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The Perfect Pattern of a Prelate

Eamon Duffy: Pius XII and the Jews, 26 September 2013

The Life and Pontificate of Pope Pius XII: Between History and Controversy 
by Frank Coppa.
Catholic University of America, 306 pp., £25.50, February 2013, 978 0 8132 2016 1
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The Pope’s Jews: The Vatican’s Secret Plan to Save Jews from the Nazis 
by Gordon Thomas.
Robson, 336 pp., £20, February 2013, 978 1 84954 506 8
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Soldier of Christ: The Life of Pope Pius XII 
by Robert Ventresca.
Harvard, 405 pp., £25, January 2013, 978 0 674 04961 1
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... made cases for the prosecution or the defence, in which Pacelli features as a monster or a saint. Gordon Thomas’s account of Pacelli’s response to the Final Solution, for instance, is a tendentious exercise in exculpation and hagiography that implausibly depicts Pacelli as a papal pimpernel, actively masterminding a campaign to save European ...

Private Thomas

Andrew Motion, 19 December 1985

Edward ThomasA Portrait 
by R. George Thomas.
Oxford, 331 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 19 818527 8
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... R. George Thomas is a cautious man. His life of Edward Thomas (no relation) is ‘a portrait’ not ‘a biography’. Maybe this is just as well. The poet was a cautious man too. He was also a scrupulous one, and when we read in the first few pages that research for this book began ‘in the early 1960s’, we are encouraged to feel that author and subject are kindred spirits ...

Feast of St Thomas

Frank Kermode, 29 September 1988

Eliot’s New Life 
by Lyndall Gordon.
Oxford, 356 pp., £15, September 1988, 0 19 811727 2
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The Letters of T.S. Eliot 
edited by Valerie Eliot.
Faber, 618 pp., £25, September 1988, 0 571 13621 4
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The Poetics of Impersonality 
by Maud Ellmann.
Harvester, 207 pp., £32.50, January 1988, 0 7108 0463 6
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T.S. Eliot and the Philosophy of Criticism 
by Richard Shusterman.
Duckworth, 236 pp., £19.95, February 1988, 0 7156 2187 4
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‘The Men of 1914’: T.S. Eliot and Early Modernism 
by Erik Svarny.
Open University, 268 pp., £30, September 1988, 0 335 09019 2
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Eliot, Joyce and Company 
by Stanley Sultan.
Oxford, 326 pp., £25, March 1988, 0 19 504880 6
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The Savage and the City in the Work of T.S. Eliot 
by Robert Crawford.
Oxford, 251 pp., £25, December 1987, 9780198128694
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T.S. Eliot: The Poems 
by Martin Scofield.
Cambridge, 264 pp., £25, March 1988, 0 521 30147 5
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... Eliot’s poetry was rooted in private aspects of his life has now been accepted,’ says Lyndall Gordon in the Foreword to her second volume of biographical rooting among these aspects. This acceptance, which she evidently approves, has undoubtedly occurred, as a root through the enormous heap of books about the poet, now augmented by the centenary of his ...

Cracker Culture

Ian Jackman, 7 September 2000

Irish America 
by Reginald Byron.
Oxford, 317 pp., £40, November 1999, 0 19 823355 8
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Remembering Ahanagran: Storytelling in a Family’s Past 
by Richard White.
Cork, 282 pp., IR£14.99, October 1999, 1 85918 232 1
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From the Sin-é Café to the Black Hills: Notes on the New Irish 
by Eamon Wall.
Wisconsin, 139 pp., $16.95, February 2000, 0 299 16724 0
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The Encyclopedia of the Irish in America 
edited by Michael Glazier.
Notre Dame, 988 pp., £58.50, August 1999, 0 268 02755 2
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... is from. He discusses the work of writers from a great variety of backgrounds: Brian Moore, Mary Gordon, Thomas McGonigle and Michael Stephens. Stephens’s work, he says, is best read alongside that of the African-American Trey Ellis, the Latina Sandra Cisneros and the Scot James Kelman, rather than other ...

Crop Masters

Daniel Aaron, 19 January 1989

Tobacco Culture: The Mentality of the Great Tidewater Planters on the Eve of the Revolution 
by T.H. Breen.
Princeton, 216 pp., $9.95, February 1988, 0 691 04729 4
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... provided American revolutionists with a schema. The pervasive influence of Country publicists like Thomas Gordon, John Trenchard, Bolingbroke and Benjamin Hoadly on colonial pamphleteers is now taken for granted. American historians have tested Bailyn’s thesis by extending and particularising it. This is what T.H. Breen has done in Tobacco Culture. The ...

Emily v. Mabel

Susan Eilenberg: Emily Dickinson, 30 June 2011

Lives like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and Her Family’s Feuds 
by Lyndall Gordon.
Virago, 491 pp., £9.99, April 2011, 978 1 84408 453 1
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Dickinson: Selected Poems and Commentaries 
by Helen Vendler.
Harvard, 535 pp., £25.95, September 2010, 978 0 674 04867 6
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... Material Place – ‘All men say “What” to me,’ Emily Dickinson wrote in a letter to Thomas Wentworth Higginson. She certainly mystified Higginson. He never entirely overcame his uneasiness about her odd, disjunctive words and bewildering epistolary tones and seven years into their correspondence still complained of being unable to get beyond the ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: TV Lit, 15 November 2001

... he’s as likely as not in the toilet, not snorting cocaine as everyone thinks but throwing up. Gordon Bannach, a reporter at the Daily News, is determined to destroy Fleming’s career, which he does with a bit of help from a researcher fatale calling herself Abbi Pascoe – real name Tanya Griffiths – and Lawrence Castle’s senior spin doctor, who was ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: The life expectancy of a Roman emperor, 3 June 2004

... as get sacked, but it would be rash of the prime minister to wait for the electorate to sack him: Gordon Brown wouldn’t be the only disappointed person were Tony Blair to be succeeded by Michael Howard. Caracalla was succeeded by Macrinus, a co-conspirator of Martialis, the man who did the actual stabbing and was shortly afterwards caught and ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Blair’s nuptials, 3 March 2005

... a poll published in the Independent in January, Labour would do better at a general election under Gordon Brown’s leadership. Never mind the good of the country: if Blair really cared more about his party staying in government than about himself staying in Number Ten, he wouldn’t still be ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Politicians and the Press, 26 January 2006

... might have found coverage of their coup overshadowed by the downfall of the prime minister (in Gordon Brown’s dreams). When politicians fall, it’s in everyone’s interest that they fall hard; Kennedy’s suggestion that he stand for re-election was never going to go down well. At least he’s now free to write his memoirs, though they won’t be a ...

Soft Spur

A.W.B. Simpson, 3 February 1983

What next in the Law 
by Lord Denning.
Butterworth, 352 pp., £9.95, July 1982, 0 406 17602 7
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... rule of law.’ Tell that to the shades of Lord Mansfield, whose house the mob burnt during the Gordon riots, or to Thomas More as he went to the block. Critical comment on contemporary questions is presented ex cathedra, as in this extreme example: ‘It is sometimes suggested that instead of a jury of 12, there should ...

Insouciance

Gordon A. Craig, 17 July 1997

Ernst Jünger and Germany: Into the Abyss, 1914-45 
by Thomas Nevin.
Constable, 280 pp., £20, January 1997, 0 09 474560 9
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... the Weimar period and his service under Hitler may have seen in Venator a defiant self-portrait. Thomas Nevin, in what might be an oblique reference to the passage, reminds them that there is a difference between literature and politics and that ‘the Autor, the anarch, is a Rousseauist construct, safeguard of an egoism that takes itself as the only ...

A Very Modern Man

Edmund Gordon: William Boyd, 8 March 2012

Waiting for Sunrise 
by William Boyd.
Bloomsbury, 368 pp., £18.99, February 2012, 978 1 4088 1774 2
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... Street crash, witnesses the rise of Nazism in Berlin (where he attends parties with Fritz Lang and Thomas Mann), and arrives in Hollywood just in time to fall foul of McCarthyism. Any Human Heart (2002) is narrated by Logan Mountstuart, an English author who knocks about Oxford and London with the likes of Cyril Connolly and Henry Green, reports on the Spanish ...

No Law at All

Stephen Sedley: The Governor Eyre Affair, 2 November 2006

A Jurisprudence of Power: Victorian Empire and the Rule of Law 
by R.W. Kostal.
Oxford, 529 pp., £79.95, December 2005, 0 19 826076 8
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... a focus was that Eyre had personally authorised the arrest in Kingston of a man named George Gordon, and what today would be called his extraordinary rendition to Morant Bay. Arriving there on a Saturday, Gordon was given an instant trial without access to counsel and hanged two days later – the military commander ...

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