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Who gets the dacha?

Sheila Fitzpatrick: Marshal Zhukov

24 January 2013
Stalin’s General: The Life of Georgy Zhukov 
by Geoffrey Roberts.
Icon, 375 pp., £25, August 2012, 978 1 84831 442 9
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... and was earning good money as a furrier. ‘A photograph of him and his fellow furriers dating from this time shows affluent, smartly dressed young urbanites seemingly confident of their future,’ GeoffreyRoberts tells us, speculating that, but for the war and then the Revolution, Zhukov would have ended up as a solid member of the bourgeoisie, a furrier with his own business. The war set him on a ...
18 April 1985
The Thirty Years’ War 
by Geoffrey​ Parker.
Routledge, 340 pp., £20, January 1985, 0 7100 9788 3
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... Geoffrey Parker’s new book on the Thirty Years’ War is the first major study of the subject to appear in English for nearly half a century. To be more exact, it is now 47 years since the publication of a ...

Ruling Imbecilities

Andrew Roberts

7 November 1991
The Enemy’s Country: Words, Contexture and Other Circumstances of Language 
by Geoffrey​ Hill.
Oxford, 153 pp., £19.95, August 1991, 0 19 811216 5
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... On 11 November 1990 Geoffrey Hill published a Remembrance Day poem entitled ‘Carnival’, in the Sunday Correspondent. The occasion, and the appearance in a national newspaper, suggested the sort of work that a poet laureate ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Flirtation, Seduction and Betrayal

5 September 2002
... A distantish relation of mine, R. Ellis Roberts, was, for a few years from 1928, literary editor of the New Statesman, and a relatively undistinguished one at that. Kingsley Martin described Roberts (in Father Figures, his first volume of autobiography) as the ‘only writer on the NS whose contributions I could not stomach – I found his writing intolerable.’ Clifford Sharp, Martin’s ...

Golden Boy

Denis Donoghue

22 December 1983
W.H.Auden: The Critical Heritage 
edited by John Haffenden.
Routledge, 535 pp., £19.95, September 1983, 0 7100 9350 0
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Auden: A Carnival of Intellect 
by Edward Callan.
Oxford, 299 pp., £12.50, August 1983, 0 19 503168 7
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Drawn from the Life: A Memoir 
by Robert Medley.
Faber, 251 pp., £12.50, November 1983, 0 571 13043 7
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... lore and that he could speak to the issues they proposed, largely accounted for the reception of The Orators when it appeared in May 1932. By the end of that year, Louis MacNeice, Stephen Spender, Geoffrey Grigson, Michael Roberts, Bonamy Dobrée, John Hayward and Graham Greene had nominated Auden as the new voice. The six odes and the epilogue of The Orators, Greene said, justified Auden’s ‘being ...

The Finchley Factor

Geoffrey​ Wheatcroft: Thatcher in Israel

13 September 2018
Margaret Thatcher and the Middle East 
by Azriel Bermant.
Cambridge, 274 pp., £22.99, September 2017, 978 1 316 60630 8
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... premiership, a new Tory prime minister entered Downing Street in May 1979. Almost thirty years before, at the 1950 general election, a 24-year-old research chemist by the name of Margaret Roberts had stood unsuccessfully for Parliament. By now called Margaret Thatcher, she was elected MP for Finchley in 1959: the first chapter of Azriel Bermant’s outstandingly valuable Margaret Thatcher and ...

Social Stations

Susannah Clapp

1 October 1981
Edwardian Childhoods 
by Thea Thompson.
Routledge, 232 pp., £9.75, February 1981, 0 7100 0676 4
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... and second-hand shoes, of guiding her father’s hand to sign a letter asking for work, of a mother who was ‘a beautiful washer’ and who stitched ‘HRH’ on Princess Mary’s stockings. Geoffrey Brady, who read Wells and loved bicycling, remembers the collapse of his father’s business, which led to his leaving school at 14 – ‘off to Manchester in a hard bowler hat and a little grey ...

Her Boy

R.W. Johnson: Mark Thatcher

16 November 2006
Thatcher’s Fortunes: The Life and Times of Mark Thatcher 
by Mark Hollingsworth and Paul Halloran.
Mainstream, 415 pp., £7.99, July 2006, 1 84596 118 8
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The Wonga Coup: The British Mercenary Plot to Seize Oil Billions in Africa 
by Adam Roberts.
Profile, 304 pp., £9.99, June 2006, 1 86197 934 7
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... extent of her ill-conceived ignorance at that time was only matched by the brazen vigour with which she expressed it,” he recalled.’ That was Thatcher all over, as even such slavish acolytes as Geoffrey Ripon gradually discovered. She exalted rags-to-riches entrepreneurialism but the launch of her career depended on her having married a wealthy older man able to pay for childcare and make it ...

The Rise and Fall of Thatcherism

Peter Clarke: Eight years after

10 December 1998
... with both a bang and a whimper. The bang meant the precipitous termination of three notable political careers by 1990: that of Thatcher herself after the 20th century’s longest premiership; that of Geoffrey Howe, her lieutenant as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1979-83, during the period of the so-called ‘Thatcher experiment’; and that of Nigel Lawson, who succeeded him at the Treasury from 1983 ...

Ideas of War

Johann Sommerville

27 October 1988
The Military Revolution: Military Innovation and the Rise of the West, 1500-1800 
by Geoffrey​ Parker.
Cambridge, 234 pp., £15, May 1988, 0 521 32607 9
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War and Society in Europe of the Old Regime: 1618-1789 
by M.S. Anderson.
Fontana, 239 pp., £4.95, May 1988, 0 00 686053 2
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Waging war: A Philosophical Introduction 
by Ian Clark.
Oxford, 154 pp., £17.50, April 1988, 0 19 827325 8
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... enthusiastic, and that on re-examination things look rather less revolutionary (or critical) than they did at first glance. The idea of an Early Modern military revolution was introduced by Michael Roberts in 1955. Professor Parker accepts and develops the notion. Perhaps the single most important aspect of the revolution was the victory of the gun. In Venice the gun replaced the crossbow in 1490, and ...

Two Spots and a Bubo

Hugh Pennington: Use soap and water

21 April 2005
Return of the Black Death: The World’s Greatest Serial Killer 
by Susan Scott and Christopher Duncan.
Wiley, 310 pp., £16.99, May 2004, 0 470 09000 6
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The Great Plague: The Story of London’s Most Deadly Year 
by Lloyd Moote and Dorothy Moote.
Johns Hopkins, 357 pp., £19.95, April 2004, 0 8018 7783 0
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Plague: The Mysterious Past and Terrifying Future of the World’s Most Dangerous Disease 
by Wendy Orent.
Free Press, 276 pp., £17.99, May 2004, 0 7432 3685 8
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... once had 60,000 students but that after the Black Death the number had fallen to fewer than 3000 can be confidently dismissed. The estimate of 98,000 post-invasion excess deaths in Iraq, made by Les Roberts and his colleagues and published in the Lancet last November, has come in for similar criticism. Tony Blair prefers figures from the Iraqi Ministry of Health showing that 3853 civilians were killed ...

Self-Management

Seamus Perry: Southey’s Genius for Repression

26 January 2006
Robert Southey: Poetical Works 1793-1810 
edited by Lynda Pratt, Tim Fulford and Daniel Sanjiv Roberts.
Pickering & Chatto, 2624 pp., £450, May 2004, 1 85196 731 1
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... new edition of the verse lets us see with new clarity. No one in the world knows more about Southey than Lynda Pratt, and she and her team of editors, principally Tim Fulford and Daniel Sanjiv Roberts, have done an exemplary job recording variants, printing early versions and manuscript fragments, and identifying sources. Southey’s ambitions were vast, and he set about achieving them with ...

The New Narrative

John Kerrigan

16 February 1984
The Oxford Book of Narrative Verse 
edited by Iona Opie and Peter Opie.
Oxford, 407 pp., £8.95, September 1983, 0 19 214131 7
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Time’s Oriel 
by Kevin Crossley-Holland.
Hutchinson, 61 pp., £4.95, August 1983, 0 09 153291 4
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On Gender and Writing 
edited by Michelene Wandor.
Pandora, 166 pp., £3.95, September 1983, 0 86358 021 1
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Stone, Paper, Knife 
by Marge Piercy.
Pandora, 144 pp., £3.95, September 1983, 9780863580222
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The Achievement of Ted Hughes 
edited by Keith Sagar.
Manchester, 377 pp., £27.50, March 1983, 0 7190 0939 1
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Ted Hughes and Paul Muldoon 
Faber, £6.95, June 1983, 0 571 13090 9Show More
River 
by Ted Hughes and Peter Keen.
Faber, 128 pp., £10, September 1983, 0 571 13088 7
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Quoof 
by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 64 pp., £4, September 1983, 0 571 13117 4
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... the world afresh with a gendered, if not Martian eye; questioners, dissenters and self-styled outcasts, they are among our most eloquent ‘inner émigrés’. Hence the enormous interest of Michèle Roberts’s contribution to the new Pandora anthology On Gender and Writing. In a volume remarkable for its intelligence and verve – one thinks of Angela Carter on writing fiction, Alison Hennegan on ...

Little Havens of Intimacy

Linda Colley: Margaret Thatcher

7 September 2000
Margaret Thatcher. Vol. I: The Grocer’s Daughter 
by John Campbell.
Cape, 512 pp., £25, May 2000, 0 224 04097 9
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... subtle distortions and significant omissions. There was, to be sure, a grocer’s shop in Grantham, fit birthplace for the future leader of a nation of shopkeepers, and its presiding genius Alfred Roberts was indeed a vital influence on his younger daughter. Town councillor and ultimately mayor, he introduced her to politics and public service, just as his provision store provided her with an early ...

The Undesired Result

Gillian Darley: Betjeman’s bêtes noires

31 March 2005
Betjeman: The Bonus of Laughter 
by Bevis Hillier.
Murray, 744 pp., £25, October 2004, 0 7195 6495 6
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... In the minority were those impressed, such as Stephen Spender and William Plomer. Betjeman wrote to the latter thanking him. ‘Fuck Wain and the prig in the Times who was probably Griggers’ – Geoffrey Grigson, another in his rogues’ gallery. ‘I’ve gone away to escape further blows.’ His publisher hoped to steer Betjeman back to architecture, but despite the rollcall of topics Murray ...

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