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The Lesson of Swaffham Down

W.R. Mead, 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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... that the farmer has become increasingly the destroyer rather than the guardian 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 ...

Poles Apart

John Sutherland, 5 May 1983

Give us this day 
by Janusz Glowacki, translated by Konrad Brodzinski.
Deutsch, 121 pp., £6.95, March 1983, 0 233 97518 7
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In Search of Love and Beauty 
by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala.
Murray, 227 pp., £8.50, April 1983, 0 7195 4062 3
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Listeners 
by Sally Emerson.
Joseph, 174 pp., £7.95, April 1983, 0 7181 2134 1
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Flying to Nowhere 
by John Fuller.
Salamander, 89 pp., £4.95, March 1983, 0 907540 27 9
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Some prefer nettles 
by Junichiro Tanizaki, translated by Edward Seidensticker.
Secker, 155 pp., £7.95, March 1983, 0 436 51603 9
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The Makioka Sisters 
by Junichiro Tanizaki, translated by Edward Seidensticker.
Secker, 530 pp., £9.95, March 1983, 0 330 28046 5
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‘The Secret History of the Lord of Musashi’ and ‘Arrowroot’ 
by Junichiro Tanizaki, translated by Anthony Chambers.
Secker, 199 pp., £7.95, March 1983, 0 436 51602 0
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... can’t hear an assembly-line worker at Cowley or Dagenham fondly referring to his leader as, say, Moss the bullmoose. And it doesn’t help that Glowacki’s workers have such well-soaped mouths. I won’t believe that the great liberation at Gdansk was achieved without a single expletive, or any harder retort by the foiled management than: ‘Back to ...

Among Flayed Hills

David Craig, 8 May 1997

The Killing of the Countryside 
by Graham Harvey.
Cape, 218 pp., £17.99, March 1997, 0 224 04444 3
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... Two miles away I have seen a bittern planing down to its nest in the reedbeds of a wide undrained moss and a young osprey resting in a sycamore on its way south from Speyside to winter in Africa. The fact is that, partly by luck and partly by choice, I have managed to live and take my recreation in places where the ground is so rough or steeply contoured that ...

Rising Moon

R.W. Johnson, 18 December 1986

L’Empire Moon 
by Jean-Francois Boyer.
La Découverte, 419 pp., August 1986, 2 7071 1604 1
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The Rise and Fall of the Bulgarian Connection 
by Edward Herman and Frank Brodhead.
Sheridan Square, 255 pp., $19.95, May 1986, 0 940380 07 2
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... Society), Fred and Phyllis Schafly, Ray Cline (former deputy-director of the CIA), General Daniel Graham (now leader of the High Frontier – i.e. Star Wars – lobby) and Reed Irvine. Irvine brought a fresh raft of influential supporters into the Moonie milieu with his Accuracy in Media movement: among AIM’s patrons were William Simon, the former Treasury ...

Wounding Nonsenses

E.S. Turner, 6 February 1997

The Letters of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh 
edited by Charlotte Mosley.
Hodder, 531 pp., £25, October 1996, 0 340 63804 4
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... liberators by sending camembert made from United Nations milk powder which turns to chalk and moss without ever ripening. (Does not some of it still slip through?) The French upper classes, according to Mitford, are either very dull or very vicious. A strong whiff of pourriture seems to haunt the circles in which she moves and shrieks. Lesbians, pederasts ...

Carré on spying

John Sutherland, 3 April 1986

A Perfect Spy 
by John le Carré.
Hodder, 463 pp., £9.95, March 1986, 9780340387849
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The Novels of John le Carré 
by David Monaghan.
Blackwell, 207 pp., £12.50, September 1985, 0 631 14283 5
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Taking sides: The Fiction of John le Carré 
by Tony Barley.
Open University, 175 pp., £20, March 1986, 0 335 15251 1
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John le Carré 
by Peter Lewis.
Ungar, 228 pp., £10.95, August 1985, 0 8044 2243 5
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A Servant’s Tale 
by Paula Fox.
Virago, 321 pp., £9.95, February 1986, 0 86068 702 3
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A State of Independence 
by Caryl Phillips.
Faber, 158 pp., £8.95, February 1986, 0 571 13910 8
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... of the Lebanon, suggested he had become a more publicly engaged writer in his maturity (like Graham Greene). But ingenious le Carré watchers (specialists in their own kind of espionage) soon turned up interesting privacies. An article by Norman Moss in the Sunday Telegraph, for instance, disclosed that the little ...

Manly Love

John Bayley, 28 January 1993

Walt Whitman: From Moon to Starry Night 
by Philip Callow.
Allison and Busby, 394 pp., £19.99, October 1992, 0 85031 908 0
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The Double Life of Stephen Crane 
by Christopher Benfey.
Deutsch, 294 pp., £17.99, February 1993, 0 233 98820 3
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... not, And I broke off a twig with a certain number of leaves upon it, and twined round it a little moss, And brought it away, and I have placed it in sight in my room, It is not needed to remind me of my own dear friends (For I believe lately I think of little else than of them) Yet it remains to me a curious token, it makes me think of manly love. Callow ...

Perfectly Human

Jenny Diski: Lillie Langtry and Mrs Vladimir Nabokov, 1 July 1999

Lillie Langtry: Manners, Masks and Morals 
by Laura Beatty.
Chatto, 336 pp., £20, March 1999, 1 85619 513 9
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Véra (Mrs Vladimir Nabokov): Portrait of a Marriage 
by Stacy Schiff.
Random House, 456 pp., $27.95, April 1999, 0 679 44790 3
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... had thrown in two or three subtle improvements. Doubtless the model-agency scout who spotted Kate Moss on a plane would have thought much the same as the painter Graham Robertson when he noticed Langtry walking past Apsley House. Lillie began her career as muse, model and archetype to the likes of ...

11 September 1973

Christopher Hitchens: Crimes against Allende, 11 July 2002

Pinochet in Piccadilly: Britain and Chile’s Hidden History 
by Andy Beckett.
Faber, 280 pp., £15.99, May 2002, 0 571 20241 1
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... myself again included, were convinced that no such window would be allowed to stay open for long. Graham Greene made a visit to Chile in the early Allende years and spent a good deal of time with the supporters of the MIR (Movement of the Revolutionary Left), who kept on warning that there would be a violent confrontation, engineered by the ruling class and ...

The Excursions

Andrew O’Hagan, 16 June 2011

... the most part, I’m sure,’ he said. ‘But after the Stockholm intervention, a certain Jackie Graham of the local grocery shop in Bellaghy wanted to open a Heaney Museum. ‘“It’ll be good for you and good for us,” he said.’ Seamus didn’t stand in his way and made sure some manuscripts and posters were put into the fellow’s hands. It’s the ...

The End of British Farming

Andrew O’Hagan: British farming, 22 March 2001

... drinking troughs lying about in the yard, and we’d play in them for half the summer. Cranberry Moss Farm, McLaughlin’s Farm on Byrehill, Ashgrove Farm, the Old Mains – nowadays they are all buried under concrete, except for the farm at Toddhill, which became a home for the mentally handicapped. In my youth they had been like haunted houses. There were ...

A Journey in the South

Andrew O’Hagan: In New Orleans, 6 October 2005

... speaking at you it’s like preachin,’ she said. North Carolina was the birthplace of Billy Graham and three US presidents, Andrew Johnson, James Polk and Andrew Jackson, and also, among the twinkling lights out there, you could find the uncelebrated birthplace of Thomas Wolfe, the North Carolinian who wrote Look Homeward, Angel. As the truck got nearer ...

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