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Presto!

James Buchan

14 December 1995
The Life of Adam Smith 
by Ian Simpson Ross.
Oxford, 495 pp., £25, October 1995, 0 19 828821 2
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... From its ruins arises an optimistic, atheistic and mechanical view of human affairs, that survived the romantic challenge of Scott (and later Marx and his epigonoi), and is the orthodoxy today. Ross has done well to draw Smith out of the beady embrace of the economists, and present him as a philosopher of his times. The two interesting questions Ross addresses are: how, in the peculiar ...

Trouble down there

Ferdinand Mount: Tea with Sassoon

7 August 2003
Siegfried Sassoon: The Making of a War Poet 1886-1918 
by Jean Moorcroft Wilson.
Duckworth, 600 pp., £9.99, September 2002, 0 7156 2894 1
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Siegfried Sassoon: The Journey from the Trenches 1918-67 
by Jean Moorcroft Wilson.
Duckworth, 526 pp., £30, April 2003, 0 7156 2971 9
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Sassoon: The Worlds of Philip and Sybil 
by Peter Stansky.
Yale, 295 pp., £25, April 2003, 0 300 09547 3
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... club all-rounder at cricket. At golf, Wilson describes him as a ‘reasonably good player’, but his handicap of six makes him superior to other obsessive literary golfers such as P.G. Wodehouse and Ian Fleming, and only a little inferior to Malcolm Lowry and Patrick Hamilton, who were golfers as well as drinkers of championship class. This devotion to sport went with a declared aversion to women ...

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