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London Review of Crooks

Robert Marshall-Andrews

15 July 1982
Rough Justice: The Extraordinary Truth about Charles Richardson and his Gang 
by Robert Parker.
Fontana, 352 pp., £1.95, October 1981, 0 00 636354 7
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Web of Corruption: The Story of John Poulson and T. Dan Smith 
by Raymond Fitzwalter and David Taylor.
Granada, 282 pp., £12.50, October 1981, 0 246 10915 7
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Inside Boss: South Africa’s Secret Police 
by Gordon Winter.
Penguin, 640 pp., £7.95, October 1981, 9780140057515
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Crime in Wartime: A Social History of Crime in World War II 
by Edward Smithies.
Allen and Unwin, 219 pp., £12.50, January 1982, 0 04 364020 6
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... to know. Anyone in search of an object lesson in how to write about crime need look no further than Web of Corruption, which tells the story of John Poulson and T. Dan Smith. Raymond Fitzwalter and DavidTaylor took eight years to research and write their analysis of the most far-reaching corruption trial of this century. The opening summary is startling. Of those prosecuted in connection with ...
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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... Without Richard Norton-Taylor of the Guardian, there would be no Belgrano affair, and doubtless Mr Clive Ponting OBE would be plying his way, ever upwards, in the Ministry of Defence. This is no exaggeration. Simply a statement ...

The Reptile Oculist

John Barrell: On the trail of the mysterious John Taylor

1 April 2004
... John Taylor, the journalist, newspaper editor and poet, was born in 1757. His grandfather, the legendary ‘Chevalier’ Taylor, had been oculist to George II, and afterwards, so his grandson assures us, to ‘every crowned head in Europe’. He was as famous for his womanising as for his knowledge of ophthalmology, but most ...

Heat-Seeking

Susan Pedersen: A.J.P. Taylor

10 May 2007
A.J.P. TaylorRadical Historian of Europe 
by Chris Wrigley.
Tauris, 439 pp., £25, August 2006, 1 86064 286 1
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... This is the third full biography of A.J.P. Taylor to appear since his death in 1990. I find this fact almost more interesting than anything in the biographies themselves. For more than two decades after the war Taylor was, very nearly, the public ...

Misbehavin’

Susannah Clapp

23 July 1987
A Life with Alan: The Diary of A.J.P. Taylor’s Wife, Eva, from 1978 to 1985 
by Eva Haraszti Taylor.
Hamish Hamilton, 250 pp., £14.95, June 1987, 0 241 12118 3
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The Painted Banquet: My Life and Loves 
by Jocelyn Rickards.
Weidenfeld, 172 pp., £14.95, May 1987, 0 297 79119 2
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The Beaverbrook Girl 
by Janet Aitken Kidd.
Collins, 240 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 00 217602 5
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... When the London Review of Books began to run a Diary in 1982, A.J.P. Taylor was one of its authors. He always delivered to an exact length, well before the deadline, and often in person. A new editorial assistant, handed copy by the small seventy-five-year-old in a ...
8 April 1993
The Ethics of Authenticity 
by Charles Taylor.
Harvard, 142 pp., £13.95, November 1992, 0 674 26863 6
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... of narcissism. If you rather admire these people’s attitudes and way of life, you may describe it as a culture of tolerance. If you have mixed feelings, you might settle for the description Charles Taylor suggests: it is a culture of authenticity. Taylor says that we ought neither to boost this culture (in the manner of the truly dreadful books produced by representatives of ‘the human potential ...

At The Hutton Enquiry

Daniel Soar: Hutton’s Big Top

11 September 2003
... in the present circumstances, and the right hand respects that – so long as the left hand does in the end pick up the pieces. And it will. Downing Street’s first-choice strategy for the outing of David Kelly – writing, semi-publicly, to the Intelligence and Security Committee to offer him as a witness – was vetoed by Ann Taylor MP, the Committee’s chairman, whose staff refused to be sent the ...

A Toast at the Trocadero

Terry Eagleton: D.J. Taylor

18 February 2016
The Prose Factory: Literary Life in England since 1918 
by D.J. Taylor.
Chatto, 501 pp., £25, January 2016, 978 0 7011 8613 5
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... D.J. Taylor​ is the most charitable of critics. However absurd, third-rate or pretentious the authors he examines, he can always find something to say in their favour. In this latest study, he even puts in a ...

Snob Cuts

Rosemary Hill: Modern Snobbery

3 November 2016
... good-natured assumption that everyone is a snob about something and to that extent we are all ridiculous. The bookseller was a snob about snobbery and thought it was vulgar to talk about class. D.J. Taylor is perhaps a literary snob for Cooper gets no mention in his much less enjoyable The New Book of Snobs: A Definitive Guide to Modern Snobbery (Little, Brown, £16.99). His first mistake is to attempt ...

Short Cuts

Rosemary Hill: Shakespeare’s Faces

7 January 2016
... to show what Shakespeare signified rather than what he looked like. Scheemakers’s full-length marble in Poets’ Corner is an image of a national bard. Roubiliac’s version was commissioned by David Garrick, who posed for it himself and while this was certainly vain of him, it was not as vain as it would be today. At a time when the play, rather than the biography, was the thing, Garrick was not ...

Is It Glamorous?

David​ Simpson: Stefan Collini among the Intellectuals

6 March 2008
Absent Minds: Intellectuals in Britain 
by Stefan Collini.
Oxford, 544 pp., £16.99, July 2005, 0 19 929105 5
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... to learn that the combined circulation of the three periodicals in which most of his essays appeared was only about half that of the publication you are now reading. On the other hand, A.J.P. Taylor wrote some 1500 book reviews in the course of his career, many of which appeared in the Sunday Express, which in the late 1950s had a circulation of four million and paid him up to £100 a time – a ...
22 April 1993
Behind Closed Doors 
by Irving Scholar and Mihir Bose.
Deutsch, 367 pp., £14.99, November 1992, 0 233 98824 6
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Sick as a Parrot: The Inside Story of the Spurs Fiasco 
by Chris Horrie.
Virgin, 293 pp., £4.99, August 1992, 0 86369 620 1
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Gary Lineker: Strikingly Different 
by Colin Malam.
Stanley Paul, 147 pp., £12.99, January 1993, 0 09 175424 0
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... hired by Scholar, who jetted to Florida to snap him up, while others dithered. And it was lucky that Spurs had a vacancy when they did – a vacancy created by the resignation of Tel’s predecessor, David Pleat. Pleat had been fingered by the Sun as a kerb-crawler and there was much bar-room speculation at the time about tip-offs, fit-ups, Sun stringers on the Met. The first Sun revelations came in ...

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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... to emphasise instead how available rhetorical tropes or habits of mind constrained political options. 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 ...

Heart-Stopping

Ian Hamilton

25 January 1996
Not Playing for Celtic: Another Paradise Lost 
by David​ Bennie.
Mainstream, 221 pp., £12.99, October 1995, 1 85158 757 8
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Achieving the Goal 
by David​ Platt.
Richard Cohen, 244 pp., £12.99, October 1995, 1 86066 017 7
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Captain’s Log: The Gary McAllister Story 
by Gary McAllister and Graham Clark.
Mainstream, 192 pp., £14.99, October 1995, 9781851587902
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Blue Grit: The John Brown Story 
by John Brown and Derek Watson.
Mainstream, 176 pp., £14.99, November 1995, 1 85158 822 1
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Kicking and Screaming: An Oral History of Football in England 
by Rogan Taylor and Andrew Ward.
Robson, 370 pp., £16.95, October 1995, 0 86051 912 0
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A Passion for the Game: Real Lives in Football 
by Tom Watt.
Mainstream, 316 pp., £14.99, October 1995, 1 85158 714 4
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... guide: They hand in hand with wondering steps and slow Through Eden took their solitary way. A ‘lack of pace’ might seem to be the problem with this dual strike-force, but happily the author – David Bennie – does not say so. Nick Hornby cannot be blamed for writing of this kind, although Fever Pitch has helped to set the tone. In some ways, Hornby has links with the old school. He knows and ...
19 February 2004
John Clare: A Biography 
by Jonathan Bate.
Picador, 650 pp., £25, October 2003, 0 330 37106 1
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‘I Am’: The Selected Poetry of John Clare 
edited by Jonathan Bate.
Farrar, Straus, 318 pp., $17, November 2003, 0 374 52869 1
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John Clare, Politics and Poetry 
by Alan Vardy.
Palgrave, 221 pp., £45, October 2003, 0 333 96617 1
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John Clare Vol. V: Poems of the Middle Period 1822-37 
edited by Eric Robinson, David​ Powell and P.M.S. Dawson.
Oxford, 822 pp., £105, January 2003, 0 19 812386 8
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... that he was much more successful in his lifetime than Keats, with whom he shared a publisher). Clare was discovered in 1819, when Edward Drury, a young Stamford bookseller, wrote to his cousin John Taylor, who was also a bookseller – what we would now call a publisher – and told him that he had discovered a wholly untutored genius: Your hopes of good grammar and correct verse, depend on the ...

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