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My Little Lollipop

Jenny Diski: Christine Keeler, 22 March 2001

The Truth at Last: My Story 
by Christine Keeler and Douglas Thompson.
Sidgwick, 279 pp., £16.99, February 2001, 0 283 07291 1
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... Christine Keeler votes Conservative. She would, wouldn’t she? Having seen off the Macmillan Government in the 1960s, exposed the squalid underbelly of upper-class public life and fired the starting pistol to begin the sexual revolution by revealing that ‘You’ve never had it so good’ was actually ‘You’ve never had it so often,’ she reckons she knows what’s what about the world of politics and power (though sex and men are not really her thing ...

Plain girl’s revenge made flesh

Hilary Mantel, 23 April 1992

Madonna Unauthorised 
by Christopher Andersen.
Joseph, 279 pp., £14.99, December 1991, 0 7181 3536 9
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... how she likes to encourage it amongst her friends and co-workers. One of her other biographers, Douglas Thompson, quotes her as saying that she thinks of homosexual men as her ‘alter ego’. This is interesting, but Andersen does not pursue it. He is more concerned at this stage to describe her intellectual development. She had decided to grow the ...

The First Person, Steroid-Enhanced

Hari Kunzru: Hunter S. Thompson, 15 October 1998

The Rum Diary 
by Hunter S. Thompson.
Bloomsbury, 204 pp., £16.99, October 1998, 9780747541684
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The Proud Highway: The Fear and Loathing Letters. Vol. I 
by Hunter S. Thompson, edited by Douglas Brinkley.
Bloomsbury, 720 pp., £9.99, July 1998, 0 7475 3619 8
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... away from ‘neutral background’ (or seemed less able to stop himself doing it) than Hunter S. Thompson. Even at the start of his career, he was no believer in journalistic neutrality. Born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1937, Thompson was often in trouble with the police, spending his high-school graduation day in ...

A Kind of Greek

Jeremy Harding: Frank Thompson, 7 March 2013

A Very English Hero: The Making of Frank Thompson 
by Peter Conradi.
Bloomsbury, 419 pp., £18.99, August 2012, 978 1 4088 0243 4
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... canvas of the Cold War were already under way in the Balkans in the summer of 1944 when Frank Thompson was executed. Bulgaria was a member of the Axis and Frank, older brother of the historian E.P. Thompson, was on a mission in the country for Special Operations Executive: the idea was that anti-Nazi partisans should be ...

Armadillo

Christopher Ricks, 16 September 1982

Dissentient Voice: Enlightenment and Christian Dissent 
by Donald Davie.
University of Notre Dame Press, 154 pp., £11.85, June 1982, 0 268 00852 3
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These the Companions 
by Donald Davie.
Cambridge, 220 pp., £12.50, August 1982, 0 521 24511 7
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... evocation of places (the West Riding, the Arctic Circle, Cambridge or California) and of people (Douglas Brown, Yvor Winters, an early love, fellow-sailors), his touch in this prose is less secure than in either the kind of prose which he has most practised or the poems which figure within the book as at once asides and nubs. You may say, and believe, that ...

Designing criminal policy

David Garland, 10 October 1991

Reconstructing the Criminal: Culture, Law and Policy in England, 1830-1914 
by Martin Wiener.
Cambridge, 391 pp., £30, February 1991, 9780521350457
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... of criminal justice histories much more sceptical and critical than the first. Writers such as Douglas Hay, E.P. Thompson, Michael Ignatieff, and especially Michel Foucault, retold the story in a much more analytical and sophisticated way, showing how criminal justice developments were tied into wider social movements ...

Make me work if you can

T.H. Breen, 18 February 1988

Bound for America: The Transportation of British Convicts to the Colonies, 1718-1775 
by Roger Ekirch.
Oxford, 277 pp., £25, November 1987, 0 19 820092 7
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... seemed the perfect answer. His analysis draws, of course, on the seminal work of E.P. Thompson, Douglas Hay, J.M. Beattie, and others who have shown how judges used their discretion to banish persons who might well have been hanged. ‘The Liberties of a free people,’ wrote William Paley, ‘permit not those ...

Labouring

Blake Morrison, 1 April 1982

Continuous 
by Tony Harrison.
Rex Collings, £3.95, November 1982, 0 86036 159 4
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The Oresteia 
by Aeschylus, translated by Tony Harrison.
Rex Collings, 120 pp., £3.50, November 1981, 0 86036 178 0
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US Martial 
by Tony Harrison.
Bloodaxe, £75, November 1981, 0 906427 29 0
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A Kumquat for John Keats 
by Tony Harrison.
Bloodaxe, £75, November 1981, 0 906427 31 2
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... and the beauty of labour – lacking first-hand knowledge of the material they deal in. Douglas Dunn, impeccably proletarian and Left-inclining, once wrote memorably about a backstreet in Hull – but he, it turns out, is Scottish. And D.J. Enright’s vivid account of a working-class childhood, The Terrible Shears, is really more prose documentary ...

Endearingness

Donald Davie, 21 March 1991

The Oxford Book of Essays 
edited by John Gross.
Oxford, 680 pp., £17.95, February 1991, 0 19 214185 6
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... the sickliness of this has been recognised and condemned. It was one of the Leavisites – Denys Thompson, I believe – who put the boot in on the Essays of Elia; and this was one of the Leavisite demolition-jobs that truly cleared a space, and let the air in, for a more than academic public. John Gross, though he dutifully and unavoidably finds space for ...

A Topic Best Avoided

Nicholas Guyatt: Abraham Lincoln, 1 December 2011

The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery 
by Eric Foner.
Norton, 426 pp., £21, February 2011, 978 0 393 06618 0
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... his ability to steer the bargain through Congress. The legislative triumph went instead to Stephen Douglas, a politician from Illinois who, though four years younger than Lincoln, had already gained the national prominence he craved. In 1854, as the government debated the admission of Nebraska, Douglas persuaded Congress to ...

Taking Flight

Thomas Jones: Blake Morrison, 7 September 2000

The Justification of Johann Gutenberg 
by Blake Morrison.
Chatto, 259 pp., £14.99, August 2000, 0 7011 6965 6
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... to which Child’s Play 3 provided in the figure of Chucky a fictional precedent for Robert Thompson and Jon Venables: not an inspiration to the children, but an explanation of what they had done. Child’s Play 3 wasn’t the only story offered to provide a context for the killing: Andrew O’Hagan’s Diary in the LRB (11 March 1993), for ...

Imperial Project

Richard Drayton, 19 September 1996

Kew: The History of the Royal Botanic Gardens 
by Ray Desmond.
Harvill/Royal Botanical Gardens, 466 pp., £25, November 1995, 1 86046 076 3
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... which many political persuasions – from Clarendon, Hume and Macaulay to A.J.P. Taylor and E. P. Thompson – have helped an emerging nation make sense of itself. There are now good reasons, as Linda Colley and Chris Bayly have suggested, to bring the Empire to the centre of domestic history and to show how a wider world changed our experience of ...

Triermain Eliminate

Chauncey Loomis, 9 July 1987

Native Stones: A Book about Climbing 
by David Craig.
Secker, 213 pp., £10.95, May 1987, 0 436 11350 3
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... to the peak of Matterhorn, but that climb was my last: all the way up I visualised Lord Francis Douglas coming down the way that he did in 1865 – straight – and it spoiled the trip for me. Soon after I read a book entitled Alpine Tragedy. Its most telling point was made in a series of photographs of the great Alpine peaks: etched down their crags were ...

Subduing the jury

E.P. Thompson, 4 December 1986

... do better to go directly to the scholars whose work he has borrowed from – Cockburn, Langbein, Douglas Hay, and especially J.M. Beattie’s Crime and the Courts in England, 1660-1800. Never mind. Verdict according to Conscience gathers a great deal together in one place, has many shrewd pages and much patient exposition. It will be a resource for many ...

Dawn of the Dark Ages

Ronald Stevens: Fleet Street magnates, 4 December 2003

Newspapermen: Hugh Cudlipp, Cecil Harmsworth King and the Glory Days of Fleet Street 
by Ruth Dudley Edwards.
Secker, 484 pp., £20, May 2003, 0 436 19992 0
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... a model. Bill Connor, who would become the columnist ‘Cassandra’, was recruited from J. Walter Thompson, where he had been a copywriter. Cudlipp, who was now in London with Kemsley’s Sunday Chronicle, joined as assistant features editor. His brother Percy was by this time editor of the Evening Standard, but he seems never to have thought about giving his ...

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