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Farewell to the Log Cabin

Colin Kidd: America’s Royalist Revolution

18 December 2014
The Royalist Revolution 
by Eric Nelson.
Harvard, 390 pp., £22.95, October 2014, 978 0 674 73534 7
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... the Anglo-American frictions of the 1760s and early 1770s to a supposedly Jacobite conspiracy against George III, backed by his former prime minister and favourite John Stuart, the 3rd Earl of Bute. EricNelson’s new book advances the royalist reinterpretation of 18th-century America a crucial stage further. Though Nelson departs from McConville’s position in important respects, The Royalist ...

Short Cuts

Tom Crewe: The Party Conferences

18 October 2017
... Never despair​ of finding diamonds in the dust. Sir Eric Pickles, until 2015 Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, isn’t the sort of figure from whom one expects or desires fragments of autobiography, but, introducing his internal ...
19 February 2015
... In October​ 1988 the Conservative student association at Liverpool University invited a diplomat from the South African embassy to speak at one of its events. In those Cold War days Nelson Mandela was still a terrorist and defenders of apartheid were heroes to some on the hard right. But protests seemed likely and the university authorities felt compelled to withdraw permission for the ...
1 June 2000
Working-Class New York: Life and Labour Since World War Two 
by Joshua Freeman.
New Press, 393 pp., $35, May 2000, 1 56584 575 7
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... New York is also a milestone in American labour history. As in Britain, there was a remarkable transformation in this subject in the two decades after 1965. Inspired by the work of E.P. Thompson and Eric Hobsbawm, American scholars redefined a field which had been almost exclusively taken up with the history of trades union to encompass working-class life and culture outside the workplace as well as ...


Eric​ Hobsbawm

3 June 1982
War and Society in Revolutionary Europe 1770-1870 
by Geoffrey Best.
Leicester University Press/Fontana, 336 pp., £12, March 1982, 0 00 634747 9
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European Empires from Conquest to Collapse 1815-1960 
by V.G. Kiernan.
Leicester University Press/Fontana, 285 pp., £12, March 1982, 0 00 634826 2
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... is apt to be forgotten because it conflicts with the patriotic image. Winston Churchill was exceptional in recognising publicly that the de facto traditions of the British Navy consisted not only of Nelson but also of ‘rum, sodomy and the lash’, and Best rightly reminds us that the only other armed forces in the 18th century as barbarous in their recruitment and as brutal in their management as the ...

The Wonderfulness of Us

Richard J. Evans: The Tory Interpretation of History

17 March 2011
... the history of Parliament and its relation to the people. More than two dozen individuals are mentioned, including Henry II and Becket, Charles I and Oliver Cromwell, Charles II and William III, Nelson and Wellington, Gladstone and Disraeli. In addition to the three British courses, students have to take one period of European history before 1914, and two world history courses, one involving an ...
24 April 1997
Huxley: Evolution’s High Priest 
by Adrian Desmond.
Joseph, 372 pp., £20, March 1997, 0 7181 3882 1
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... Galapagos, meditations in the garden, sermons on barnacles, revelations, beatitudes, fame and the glorious humility of the return to earthworms: as children we knew his story as we knew the life of Nelson or St George. There was no such moving image for Thomas Henry Huxley, Darwin’s bulldog (or Rottweiler) as there is not for Nelson’s Hardy or St George’s horse; the acts of the chief apostle are ...
22 March 2018
The Weeping Time: Memory and the Largest Slave Auction in American History 
by Anne C. Bailey.
Cambridge, 197 pp., £19.99, November 2017, 978 1 316 64348 8
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... however, take into account some of the problems raised by genetic testing, which has become big business, even spawning genome-themed tours of ancestral African homelands. The sociologist Alondra Nelson’s recent book The Social Life of DNA explores these themes in depth and raises questions about both the scientific credibility of DNA findings and whether science can really be the vehicle for ...


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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... Africa, deploring ‘the somewhat negrophilistic temper which is about today’ and enthusing that the white settlers in East Africa were of ‘an extraordinarily good type’. Smuts, rather than Nelson Mandela, was South Africa’s man of the century: from 1895 to 1948, his enormous energy was brought to bear continuously on the shape and future of the country. It is only when one realises this ...

Be interesting!

John Lanchester: Martin Amis

6 July 2000
by Martin Amis.
Cape, 401 pp., £18, May 2000, 0 224 05060 5
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... all honest relationship. Experience recounts tremendous arguments (‘the velvet revolutions of 1989 had left him a bit short of obvious villains and hate-figures – until, incredibly, he settled on Nelson Mandela’) and even more tremendous jokes. Amis is a much-envied man, but this relationship really is worth envying: My father and I often had occasion to agree that ‘fuck off’ was very funny ...


Stuart Airlie

17 November 1983
Medieval Germany and its Neighbours 900-1250 
by K.J. Leyser.
Hambledon, 302 pp., £18, February 1983, 0 907628 08 7
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The Frankish Kingdoms under the Carolingians 751-987 
by Rosamond McKitterick.
Longman, 414 pp., £9.95, June 1983, 0 582 49005 7
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Ideal and Reality in Frankish and Anglo-Saxon Society: Studies presented to J.M. Wallace-Hadrill 
edited by Patrick Wormald, Donald Bullough and Roger Collins.
Blackwell, 345 pp., £27.50, September 1983, 0 631 12661 9
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... says that the book shows Dhuoda as being ‘well-read and cultured’, but we really ought to be given an idea of the nature of that culture. It is a great pity that she did not take up Dr J.L. Nelson’s suggestion that Dhuoda’s stress on the role of the father in the family mirrored developments in the social structure affecting the world of politics – Dr McKitterick’s avowed concern ...

Cameron’s Crank

Jonathan Raban: ‘Red Tory’

22 April 2010
Red Tory: How Left and Right Have Broken Britain and How We Can Fix it 
by Phillip Blond.
Faber, 309 pp., £12.99, April 2010, 978 0 571 25167 4
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... Norman Painting, who played him, died recently, but is Jill still around? Where’s Shula? What’s with Eddie Grundy? Old Walter Gabriel must be long gone, but what happened to his scapegrace son, Nelson? Are the village shop and post office still open, or does everyone in Ambridge have to drive to Borchester to shop at Tesco? Is The Bull now part of the portfolio of Punch Taverns plc? I ask these ...

The God Squad

Andrew O’Hagan: Bushland

23 September 2004
... Esbeck, who had directed the Center for Law and Religious Freedom run by the conservative Virginia-based Christian Legal Society, as the first chief of the department’s faith-based office. He named Eric Treene, former litigation director at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, as special counsel for religious discrimination, a new position in the Justice Department.4 The most striking thing about ...
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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... Clare’s surviving manuscripts. (They opt to print the poems without punctuation.) Bate also addresses the question of the copyright to Clare’s manuscripts, which is claimed by his Oxford editor, Eric Robinson, who bought them for £1 in 1965. Bate’s account of Clare’s relationship with Taylor convincingly shows that Clare often needed the stimulus of his publisher’s urgings: ‘If I cannot ...

Aux sports, citoyens

Douglas Johnson

3 December 1981
Sport and Society in Modern France 
by Richard Holt.
Macmillan, 256 pp., £20, July 1981, 0 333 25951 3
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... Boyhood of Raleigh postures as they saw the four masts of the late Alain Colas’s yacht appear on the distant horizon, and I heard it pass from lip to lip that Colas was back again. When his rival, Eric Tabarly, signed his book in the Librairie Maritime, so many people turned up that the police had to keep order in the street. A distinguished political scientist, questioned about the future of ...

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