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Warrior, Lover, Villain, Spiv

Tom Crewe: Dance Halls, 7 January 2016

Going to the Palais: A Social and Cultural History of Dancing and Dance Halls in Britain, 1918-60 
by James Nott.
Oxford, 327 pp., £65, September 2015, 978 0 19 960519 4
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... and parents, or one’s own youth – unfamiliar, revealing its full complexity and difference. James Nott’s parents also met at a dance, but his book impressively resituates their story in that strange and vanished world which, for three generations of young Britons, revolved around the dance hall. Never before the period 1918-60, ...

Thom Gunn in New York

Michael Nott, 22 October 2020

... Allan. One moment I want to go, the next I don’t.’ There, he gave a reading at the YMHA with James Fenton, and opened with ‘Lament’. He saw some of Noseworthy’s friends and wondered if he’d ever see them again. Once ‘the most sociable city in the world’ – as he had called it back in 1959 – New York now seemed empty. ‘Now, as when Tony ...


Clive James, 20 May 1982

... watch it And hope that this time our side doesn’t botch it. The Secretary of Defence, John Nott, Has made a whopping balls-up in the House. The Foreign Secretary’s on the spot, Loudly accused of being short of nous. The top gun-boat exponent of the lot, A prancing lion where once crouched a mouse, Is Michael Foot, who now speaks for the nation In ...


Susan Pedersen, 6 October 2011

Structures and Transformations in Modern British History 
edited by David Feldman and Jon Lawrence.
Cambridge, 331 pp., £50, January 2011, 978 0 521 51882 6
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The Peculiarities of Liberal Modernity in Imperial Britain 
edited by Simon Gunn and James Vernon.
California, 271 pp., £20.95, May 2011, 978 0 9845909 5 7
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Classes, Cultures and Politics: Essays on British History for Ross McKibbin 
edited by Clare Griffiths, John Nott and William Whyte.
Oxford, 320 pp., £65, April 2011, 978 0 19 957988 4
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... outcomes such as the decline of Chartism or the nature of Labour politics. Joyce and his student James Vernon then charged Lawrence and Taylor with a ‘complacent’ desire to appropriate the tools of linguistic analysis while undermining its epistemological radicalism. All the two camps could agree on was that the Americans were hopelessly wrong in ...

A Falklands Polemic

Tam Dalyell, 20 May 1982

... and 40 minutes. With four Front Bench speeches – from Mrs Thatcher, Mr Foot, Mr Silkin and Mr Nott – there was little time for any MP other than venerable Privy Councillors to put a point of view. With 55 minutes to go, I went to the Speaker’s Secretary, standing by his Chair, to ask him to call a dissenting voice. George Foulkes (South Ayrshire) was ...

Bard of Tropes

Jonathan Lamb: Thomas Chatterton, 20 September 2001

Thomas Chatterton and Romantic Culture 
by Nick Groom.
Palgrave, 300 pp., £55, September 1999, 0 333 72586 7
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... to a Nightingale’: How dydd I know thatt ev’ry darte Thatt cutte the airie waie Mighte nott fynde a passage to my harte And close myne eyes for aie? ‘Half the poetry of the 18th century is probably written by him,’ a character says in Peter Ackroyd’s novel Chatterton. Yet he appeals equally to defenders and opponents of the canon. Chatterton ...

Grieve not, but try again

N.A.M. Rodger: Submarines, 22 September 2016

The Silent Deep: The Royal Navy Submarine Service since 1945 
by Peter Hennessy and James Jinks.
Allen Lane, 823 pp., £12.99, June 2016, 978 1 84614 580 3
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... missiles would make both merchant ships and surface warships dangerously vulnerable. (John Nott, for one, was persuaded.) The Americans assumed that the Russians were aiming for a great fleet battle – what other purpose could a large navy have? – but a battle fought largely by submarines and aircraft. Only later did it become clear that the ...

Coalition Monsters

Colin Kidd, 6 March 2014

In It Together: The Inside Story of the Coalition Government 
by Matthew D’Ancona.
Penguin, 414 pp., £25, October 2013, 978 0 670 91993 2
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... headed by the Marquess of Rockingham, but whose effective leader was Charles James Fox) and the followers of Lord Shelburne. This ministry was riddled with dispute, and on Rockingham’s death in the summer of 1782 the Foxites abandoned Shelburne’s new government, which itself imploded in the spring of 1783. As in 2010, when the ...


Bernard Porter: The Falklands War, 20 October 2005

The Official History of the Falklands Campaign. Vol. I: The Origins of the Falklands War 
by Lawrence Freedman.
Routledge, 253 pp., £35, June 2005, 0 7146 5206 7
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The Official History of the Falklands Campaign. Vol. II: War and Diplomacy 
by Lawrence Freedman.
Routledge, 849 pp., £49.95, June 2005, 0 7146 5207 5
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... probably the best one can say for Britain’s foot-dragging. It was the way to get shot of what James Callaghan called this ‘poisoned chalice’ with least fuss. It depended, however, on Argentina’s patience. In 1982 that finally snapped. Confused, perhaps, by the FCO’s subtle diplomacy; sharing the British military’s assessment of the difficulty of ...

‘A Being full of Witching’

Charles Nicholl: The ‘poor half-harlot’ of Hazlitt’s affections, 18 May 2000

... who is Hazlitt’s confidant Peter George Patmore; and three to ‘J.S.K. – ’, or James Sheridan Knowles, recounting the final, farcical agonies of the affair. But the printed Liber Amoris is not the only source. There is a manuscript copy of Part One with additions and emendations in Hazlitt’s hand. There are the uncensored originals of ...

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