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Gabriele Annan: Ivan Klíma, 13 December 2001

No Saints or Angels 
by Ivan Klíma, translated by Gerald Turner.
Granta, 267 pp., £14.99, October 2001, 1 86207 448 8
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... aggressive teenage cynicism is expertly caught (and translated into English teenage jargon, by Gerald Turner); it can be very amusing. Finally there is Jan, a young man who has admired Kristýna since the time when he was her husband’s pupil and saw her waiting with Jana’s pram outside his school. When he happens to catch sight of her again 15 ...

Who’s best?

Douglas Johnson, 27 September 1990

The Rise and Fall of Anti-Americanism: A Century of French Perception 
edited by Denis Lacorne, Jacques Rupnik and Marie-France Toinet, translated by Gerald Turner.
Macmillan, 258 pp., £35, August 1990, 0 333 49025 8
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... During the academic year 1982-83 Alain Besançon, a French specialist on Soviet affairs, became a visiting professor at the Hoover Institute in Stanford. He arranged with his Parisian colleague, Jean Plumyene, that they would write regularly to each other and that their correspondence would be published. The interest of this exchange of letters between French academics, the one in California and the other in Paris, lies in Besançon’s reactions to America ...

Uplifting Lust

E.S. Turner: Mills and Boon, 6 January 2000

Passion’s Fortune: The Story of Mills and Boon 
by Joseph McAleer.
Oxford, 322 pp., £25, November 1999, 0 19 820455 8
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The Romantic Fiction of Mills and Boon 1909-1995 
by Jay Dixon.
UCL, 218 pp., £11.99, November 1998, 1 85728 267 1
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... of which Jack London was a mainstay. Briefly on the strength were P.G. Wodehouse and Hugh Walpole. Gerald Mills was an intellectual who put up most of the money; it is his fate to become universally and perhaps immortally identified with a branch of literature which was hardly his first choice, but such is publishing. Charles Boon, a brewery worker’s son who ...


E.S. Turner, 4 September 1986

Monty: The Field-Marshal 1944-1976 
by Nigel Hamilton.
Hamish Hamilton, 996 pp., £15, June 1986, 0 241 11838 7
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... what the D-Day troops were spared. He approves the ‘abrasive and brilliant’ Field-Marshal Sir Gerald Templer, who apparently once told Monty: ‘You think you are going down in history as the victor of Alamein. But it will be for your re-raising of morale, together with Churchill, that you will be chiefly remembered – not Alamein.’ Templer may well be ...

Shopping in Lucerne

E.S. Turner, 9 June 1994

Addicted to Romance: The Life and Adventures of Elinor Glyn 
by Joan Hardwick.
Deutsch, 306 pp., £20, June 1994, 0 233 98866 1
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Mother of Oscar: The Life of Jane Francesca Wilde 
by Joy Melville.
Murray, 308 pp., £19.99, June 1994, 0 7195 5102 1
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... about high society. Ashamed of her spelling, she insisted on reading one of them to her publisher, Gerald Duckworth, in his office. At his suggestion they broke for lunch at the Savoy. No sympathy need be wasted on Duckworth, who was on to a good thing. Three Weeks, the succès de scandale of his 1907 list, stemmed from a liaison Mrs Glyn had been enjoying ...

Is the lady your sister?

E.S. Turner: An innkeeper’s diary, 27 April 2000

An Innkeeper's Diary 
by John Fothergill.
Faber, 278 pp., £23.95, January 2000, 0 571 15014 4
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... unaware that his Decline and Fall is a chained book in the lavatory. Poets of the day include Gerald Gould, who in a forgotten sonnet urged his contemporaries ‘For God’s sake, if you sin, take pleasure in it.’ Humbert Wolfe scribbles a tribute to the Spreadeagle, commending ‘the cool antarctic thrill/Of great Queen Anne in Fothergill’. A ...

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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... has been more a chaos of archives than of mind. After the Second World War, the younger composer Gerald Finzi began amalgamating scattered collections – made by Marion Scott, the Gurney family, Ivor’s Gloucester friend John Haines, Vaughan Williams and others – into a central archive. The process continued after Finzi’s death in 1956. Neither Gurney ...


Tom Shippey, 26 July 1990

England and Englishness: Ideas of Nationhood in English Poetry, 1688-1900 
by John Lucas.
Hogarth, 227 pp., £18, February 1990, 0 7012 0892 9
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The Englishman’s England: Taste, Travel and the Rise of Tourism 
by Ian Ousby.
Cambridge, 244 pp., £45, February 1990, 0 521 37374 3
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Fleeting Things: English Poets and Poems, 1616-1660 
by Gerald Hammond.
Harvard, 394 pp., £24.95, March 1990, 0 674 30625 2
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... normally strong sympathy with early epic stopped at Saxon romance with the remark that ‘Mr Turner has given us the abridgment of one entitled Caedmon, in which the hero ... encounters, defeats, and finally slays an evil being called Grendel’. It’s barely credible! He’d never have got away with it if he’d been writing about some Owen or ...


Blair Worden, 23 January 1986

International Calvinism 1541-1715 
edited by Menna Prestwich.
Oxford, 403 pp., £35, October 1985, 0 19 821933 4
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Wallington’s World: A Puritan Artisan in 17th-Century London 
by Paul Seaver.
Methuen, 258 pp., £28, September 1985, 0 416 40530 4
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... Prestwich’s broad canvas, that we approach the kernel of Protestant experience. Wallington was a turner – a maker of wooden articles on lathes – who lived his long and in worldly terms not especially successful life in the small parish of St Leonard’s East-cheap by London Bridge. Even by Puritan standards he was an obsessive recorder. He wrote at least ...


Rosemary Hill: The Writers’ Blitz, 21 February 2013

The Love-Charm of Bombs: Restless Lives in the Second World War 
by Lara Feigel.
Bloomsbury, 519 pp., £25, January 2013, 978 1 4088 3044 4
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... an enthusiastic but erratic driver who had recently caused an accident in which her married lover Gerald O’Donovan was badly injured, careered around in her ambulance with the potential for doing more harm than good. The comedy of it was caught with cruel economy by Waugh in the opening of Officers and Gentlemen. It is a scene Feigel might have quoted at ...

Animal Experiences

Colin Tudge: At the zoo, 21 June 2001

A Different Nature: The Paradoxical World of Zoos and Their Uncertain Future 
by David Hancocks.
California, 280 pp., £19.95, May 2001, 0 520 21879 5
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... and recorded from close hand the eruption of Tambora in 1815 (the debris from which furnished Turner with his finest sunsets), as well as founding Singapore. The zoo he conceived was finally opened in 1828 but Raffles never saw it: he had died from a cerebral haemorrhage in 1826, aged 45. With Raffles gone, the early ZSL members could not agree what their ...

A Car of One’s Own

Andrew O’Hagan: Chariots of Desire, 11 June 2009

... one side of Obama runs a growing populist opposition to bailing out any more big companies,’ Gerald Seib wrote in the Wall Street Journal. ‘On the other side runs an equally powerful desire to stop a generation-long haemorrhaging of manufacturing jobs … Facing this quandary, Obama has chosen to deliver a dramatic dose of tough love’ by insisting ...

Lace the air with LSD

Mike Jay: Brain Warfare, 4 February 2021

Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control 
by Stephen Kinzer.
Henry Holt, 384 pp., £11.99, November 2020, 978 1 250 76262 7
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... was obliged to report them. Nixon was finally forced to resign in August 1974. His successor, Gerald Ford, made Nelson Rockefeller, a reliable intelligence insider, his vice president, and asked him to produce a report on the CIA’s alleged historical abuses.Rockefeller’s report was issued in June 1975. For the most part it was vague and ...

Why the bastards wouldn’t stand and fight

Murray Sayle: Mao in Vietnam, 21 February 2002

China and the Vietnam Wars 1950-75 
by Qiang Zhai.
North Carolina, 304 pp., $49.95, April 2000, 0 8078 4842 5
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None so Blind: A Personal Account of the Intelligence Failure in Vietnam 
by George Allen.
Ivan Dee, 296 pp., $27.50, October 2001, 1 56663 387 7
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No Peace, No Honour: Nixon, Kissinger and Betrayal in Vietnam 
by Larry Berman.
Free Press, 334 pp., $27.50, November 2001, 0 684 84968 2
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... August, another attack, never substantiated, was supposedly made on Maddox and a sister-ship, USS Turner Joy, in a fierce storm. On 5 August, 64 US Navy aircraft bombed Vinh, north of the demarcation line between the two Vietnams – the first of eight years of increasingly heavy raids. On 7 August, the US Congress passed by 504-2 a resolution authorising ...

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