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Bad Medicine

Frank McLynn, 23 July 1992

The Malaria Capers 
by Robert Desowitz.
Norton, 288 pp., £14.95, February 1992, 9780393030136
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... Malaria has accompanied mankind on the slog through six millennia of ‘civilisation’. Hippocrates wrote about it in Ancient Greece; Alexander the Great is usually thought to have died from it (though some opt for assassination by poison) as are the Roman emperors Vespasian, Titus and Hadrian; Dea Febris, the goddess of fever, was worshipped in Rome: indeed, some historians have identified malaria as a major factor in Rome’s decline and fall ...

Stanley and the Women

Tony Gould, 25 July 1991

Stanley: The Making of an African Explorer 
by Frank McLynn.
Constable, 411 pp., £17.95, October 1989, 0 09 462420 8
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Stanley: Sorcerer’s Apprentice 
by Frank McLynn.
Constable, 499 pp., £25, January 1991, 0 09 470220 9
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Dark Safari: The Life behind the Legend of Henry Morton Stanley 
by John Bierman.
Hodder, 401 pp., £17.95, January 1991, 0 340 50977 5
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... adoptive country, and in Abyssinia, where he made his name as a reporter – two episodes which Frank McLynn, surprisingly in a much fuller work, skips over. McLynn offers both a scholarly and a critical justification for his two volumes: ‘Neither Richard Hall’s Stanley (1974) nor ...

Was He Quite Ordinary?

Mary Beard: Marcus Aurelius, 23 July 2009

Marcus Aurelius: Warrior, Philosopher, Emperor 
by Frank McLynn.
Bodley Head, 684 pp., £20, March 2009, 978 0 224 07292 2
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... Darwin to Nietzsche – Marcus was an intellectual hero. Even Bill Clinton claimed (according to Frank McLynn in his new biography) ‘to have read and reread’ the Meditations during his presidency. For most people now, Marcus Aurelius is remembered as the elderly emperor smothered by young Commodus on campaign on the German frontier at the start of ...

Lutfi’s bar will not be opening again

Basil Davidson, 7 January 1993

Fitzroy Maclean 
by Frank McLynn.
Murray, 413 pp., £25, October 1992, 9780719549717
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Franz Joseph 
by Jean-Paul Bled, translated by Teresa Bridgeman.
Blackwell, 359 pp., £45, September 1992, 0 631 16778 1
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... outcome of 1990; the boobies are probably such as will never learn. To useful books on the subject Frank McLynn now adds an admiring but judiciously objective biography of the British soldier who came to play a leading role in this British reinforcement of the Partisans. The general story that he has to tell is very well done, and follows the archival ...

God’s Own

Angus Calder, 12 March 1992

Empire and English Character 
by Kathryn Tidrick.
Tauris, 338 pp., £24.95, August 1990, 1 85043 191 4
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Into Africa: The story of the East African Safari 
by Kenneth Cameron.
Constable, 229 pp., £14.95, June 1990, 0 09 469770 1
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Burton: Snow upon the Desert 
by Frank McLynn.
Murray, 428 pp., £19.95, September 1990, 0 7195 4818 7
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From the Sierras to the Pampas: Richard Burton’s Travels in the Americas, 1860-69 
by Frank McLynn.
Barrie and Jenkins, 258 pp., £16.99, July 1991, 0 7126 3789 3
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The Duke of Puddle Dock: Travels in the Footsteps of Stamford Raffles 
by Nigel Barley.
Viking, 276 pp., £16.99, March 1992, 0 670 83642 7
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... A visit to creole Sierra Leone in 1861 provoked frenzies of racist nonsense. His new biographer, Frank McLynn, says that ‘Burton regarded the Sierra Leone black intellectual’s refusal to admit his own biological inferiority as in itself evidence of his mental crassness – “as if there could be brotherhood between crown and clown”.’ Burton’s ...

Who’s to blame?

Kathryn Tidrick, 25 February 1993

The Black Man’s Burden: Africa and the Curse of the Nation-State 
by Basil Davidson.
James Currey, 372 pp., £9.95, September 1992, 0 85255 700 0
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Hearts of Darkness: The European Exploration of Africa 
by Frank McLynn.
Hutchinson, 390 pp., £18.99, August 1992, 0 09 177082 3
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African Silences 
by Peter Matthiessen.
Harvill, 225 pp., £7.99, September 1992, 0 00 271186 9
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... firmly in the tradition of the works produced by the Victorian explorers who are the subject of Frank McLynn’s informative study. Such men as McLynn describes went to Africa to assert their ability to see. For the Victorians, this meant integrating the natural phenomena they travelled so far and so arduously to ...

Stewarts on the dole

Rosalind Mitchison, 10 November 1988

Bonnie Prince Charlie 
by Rosalind Marshall.
HMSO, 208 pp., £8.50, April 1988, 0 11 493420 7
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Bonnie Prince Charlie: A Biography 
by Susan Maclean Kybett.
Unwin Hyman, 343 pp., £12.95, April 1988, 0 04 440213 9
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Charles Edward Stuart: A Tragedy in Many Acts 
by Frank McLynn.
Routledge, 640 pp., £24.95, September 1988, 0 415 00272 9
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Mary Queen of Scots: A Study in Failure 
by Jenny Wormald.
George Philip, 206 pp., £14.95, March 1988, 0 540 01131 2
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Mary Stewart: Queen in Three Kingdoms 
edited by Michael Lynch.
Blackwell, 238 pp., £25, July 1988, 0 631 15263 6
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The Shadow of a Crown: The Life Story of James II of England and VII of Scotland 
by Meriol Trevor.
Constable, 320 pp., £15, June 1988, 0 09 467850 2
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The Scottish Tory Party: A History 
by Gerald Warner.
Weidenfeld, 247 pp., £12.95, May 1988, 9780297791010
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The Elgins, 1766-1917: A Tale of Aristocrats, Proconsuls and their Wives 
by Sydney Checkland.
Aberdeen University Press, 303 pp., £25, April 1988, 0 08 036395 4
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... come in at once if things had clearly been going well. A latecomer to this commemorative year is Frank McLynn’s biography a thorough study supported by the full range of sources. McLynn may seem to some over-inclined to use the dogmas of psychology to explore the Prince’s fragile personality, but his emphasis on ...


W.G. Runciman: You had better look out, 10 December 1998

... remedied: see below). One otherwise favourable review which I hadn’t previously seen, by Frank McLynn in the Literary Review, contains a weird aside in which I am taken to task because I, a ‘contemporary Croesus’, presume to encourage young persons contemplating a career as ‘underpaid, sneered at and generally put upon’ as academic ...


Andrew O’Hagan: The Bournemouth Set, 21 May 2020

... exquisite art, he cannot fight the will of his wife or reverse the destruction she wreaks. Frank Kermode saw the tale as allegorical, ‘the life of art versus the life of evangelical conscience ending in the sacrifice of life’.James had heard from Edmund Gosse about the unsatisfactory marriage of John Addington Symonds, about Symonds’s ‘extreme ...

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