 2013, 978 0 00 741211 2
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... book being read, a chapter a day, by people as different as Stephen Fry, Tilda Swinton, even David Cameron, as well as ordinary folk. The Sea Inside is most at ease when, again, he is in the company of whales. Companionable and entertaining, the book follows the recent fashion for combining memoir, travelogue, historical byways, natural history and ...

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