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Rough Wooing

Michael Brown: Flodden

23 January 2014
Fatal Rivalry: Flodden 1513 
by George Goodwin.
Weidenfeld, 288 pp., £20, July 2013, 978 0 297 86739 5
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... the soap opera of Mary Queen of Scots and her more significant but much less glamorous son, James VI. Fatal Rivalry: Flodden 1513 provides a welcome antidote to the usual run of work on the period. GeorgeGoodwin places the events of 9 September 1513 in the context of the two kingdoms and their interrelated royal dynasties over the quarter-century leading up to the battle. He follows most Scottish ...

Brexit and Myths of Englishness

James Meek: For England and St George

11 October 2018
... Of the two​ folk-myths bound up with Englishness, the myth of St George and the myth of Robin Hood, the myth of St George is simpler. Robin Hood is a process; St George is an event. Robin Hood steals from the rich, which is difficult, to give to the poor, which is trickier still, and has to keep on doing it over and over; but St George kills the dragon, and that’s ...

Confusion is power

David Runciman: Our Very Own Oligarchs

7 June 2012
The New Few, or a Very British Oligarchy: Power and Inequality in Britain Now 
by Ferdinand Mount.
Simon and Schuster, 305 pp., £18.99, April 2012, 978 1 84737 800 2
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... Mount says, we are not really ‘a full-blown oligarchy’ but ‘a flabby, corroded type of liberal democracy in which the oligarchs have been enjoying a free run’. When both Peter Mandelson and George Osborne find themselves compromised by their inability to avoid the company of unaccountable freebooters like Oleg Deripaska and Nat Rothschild it makes British democracy seem not so much corrupt as ...

Jailbreak from the Old Order

David Edgar: England’s Brexit

25 April 2018
The Lure of Greatness: England’s Brexit and America’s Trump 
by Anthony Barnett.
Unbound, 393 pp., £8.99, August 2017, 978 1 78352 453 2
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... bailing out the auto industry. Rightly or wrongly, these voters believed their economic future would be safer with Trump than with Hillary Clinton. Opponents of this analysis – notably Matthew Goodwin, whose Revolt on the Right (written with Robert Ford) first identified Ukip voters as older and poorer than the general population – argue that the Leave/Remain faultline is essentially a cultural ...

Diary

Stephen Frears: That's Hollywood

20 December 1990
... as near Paradise as you can get. A friend said I should stay at the Beverly Wilshire because at least there were streets outside, but I can’t because of what happened to my former agent, Clive Goodwin, when he was staying there. He had a cerebral haemorrhage on a Saturday night, had asked for a doctor, had been taken for a drunk, and died in the police tank. I met with the Producers and the Studio ...

Irishness is for other people

Terry Eagleton: Enrique Vila-Matas

19 July 2012
Dublinesque 
by Enrique Vila-Matas, translated by Anne McLean and Rosalind Harvey.
Harvill Secker, 245 pp., £16.99, June 2012, 978 1 84655 489 6
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... wildly imaginative brawlers whom other people look down on but would secretly like to be, and as such they evoke a mixture of derision and admiration. From Oliver Goldsmith and Oscar Wilde to George Bernard Shaw, Brendan Behan and Graham Norton, John Bull’s other island has furnished the British with a series of talented court jesters, praised and patronised in equal measure. Ireland was ...

Utopia in Texas

Glen Newey: Thomas More’s ‘Utopia’

19 January 2017
Utopia 
by Thomas More, edited by George​ M. Logan, translated by Robert M. Adams.
Cambridge, 141 pp., £9.99, August 2016, 978 1 107 56873 0
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Utopia 
by Thomas More, translated by Gilbert Burnet.
Verso, 216 pp., £8.99, November 2016, 978 1 78478 760 8
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... less plausibly, that the latter has nothing to do with human overpopulation. The insular commonplace in utopian and dystopian writing – a world apart, for good or ill, as in Aldous Huxley’s Pala, George Orwell’s Airstrip One, the vivisectionist paradise of H.G. Wells’s Dr Moreau, Margaret Cavendish’s polymorphous freakshow in The Blazing World, or William Golding’s reworking of R.M ...

The Great Fear

William Lamont

21 July 1983
Charles I and the Popish Plot 
by Caroline Hibbard.
North Carolina, 342 pp., £21, May 1983, 0 8078 1520 9
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Charles I: The Personal Monarch 
by Charles Carlton.
Routledge, 426 pp., £14.95, June 1983, 9780710094858
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The Puritan Moment: The Coming of Revolution in an English County 
by William Hunt.
Harvard, 365 pp., £24, April 1983, 0 674 73903 5
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... of the origins of the English Civil War. But was it the right religious dimension? We still lack biographies in depth of key religious figure such as Stephen Marshall, Cornelius Burges, John Goodwin, Edmund Calamy, Henry Burton and others. They flit tantalisingly through the pages of Valerie Pearl’s valuable study of the London revolution of 1641, or Anthony Fletcher’s equally important ...
7 November 2019
... money, a fledgling MoMA appeared in 1929 in rented rooms on Fifth Avenue in midtown Manhattan. In 1939 it received its own building, an International Style box clad in white marble designed by Philip Goodwin and Edward Durell Stone, on 53rd Street. A significant extension has followed every twenty years or so, each coolly modernist in style – totally abstract, highly engineered, fiercely refined ...

Diary

Cynthia Lawford: On Letitia Elizabeth Landon

21 September 2000
... grief felt in London society contained an unspoken element of remorse based on a suspicion that Landon had been treated unjustly. She had sailed from England in July 1838, following her marriage to George Maclean, a military officer stationed in the Gold Coast, whom she married, her friends believed, mainly to escape the scandalous rumours which increasingly surrounded her. From 1825 or 1826 until her ...

It’s Finished

John Lanchester: The Banks

28 May 2009
... That figure is guesswork, since the whole problem is that nobody knows what these assets are worth. In the same week that news came out, it emerged that the former chief executive of RBS, Sir Fred Goodwin, had, at the time of the October bail-out, asked for and received a doubling of his pension pot before he would agree to leave the bank. This took his pension pot to £16 million, which will pay out ...
21 August 1997
Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life 
by Jon Lee Anderson.
Bantam, 814 pp., £25, April 1997, 0 593 03403 1
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Compañero: The Life and Death of Che Guevara 
by Jorge Castañeda, translated by Marina Castañeda.
Bloomsbury, 480 pp., £20, October 1997, 0 7475 3334 2
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... for Progress, Kennedy’s answer to the Cuban revolution. All the new biographies give good accounts of Guevara’s impact on the conference, and his inconclusive private discussions with Richard Goodwin, one of Kennedy’s advisers. But this is well-trodden ground, and there is little new material. Many Latin American governments were still run by civilians, and under popular pressure to extend the ...

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