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Britishmen

Tom Paulin, 5 November 1981

Too Long a Sacrifice: Life and Death in Northern Ireland since 1969 
by Jack Holland.
Columbus, 217 pp., £7.95, July 1981, 0 396 07934 2
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A History of Northern Ireland 
by Patrick Buckland.
Gill and Macmillan, 195 pp., £3.95, April 1981, 0 7171 1069 9
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... Sir Joshua Hassan who believes that the Rock is indissolubly part of the United Kingdom. Although Jack Holland ignores Cairns’s rich insight, he does explore the confused nature of Loyalist identity. In a revealing anecdote he describes a train journey towards the Loyalist stronghold of Larne. Three youths were clowning about, throwing cans and bottles ...

Paradises

David Allen, 5 August 1993

The Culture of Flowers 
by Jack Goody.
Cambridge, 480 pp., £40, February 1993, 0 521 41441 5
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... For the time being, we must be grateful that they are content to share them with the rest of us. Jack Goody has already drawn on the newly-rich store of anthropological reference to produce wide-ranging, thought-provoking books on the relationship between the spoken and the written, the connections between cooking and social class, and the development of the ...

Chef de Codage

Brian Rotman: Codes, 15 July 1999

Between Silk and Cyanide: The Story of SOE’s Code War 
by Leo Marks.
HarperCollins, 614 pp., £19.99, November 1998, 0 00 255944 7
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... of all and sundry; one of the sundry turns out to be his favourite kosher idol, the comedian Jack Benny, who grants him an hour of his presence. Another, more intimate trip has Marks going late at night to 84 Charing Cross Road in order to get inspiration from sitting in the chair Freud had sat in a few years before when he was writing Moses and ...
Possible Dreams: A Personal History of the British Christian Socialists 
by Chris Bryant.
Hodder, 351 pp., £25, July 1996, 0 340 64201 7
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... John Smith was ‘one of them’. Tony Blair is ‘one of them’. And so are Chris Smith and Jack Straw and half the Shadow Cabinet and many more on the backbenches including Frank Field, that one-man think-tank of the Labour Right. ‘They’ are the Christian socialists, architects of New Labour, ready to provide the movement with the ethical foundations which seem sorely missing ...

Diary

Gillian Darley: John Evelyn and his gardens, 8 June 2006

... along by commercial good sense. In the 1730s, the tree nursery established by Sir John Evelyn Bt (Jack, the diarist’s grandson) supplied trees for some of the most elegant landscapes designed in early Georgian England. In Evelyn’s own day, young trees were more usually shipped from Holland. I come from what D.J. Taylor ...

Diary

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

... Gianni Agnelli, president of the Italian team Juventus. He can look like God’s gift to the Union Jack soccer hooligan, and yet he can look sweet. He neither fouled nor faked; nor did the team, which won the tournament’s fair play award. He is the frog that turns into the prince every move he makes. Many may flinch from his practical jokes and his scuffles ...

The wind comes up out of nowhere

Charles Nicholl: The Disappearance of Arthur Cravan, 9 March 2006

... the avant-garde. As a heavyweight boxer, his career peaked in 1916, when he fought the formidable Jack Johnson in Barcelona. He lasted six rounds. These two strands of Cravan’s career are not as diverse as one might think: his stance as a writer was extremely combative – confrontation and ‘anti-art’ polemic were his métier. As the poet Mina Loy, who ...

Ancient Greek Romances

Peter Parsons, 20 August 1981

... In 1834, T.B. Macaulay left Holland House to unaccustomed silences, and set sail for Madras, where he was to save £30,000 and draft the penal code. Indian leisure inspired him to reread Greek. Thucydides, Euripides, Demosthenes, all got good marks. Fiction came off less well. Macaulay was a great reader of novels (to his father’s and Clapham’s distress); the Governor-General’s court wept over his copy of Clarissa ...

The Word from Wuhan

Wang Xiuying, 5 March 2020

... internet. It reminded me of the photograph of three Englishmen choosing books in what remained of Holland House library after the Blitz. The young man received a great many love notes.Chinese medicine has played a dubious role in all this. Many believe the virus originated in a wild animal market in Wuhan. Trading and eating wild animals isn’t uncommon in ...

Supersellers

John Sutherland, 8 November 1979

The Devil’s Alternative 
by Frederick Forsyth.
Hutchinson, 479 pp., £5.95
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The Four Hundred 
by Stephen Sheppard.
Secker, 374 pp., £5.25
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... The Eagle has landed, Patterson’s best best-seller (which he wrote under the name of Jack Higgins), is estimated to have sold 18 million copies in 42 languages; Forsyth’s last novel, The Dogs of War, runs alongside with an estimated 20 million copies in 24 languages. These authors are the literary equivalent of the multinational ...

Anglo-America

Stephen Fender, 3 April 1980

The London Yankees: Portraits of American Writers and Artists in England, 1894-1914 
by Stanley Weintraub.
W.H. Allen, 408 pp., £7.95, November 1979, 0 491 02209 3
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The Americans: Fifty Letters from America on our Life and Times 
by Alistair Cooke.
Bodley Head, 323 pp., £5.95, October 1979, 0 370 30163 3
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... themselves there for whatever reason and length of time. (One striking omission from this book is Jack London, but then he was over in the East End fretting about the people of the abyss.) The question is whether such a concatenation represents a cultural phenomenon or a happy accident of the kind Tom Stoppard plays with in Travesties, about Zurich in ...
Daring to Excel: The Story of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain 
by Ruth Railton.
Secker, 466 pp., £20, August 1992, 0 436 23359 2
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... Companion to Music, where Mahler is described as being of little interest outside Germany and Holland, and Berg gets the same number of column inches as Ebenezer Prout. Ruth Railton, a young woman working on her own, sought to galvanise the club of sleepy males into an intensity of action they deplored, in some cases feared. Those who felt most threatened ...

Unmistakable

Michael Rogin, 20 August 1998

Celebrity Caricature in America 
by Wendy Wick Reaves.
Yale, 320 pp., £29.95, April 1998, 0 300 07463 8
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... that Groucho Marx refused to join. On the contrary, it supplied the ground for his retort, after Jack Warner threatened a copyright infringement action for A Night in Casablanca (Warner Bros had produced the original Casablanca), that Groucho, Chico and Harpo would countersue Jack, Al and Harry for stealing ...

How to die

John Sutherland, 13 February 1992

Final Exit: The Practicalities of Self-Deliverance and Assisted Suicide for the Dying 
by Derek Humphry.
Hemlock Society, 192 pp., $16.95, April 1991, 0 9606030 3 4
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... on the cheap rather than unwanted life at $1000 a day has been demonstrated by the strange case of Jack Kevorkian – alias ‘Dr Death’ and ‘Jack the Dripper’. Kevorkian is a retired Michigan pathologist who has had a lifelong love affair with the human corpse. His current business card reads: ‘...

Working under Covers

Paul Laity: Mata Hari, 8 January 2004

Female Intelligence: Women and Espionage in the First World War 
by Tammy Proctor.
New York, 205 pp., $27, June 2003, 0 8147 6693 5
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... goes, from two of her former lovers – the Crown Prince of Germany and the Prime Minister of Holland – were of no use. ‘Please note that I am not French,’ she said in her final statement, ‘and that I reserve the right to cultivate any relations that may please me. The war is not sufficient reason to stop me from being a cosmopolitan.’ After her ...

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