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Secret Affairs: Franklin Roosevelt, Cordell Hull and Sumner Welles 
by Irwin Gellman.
Johns Hopkins, 499 pp., $29.95, April 1995, 0 8018 5083 5
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Closest Companion: The Unknown Story of the Intimate Friendship between Franklin Roosevelt and Margaret Suckley 
edited by Geoffrey Ward.
Houghton Mifflin, 444 pp., $24.95, April 1995, 0 395 66080 7
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No Ordinary Time. Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War Two 
by Doris Kearns Goodwin.
Simon and Schuster, 759 pp., £18, June 1995, 0 671 64240 5
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The End of Reform 
by Alan Brinkley.
Knopf, 371 pp., $27.50, March 1995, 0 394 53573 1
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... diary and the letters she exchanged with her cousin Franklin Roosevelt, found and edited by Geoffrey Ward) and No Ordinary Time (Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Pulitzer Prize-winning history of the home front during World War Two) are products of the current obsession with the private lives of public figures. But the books about the President’s women ...

Merely an Empire

David Thomson: Eighteen Hours in Vietnam, 20 September 2017

The Vietnam War 
directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.
PBS, ten episodes
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... ten episodes are laid out in sequence, with dates and agendas. The voiceover narrative, written by Geoffrey Ward, is remorseless and untheatrical, just as Peter Coyote’s spoken narration is dry, unaccented and a little formal, as if reading out a casualty report. But Burns and Novick seem to understand how specious it would be to make this a ...

Just a smack at Grigson

Denis Donoghue, 7 March 1985

Montaigne’s Tower, and Other Poems 
by Geoffrey Grigson.
Secker, 72 pp., £5.95, October 1984, 0 436 18806 6
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Collected Poems: 1963-1980 
by Geoffrey Grigson.
Allison and Busby, 256 pp., £4.95, October 1984, 0 85031 557 3
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The Faber Book of Reflective Verse 
edited by Geoffrey Grigson.
Faber, 238 pp., £7.95, October 1984, 0 571 13299 5
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Blessings, Kicks and Curses 
by Geoffrey Grigson.
Allison and Busby, 279 pp., £4.95, October 1984, 0 85031 558 1
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The Private Art: A Poetry Notebook 
by Geoffrey Grigson.
Allison and Busby, 231 pp., £4.95, October 1984, 9780850315592
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Before the Romantics: An Anthology of the Enlightenment 
by Geoffrey Grigson.
Salamander, 349 pp., £5.95, September 1984, 0 907540 59 7
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... Geoffrey Grigson’s best poem, and the type of his best poetry, is ‘His Swans’. Evidently and justly, he thinks well enough of it to put it in the Faber Book of Reflective Verse as his sole exhibit: Remote music of his swans, their long Necks ahead of them, slow Beating of their wings, in unison, Traversing serene Grey wide blended horizontals Of endless sea and sky ...

The Cow Bells of Kitale

Patrick Collinson: The Selwyn Affair, 5 June 2003

... In a court in western Kenya, on 13 July 1934, Major Geoffrey Selwyn and his wife, Helen, were jointly charged with the murder of a ‘native’. Geoffrey Selwyn, my father-in-law, died before the trial began. Proceedings continued in his absence, and my children’s grandmother was found guilty of manslaughter and sent to prison ...

Vanishings

Seamus Deane, 30 December 1982

Selected Poems 
by John Montague.
Oxford, 189 pp., £5.95, May 1982, 0 19 211950 8
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Ghosts at my Back 
by Tom Rawling.
Oxford, 55 pp., £3.95, June 1982, 0 19 211951 6
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A Late Harvest 
by John Ward.
Peterloo, 48 pp., £3, April 1982, 0 09 146960 0
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... grief, wildness, man the permanent alien: Where I stand Anent the wild fish And the tree. John Ward is, like Tom Rawling, well into his sixties, and he, too, is concerned with the retrieval of a North Country past. Perhaps Geoffrey Hill has given the English North the imaginative status which the Irish Revival gave to ...

How to be a queen

David Carpenter: She-Wolves, 15 December 2011

She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England before Elizabeth 
by Helen Castor.
Faber, 474 pp., £9.99, July 2011, 978 0 571 23706 7
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... and disfigured by disease, and by the treatments his doctors had prescribed in the attempt to ward off its ravages. Their failure could no longer be mistaken. The hollow grey eyes were ringed with red, and the livid skin, once fashionably translucent, was blotched with sores. The harrowing, bloody cough, which for months had been exhaustingly ...

A Revision of Expectations

Richard Horton: Notes on the NHS, 2 July 1998

The National Health Service: A Political History 
by Charles Webster.
Oxford, 233 pp., £9.99, April 1998, 0 19 289296 7
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... ministerial red boxes to find a long report by a still rather obscure Conservative barrister. Geoffrey Howe had entered Parliament in 1964, only to lose his seat when Wilson increased Labour’s majority from four to 95 in 1966. Crossman’s predecessor, Kenneth Robinson, had appointed Howe to chair an inquiry into scandalous allegations, made in the News ...
India’s Economic Reforms 1991-2001 
by Vijay Joshi and I.M.D. Little.
Oxford, 288 pp., £25, September 1996, 0 19 829078 0
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... and social services as well as for reservations for what are, as a result, the expanding ‘back ward classes’. Power in India is passing to these states – to the different parties that govern in each of them – and the provincial politicians, to men like Gowda himself, who barely knows Hindi (unlike Rao, who speaks more than two dozen languages and has ...

On Spanking

Christopher Hitchens, 20 October 1994

AGuide to the Correction of Young Gentlemen or, The Successful Administration of Physical Discipline to Males, by Females 
by a Lady, with illustrations by a Former Pupil.
Delectus, 140 pp., £19.95, August 1994, 1 897767 05 6
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... and funk.) But whenever I read of the humiliation of some over-mighty cabinet colleague – Geoffrey Howe, say, or Jim Prior or John Moore or Francis Pym – I could picture the scene only too well: I can do no better at this stage than describe my own punishment chamber, which I call the Lady Chapel.    This is not blasphemy on my part. It is a ...

Poor Darling

Jean McNicol, 21 March 1996

Vera Brittain: A Life 
by Paul Berry and Mark Bostridge.
Chatto, 581 pp., £25, October 1995, 0 7011 2679 5
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Vera Brittain: A Feminist Life 
by Deborah Gorham.
Blackwell, 330 pp., £20, February 1996, 0 631 14715 2
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... oneself ... that one is at any rate a decent imitation of a soldier.’ Edward Brittain’s friend Geoffrey Thurlow, who described himself as ‘disgustingly windy’ and ‘no earthly use as an officer’, continued to rely on Rupert Brooke and ended his last letter to Vera in April 1917 by quoting him and saying that he would ‘like to do well for the ...

Dark Places

John Sutherland, 18 November 1982

Wise Virgin 
by A.N. Wilson.
Secker, 186 pp., £7.50, October 1982, 0 436 57608 2
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The London Embassy 
by Paul Theroux.
Hamish Hamilton, 211 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 241 10872 1
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The frog who dared to croak 
by Richard Sennett.
Faber, 182 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 571 11989 1
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Vintage Stuff 
by Tom Sharpe.
Secker, 220 pp., £7.50, November 1982, 0 436 45810 1
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Rogue Justice 
by Geoffrey Household.
Joseph, 174 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 7181 2178 3
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... consigned to an important-old-folks home. It’s incarceration, but preferable to the psychiatric ward or provincial exile, and infinitely preferable to a death camp. And he will get his entry in the International Dictionary of Socialist Biography. It won’t tell the truth (not being a novel), nevertheless Grau’s journal can finish on a note of career ...

Something Rather Scandalous

Jean McNicol: The Loves of Rupert Brooke, 19 October 2016

Rupert Brooke: Life, Death and Myth 
by Nigel Jones.
Head of Zeus, 588 pp., £12, April 2015, 978 1 78185 703 8
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Fatal Glamour: The Life of Rupert Brooke 
by Paul Delany.
McGill-Queen’s, 380 pp., £28.99, March 2015, 978 0 7735 4557 1
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The Second I Saw You: The True Love Story of Rupert Brooke and Phyllis Gardner 
by Lorna C. Beckett.
British Library, 216 pp., £16.99, April 2015, 978 0 7123 5792 0
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... 1930 her will replaced Marsh with four men she liked better). The most active of the new trustees, Geoffrey Keynes, brother of Maynard (‘the iron copulating-machine’ whose exploits are much discussed by Brooke and Strachey), was distressed at the idea that people might think Brooke was gay because Marsh, as Keynes put it, had ‘lived in a sexual ...

Buffed-Up Scholar

Stefan Collini: Eliot and the Dons, 30 August 2012

Letters of T.S. Eliot, Vol. III: 1926-27 
edited by Valerie Eliot and John Haffenden.
Faber, 954 pp., £40, July 2012, 978 0 571 14085 5
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... his bank job (at the time the epitome of secure and respectable employment) to take on a role in Geoffrey Faber’s new publishing firm, and he was about to expose the patchiness of his scholarship by giving a set of lectures to an exacting audience of Cambridge dons. Ruin was still a possibility, even if not a vocation, and the main interest of the third ...

Dance of the Vampires

Neal Ascherson, 19 January 1984

Roman 
by Roman Polanski.
Heinemann, 393 pp., £12.95, January 1984, 0 434 59180 7
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... student, who was tormented into paranoid schizophrenia by his colleagues and committed to a mental ward by the Director after Arct had warned him of a counter-revolutionary plot, and who was last seen by Polanski lying in a hospital bed muttering and covered with bruises, the other patients having duffed him up for tearing a crucifix off the wall – there’s ...

Streamlined Smiles

Rosemary Dinnage: Erik Erikson, 2 March 2000

Identity’s Architect: A Biography of Erik Erikson 
by Lawrence Friedman.
Free Association, 592 pp., £15.95, May 1999, 9781853434716
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... his unusual background, was the man to step forward, though others – Margaret Mead, Erich Fromm, Geoffrey Gorer – were writing along the same lines. Friedman quotes Erikson’s account of how he first saw the centrality of his concept when he was one of a panel examining traumatised war veterans. Always averse to the psychoanalytical view of the world as ...

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