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Counter-Factuals

Linda Colley, 1 November 1984

The Origins of Anglo-American Radicalism 
edited by Margaret Jacob and James Jacob.
Allen and Unwin, 333 pp., £18.50, February 1984, 0 04 909015 1
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Insurrection: The British Experience 1795-1803 
by Roger Wells.
Alan Sutton, 312 pp., £16, May 1983, 9780862990190
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Radicalism and Freethought in 19th-Century Britain 
by Joel Wiener.
Greenwood, 285 pp., $29.95, March 1983, 0 313 23532 5
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For King, Constitution and Country: The English Loyalists and the French Revolution 
by Robert Dozier.
Kentucky, 213 pp., £20.90, February 1984, 9780813114903
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... study of John Everard; and there is some predictably tough and valuable political analysis from David Underdown and Nicholas Rogers. What emerges from most of these essays, however, is not so much the undoubted ideological confluence of English and American radicals, as the disparities between their respective national ...

Dad & Jr

Christian Lorentzen: Bushes Jr & Sr, 4 December 2014

... a game of wallyball, the version of volleyball Jr liked to play with the Marines in the Camp David racquetball court. His days painting are now troubled by the rise of Islamic State, which you could call his one success at nation-building. I always cringe when someone panning a book says its flaws are a shame because at its heart is a story worth ...

A Long Silence

David A. Bell: ‘Englishness’, 14 December 2000

Englishness Identified: Manners and Character, 1650-1850 
by Paul Langford.
Oxford, 389 pp., £25, April 2000, 9780198206811
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... à l’anglaise’ was slang for a long silence. He also tells the story of the poet Samuel Rogers who, in 1815, asked a passerby on the streets of Paris, ‘Are you an Englishman?’ and received the reply: ‘Thank God I am, Sir.’ He quotes Washington Irving’s wonderful description of the English traveller in Italy who had his servant prepare and ...

North and South

Linda Colley, 2 August 2012

... Hallam, Macaulay, Stubbs, Maitland and Dicey, and by multitudes of lesser authors such as David Lindsay Keir, the son of a Scottish Presbyterian minister. Keir’s workmanlike Constitutional History of Modern Britain since 1485 went through nine editions between 1938 and 1969, and was both a celebration of how government in the UK was ‘conducted by ...

Fiery Participles

D.A.N. Jones, 6 September 1984

Hazlitt: The Mind of a Critic 
by David Bromwich.
Oxford, 450 pp., £19.50, March 1984, 0 19 503343 4
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William Godwin: Philosopher, Novelist, Revolutionary 
by Peter Marshall.
Yale, 496 pp., £14.95, June 1984, 0 521 24386 6
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Burke, Paine, Godwin and the Revolution Controversy 
edited by Marilyn Butler.
Cambridge, 280 pp., £25, June 1984, 0 521 24386 6
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... never less alone than when alone.’ Or it might have been Byron, or Byron’s favourite, Samuel Rogers, both of whom put the solitude paradox into verse. It might even have been Cicero, quoting Scipio Africanus: nec minus solus quam cum solus esset. Hazlitt and Whitman did not much care who the ‘old fellow’ was who first coined the phrase: he had ...

Rug Time

Jonathan Steinberg, 20 October 1983

Kissinger: The Price of Power 
by Seymour Hersh.
Faber, 699 pp., £15, October 1983, 0 571 13175 1
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... fans will recognise the old cast of characters, those almost-forgotten names – Charles Colson, David Young, Egil ‘Bud’ Krogh – and there is pleasure in this: a bit like watching an old horror film on late-night TV. Yet on that level Mr Hersh is not exciting. We know the Watergate story from every angle and, by now, from the memoirs of almost every ...

Stag at Bay

Adam Phillips: Byron in Geneva, 25 August 2011

Byron in Geneva: That Summer of 1816 
by David Ellis.
Liverpool, 189 pp., £25, September 2011, 978 1 84631 643 2
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... as if they/Could master all things.’ All this has a bearing on the before and after story that David Ellis wants us to take more seriously as the real story of Byron’s life. In Ellis’s view the summer of 1816, which he spent in Geneva, marked a turning point in Byron’s life. He was, Ellis tells us, acutely unhappy there, though the unhappiness had a ...

Pepys’s Place

Pat Rogers, 16 June 1983

The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Vol X: Companion and Vol XI: Index 
edited by Robert Latham.
Bell and Hyman, 626 pp., £19.50, February 1983, 0 7135 1993 2
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The Diary of John Evelyn 
edited by John Bowle.
Oxford, 476 pp., £19.50, April 1983, 0 19 251011 8
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The Brave Courtier: Sir William Temple 
by Richard Faber.
Faber, 187 pp., £15, February 1983, 0 571 11982 4
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... By comparison Pepys’s linguistic aberrations have an innocent air. It has been pointed out by David Nokes that the Companion is distinctly reticent about sex. In this it reflects the new edition as a whole: the facts are there, but not dwelt on (good) or ever really analysed (dubious). Not only is there no entry for Sex (as Nokes again observes, ‘Health ...

Diary

David Bromwich: The Snowden Case, 4 July 2013

... So he took the project underground and executed it in secret. Cheney issued the orders, his lawyer David Addington drew up the rationale, and Hayden at NSA made the practical arrangements. Eventually Cheney would appoint Hayden director of the CIA. Americans caught our first glimpse of the possible scope of NSA operations in December 2005 when the New York ...

Getting it right

Tam Dalyell, 18 July 1985

The Ponting Affair 
by Richard Norton-Taylor.
Cecil Woolf, 144 pp., £5.95, June 1985, 0 900821 74 4
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Who Killed Hilda Murrell? 
by Judith Cook.
New English Library, 182 pp., £1.95, June 1985, 0 450 05885 9
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... is no exaggeration. Simply a statement of fact. I am in a position to know. However right Paul Rogers, Lee Chadwick, Arthur Gavshon and I may have been, the fact is that without the sustained interest of Guardian readers, and, in my case, the Labour Party up and down the country, there was no way which the professors of Belgrano Studies, as ...

Foreign Body

Tim Winton, 22 June 1995

Patrick White: Letters 
edited by David Marr.
Cape, 678 pp., £35, January 1995, 0 224 03516 9
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... have taken it all so personally, since it’s difficult to find peers for White anywhere. David Marr’s excellent and sympathetic biography confirmed White’s singularity and perhaps even his greatness, but the recent Letters, astutely edited and accompanied by acerbic and timely interpolations, reveals the Nobel laureate as a man lagging well ...

Down with Cosmopolitanism

Gillian Darley, 18 May 2000

Stylistic Cold Wars: Betjeman v. Pevsner 
by Timothy Mowl.
Murray, 182 pp., £14.99, March 2000, 9780719559099
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... the arch-priest of totalitarian architecture that Mowl, faltering in the more confident steps of David Watkin’s Morality and Architecture (1977), paints. The idea of a modern Englishness, a battle hard fought and well described in David Matless’s Landscape and Englishness (1998), is not welcome here – especially, the ...

After the war

Diana Gould, 15 November 1984

Another Story: Women and the Falklands War 
by Jean Carr, introduced by Jane Ewart-Biggs.
Hamish Hamilton, 162 pp., £7.50, October 1984, 0 241 11391 1
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... over a rock with a village population’, to quote the words of one of the dead, Lieutenant David Tinker RN. Perhaps on reflection, and with realistic offers of compensation and, if desired, resettlement, they might accept a lease-back solution to the sovereignty problem. Presumably this would be easier for those who, according to Jean Carr, complained ...

This is me upside down

Theo Tait: ‘Kapow!’, 7 June 2012

Kapow! 
by Adam Thirlwell.
Visual Editions, 81 pp., £15, May 2012, 978 0 9565692 3 3
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... I assume this is the case, since we hear enough about it. The book is constructed in the Richard Rogers style, with all the functional background stuff displayed ostentatiously on the outside. There is a Thirlwellesque narrator, a writer who lives in East London, drinks a lot of coffee, and has recently ‘got back into the practice of dope’. He wants to ...

You Know Who You Are

Colin Kidd: About Last Year, 25 January 2018

Fall Out: A Year Of Political Mayhem 
by Tim Shipman.
William Collins, 559 pp., £25, November 2017, 978 0 00 826438 3
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... in shaping May’s Brexit policy? How far did May listen to the expert policy advice of Sir Ivan Rogers, our downbeat envoy in Brussels before his very public resignation in January 2017? Was it a mistake to set up a separate Department for Exiting the EU? Would it have been more efficient, instead of establishing and staffing a new ministry from scratch, to ...

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