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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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... of the recent past must do the reverse: make what seems familiar – the world of our grandparents and parents, or one’s own youth – unfamiliar, revealing its full complexity and difference. JamesNott’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 ...

Festschriftiness

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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... affiliations but according to an empiricist standard: how adequately it explained particular 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 ...

Diary

Clive James

20 May 1982
... courts a sojourn in the Tower Of London with a yeoman as a guard. War fever mounts. All one can do is 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 ...
20 May 1982
... called a division suggesting it should be a five-hour debate. Defeated! The end-result was two hours 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 ...

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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... which uses phrases that are heard again in Blake’s Marriage of Heaven and Hell and Keats’s ‘Ode 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 ...
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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... 1770-82) and a new ministry was formed out of North’s various critics, bringing together the Rockinghamites (nominally 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 ...

Grieve not, but try again

N.A.M. Rodger: Submarines

21 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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... in anti-submarine work, was urging Nato to abandon convoys altogether, since Russian submarine-launched 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 ...

Palmerstonian

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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... one governor called ‘euthanasia by generous compensation’ – i.e. paying them to leave. That’s 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 ...

‘A Being full of Witching’

Charles Nicholl: The ‘poor half-harlot’ of Hazlitt’s affections

18 May 2000
... their curious, stalled romance. The rest of the book consists of letters: two to Sarah; several to ‘P – ’, 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 ...

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