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Boarder or Day Boy?

Bernard Porter: Secrecy in Britain, 15 July 1999

The Culture of Secrecy in Britain 1832-1998 
by David Vincent.
Oxford, 364 pp., £25, January 1999, 0 19 820307 1
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... whole seem to care, what is being kept from us. That is rather special; and a major factor, claims David Vincent in this path-breaking book, in our governance. It can have ludicrous effects. One was the refusal to acknowledge that we had any ‘secret services’: until recently, MI5 and MI6 had no official existence. Questions about them in Parliament ...

Entanglements

V.G. Kiernan, 4 August 1983

The Working Class in Modern British History: Essays in Honour of Henry Pelling 
edited by Jay Winter.
Cambridge, 315 pp., £25, February 1983, 0 521 23444 1
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The Chartist Experience: Studies in Working-Class Radicalism and Culture, 1830-60 
edited by James Epstein and Dorothy Thompson.
Macmillan, 392 pp., £16, November 1982, 0 333 32971 6
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Bread, Knowledge and Freedom: A Study of 19th-Century Working Class Autobiography 
by David Vincent.
Methuen, 221 pp., £4.95, December 1982, 0 416 34670 7
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... of them published records of their lives, in ruder or more polished form. For labour historians, David Vincent says, the 142 autobiographies of 1790 to 1850 that he explores, some of them unearthed by his own researches, represent material that has been unaccountably neglected. A man must think very well of himself, Jane Austen’s reluctant diner-out ...

Through the Mill

Jane Humphries: The Industrial Revolution, 20 March 2014

Liberty’s Dawn: A People’s History of the Industrial Revolution 
by Emma Griffin.
Yale, 303 pp., £12.99, March 2014, 978 0 300 20525 1
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... to illustrate various aspects of working-class life in Useful Toil and Destiny Obscure. By 1981, David Vincent had found 142 memoirs spanning the years from 1790 to 1850, and in Bread, Knowledge and Freedom used them to explore the response of ordinary people to economic and social change. In 1989, Vincent, Burnett ...

Festschriftiness

Susan Pedersen, 6 October 2011

Structures and Transformations in Modern British History 
edited by David Feldman and Jon Lawrence.
Cambridge, 331 pp., £50, January 2011, 978 0 521 51882 6
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The Peculiarities of Liberal Modernity in Imperial Britain 
edited by Simon Gunn and James Vernon.
California, 271 pp., £20.95, May 2011, 978 0 9845909 5 7
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Classes, Cultures and Politics: Essays on British History for Ross McKibbin 
edited by Clare Griffiths, John Nott and William Whyte.
Oxford, 320 pp., £65, April 2011, 978 0 19 957988 4
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... A layman might be forgiven for assuming that those two at least were on the same side. But when David Mayfield and Susan Thorne, two young American scholars, cited Stedman Jones and Joyce as exemplars of social history’s ‘linguistic turn’ in an essay published in Social History in 1992, a tempest ensued. Jon Lawrence and Miles Taylor, two of Stedman ...

Tears before the storm

Ruth Bernard Yeazell, 24 October 1991

The History of Tears: Sensibility and Sentimentality in France 
by Anne Vincent-Buffault.
Macmillan, 284 pp., £40, July 1991, 0 333 45594 0
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... it,’ he told a convention of Southern Baptists in June, but ‘as Barbara and I prayed at Camp David before the air war began, we were thinking about those young men and women overseas. And I had the tears start down the checks, and our minister smiled hack, and I no longer worried how it looked to others.’ As his voice broke, and he paused to dab at his ...

Tang and Tone

Stephen Fender: The Federal Writer’s Project’s American epic, 18 March 2004

Portrait of America: A Cultural History of the Federal Writers’ Project 
by Jerrold Hirsch.
North Carolina, 293 pp., £16.50, November 2003, 0 8078 5489 1
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... in autobiography; it positively ‘encapsulates rather than . . . qualifies its meaning’, as David Vincent has put it. However, it’s still possible to plot the degrees to which it was allowed to flourish in the FWP biographies. This is how Mary Hicks introduces her interview with Betty Cofer, a former slave of a plantation-owning family, in North ...

The Nephew

David Thomson, 19 March 1981

Charmed Lives 
by Michael Korda.
Penguin, 498 pp., £2.50, January 1981, 0 14 005402 2
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... up enthralled by his uncle Alex: he can only provide a fond and rather vague sketch of his father, Vincent, and a perfunctory one of his other uncle, Zoltan. The lives of the title are not three but two: uncle and nephew, the last tycoon and the ardent imitator. The extraordinary interest and appeal of this book spring from the way Michael Korda always wanted ...

Wigan Peer

Stephen Koss, 15 November 1984

The Crawford Papers: The Journals of David Lindsay, 27th Earl of Crawford and 10th Earl of Balcarres, during the Years 1892 to 1940 
edited by John Vincent.
Manchester, 645 pp., £35, October 1984, 0 7190 0948 0
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... bore – he is so insistent as to be a positive fatigue.’ This tart commentary was provided by David Alexander Edward Lindsay, better-known (after he succeeded his father in 1913) as the 27th Earl of Crawford, and probably best-known as the tenth Earl of Balcarres, a junior title that did not bar him from the House of Commons. To unravel his pedigree, as ...

Just what are those teeth for?

Ian Hamilton, 24 April 1997

... All in all, I get the feeling that TV overrates its audience’s blood-lust, or squirmlust. Take David Dimbleby’s grilling of Tony Blair on Panorama. Most of the interview was spent raking over Blair’s Old Labour past. At first this line seemed fair enough. Blair, after all, had on that very day been assuring his new City chums that almost nothing 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 ...

Back to Runnymede

Ferdinand Mount: Magna Carta, 23 April 2015

Magna Carta 
by David Carpenter.
Penguin, 594 pp., £10.99, January 2015, 978 0 241 95337 2
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Magna Carta Uncovered 
by Anthony Arlidge and Igor Judge.
Hart, 222 pp., £25, October 2014, 978 1 84946 556 4
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Magna Carta 
by J.C. Holt.
Cambridge, 488 pp., £21.99, May 2015, 978 1 107 47157 3
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Magna Carta: The Foundation of Freedom 1215-2015 
by Nicholas Vincent.
Third Millennium, 192 pp., £44.95, January 2015, 978 1 908990 28 0
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Magna Carta: The Making and Legacy of the Great Charter 
by Dan Jones.
Head of Zeus, 192 pp., £14.99, December 2014, 978 1 78185 885 1
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... the same root as ‘rune’ or ‘secret’. The drama of the proceedings zings off the pages of David Carpenter’s magisterial new study. What Carpenter does better than his rivals or predecessors is to make clear the continuing intensity of events after Runnymede and the hectic pace of them. Within days of its sealing, engrossments of the Charter were ...

Lost in Beauty

Michael Newton: Montgomery Clift, 7 October 2010

The Passion of Montgomery Clift 
by Amy Lawrence.
California, 333 pp., £16.95, May 2010, 978 0 520 26047 4
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... Eternity (1953), and then, after Edward Dmytryk’s Raintree County (1957), eight late films from Vincent Donehue’s Lonelyhearts (1958) to Raoul Lévy’s The Defector (1966), the caesura provided by the spectacular car crash that wrecked his face. There are three kinds of classic American crash: the James Dean, Eddie Cochran legend-sealer; the Bob Dylan at ...

‘His eyes were literally on fire’

David Trotter: Fu Manchu, 5 March 2015

The Yellow Peril: Dr Fu Manchu & the Rise of Chinaphobia 
by Christopher Frayling.
Thames and Hudson, 360 pp., £24.95, October 2014, 978 0 500 25207 9
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... about a cyber Pearl Harbor, as techno-Orientalist. Techno-Orientalism is a term invented by David Morley and Kevin Robins to describe the ‘Japan panic’ of the late 1980s. By that time, the Japanese economy, driven by non-stop technological innovation, had become the second largest in the world after the United States. Japan was the leading creditor ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘A Dangerous Method’, 8 March 2012

A Dangerous Method 
directed by David Cronenberg.
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... patient is Jung’s, a disturbed woman not at all underplayed by Keira Knightley. The movie – David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, with a screenplay by Christopher Hampton – opens with a view of her struggling against her captors in a horse-drawn coach (the date is 1904) and being delivered to a posh sanatorium in Switzerland. She goes rigid when ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Eastern Promises’, 15 November 2007

Eastern Promises 
directed by David Cronenberg.
October 2007
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... safely (if painfully and disastrously) in the mind. No director realises this more clearly than David Cronenberg. He is best known no doubt for The Fly (1986), Dead Ringers (1988) and his much vilified Crash (1996), but some of us have a soft spot, if that’s the term, for his early work The Brood (1979), a classic instance of the acting-out theory. A ...

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