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Shaky Do

Tony Gould, 5 May 1988

Mary and Richard: The Story of Richard Hillary and Mary Booker 
by Michael Burn.
Deutsch, 249 pp., £12.95, April 1988, 0 233 98280 9
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... Michael Burn assumes in this book that the name of Richard Hillary means nothing to present-day readers, so the reviewer had better follow his practice and provide biographical details. Although he was born in Australia shortly after the end of the First World War, Hillary came to England at an early age and had a thoroughly English upper middle-class education – prep school, followed by public school (Shrewsbury) and Oxford (Trinity College ...

The Spree

Frank Kermode, 22 February 1996

The Feminisation of American Culture 
by Ann Douglas.
Papermac, 403 pp., £10, February 1996, 0 333 65421 8
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Terrible Honesty: Mongrel Manhattan in the Twenties 
by Ann Douglas.
Picador, 606 pp., £20, February 1996, 0 330 34683 0
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... Ann Douglas’s The Feminisation of American Culture, first published in 1977, now appears in Britain at the same moment as its long-delayed successor, Terrible Honesty. Looking back at the earlier book, Douglas remarks that her ‘excavation and re-evaluation of American feminine 19th-century literature’ has been continued by many other historians, mostly women, who have rebelled against what she calls, in tones more civil than those of some of her successors, a literary canon consisting ‘of almost exclusively male-authored, conspicuously shaped and achieved works ...

A Salvo for Malawi

Douglas Oliver, 23 June 1994

... events rush towards me in a herd.The missionaries began the trouble,Watchtower people,Seventh Day Adventists,Seventh Day Baptists, one called Boothtook Chilembwe on as a servant,sent him to America to mixwith the radicals there.John came back as a qualified reverendto set up African-run missionswith American Negro ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Behind the Candelabra’, 4 July 2013

Behind the Candelabra 
directed by Steven Soderbergh.
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... to a Liberace show in Las Vegas, meets the great man backstage and is invited to lunch the next day. Thorson is star struck, dazzled by Liberace’s piano playing, especially when he doubles the tempo in his boogie-woogie number, but also wowed, as thousands were, by the glamour of an excess of everything so spectacularly enjoyed by the owner of it ...

The Road to Sligo

Tom Paulin, 17 May 1984

Poetry and Metamorphosis 
by Charles Tomlinson.
Cambridge, 97 pp., £9.95, March 1983, 0 521 24848 5
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Translations 
by Charles Tomlinson.
Oxford, 120 pp., £7.95, October 1983, 0 19 211958 3
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Conversation with the Prince 
by Tadeusz Rozewicz, translated by Adam Czerniawski.
Anvil, 206 pp., £4.95, March 1982, 0 85646 079 6
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Passions and Impressions 
by Pablo Neruda, translated by Margaret Sayers Peden.
Farrar, Straus/Faber, 396 pp., £16.50, October 1983, 0 571 12054 7
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An Empty Room 
by Leopold Staff, translated by Adam Czerniawski.
Bloodaxe, 64 pp., £3.25, March 1983, 0 906427 52 5
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... concept of art’s relation to society? In these islands, the first translator of Virgil was Gavin Douglas, whose Eneados was completed in 1513. Although my Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Literature appropriates Douglas as the earliest translator of the classics ‘into English’, his version was of course written in ...

What can be done

Leo Pliatzky, 2 August 1984

Government and the Governed 
by Douglas Wass.
Routledge, 120 pp., £8.95, April 1984, 0 7102 0312 8
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... The 1983-84 series of Reith Lectures was given by Sir Douglas Wass, who retired from the Civil Service in March 1983. He had served in the Treasury since 1946, and had been Permanent Secretary to the Treasury since 1974. The task which he set himself in the lectures was to examine the efficiency and responsiveness of central government in Britain ...

He ate peas with a knife

John Sutherland: Douglas Jerrold, 3 April 2003

Douglas Jerrold: 1803-57 
by Michael Slater.
Duckworth, 340 pp., £25, September 2002, 0 7156 2824 0
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... Thackeray’. This, as Slater reminds us (often), is the company his contemporaries expected Douglas Jerrold to keep. Some partisans might even have thought Slater right to put him first. Dickens and Thackeray were pall-bearers at Jerrold’s funeral and, according to their contemporary David Masson, ‘the three do form a triad so that it is hardly ...

Top Grumpy’s Top Hate

Robert Irwin: Richard Aldington’s Gripes, 18 February 1999

Richard Aldington and Lawrence of Arabia: A Cautionary Tale 
by Fred Crawford.
Southern Illinois, 265 pp., £31.95, July 1998, 0 8093 2166 1
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Lawrence the Uncrowned King of Arabia 
by Michael Asher.
Viking, 419 pp., £20, October 1998, 0 670 87029 3
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... protagonists had their real-lite counterparts and to read of the true exploits of the pilot Douglas Bader, the spy-master Colonel Oreste Pinto and, of course, Lawrence of Arabia. Although I was reluctant to lose my heroes, I was not very much older before I gathered that there was something not quite right about T.E. Lawrence. Richard Aldington’s ...

Knucklehead Truman

Douglas Johnson, 2 June 1983

The Eisenhower Diaries 
edited by Robert Ferrell.
Norton, 445 pp., £15.25, April 1983, 0 393 01432 0
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The Life and Times of Joe McCarthy: A Biography 
by Thomas Reeves.
Blond and Briggs, 819 pp., £11.95, June 1983, 0 85634 131 2
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The past has another pattern 
by George Ball.
Norton, 544 pp., £14.95, September 1982, 0 393 01481 9
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Torn Lace Curtain 
by Frank Saunders and James Southwood.
Sidgwick, 361 pp., £7.95, March 1983, 0 283 98946 7
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The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Path to Power 
by Robert Caro.
Collins, 882 pp., £15, February 1983, 0 00 217062 0
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The Politician: The Life and Times of Lyndon Johnson 
by Ronnie Dugger.
Norton, 514 pp., £13.25, September 1982, 9780393015980
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Years of Upheaval 
by Henry Kissinger.
Weidenfeld/Joseph, 1312 pp., £15.95, March 1982, 0 7181 2115 5
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Richard Nixon: The Shaping of his Character 
by Fawn Brodie.
Norton, 574 pp., £14.95, October 1982, 0 393 01467 3
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Haig: The General’s Progress 
by Roger Morris.
Robson, 458 pp., £8.95, October 1982, 9780860511885
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Keeping Faith: Memoirs of a President 
by Jimmy Carter.
Collins, 622 pp., £15, November 1982, 0 00 216648 8
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Crisis: The Last Year of the Carter Presidency 
by Hamilton Jordan.
Joseph, 431 pp., £12.95, November 1982, 0 7181 2248 8
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Power and Principle: Memoirs of the National Security Adviser 1977-81 
by Zbigniew Brzezinski.
Weidenfeld, 587 pp., £15, April 1983, 0 297 78220 7
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... prepared (or that John Kennedy had supported Nixon’s Senatorial campaign against Helen Gahagan Douglas, the wife of Melvin Douglas, who had been smeared as ‘the Pink Lady’). But he does mention Kennedy’s unfortunate excursions into foreign affairs when he was a member of Congress: for instance, he joined in the ...

Top of the World

Jenny Turner: Douglas Coupland, 22 June 2000

Miss Wyoming 
by Douglas Coupland.
Flamingo, 311 pp., £9.99, February 2000, 0 00 225983 4
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... Douglas Coupland has a special relationship with furniture. A page in the March 2000 issue of Wallpaper magazine puffs his own designs for a target-shaped occasional table, a Damien Hirst-spotted desk and the ‘DNA Band’ standing light. A Sunday-supplement profile-writer caught him bulk-buying ceramic vases which he intends to ‘repurpose’ at a later date; when at home in Vancouver, we learn from the same article, he ‘rearranges his furniture weekly ...

Alcohology

Victor Mallet, 8 December 1988

Constructive Drinking: Perspectives on Drink from Anthropology 
edited by Mary Douglas.
Cambridge, 291 pp., £25, September 1987, 0 521 33504 3
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For Prayer and Profit: The Ritual, Economic and Social Importance of Beer in Gwembe District, Zambia, 1950-1982 
by Elizabeth Colson and Thayer Scudder.
Stanford, 147 pp., $32.50, August 1988, 0 8047 1444 4
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... added that a very similar drink system or traditional dopstelsel exists in South Africa to this day. Farmers in the western Cape often pay part of their workers’ wages in cheap wine purchased in bulk, and some of the older and more dependent labourers say they would not want it any other way. In black Africa and white Africa beer is used to buy submission ...

Macédoine de Dumas

Douglas Johnson, 6 December 1979

The King of Romance: A Portrait of Alexandre Dumas 
by F.W.J. Hemmings.
Hamish Hamilton, 231 pp., £8.95
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... larger, including hams, joints of beef and steaks. And there was the visit to Epsom for Derby Day, a visit all the more remarkable for some because it was in the following year that Frith exhibited his famous painting, and the wistful can reflect on whether Dumas was amongst the crowd. But there is a difficulty. It has been pointed out that the ...

The Silences of General de Gaulle

Douglas Johnson, 20 November 1980

Mon Général 
by Olivier Guichard.
Grasset
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Lettres, Notes et Carnets: Vol.1 1905-1918, Vol.2 1919-1940; 
by Charles de Gaulle.
Plon
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Le Colonel de Gaulle et les Blindés 
by Paul Huard.
Plon
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... not have been that, as an old man, he was preoccupied with ‘he manner in which he was bound, one day, to have to give up office? And was it a sort of resignation when, in 1940, the 49-year-old officer resolutely turned his back on France, on the French Army, on the normal authorities of the country? At all events, a few months later there was the temptation ...

Jingoes

R.W. Johnson: Britain and South Africa since the Boer War, 6 May 2004

The Lion and the Springbok: Britain and South Africa since the Boer War 
by Ronald Hyam and Peter Henshaw.
Cambridge, 379 pp., £45, May 2003, 0 521 82453 2
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... British high commissioner who advised in 1960 that since a black government must come to power one day, Britain must ‘keep faith’ with the black majority, while at the same time not antagonising the National Party government to no good purpose: we must, he said, walk a tightrope through civil war, revolution and any other form of mayhem, and be waiting at ...

Dialect with Army and Navy

David Wheatley: Douglas Dunn and Politovsky, 21 June 2001

The Donkey’s Ears: Politovsky’s Letters Home 
by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 176 pp., £7.99, May 2000, 0 571 20426 0
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The Year's Afternoon 
by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 81 pp., £7.99, October 2000, 0 571 20427 9
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... up from history for a commission he received from the Ferens Art Gallery in Hull in 1983, Douglas Dunn has made him the narrator of his book-length poem The Donkey’s Ears. It’s been a long journey for Politovsky this time round as well: after leaving the poem for many years Dunn picked it up again in 1997, about the time he found himself with lots ...

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