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28 November 1996
Diplomacy and Disillusion at the Court of Margaret Thatcher 
by George Urban.
Tauris, 206 pp., £19.95, September 1996, 1 86064 084 2
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... This book tells how the author fell in and out of love with Margaret Thatcher. Although GeorgeUrban found her ‘an attractive lady’, with ‘the movements, the legs and walk of a young woman’, his love affair was wholly ideological. Urban, who is or was on the extreme right, was attracted by ...

Urban​ Messthetics

John Mullan: Black and Asian writers in London

18 November 2004
London Calling: How Black and Asian Writers Imagined a City 
by Sukhdev Sandhu.
Harper Perennial, 498 pp., £9.99, November 2004, 0 00 653214 4
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... writers, who are not embarrassed to talk about having fun in the city’. And his accounts of books and films are invariably expressions of enthusiasm, celebrating the imaginative freedoms of urban life: for black and Asian writers, London is a place not of exile or alienation, but of ‘self-expansion’. Sandhu’s story gets going in the 18th century. There were blacks in London before then ...

At the Nailya Alexander Gallery

August Kleinzahler: George​ Tice

11 October 2018
... as others might find a Vermeer or Velázquez, although it’s only a cheap copy of a 1972 platinum print, Esso Station and Tenement House, Hoboken, New Jersey (the photograph can be seen in George Tice: A Celebration, at the Nailya Alexander Gallery in New York until 13 October). In the foreground is an Esso gas station, a Ford Fairlane parked behind the pumps, filling up, a fluorescent logo ...

Townlords

Sidney Pollard

2 April 1981
Lords and Landlords: The Aristocracy and the Towns, 1774-1967 
by David Cannadine.
Leicester University Press, 494 pp., £19, July 1980, 0 7185 1152 2
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... ordinary people stop paying deference to a lord even after he has been impoverished. But another part of the answer is to be found in the fact that landlords were the beneficiaries of rents from urban as well as agricultural properties, and as towns and industry began to grow, so did some landlords’ incomes. This growth, it is true, was selective – a lucky family here, a fortunate Oxbridge ...
16 September 1999
Bonar Law 
by R.J.Q. Adams.
Murray, 458 pp., £25, April 1999, 0 7195 5422 5
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... however, and unlike Thatcher and Baldwin he was not successful electorally. He won only one election victory as leader, in 1922, and only then, some would say, because he was more obviously not Lloyd George than anyone else. He can claim no great legislative programme – no equivalent of Baldwin’s ‘new Conservatism’, Churchill’s ‘new Elizabethans’ or ‘Thatcherism’. Meeting him socially ...
26 November 1987
David Lloyd GeorgeA Political Life. The Architect of Change, 1863-1912 
by Bentley Brinkerhoff Gilbert.
Batsford, 546 pp., £25, April 1987, 0 7134 5558 6
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... Bentley Gilbert is a historian well-equipped to strip off myths and expose facts. All his skills were needed here: during some seventeen years of ministerial life Lloyd George took a hand in five books about himself, and much distortion resulted. After the war, for instance, Ll.G. hoped that his long struggle against Naval expenditure had been forgotten. He recorded that ...
22 June 2000
British Clubs and Societies 1580-1800: The Origins of an Associational World 
by Peter Clark.
Oxford, 516 pp., £60, January 2000, 0 19 820376 4
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... precisely with a much cherished image of the bewhiskered Victorian gent digesting the Times at the Reform or Athenaeum, before sorting out the world’s evils. But as Peter Clark, Britain’s leading urban historian, notes in a characteristically fact-packed but thoughtful study, that most English of institutions was going strong long before then. Indeed, Sam Johnson’s beloved ‘clubbable’ men ...

Not Mackintosh

Chris Miele

6 April 1995
‘Greek’ Thomson 
edited by Gavin Stamp and Sam McKinstry.
Edinburgh, 249 pp., £35, September 1994, 0 7486 0480 4
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... raised in modest circumstances, without the benefit of much formal education or a family connection to the building trades, could suddenly find himself responsible for constructing such a complex urban environment. He was fortunate to find early masters, Robert Foote and then John Baird, and in all likelihood they introduced the aspiring architect to the ideas that were to transform his art and ...

Successive Applications of Sticking-Plaster

Andrew Saint: The urban​ history of Britain

1 November 2001
The Cambridge Urban​ History of Britain. Vol. III: 1840-1950 
edited by Martin Daunton.
Cambridge, 944 pp., £90, January 2001, 0 521 41707 4
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... Do the authors of this volume of the Cambridge Urban History know how gloomy a book they have written? Pessimism suffuses these pages from start almost to finish. ‘Why have so many of Britain’s great cities fared so badly in the 20th century ...

Town-Cramming

Christopher Turner: Cities

6 September 2001
Cities for a Small Country 
by Richard Rogers and Anne Power.
Faber, 310 pp., £14.99, November 2000, 0 571 20652 2
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Urban​ Futures 21: A Global Agenda for 21st-Century Cities 
by Peter Hall and Ulrich Pfeiffer.
Spon, 384 pp., £19.99, July 2000, 0 415 24075 1
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... A folk memory of industrial squalor and urban overcrowding persists in the minds of public and planners alike,’ Richard Rogers and Anne Power argue in Cities for a Small Country, ‘and fuels an almost obsessive desire for low-density ...

Neo-Catastrophism

Eric Klinenberg: Sinful Cities?

9 October 2003
The Unfinished City: New York and the Metropolitan Idea 
by Thomas Bender.
New Press, 287 pp., $30, September 2002, 1 56584 736 9
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Dead Cities: and Other Tales 
by Mike Davis.
New Press, 448 pp., $16.95, October 2003, 1 56584 844 6
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... In the 1990s New York was the capital city of America’s economic boom: now it is the epicentre of urban insecurity. The city is familiar with crisis, however, and no one could say it had surrendered to the new and old dangers it faces. Although disaster experts warn that a dirty bomb could result in ...
5 March 1981
The Theft of the Countryside 
by Marion Shoard.
Temple Smith, 269 pp., £9, October 1980, 0 85117 200 8
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Britain’s Wasting Acres 
by Graham Moss.
Architectural Press, 230 pp., £13.50, February 1981, 0 85139 078 1
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... of the landscape. Graham Moss takes a broader look at the way in which so many of the finite acres are being wasted. He contrasts the neglect of the inner city with the continuing expansion of the urban area over so much of the country’s highest-quality farmland. He estimates that between 3 and 4 per cent of the country’s surface area is wasted, that wasted land in urban areas alone is as ...

Dreams of Fair Game

George​ Woodcock

20 May 1982
Maps and Dreams 
by Hugh Brody.
Jill Norman and Hobhouse, 297 pp., £7.95, January 1982, 0 906908 76 0
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... There is a great difference,’ he remarks, ‘between a poor household that has a reliable and large supply of meat, and a household that experiences the remorseless and debilitating effects of urban poverty.’ As Brody demonstrates, up to now the Beavers have always had ‘a reliable and large supply of meat’: depending on the reservation and its closeness to good hunting grounds, they ...

Biogspeak

Terry Eagleton

21 September 1995
George​ Eliot: A Biography 
by Frederick Karl.
HarperCollins, 708 pp., £25, July 1995, 0 00 255574 3
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... distinguished intellectuals of her day. Translator of Strauss and Feuerbach, dedicated scientific rationalist, ephemeral enthusiast of Comtean Positivism, assistant editor of the Westminster Review, George Eliot had, from a typically English standpoint, exactly the wrong credentials for launching herself, fairly late in the day, as a writer of imaginative fiction. One might add that she had the wrong ...

Maggie’s Hobby

Nicholas Hiley

11 December 1997
New cloak, Old dagger: How Britain’s Spies Came in from the Cold 
by Michael Smith.
Gollancz, 338 pp., £20, November 1996, 0 575 06150 2
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Intelligence Power in Peace and War 
by Michael Herman.
Cambridge, 436 pp., £50, October 1996, 0 521 56231 7
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UK Eyes Alpha 
by Mark Urban.
Faber, 320 pp., £16.99, September 1996, 0 571 17689 5
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... disillusionment among junior officers about the emphasis on counter-subversion. When Antony Duff became head of MI5 in 1984 he was keen to reduce the importance of F Branch. As he told Mark Urban, he was supported by the majority of his staff ‘except for a handful of old sweats in middle management’. Duff seems to have been a new force within MI5: one intelligence officer told Urban ...

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