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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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... from successive great empires in the Middle East for a considerably longer time than a rival kingdom to its north which had taken 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 ...

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 ...

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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... she peers at aborigine children through the wire fence of an institution, and notes ‘the shrinking, stick-like way their bodies move’. None of the men of Manly live up to the 18th-century name. There are surfing boys on the beach, but they seem too young for middle-aged Lillian. She meets a man on the ferry from Sydney and he urges her not to jump ...

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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... darkened, lower face involved the use of very different means to achieve the same end without provoking nuclear war. One of these means was the employment of surrogate forces to support movements of so-called ‘national liberation’ without the direct involvement of the Red Army. Thus in Africa Cuban intervention was subsidised – with East European ...
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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... former concerns his saving of his brother George Kent’s life from disasters arising from drug-taking, the latter his attempted dismissal of Percy Loraine from the Foreign Service. His complaint was that Percy had given him irrefutable but unwelcome advice – always an unforgivable offence in Edward’s eyes. When the facts of the Loraine case were first ...

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 ...

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 ...

Still Defending the Scots

Katie Stevenson: Robert the Bruce

10 September 2014
Robert the Bruce: King of the Scots 
by Michael Penman.
Yale, 443 pp., £25, June 2014, 978 0 300 14872 5
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... Margaret, Maid of Norway, while she was being brought to Scotland, left no clear heir and the kingdom plummeted into political turmoil. The main competitors for the throne in the ensuing Great Cause (overseen by Edward I of England) were soon established as Robert de Brus, fifth lord of Annandale, and John Balliol, lord of Galloway. Both claims originated ...

Ceremonies

Rodney Hilton

21 January 1988
Rituals of Royalty: Power and Ceremonial in Traditional Societies 
edited by David Cannadine and Simon Price.
Cambridge, 351 pp., £25, August 1987, 0 521 33513 2
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... of fascinating studies, ranging from Babylon to 20th-century Ghana, from China to Madagascar. David Cannadine, in his Introduction, says that the topics covered are mainly pre-modern and therefore outside the scope of most professional historians. In their Acknowledgments, however, the two editors refer to the ‘rites of passage’ of contemporary heads ...

Under the Soles of His Feet

Stephen Alford: Henry’s Wars

4 April 2019
The English People at War in the Age of Henry VIII 
by Steven Gunn.
Oxford, 297 pp., £35, January 2018, 978 0 19 880286 0
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... In the​ First Book of Kings (5:1-5) Hiram, King of Tyre, sends servants to Solomon, ‘for he had heard, that they had anointed him king in the room of his father,’ David: For Hiram was ever a lover of David ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: I'll eat my modem

10 August 2000
...  ...
18 July 1985
The Transformation of Spain: From Franco to the Constitutional Monarchy 
by David Gilmour.
Quartet, 306 pp., £12.95, March 1985, 9780704324619
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... Spanish version of Le Canard Enchaîné, went as follows: the young prince Felipe asks the king, whether there will be a public holiday when Franco dies. Yes, he replies. And, papa, will there be a holiday when you are declared king? Yes, says the king. And, papa, will there be a ...

A good God is hard to find

James Francken: Jenny Diski

4 January 2001
Only Human: A Divine Comedy 
by Jenny Diski.
Virago, 215 pp., £15.99, October 2000, 1 86049 839 6
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... who believe that they may have been written by a woman, a highly placed figure in the court of King Solomon. Jenny Diski’s latest novel is a third-person account of misadventure in Genesis: Only Human rattles through the lives of Adam, Cain and Noah and retells the story of Abraham and Sarah. But the omniscient third-person narrative is interrupted; the ...

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 ...

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