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Helen Thompson: West Ham Disunited, 26 April 2018

... In the summer​ of 2005 London was chosen to host the 2012 Olympics and West Ham United were celebrating their return to the Premier League after a two-season absence. Few around the club at that time would have welcomed the prospect of leaving the Boleyn Ground, where they had played since 1904, for a new stadium in Stratford, and no one in the office of the London mayor, Ken Livingstone, imagined they were constructing an Olympic stadium that a football club could inherit when the games were over ...

Will it hold?

Helen Thompson: Will the EU hold?, 21 June 2018

... If​ the real point of the European Union is to achieve an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe, the British have never seriously wanted a place in it. If we follow the logic, Brexit makes the EU a more viable political entity. But the EU has always been about much more than gradual European political unification. Currently, it is set up in a manner intended to enable it to manage the varying problems of its member states and to contain Germany ...

We blitzed it

Laleh Khalili: Inhabiting the Oil World, 4 August 2022

Disorder: Hard Times in the 21st Century 
by Helen Thompson.
Oxford, 384 pp., £20, February 2022, 978 0 19 886498 1
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... oil deals for their countries; sometimes gradually, through a series of unintended consequences.Helen Thompson’s​ Disorder begins with an intuition: that the intertwining of oil and monetary policy lay behind two of the most dramatic events in recent Anglo-American politics: Brexit and the election of Donald Trump. Brexit was a result of ‘the ...

‘Auntie Mabel doesn’t give a toss about Serbia’

Jo Glanville: The World Service, 25 August 2011

... the BBC secured the licence fee – frozen at the current level – for the next six years. Mark Thompson, the BBC’s director general, told me in June that the Foreign Office’s continuing control is ‘a fine constitutional point’ which can be addressed in the next charter renewal – no more threatening, he believes, than the potential the government ...

England and Other Women

Edna Longley, 5 May 1988

Under Storm’s Wing 
by Helen Thomas and Myfanwy Thomas.
Carcanet, 318 pp., £14.95, February 1988, 0 85635 733 2
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... as ‘certainly genuine, authentic, a true poet’. Under Storm’s Wing is a welcome reprint of Helen Thomas’s As it was and World without End, first published in 1926 and 1931. It also contains a selection from further reminiscences by Helen and her daughter Myfanwy, and six letters from Frost to Thomas. ...

‘Everyone is terribly kind’

Deborah Friedell: Dorothy Thompson at War, 19 January 2023

The Newspaper Axis: Six Press Barons Who Enabled Hitler 
by Kathryn Olmsted.
Yale, 314 pp., £25, April 2022, 978 0 300 25642 0
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Last Call at the Hotel Imperial: The Reporters Who Took on a World at War 
by Deborah Cohen.
William Collins, 427 pp., £10.99, March, 978 0 00 830590 1
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... In the summer of​ 1941, the American reporter Dorothy Thompson flew to London via neutral Lisbon. She was met by her British editor, J.W. Drawbell of the Sunday Chronicle, who had ‘looked in vain for someone in authority, some worthy figure representing England’ to meet her off the plane – the archbishop of Canterbury, perhaps ...

Move Your Head and the Picture Changes

Jenny Turner: Helen DeWitt, 11 September 2008

Your Name Here 
by Helen DeWitt and Ilya Gridneff., 580 pp., £8, May 2008
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... lines and jumble them up and that’s nicely fractured, but nobody’s gonna read it. Last year, Helen DeWitt posted this passage on paperpools, her blog: it ‘says everything I might have wanted to say about life, the universe, postmodernism and Your Name Here.’ Your Name Here is a 120,000-word novel; DeWitt is one of its authors, the category of ...

Dark and Deep

Helen Vendler, 4 July 1996

Robert Frost: A Biography 
by Jeffrey Meyers.
Constable, 424 pp., £20, May 1996, 0 09 476130 2
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Collected Poems, Prose and Plays 
by Robert Frost, edited by Richard Poirier and Mark Richardson.
Library of America, 1036 pp., $35, October 1995, 9781883011062
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... by such a statement, and the early collections of memoirs and reminiscences culminated in Lawrance Thompson’s three-volume biography published between 1966 and 1976. Frost was born in 1874 and died in 1963; between those dates he lived a long and harrowing life, the general details of which have become well known. They include the early death of his ...

Conspire Slowly, Act Quickly

David Runciman: Thatcher Undone, 2 January 2020

Margaret Thatcher: The Authorised Biography Vol. III: Herself Alone 
by Charles Moore.
Allen Lane, 1072 pp., £35, October 2019, 978 0 241 32474 5
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... Johnson and Thatcher could not be more different. She was a Christian politician whereas he is, as Helen Thompson has pointed out, fundamentally pagan. Thatcher believed she was governing an essentially Christian country, which was doubtful even then and certainly would not be true today. She did things it is impossible to imagine Johnson doing. For ...

Fiction and the Poverty of Theory

John Sutherland, 20 November 1986

News from Nowhere 
by David Caute.
Hamish Hamilton, 403 pp., £10.95, September 1986, 0 241 11920 0
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by Paul Theroux.
Hamish Hamilton, 469 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 241 11948 0
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Ticket to Ride 
by Dennis Potter.
Faber, 202 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 9780571145232
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... brought about the desired upsurge. An older generation of Marxists (led by the unvanquished E.P. Thompson) have counter-attacked with the ‘poverty of theory’ and continued to assert the validity of a traditional British socialist heritage going back at least to the 17th century. All this is given full play in Caute’s narrative. Richard Stern is a young ...

When you die you’ll go to hell

Wendy Steiner, 27 May 1993

Virgin or Vamp: How the Press Covers Sex Crimes 
by Helen Benedict.
Oxford, 309 pp., £22.50, February 1993, 0 19 506680 4
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Reproducing Rape: Domination through Talk in the Courtroom 
by Gregory Matoesian.
Polity, 256 pp., £45, February 1993, 0 7456 1036 6
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... we would sink into a fundamentalist nightmare where verbal insult is injury, punishable as crime. Helen Benedict’s Virgin and Vamp and Gregory Matoesian’s Reproducing Rape are part of this assault: they seek to combat rape by reforming the way it is described. Although Benedict’s book is a journalist’s critique of rape coverage in the press and ...

Through the Mill

Jane Humphries: The Industrial Revolution, 20 March 2014

Liberty’s Dawn: A People’s History of the Industrial Revolution 
by Emma Griffin.
Yale, 303 pp., £12.99, March 2014, 978 0 300 20525 1
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... therefore, that contributors to the first wave of ‘history from below’, including E.P. Thompson, used working-class memoirs so sparingly, cherry-picking from already known and accessible texts. But this soon changed. John Burnett used annotated extracts to illustrate various aspects of working-class life in Useful Toil and Destiny Obscure. By ...


Ian Sansom, 7 March 1996

by A.R. Ammons.
Norton, 121 pp., £7.50, February 1995, 0 393 31203 8
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Tape for the Turn of the Year 
by A.R. Ammons.
Norton, 205 pp., £8.95, February 1995, 0 393 31204 6
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Red Sauce, Whiskey and Snow 
by August Kleinzahler.
Faber, 93 pp., £6.99, April 1995, 0 571 17431 0
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The Unemployed Fortune-Teller: Essays and Memoirs 
by Charles Simic.
Michigan, 127 pp., £30, January 1996, 0 472 06569 6
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Frightening Toys 
by Charles Simic.
Faber, 101 pp., £6.99, April 1995, 0 571 17399 3
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The Ghost of Eden 
by Chase Twichell.
Faber, 78 pp., £6.99, April 1995, 0 571 17434 5
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... on the snot riddle in his book Rubbish Theory: The Creation and Destruction of Value, Michael Thompson explains that the riddle succeeds by playing upon that which is residual to our system of cultural categories. When, in the context of wealth and poverty, we talk of possessable objects we unquestioningly assume that we are talking about valuable ...

What are we telling the nation?

David Edgar: Thoughts about the BBC, 7 July 2005

Uncertain Vision: Birt, Dyke and the Reinvention of the BBC 
by Georgina Born.
Vintage, 352 pp., £10.99, August 2005, 0 09 942893 8
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Building Public Value: Renewing the BBC for a Digital World 
BBC, 135 pp.Show More
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... Tom Courtenay and Joanna Lumley – and was ‘bought’ in 1998 by the then BBC2 controller Mark Thompson for broadcast at Christmas. Andrew Davies symbolised the great success of 1990s BBC drama: the reinvention of the classic serial, whose high points (including Davies’s Pride and Prejudice and Middlemarch) were produced under the wing of Michael ...

Restoring St. George’s

Peter Campbell: In Bloomsbury, 20 November 2003

... through a fraction of a degree and the centre of the arch drops a millimetre or so. Sinclair Thompson, the engineer who surveyed the church, takes the long view. If movement is ancient, very gradual and not accelerating, heroic measures – tie bars, underpinning – are not even considered. The good news is that St George’s is remarkably sound. It was ...

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