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John Sutherland, 15 May 1980

Book Society 
by Graham Watson.
Deutsch, 164 pp., £6.50, April 1980, 0 233 97160 2
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The Publishers Association Annual Report 1979-80 
73 pp.Show More
Private Presses and Publishing in England since 1945 
by H.E. Bellamy.
Clive Bingley, 168 pp., £15, March 1980, 0 85157 297 9
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... at the ‘tradesman’ publisher. Watson relates a Johnsonian anecdote about his dealings with Gerald Nabarro which catches the ambiguous social status of the agent as he emerged into professional respectability: I climbed up a flight of narrow stairs into a small partitioned outer office. The girl sitting there announced my arrival. Loud and clear over ...

Making strange

John Sutherland, 19 March 1981

Other people 
by Martin Amis.
Cape, 223 pp., £5.95, March 1981, 0 224 01766 7
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The Magic Glass 
by Anne Smith.
Joseph, 174 pp., £6.50, March 1981, 9780718119867
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The Book of Ebenezer Le Page 
by Gerald Edwards.
Hamish Hamilton, 400 pp., £7.50, March 1981, 0 241 10477 7
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Sharpe’s Eagle 
by Bernard Cornwell.
Collins, 266 pp., £6.50, February 1981, 0 00 221997 2
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XPD 
by Len Deighton.
Hutchinson, 397 pp., £6.95, March 1981, 0 09 144570 1
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... Since Success, Martin Amis has been involved in a spectacular case of alleged plagiarism. As the apparently aggrieved author, Amis showed himself notably unresentful and unlitigious. Indeed, he took the offence as an occasion to ruminate good-naturedly on the oddities of literary ‘borrowing’. It’s relevant to bring this up since Other People depends very largely on a trick which is usually thought to be someone else’s trademark ...

Watch the waste paper

Mark Elvin, 19 August 1993

The Fate of Hong Kong 
by Gerald Segal.
Simon and Schuster, 256 pp., £16.99, September 1993, 0 671 71169 5
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The End of Hong Kong: The Secret Diplomacy of Imperial Retreat 
by Robert Cottrell.
Murray, 244 pp., £19.99, April 1993, 0 7195 4992 2
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... trade still runs. From a policy point of view, the last word on this should probably be left with Martin Lee, leader of the democratic forces in Hong Kong’s Legislative Council. As he has stressed (I am summarising a conversation in Sydney last year), the British are not going to have to put up with the consequences of their decisions. Most of the present ...

Moguls

J. Hoberman: Did the Jews invent Hollywood?, 7 March 2002

Hollywood and Anti-Semitism: A Cultural History up to World War Two 
by Steven Alan Carr.
Cambridge, 342 pp., £42.50, July 2001, 9780521798549
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... pictures, our press, our radio and our government’. The Republican Senator from North Dakota, Gerald Nye, echoed Lindbergh’s charges, informing a national radio audience in the summer of 1941 that Hollywood, a haven for all manner of foreigners, was agitating for war. Consequently, he said, the movies ‘have ceased to be an instrument of ...

My Old, Sweet, Darling Mob

Iain Sinclair: Michael Moorcock, 30 November 2000

King of the City 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 421 pp., £9.99, May 2000, 0 684 86140 2
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Mother London 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 496 pp., £6.99, May 2000, 0 684 86141 0
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... that it would not otherwise espouse. Here is the unreconstructed ‘engine of comedy’, Rex Martin (‘the famous farting novelist’) and his diminutive son, Felix. Here is ‘Jillian Burnes’, a transsexual romancer. But these knockabout cartoons are absorbed into a chiaroscuro of the forgotten, denizens of the deep recalled and re-remembered. The ...
The Provisional IRA 
by Patrick Bishop and Eamonn Mallie.
Heinemann, 374 pp., £12.95, June 1987, 0 434 07410 1
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Ten Men Dead 
by David Beresford.
Grafton, 432 pp., £3.50, May 1987, 0 586 06533 4
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... an IRA delegation visited Moscow in 1925, to enlist Stalin’s help. One of the delegation, Gerald Boland, said that the first question he was asked was ‘How many bishops did you hang?’ When he answered ‘None,’ his interrogator replied: ‘Ah, you people are not serious at all.’ One of the party, ‘Pa’ Murray, met Stalin, who showed himself ...

Gloom without Doom

Frank Kermode, 19 April 1990

Letters of Leonard Woolf 
edited by Frederic Spotts.
Weidenfeld, 616 pp., £30, March 1990, 0 297 79635 6
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... cross words – a fairly dignified row with John Lehmann and some bickering with Kingsley Martin. All this is more interesting than the political letters, at any rate as they are here represented, though there remains much to be said for Woolf’s ‘peculiar’ socialism, which was feminist, anti-messianic, anti-Stalinist, respectful of the ...

He Who Must Bear All

John Watts: Henry V at Home, 2 March 2017

Henry V: The Conscience of a King 
by Malcolm Vale.
Yale, 308 pp., £20, August 2016, 978 0 300 14873 2
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... to the superb collection of essays on ‘the practice of kingship’ edited by the late Gerald Harriss in 1985, and Ted Powell, in his important book on the king’s administration of justice, published in 1989. Vale makes no reference to the latter, but he is open about his dependence on the former, especially on Jeremy Catto’s essays ‘The ...

Bevan’s Boy

R.W. Johnson, 24 March 1994

Michael Foot 
by Mervyn Jones.
Gollancz, 570 pp., £20, March 1994, 0 575 05197 3
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... because of his ‘career of sordid and unrelieved money-making’), he gravitated to Kingsley Martin’s New Statesman, but Martin let him go after a while. ‘He’s a good fellow and not a bad journalist, but not A plus,’ Martin remarked, the problem being that, though ...

Who’s sorry now?

Andrew O’Hagan: Michael Finkel gets lucky, 2 June 2005

True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa 
by Michael Finkel.
Chatto, 312 pp., £15.99, May 2005, 0 7011 7688 1
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Burning Down My Master’s House 
by Jayson Blair.
New Millennium, 288 pp., $24.95, March 2004, 9781932407266
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The Journalist and the Murderer 
by Janet Malcolm.
Granta, 163 pp., £8.99, January 2004, 1 86207 637 5
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... affirmative action squabble that saw the executive editor, Howell Raines, and the managing editor, Gerald Boyd, removed from their positions. ‘I hope you will agree with me that everyone should have the chance to apologise,’ Blair writes in the early pages of his action-thriller-memoir Burning Down My Master’s House. It’s not that you don’t ...

On Trying to Be Portugal

Geoffrey Wheatcroft: Zionist Terrorism, 6 August 2009

‘A Senseless, Squalid War’: Voices from Palestine 1945-48 
by Norman Rose.
Bodley Head, 278 pp., £20, March 2009, 978 0 224 07938 9
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Major Farran’s Hat: Murder, Scandal and Britain’s War against Jewish Terrorism 1945-48 
by David Cesarani.
Heinemann, 290 pp., £20, March 2009, 978 0 434 01844 4
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... to support the Jews against the Arabs’, and a long memory is needed to recall the days when what Gerald Kaufman calls ‘the beautiful democratic Israel’ was revered by liberals, the New Statesman hero-worshipped Ben-Gurion as a model social democrat and the left barely knew that the Palestinians existed. That sentiment persisted until the 1967 war. Even ...

The way out of a room is not through the door

Christian Lorentzen: Charles Manson, 7 November 2013

Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson 
by Jeff Guinn.
Simon and Schuster, 495 pp., £20, August 2013, 978 0 85720 893 4
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... it closer to home at least once. On 1 August 1939 Kathleen and her friend Julia Vickers met Frank Martin, who took them driving around Charleston, West Virginia in his grey Packard convertible. At Valley Bell Dairy he bought them cheese, and at Dan’s Beer Parlor he got them pints. Kathleen said they ought to rent a room somewhere; it would cost $4.50. ...

How the sanity of poets can be edited away

Arnold Rattenbury: The Sanity of Ivor Gurney, 14 October 1999

‘Severn and Somme’ and ‘War’s Embers’ 
by Ivor Gurney, edited by R.K.R. Thornton.
Carcanet, 152 pp., £7.95, September 1997, 1 85754 348 3
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80 Poems or So 
by Ivor Gurney, edited by George Walter and R.K.R. Thornton.
Carcanet, 148 pp., £9.95, January 1997, 1 85754 344 0
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... innocent homoeroticism discussed by Paul Fussell in The Great War and Modern Memory (1975) or in Martin Taylor’s less fashionable, less thesis-driven anthology, Lads, republished in 1998. In Taylor’s collection, so often are the poems bad, unaware (Ronald-like?) or puny that the best among them – Gurney’s, Edward Thomas’s, Owen’s – rise from ...

It can happen here

Alan Milward, 2 May 1985

Hitler and the Final Solution 
by Gerald Fleming.
Hamish Hamilton, 219 pp., £12.95, January 1985, 0 241 11388 1
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Hitler in History 
by Eberhard Jäckel.
University Press of New England, 115 pp., $9.95, January 1985, 0 87451 311 1
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Albert Speer: The End of a Myth 
by Matthias Schmidt, translated by Joachim Neugroschel.
Harrap, 276 pp., £9.95, March 1985, 0 245 54244 2
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... came together in one conference to discuss the issues. It is therefore plausible to argue, as Martin Broszat, the best historian of Nazi Germany, argues, that the fate of the German Jews was determined haphazardly, at several different levels. (Professor Broszat, incidentally, is the man who has given most encouragement to others in the field.) The ...

Mad to Be Saved

Thomas Powers: The Kerouac Years, 25 October 2012

The Voice Is All: The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac 
by Joyce Johnson.
Viking, 489 pp., £25, September 2012, 978 0 670 02510 7
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... to find a way to live. In the book, Kerouac had divided himself among several brothers named Martin. One (Pete) was fiercely determined to excel at football, a second (Joe) drove big trucks and longed to wander the West at terrifying speed on a motorcycle, and a third (Francis) was ‘a musing, discontented, lonely young reader of books … filled with a ...

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