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In qualified praise of Stephen Vizinczey

Bryan Appleyard, 24 July 1986

Truth and Lies in Literature: Reviews and Essays 
by Stephen Vizinczey.
Hamish Hamilton, 399 pp., £12.95, June 1986, 0 241 11805 0
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In Praise of Older Women: The Amorous Recollections of A.V. 
by Stephen Vizinczey.
Hamish Hamilton, 192 pp., £8.95, February 1985, 0 241 11378 4
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... book he read and reviewed for the Sunday Telegraph and from the research he did for an impassioned J’accuse-type article for the same newspaper. There are many other examples where ideas – frequently expressed in virtually the same words – flit from book to book as if looking for a home. The best home tends to be the fiction, where these ideas can be ...

What Labour must do

Bryan Gould, 7 January 1988

... In the wake of Labour’s third successive – and in some ways most serious – defeat, it is surely the merest prudence to ask ourselves whether there are not some things we could be doing a little better. There are, one might say, only two possibilities: either everything is perfect and need only be reproduced to guarantee victory next time, or something has to change ...

Whoopers and Shouters

James Morone: William Jennings Bryan, 21 February 2008

A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan 
by Michael Kazin.
Anchor, 374 pp., $16.95, March 2007, 978 0 385 72056 4
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... mob of divided, disgruntled Democrats packed the Chicago Coliseum in July 1896 as William Jennings Bryan rose to the platform and delivered a roaring speech – still the speech for part of the American left – about an economic chimera. Bryan demanded that the United States peg its currency not to gold but to silver ...

Prodigals

John Sutherland, 19 August 1982

A Prodigal Child 
by David Storey.
Cape, 319 pp., £7.50, June 1982, 0 224 02027 7
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The Prodigal Daughter 
by Jeffrey Archer.
Hodder, 447 pp., £7.95, July 1982, 0 340 27687 8
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Ralph 
by John Stonehouse.
Cape, 318 pp., £6.95, May 1982, 0 224 02019 6
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The Man from St Petersburg 
by Ken Follett.
Hamish Hamilton, 292 pp., £7.95, May 1982, 0 241 10783 0
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The Patriot Game 
by George Higgins.
Secker, 237 pp., £7.50, July 1982, 0 436 19589 5
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... They have two children. Alan inherits his father’s energies and stupidities; the other son, Bryan, is gifted and has talents which he apparently owes to neither parent. Through visits to the farm where his father works (other Lawrentian echoes here), Bryan meets Fay Corrigan, the coquettish younger wife of a ...

Boy’s Own

Erika Hagelberg: Adam, Eve and genetics, 20 November 2003

The Seven Daughters of Eve: The Astonishing Story that Reveals How Each of Us Can Trace Our Genetic Ancestors 
by Bryan Sykes.
Corgi, 368 pp., £6.99, May 2002, 0 552 14876 8
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Mapping Human History: Unravelling the Mystery of Adam and Eve 
by Steve Olson.
Bloomsbury, 293 pp., £7.99, July 2003, 0 7475 6174 5
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The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey 
by Spencer Wells.
Penguin, 224 pp., £8.99, May 2003, 0 14 100832 6
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... to study human ancestry, I should declare an interest: I was a postdoctoral research associate in Bryan Sykes’s Oxford laboratory in the late 1980s. When I joined it in 1987, his team was working on inherited conditions such as osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bone disease, but my project was an attempt to recover DNA from archaeological bones, something ...

Those Suits

Paul Foot, 7 September 1995

Jeffrey Archer: Stranger than Fiction 
by Michael Crick.
Hamish Hamilton, 456 pp., £17.50, May 1995, 0 241 13360 2
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... when he was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party in 1985, my Mirror colleague Bryan Rostron and I wrote to him asking about the Toronto rumour. Back came a firm reply from Geoffrey Grimes, a celebrated solicitor then acting for Archer: ‘Mr Archer was not involved in this incident.’ That seemed to be the end of the matter. Two years ...

Diary

Karl Miller: On the 1990 World Cup, 26 July 1990

... one, despot. England started out in disarray. The news was of big toes needing to be attended to. Bryan Robson had to take his toe home, despite the attentions of a faith healer, flown in from darkest England with the assent of Bobby Robson, who seemed to set himself to give the impression that Bryan was indispensable to ...

Too Proud to Fight

David Reynolds: The ‘Lusitania’ Effect, 28 November 2002

Wilful Murder: The Sinking of the ‘Lusitania’ 
by Diana Preston.
Doubleday, 543 pp., £18.99, May 2002, 0 385 60173 5
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Lusitania: Saga and Myth 
by David Ramsay.
Chatham, 319 pp., £20, September 2001, 1 86176 170 8
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Woodrow Wilson 
by John Thompson.
Longman, 288 pp., £15.99, August 2002, 0 582 24737 3
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... But in 1914-15 this was no longer possible. That certainly was the view of William Jennings Bryan, the populist Democrat and former Presidential candidate whom Wilson had been obliged to appoint as Secretary of State in 1913. In the new era of undersea warfare, Bryan wanted Wilson to curtail American neutral rights in ...

Eating people is right

Paul Delany, 21 February 1985

Modern Times 
by Peter York.
Heinemann, 128 pp., £7.95, October 1984, 0 434 89260 2
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Face Value: The Politics of Beauty 
by Robin Tolmach Lakoff and Raquel Scherr.
Routledge, 312 pp., £12.95, November 1984, 0 7100 9742 5
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... Fairisle Years’ (Chariots of Fire, Brideshead Revisited), with passing looks at Babytime, Bryan Ferry, Reactionary Chic, and Not Shaving. The most substantial part of York’s book is ‘Designtime’, an anatomy of the people he calls ‘the square men’, after their favourite motif. They have outstripped their traditional rivals, the ...

At the Royal Academy

Rosemary Hill: The Treasures of the Society of Antiquaries, 18 October 2007

... in 1771 by the young Henry Faussett under the directions of his antiquarian father, the Rev. Bryan, who was confined to his carriage by gout, and a ‘jousting cheque’ or scorecard from the Field of the Cloth of Gold. Down the centre of the first gallery runs an immense genealogical roll, made up of two parts, which traces the descent of Charles ...

Yesterday

Frank Kermode, 27 July 1989

The Pleasures of Peace: Art and Imagination in Post-War Britain 
by Bryan Appleyard.
Faber, 367 pp., £12.99, June 1989, 0 571 13722 9
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... and very alien; that strangeness can only be perceived through the medium of the present.’ Thus Bryan Appleyard, conscious of the difficulty of his project, which is to sketch the history of British art in the post-war years. The sentence occurs in an apologetic introduction, and it indicates some of the difficulties inherent in the author’s approach to ...

Diary

Karl Miller: Football Tribes, 1 June 1989

... man, I don’t know what does.’ He is of reiver stock, as lots of people are, and so is Bryan Robson, who plays like a warrior for moneymongering Manchester United, a team which has learnt to play with a scowl, as if they felt they were being robbed of the results to which financial outlays and impatient fans entitle them. Bobby Robson, the England ...

Diary

Giles Gordon: Experimental Sideshows, 7 October 1993

... included a surprising number of travel pieces. In 1975 Hutchinson published what was to have been Bryan Johnson’s and my antidote to Miller’s Penguin, but I fear we were too late. Unhappily, I put together Beyond the Words: Eleven Writers in Search of a New Fiction on my own; Johnson had killed himself in 1973. The next generation of writers was beginning ...

Taking back America

Anatol Lieven: The right-wing backlash, 2 December 2004

What’s the Matter with America? The Resistible Rise of the American Right 
by Thomas Frank.
Secker, 306 pp., £12, September 2004, 0 436 20539 4
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... as Republicans. The great populist wave of the 1890s which led to the adoption of William Jennings Bryan as the Democratic presidential candidate was imbued with fundamentalist Protestantism. Bryan’s ‘leftism’ did not take precedence over his fundamentalist Christianity; nor in his own mind was there any tension ...

Sod off, readers

John Sutherland, 26 September 1991

Rude Words: A Discursive History of the London Library 
by John Wells.
Macmillan, 240 pp., £17.50, September 1991, 0 333 47519 4
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Swearing: A Social History of Foul Language, Oaths and Profanity in English 
by Geoffrey Hughes.
Blackwell, 283 pp., £16.95, August 1991, 0 631 16593 2
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... been immune to such essentially human feelings. Carlyle happened to be in the library in 1875 when Bryan Courthope Hunt – the child of a famously irregular marriage – chose to commit suicide there. Hunt had asked at the issue desk for the second volume of George Henry Lewes’s Problems of Life and Mind but discovered that it was out. Lewes’s wife had ...

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