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Wrath of the Centurions

Max Hastings: My Lai, 25 January 2018

My Lai: Vietnam, 1968 and the Descent into Darkness 
by Howard Jones.
Oxford, 504 pp., £22.99, June 2017, 978 0 19 539360 6
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... of a war I was involved in. And so​ to My Lai, the subject of this authoritative new account by Howard Jones. The ghastly story burst on the world on 12 November 1969, when Associated Press wires carried the first report by the freelance investigator Seymour Hersh indicating that men of the 23rd Americal Division had carried out a massacre of civilians ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Is it just me?, 1 December 2005

... though it features in what they have to say about ‘common sense’, where they quote Michael Howard: ‘Whenever there is a conflict between political correctness and common sense, let me tell you where I stand – firmly on the side of common sense!’ ‘Common sense’ here being a Tory euphemism, as Lowe and McArthur point out, for ‘hating ...

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Thomas Jones: Dead Babies, 16 November 2000

... other films, a more or less obligatory practice these days. Giles’s mad mother lives at Castle Howard (a.k.a. Brideshead), and at one point Johnny the psycho is about to blow the lock off a door with a shotgun when he thinks better of it and instead smashes in one of the panels with a handy statuette of the Virgin. He then fools the audience by not ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Blair’s nuptials, 3 March 2005

... to sit down and decide’ whether to stay with him or ‘go off with Mr Kennedy’ or Mr Howard. Even those who’ve so far restrained themselves from hurling plates at him might feel tempted to by the cringeing hi-honey-I’m-hominess of ‘I’m back. And it feels good.’ Back from where, precisely? On one level, from ‘a tremendous time on ...

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Thomas Jones: Politicians and the Press, 26 January 2006

... Dems, including Kennedy’s enemies and rivals, to cause havoc by speaking up. And then Michael Howard announced his intention to stand down as Conservative leader the day after the election, when there were still a few seats not declared. So any Lib Dems eager to stab Kennedy in the back would have to wait until after the Tories sorted themselves out, if ...

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Thomas Jones: The Quiet American, 14 November 2002

... tell the story from the perspective of Major Calloway, the character played in the film by Trevor Howard, is a major flaw in the written version.) Fowler provides a voiceover, and there’s the occasional point-of-view shot, but these effects are largely cosmetic: for most of the film, we’re looking at Michael Caine. And because the story is told on ...

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

... 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 impaled. Macrinus, thoroughly incompetent, was dead within 14 months, to be replaced by Heliogabalus, a high ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Alastair Campbell, Good Bloke, 18 March 2004

... what they had done to Kinnock) with a few crowd-pleasing jibes at uncontroversial targets (Michael Howard, racist football fans, the Mail) and several preening anecdotes, dressed up as self-deprecation. He once went to the help of a man who’d been mugged on Hampstead Heath. When the man realised who the good bloke who’d saved him was, he said: ‘You’re ...

‘I worry a bit, Joanne’

Adam Mars-Jones: ‘The Casual Vacancy’, 25 October 2012

The Casual Vacancy 
by J.K. Rowling.
Little, Brown, 503 pp., £20, September 2012, 978 1 4087 0420 2
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... the seething id that genteel Pagford doesn’t want to admit to. Old-guard Pagford, led by Howard Mollison, a delicatessen owner, wants the jurisdiction of the Fields handed back to Yarvil, and the addiction clinic there (a parish matter because it’s housed in what was a church) shut down. Mollison, exploiting the opportunity that death has ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: David Lean, 3 July 2008

... but of De Sica’s wonderful Stazione Termini, also known as Indiscretion (1953), with Jennifer Jones and Montgomery Clift, where another American woman has an Italian romance and leaves it behind. But De Sica is tender where Lean is austere, even though Lean did later say he had put more of himself in Summertime than any other film he had ever made. Brief ...

Musical Beds

D.A.N. Jones, 30 December 1982

On Going to Bed 
by Anthony Burgess.
Deutsch, 96 pp., £4.95, August 1982, 0 233 97470 9
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The End of the World News 
by Anthony Burgess.
Hutchinson, 398 pp., £8.95, October 1982, 0 09 150540 2
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This Man and Music 
by Anthony Burgess.
Hutchinson, 192 pp., £7.95, September 1982, 0 09 149610 1
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... but he concluded, tutorially: ‘What is a suite but a museum of dead dances? Next time, Mr Jones must try sonata form!’ Since I like museums and ancient dances, it pleases me to respond that On Going to Bed resembles a good, old-fashioned suite (with a pictorial musée) – and that it might be over-ambitious, hubristic, to attempt sonata-form with ...


D.A.N. Jones, 18 September 1986

Search Sweet Country 
by B. Kojo Laing.
Heinemann, 256 pp., £10.95, August 1986, 0 434 40216 8
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The Jewel Maker 
by Tom Gallagher.
Hamish Hamilton, 180 pp., £9.95, April 1986, 0 241 11866 2
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The Pianoplayers 
by Anthony Burgess.
Hutchinson, 208 pp., £8.95, August 1986, 0 09 165190 5
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An After-Dinner’s Sleep 
by Stanley Middleton.
Hutchinson, 224 pp., £9.95, May 1986, 0 09 163620 5
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Coming Home 
by Mervyn Jones.
Piatkus, 263 pp., £9.95, April 1986, 0 86188 525 2
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... a personal appearance in the final story, ‘To die in Copenhagen’. The narrator of the tales is Howard Murray, a Scottish playwright, who travels to Denmark, as well as Dublin, London and New York in the course of the book. Tom Gallagher is himself a Scottish playwright, best-known as the author of Mr Joyce is leaving Paris: he has written other plays, two ...


Paul Foot: Awaiting the Truth about Hanratty, 11 December 1997

... Isaacs), to the guest-house in Rhyl where Hanratty said he’d stayed. The landlady, Mrs Grace Jones, was not at all diverted by the pulverising she’d got from the prosecution at the trial. She was more sure than ever that Hanratty had stayed in her house on the night of the murder, 22 August 1961. She was backed up by Terry Evans, whom Hanratty had met ...

Sour Notes

D.A.N. Jones, 17 November 1983

Peter Hall’s Diaries: The Story of a Dramatic Battle 
edited by John Goodwin.
Hamish Hamilton, 507 pp., £12.95, November 1983, 0 241 11047 5
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... opposition from his wiser friends, Hall insists on presenting The Romans in Britain, a play by Howard Brenton, allegedly about contemporary Northern Ireland, which begins with a swearing Roman attempting to bugger a Druid but being frustrated by haemorrhoids. This is thought to be left-wing – but Hall is confused about left-wingers. He fears that ...

Tribute to Trevor-Roper

A.J.P. Taylor, 5 November 1981

History and Imagination: Essays in honour of H.R. Trevor-Roper 
edited by Hugh Lloyd-Jones, Valerie Pearl and Blair Worden.
Duckworth, 386 pp., £25, October 1981, 9780715615706
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... most within my range. We start with Homer and who wrote his poems. This essay by Professor Lloyd-Jones demonstrates anew the difference between ancient and modern scholarship which we often forget. We modernists have our views constantly disturbed by the discovery of new evidence. Classical scholarship consists of looking at the same evidence from different ...

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