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Malcolm and the Masses

Clive James, 5 February 1981

Malcolm Muggeridge: A Life 
by Ian Hunter.
Collins, 270 pp., £6.95, November 1980, 0 00 216538 4
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... further. There he is waiting for you up the garden path, all set to lead you on instead of back. Ian Hunter, billed as Professor of Law at Western University in London, Canada, was born in 1945, which makes him about half the age of his hero. Blemishes can thus partly be put down to exuberance. Professor Hunter still ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Basingstoke’s Paisleyite, 21 April 2005

... discounted it wouldn’t have made any difference: the new Conservative MP for Basingstoke, Andrew Hunter, would just have been elected with a majority of 12,451 rather than 12,450. Hunter won’t be seeking re-election in May, having seen his majority – which peaked in 1992 at 21,198, making Basingstoke an apparently ...

God’s Own

Angus Calder, 12 March 1992

Empire and English Character 
by Kathryn Tidrick.
Tauris, 338 pp., £24.95, August 1990, 1 85043 191 4
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Into Africa: The story of the East African Safari 
by Kenneth Cameron.
Constable, 229 pp., £14.95, June 1990, 0 09 469770 1
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Burton: Snow upon the Desert 
by Frank McLynn.
Murray, 428 pp., £19.95, September 1990, 0 7195 4818 7
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From the Sierras to the Pampas: Richard Burton’s Travels in the Americas, 1860-69 
by Frank McLynn.
Barrie and Jenkins, 258 pp., £16.99, July 1991, 0 7126 3789 3
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The Duke of Puddle Dock: Travels in the Footsteps of Stamford Raffles 
by Nigel Barley.
Viking, 276 pp., £16.99, March 1992, 0 670 83642 7
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... Polynesian seafarers had mastered. The cult of the White Explorer overlaps with that of the White Hunter. Speke, to Burton’s disgust, never tired of slaughtering birds and animals. Baker was a daring, wealthy ‘sportsman’. Frederick Courtenay Selous, as DNB styles him (my hotel’s original begetter seems to have borrowed his middle name and misspelt ...

What’s best

Ian Hacking, 27 January 1994

The Nature of Rationality 
by Robert Nozick.
Princeton, 226 pp., £19.95, August 1993, 0 691 07424 0
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... Within Western societies, the balance has shifted in the division of traits that served in hunter-gatherer societies. Rationality first was able to extend its sway by bringing benefits to other traits too, but the other traits became more dependent on rationality, and rationality became more powerful and subject to fewer constraints. Rationality is ...

Toot Sweet

Ian Aitken, 27 May 1993

Tired and Emotional: The life of George Brown 
by Peter Paterson.
Chatto, 320 pp., £20, May 1993, 0 7011 3976 5
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... who he believed to be splitting the Labour Party, drove him simultaneously to be a ferocious witch-hunter on behalf of the right, and to the bottle. Mr Paterson’s second explanation arises directly from the first. He argues that Brown was shattered to be beaten by Wilson for the party leadership, which he believed to belong to him more or less by right as ...

Comprehensible Disorders

David Craig, 3 September 1987

Before the oil ran out: Britain 1977-86 
by Ian Jack.
Secker, 271 pp., £9.95, June 1987, 0 436 22020 2
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In a Distant Isle: The Orkney Background of Edwin Muir 
by George Marshall.
Scottish Academic Press, 184 pp., £12.50, May 1987, 0 7073 0469 5
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... The item which seems set to stay longest with me from Ian Jack’s alert and precisely-written record of British life in the Seventies and Eighties comes from the opening memoir of his father, which supplies a deeper soil, or subsoil, to the son’s coverage of more recent matters for the Sunday Times and (since Wapping) the Observer: Few of his workplaces survive ...

Saint Q

Alan Brien, 12 September 1991

Well, I forget the rest 
by Quentin Crewe.
Hutchinson, 278 pp., £17.99, September 1991, 0 09 174835 6
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... into one ear or another. As I did so, I often caught a surreal glimpse of myself as some kind of hunter of human game, bearing to the cannibal feast one more main course still alive and thrashing. ‘Q’, I am happy to say, is still alive and stirring things up – not least in this quirky and curious autobiography. Muscular dystrophy, the wasting disease ...

Secretly Sublime

Iain Sinclair: The Great Ian Penman, 19 March 1998

Vital Signs 
by Ian Penman.
Serpent’s Tail, 374 pp., £10.99, February 1998, 1 85242 523 7
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... One of the myths that fuzzes the shadowy outline of Ian Penman, a laureate of marginal places, folds in the map, is that Paul Schrader, the director of a sassy remake of Jacques Tourneur’s Cat People, admired Penman’s review so much that he invited him over to Los Angeles to talk product. Penman in California was truly the vision of a man who fell to earth, a pale alien in an X Files landscape ...

Sonic Foam

Ian Penman: On Kate Bush, 16 April 2014

... about a Crowley-esque mage, recalls the sampled voice (Charles Laughton reading from Night of the Hunter) on Coil’s own ‘Who’ll Tell’. The edge of the labyrinth. Demons on the living-room carpet. Innocence come to grief.If you go back to Hounds of Love, the first thing you notice is that in those days she took far more risks with her voice: there was ...

Thunderstruck

Arthur Gavshon, 6 June 1985

The Falklands War: Lessons for Strategy, Diplomacy and International Law 
edited by Alberto Coll and Anthony Arend.
Allen and Unwin, 252 pp., £18, May 1985, 0 04 327075 1
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... in winning War Cabinet authority for a change in the Rules of Engagement on 2 May to allow hunter-killer submarine attacks on any Argentine surface ships outside Argentine territorial waters. That was how the General Belgrano came to be destroyed later the same day despite the fact that London knew it had been heading toward home waters since dawn (11 ...

The Salinger Affair

Julian Barnes, 27 October 1988

In Search of J.D. Salinger 
by Ian Hamilton.
Heinemann, 222 pp., £12.95, September 1988, 0 434 31331 9
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... word for a change – wrong. Now consider a more sophisticated version of the Robinson technique. Ian Hamilton, noted biographer of Robert Lowell, writes to J.D. Salinger and informs him that he has become Hamilton’s latest subject: would the notoriously reclusive novelist mind answering some questions, could he take a visit? Hamilton doesn’t expect an ...

Upright Ends

Vincent Newey, 1 October 1987

The Origins of the English Novel, 1660-1740 
by Michael McKeon.
Johns Hopkins, 530 pp., £21.25, April 1987, 0 8018 3291 8
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... Ian Watt’s The Rise of the Novel,* which Michael McKeon energetically bids to transcend, gave us, whatever else, the clear image and serviceable concept: ‘formal realism’, the growth of ‘the middle class’, secularised Protestant Man proudly bearing the standard of an aggressive ‘individualism’ – on Crusoe’s hard-won island as in the socioeconomic landscape of contemporary England ...

The Undesired Result

Gillian Darley: Betjeman’s bêtes noires, 31 March 2005

Betjeman: The Bonus of Laughter 
by Bevis Hillier.
Murray, 744 pp., £25, October 2004, 0 7195 6495 6
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... the odd couple of John Sparrow and Tom Driberg. Sparrow was a grammarian pedant, ‘a great which-hunter’, as Murray put it, while Driberg watched the tenses and any surfeit of sentiment like a hawk. ‘If that’s what heaven’s like it won’t be bad’ was, for Driberg, rather ‘in the Godfrey Winn manner’, and out it went. Schools, university, those ...

Diary

Chris Mullin: The Birmingham Bombers, 21 February 2019

... name him. Within four hours of the explosions on 21 November five Irishmen – Paddy Hill, Gerry Hunter, Richard McIlkenny, Billy Power and Johnny Walker – were arrested at Heysham in Lancashire as they got off a train from Birmingham New Street which connected with the ferry to Belfast. A sixth man, Hughie Callaghan, was arrested the next day in ...

Mortal on Hooch

William Fiennes: Alan Warner, 30 July 1998

The Sopranos 
by Alan Warner.
Cape, 336 pp., £9.99, June 1998, 0 224 05108 3
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... helicopter pilot called Nam the Dam; ‘some kind of crazy salvage-diver-cum-Armada-treasure-hunter’ called Argonaut; drifters like Knifegrinder and DJ Cormorant; Chef Macbeth with his remote-controlled planes; and sinister John Brotherhood, the focus for a series of portentous references to the Devil, and for stories of sexual depravity involving ...

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