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On David King

Susannah Clapp, 21 June 2018

... for drawings and paintings – and commissioned photographs. Some of the most powerful were by David King. He used to come blazing into the office with his huge black-and-white portraits, already measured up for size: no question, ever, of anything being cropped. One was of the writer Francis Wyndham, then in his sixties, in conversation with a ...

Nobody’s perfect

Diarmaid MacCulloch: ‘The Holy Land’, 27 September 2018

In the Footsteps of King DavidRevelations from an Ancient Biblical City 
by Yosef Garfinkel, Saar Ganor and Michael G. Hasel.
Thames and Hudson, 240 pp., £24.95, June 2018, 978 0 500 05201 3
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... on for itself the name of Israel. The two monarchies had only ever achieved unity under a single king for a brief period, and Judah was content to go its own way, cherishing its capital, Jerusalem, as a sacred place, with a monumental temple that became increasingly emblematic of Jewish faith and identity. For nine centuries, from its foundation until its ...

Manliness

D.A.N. Jones, 20 December 1984

Last Ferry to Manly 
by Jill Neville.
Penguin, 165 pp., £4.95, October 1984, 0 14 007068 0
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Down from the Hill 
by Alan Sillitoe.
Granada, 218 pp., £7.95, October 1984, 0 246 12517 9
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God Knows 
by Joseph Heller.
Cape, 353 pp., £8.95, November 1984, 0 224 02288 1
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Wilt on High 
by Tom Sharpe.
Secker, 236 pp., £8.95, October 1984, 9780436458118
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... but Joseph Heller’s novel is not deliberately anti-Jewish. It is meant to be an autobiography of King David, the sweet singer of Israel, as told by a wisecracking New Yorker who fancies himself as a Jewish wit. Cocteau once said of the French child poet, Minou Drouet: ‘All children are poets, except Minou.’ Something like that might be said of ...

Secret Services

Robert Cecil, 4 April 1985

The Soviet Union and Terrorism 
by Roberta Goren.
Allen and Unwin, 232 pp., £17.50, November 1984, 0 04 327073 5
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The Great Purges 
by Isaac Deutscher and David King.
Blackwell, 176 pp., £12.50, November 1984, 0 631 13923 0
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SOE: The Special Operations Executive 1940-46 
by M.R.D. Foot.
BBC, 280 pp., £8.50, October 1984, 0 563 20193 2
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A History of the SAS Regiment 
by John Strawson.
Secker, 292 pp., £12.95, November 1984, 0 436 49992 4
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... on an unprecedented scale is vividly illustrated in The Great Purges, which contains some of David King’s collection of contemporary photographs, together with a commentary by Isaac Deutscher: ‘In presenting these scenes, I had to reconstruct a nightmare.’ We must hope that, for a majority or Russians, their dreams have become pleasanter: but ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: I'll eat my modem, 10 August 2000

... must know the deal: if 75 per cent of people who download the monthly installments of Stephen King’s ‘new’ online novel, The Plant, pay for it, he’ll keep on churning it out. Addressing visitors to his website as ‘my friends’, he urges them to ‘Remember: Pay and the story rolls. Steal and the story folds. No stealing from the blind ...

Uncrownable King and Queen

Christopher Sykes, 7 February 1980

The Windsor Story 
by J. Bryan and Charles Murphy.
Granada, 602 pp., £8.95, November 1980, 0 246 11323 5
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... his to her. In his last year of life, he paid a moving tribute to her to his old American friend David Bruce. He was a doomed man. In spite of his enormous youthful popularity, he was ill-fitted to be a King or President or Head of State of any kind. His inner confidence was early and fatally corroded by ceaseless bullying ...

Preacher on a Tank

David Runciman: Blair Drills Down, 7 October 2010

A Journey 
by Tony Blair.
Hutchinson, 718 pp., £25, September 2010, 978 0 09 192555 0
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... thing’. He gathers his close advisers, who in this case include his chief scientific adviser, David King. King explains to him what needs to be done. ‘Essentially, by means of graphs and charts he set out how the disease would spread, how we could contain it if we took the right culling measures, and how over ...

The Chief Inhabitant

Diarmaid MacCulloch: Jerusalem, 14 July 2011

Jerusalem: The Biography 
by Simon Sebag Montefiore.
Weidenfeld, 638 pp., £25, January 2011, 978 0 297 85265 0
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... to clamber round the intricate corridors of another octagon, the very strange Red Mount Chapel in King’s Lynn, which seems to be some 15th-century Norfolk pilgrim’s effort to reproduce either the tangled claustrophobia of Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre, or the outward appearance of the Dome of the Rock, which Christian tour-guides in Jerusalem ...
... review, he had read an account of the feckless Sicilian noblemen who, after deposing the Bourbon king in 1848, had retracted and begged his forgiveness the year after. Among them was Lampedusa’s great-grandfather, on whom Don Fabrizio was partly based, and this encouraged Sciascia to see the novel as an apology for a worthless class of people. Sciascia was ...

Vendetta

Gerald Hammond: The story of David, 7 September 2000

The David Story: A Translation with Commentary of 1 and 2 Samuel 
by Robert Alter.
Norton, 410 pp., £19.95, October 1999, 0 393 04803 9
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... own translation and commentary on the most literary of all the Bible’s narratives, the story of David. The translation is conservative, fully in line with the Authorised Version (and all the better for that). The commentary is up to date, absorbing not only the latest scholarship but concentrating on the extraordinary narrative power of the story of family ...

How good is it?

Diarmaid MacCulloch: Inside the KJB, 3 February 2011

The Holy Bible: King James Version, 1611 Text 
edited by Gordon Campbell.
Oxford, 1552 pp., £50, October 2010, 978 0 19 955760 8
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Bible: The Story of the King James Version 1611-2011 
by Gordon Campbell.
Oxford, 354 pp., £16.99, October 2010, 978 0 19 955759 2
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The King James Bible: A Short History from Tyndale to Today 
by David Norton.
Cambridge, 218 pp., £14.99, January 2011, 978 0 521 61688 1
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The King James Bible after 400 Years: Literary, Linguistic and Cultural Influences 
edited by Hannibal Hamlin and Norman Jones.
Cambridge, 364 pp., £25, December 2010, 978 0 521 76827 6
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Begat: The King James Bible and the English Language 
by David Crystal.
Oxford, 327 pp., £14.99, September 2010, 978 0 19 958585 4
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... The quatercentenary commemorative King James Bible (KJB) sits on my desk as I write: a satisfying artefact in its chocolate livery enriched by opulently gilded top, tail and fore edges, with stout chocolate slipcase to match, impressive in its folio bulk, though not nearly as bulky as the originals of 1611, which needed a sturdy lectern to bear them, announcing their presence with a swagger equal to the most majestic of England’s medieval church buildings ...

Things the King Liked to Hear

Blair Worden: Donne and Milton’s Prose, 18 June 2014

Sermons of John Donne Vol. III: Sermons Preached at the Court of Charles I 
edited by David Colclough.
Oxford, 521 pp., £125, November 2013, 978 0 19 956548 1
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Complete Works of John Milton Vol. VI: Vernacular Regicide and Republican Writings 
edited by N.H. Keeble and Nicholas McDowell.
Oxford, 811 pp., £125, December 2013, 978 0 19 921805 9
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... and who turned to the church only as the next best thing. It seems to have been at the behest of King James I, who valued the theological learning in which Donne was proficient, that he opted for ordination. Certainly the decision was in keeping with the spirit of a royal entourage where scholarly divinity mingled easily with worldly complaisance. He landed ...

Absolutely Bleedin’ Obvious

Ian Sansom: Will Self, 6 July 2006

The Book of Dave 
by Will Self.
Viking, 496 pp., £17.99, June 2006, 0 670 91443 6
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... and translations of the Book of Psalms, the original book of Dave – supposedly written by King David, the Neim Z’mirot Yisrael (‘the sweet singer of Israel’) – ‘substantially shaped the culture of 16th and 17th-century England, resulting in creative forms as diverse as singing psalters, metrical psalm paraphrases, sophisticated poetic ...

Thanks to the Fels-Naptha Soap King

Miles Taylor: George Lansbury, 22 May 2003

George Lansbury: At the Heart of Old Labour 
by John Shepherd.
Oxford, 407 pp., £35, September 2002, 0 19 820164 8
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... of porridge and peculation practised by local workhouse officials. A decade later, the Prince was King, but the paupers remained, and in 1906 Lansbury battled with the Liberal Government over making Hollesley Bay and another colony, at Laindon in Essex, permanent settlements for unemployed families. He lost the political argument but won the moral high ...

Peoplehood

David Abulafia, 31 October 1996

The Origins of the Inquisition in 15th-Century Spain 
by Benzion Netanyahu.
Random House, 1384 pp., $50, August 1995, 0 679 41065 1
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... strip them of the sense that they, too, were hidalgos, with leaders who were more royal than any king or sultan; they were the nobility of Jerusalem ‘that is in Sepharad’, as the prophet Obadiah had said, and as Bishop Alonso de Cartagena reiterated; and their leaders were reputedly of the stock of King David. To ...

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