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Who was David Peterley?

Michael Holroyd, 15 November 1984

... David Peterley’s Peterley Harvest was first published on 24 October 1960. The book had a curious history and, shortly before publication, stories began to appear in the press declaring it to be an elaborate hoax. The jacket of the book contained the information that David Peterley was the only son of an old Quaker family that had ‘lived in the Chilterns and been neighbours of Milton and the Penns ...

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 ...

David Nokes on the duality of Defoe

David Nokes, 19 April 1990

Daniel Defoe: His Life 
by Paula Backscheider.
Johns Hopkins, 671 pp., £20.50, November 1989, 0 8018 3785 5
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... have argued – persuasively, in my view – that the traditional check-list of Defoe’s output may considerably exaggerate the number of items written by him. Backscheider appears unhappy at this revisionist attempt to cut her author down to size. Her prefatory note that ‘my own use of the received canon is conservative’ is itself ambiguous. It appears ...
The Idea of Poverty: England in the Early Industrial Age 
by Gertrude Himmelfarb.
Faber, 595 pp., £20, March 1984, 0 571 13177 8
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... rarely in accord, but they do at least agree on this: that the poor are always with us. Chastity may have gone the way of all flesh, and obedience may have been banished from the marriage service, but poverty – grinding, inexorable, ineradicable – remains: not a state voluntarily embraced on the road to salvation, but ...
Bowie 
by Jerry Hopkins.
Elm Tree, 275 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 241 11548 5
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Alias David Bowie 
by Peter Gillman and Leni Gillman.
Hodder, 511 pp., £16.95, September 1986, 0 340 36806 3
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... David Robert Jones, alias David Bowie, is now in his 40th year. His creepy, chilling phrases pop out of pub jukeboxes, and extracts from his movies catch the eye on pub videos, whether he is embracing a Chinese girl or being executed by Japanese soldiers; his image appears in the Sunday-paper magazines, artistically displayed in sundry poses ...
... is mountainous or flat, these images often have a striking resemblance to compositions by Caspar David Friedrich. Working out there in nature, then, Long is a performer in the open-air theatre of the sublime. But is this aspect of his work its main distinction? There are two possible extreme interpretations of the relationship between Long’s outdoor and ...

The Road to Independence

David Caute, 21 November 1985

Peasant Consciousness and Guerrilla War in Zimbabwe 
by Terence Ranger.
James Currey, 377 pp., £25, October 1985, 0 85255 000 6
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Guns and Rain: Guerrillas and Spirit Mediums in Zimbabwe 
by David Lan.
James Currey, 244 pp., £19.50, October 1985, 0 85255 200 9
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... Labour Party’s ability to transplant its professed anti-colonialism from opposition to office may note that the Colonial Secretary who signed the Land Apportionment Act was the noted Fabian, Sidney Webb, Lord Passfield, who soon thereafter set out with Beatrice to admire the USSR; while the worst uprooting of Rhodesia’s black peasantry (as well as the ...
Jeremy Thorpe: A Secret Life 
by Lewis Chester, Magnus Linklater and David May.
Fontana, 371 pp., £1.50
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... could not be said of Penrose and Courtiour’s The Pencourt File (1978) or Peter Chippindale and David Leigh’s The Thorpe Committal (1979), the latter being straightforward court reporting of the Minehead committal proceedings. The authors do not waste much time on the South African connection, though it seems clear that in 1974-5 Scott was in ...

What’s going on, Eric?

David Renton: Rock Against Racism, 22 November 2018

Walls Come Tumbling Down: The Music and Politics of Rock Against Racism, 2 Tone and Red Wedge 
by Daniel Rachel.
Picador, 589 pp., £12.99, May 2017, 978 1 4472 7268 7
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... In May​ 1976, two families of Asian immigrants from Malawi – UK passport-holders – were put up in a hotel while social workers decided what to do with their children. The Sun ran it as a front page story: ‘Scandal of £600 a week Asians’. The Mirror followed up by condemning a ‘New Flood of Asians into Britain ...

Brown and Friends

David Runciman, 3 January 2008

... Party in Scotland. Balls’s wife, Yvette Cooper, sits with him in cabinet. Miliband’s brother, David, is foreign secretary. Brothers and sisters, husbands and wives: the Brown government is a family affair, and it marks a shift to ever more intimate political relationships at the centre of power, even compared to the days when Tony Blair was ruling the ...

Do your homework

David Runciman: What’s Wrong with Theresa May, 16 March 2017

Theresa MayThe Enigmatic Prime Minister 
by Rosa Prince.
Biteback, 402 pp., £20, February 2017, 978 1 78590 145 4
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... This​ is a dry and dutiful book which reads like a ghost story. The person being haunted is David Cameron. Theresa May grew up in a Cotswolds village called Church Enstone, where her father was vicar for much of the 1960s. The vicarage is within five miles of what became Cameron’s constituency home when he was MP for Witney and is roughly the same distance from what is now Soho Farmhouse, a members’ club, a little piece of the metropolis that is a haven for the Chipping Norton set ...

Look…

David Runciman: How the coalition was formed, 16 December 2010

22 Days in MayThe Birth of the Lib Dem-Conservative Coalition 
by David Laws.
Biteback, 335 pp., £9.99, November 2010, 978 1 84954 080 3
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... Australians), they seem to have been unembarrassable. Yet that’s not how it worked over here. David Laws’s 22 Days in May, which recounts the negotiations that preceded the formation of the coalition government from the inside, explains how it happened that in our case the winners actually ended up winning. Hardly ...

Who knew?

Norman Stone, 20 November 1980

The Terrible Secret 
by Walter Laqueur.
Weidenfeld, 262 pp., £8.95, September 1980, 0 297 77835 8
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... the Final Solution was intentionally such that very few records of essential decisions were kept; David Irving may even be formally right in his assertion that there is no written document to link Hitler himself with the Final Solution until October 1943; and the same absence or confusion in the written record has even been ...

Problems for the SDP

David Butler, 1 October 1981

... their act together. This is more likely. Despite the mutual advantages of alliance, the coalition may founder on petty jealousies and, perhaps, on genuine ideological differences. The public may come to see it, not as a blessed escape from the extremisms of the old parties, but as yet another group of inadequate and ...

Short Cuts

David Runciman: Shuffling Off into Obscurity, 4 May 2016

... David Laws​ ’s memoir of his time in government ends with everything in tatters: he has lost his seemingly safe seat, his party has gone from being a full partner in government to having the same number of MPs as the Democratic Unionists, his leader is shell-shocked and barely able to appear in public without breaking down ...

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