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2 May 1985
The Limits of Liberty: American History 1607-1980 
by Maldwyn Jones.
Oxford, 696 pp., £22.50, November 1983, 0 19 913074 4
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America: A Narrative History 
by Charles Brown Tindall.
Norton, 1425 pp., £16.95, July 1984, 0 393 95435 8
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The Longman History of the United States 
by Hugh Brogan.
Longman, 740 pp., £19.95, March 1985, 0 582 35385 8
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American Tough: The Tough-Guy Tradition and American Character 
by Rupert Wilkinson.
Greenwood, 221 pp., £27.95, March 1984, 0 313 23797 2
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... periods, that owed virtually everything to political events and personalities and paid little regard to changes in the economic, social and cultural landscape. Maldwyn Jones, Charles Tindall and HughBrogan have played absolutely safe and settled for an orthodox approach. They neither dispute nor deviate significantly from the well-trodden paths of traditional historiography. If Professors Jones ...
5 April 1984
The Life of Arthur Ransome 
by Hugh Brogan.
Cape, 456 pp., £10.95, January 1984, 0 224 02010 2
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Bohemia in London 
by Arthur Ransome, introduced by Rupert Hart-Davis.
Oxford, 284 pp., £3.50, January 1984, 0 19 281412 5
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... turning the pages – and picking up many sensible hints about how to sail, fish and camp. The descriptive prose is never tinged with purple, the dialogue is superbly lifelike and economical. And, as HughBrogan points out in his biography, while Ransome ‘did not live to encounter that marvellously self-serving critical doctrine according to which the only subject of art is art and even such works ...

A Matter of Caste

Colin Kidd: Alexis de Tocqueville

22 March 2007
Alexis de Tocqueville: Prophet of Democracy in the Age of Revolution 
by Hugh Brogan.
Profile, 724 pp., £30, December 2006, 1 86197 509 0
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... science which explores political processes and the workings of institutions, judiciously to be sure, but to the exclusion of the fervour and enthusiasms which animate political life in the raw. It is HughBrogan’s achievement in this biography to present Tocqueville as a man of feelings – and not all of them fine feelings. Indeed, one theme dominates: Tocqueville’s failure ever quite to overcome ...
24 September 2009
The Last Englishman: The Double Life of Arthur Ransome 
by Roland Chambers.
Faber, 390 pp., £20, August 2009, 978 0 571 22261 2
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... lack of qualm or scruple baffled the spymasters of East and West alike. This other Ransome was, I think, first brought to public attention by David Caute in The Fellow Travellers (1973), then by HughBrogan in his 1984 biography, more recently in papers declassified by MI5 in 2005, and now by Roland Chambers in this new biography. It should be said at once that the bulk of the evidence was never ...
21 January 1988
Jane Austen: Her Life 
by Park Honan.
Weidenfeld, 452 pp., £16.95, October 1987, 0 297 79217 2
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... by the belief that Jane Austen said she would take ‘ordination’ as its subject, The real meaning of her remark was proposed by Charles Edge, in Nineteenth-Century Fiction (1961), and by HughBrogan and others in the correspondence columns of the Times Literary Supplement in December 1968 and January 1969. (The case is also argued and Edge’s evidence extended in an unpublished Appendix of my ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I Didn’t Do in 2007

3 January 2008
... poetry reading for Amis in 1976, though then it was his self-consciously chappish manner I found hardest to cope with, never knowing if it was piss-taking quite. It’s stated in the book that Denis Brogan, fellow of Peterhouse, broadcaster and expert on the USA, used to boast that he had fucked in 46 of the 50 states. I wish I’d known this in 1952, when in my first weeks of National Service Basic ...

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