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Consider Jack and Oskar

Michael Rossi: Twin Studies, 7 February 2013

Born Together – Reared Apart: The Landmark Minnesota Twin Study 
by Nancy Segal.
Harvard, 410 pp., £39.95, June 2012, 978 0 674 05546 9
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... in crowded elevators, a habit of compulsive washing and a tendency to read books back to front. Or Jim Springer and Jim Lewis, who, although they were raised forty miles apart from each other in Ohio, had both worked in law enforcement, were both hobbyist carpenters, drove Chevrolets, took holidays on the same beach in ...

Dangerous Play

Mike Selvey, 23 May 1985

Gubby Allen: Man of Cricket 
by E.W. Swanton.
Hutchinson, 311 pp., £12.95, April 1985, 0 09 159780 3
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Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack: 1985 
edited by John Woodcock.
Wisden, 1280 pp., £11.95, April 1985, 0 947766 00 6
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... that intimidatory fast bowling is ruining the game as a spectacle. I cannot but agree. In 1984, prior to the West Indies tour, he suggested that ‘the viciousness of ... today’s fast bowling is changing the very nature of the game.’ Following the ‘blackwash’ of England and the serious injuries to two young batsmen, he is moved to reiterate the ...

More aggressive, dear!

Zachary Leader, 31 July 1997

My Aces, My Faults 
by Nick Bollettieri and Dick Schaap.
Robson, 346 pp., £17.95, June 1997, 1 86105 087 9
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... shared (for varying periods of time) by Andre Agassi, Boris Becker, Monica Seles, Mary Pierce, Jim Courier, Anna Kournikova and Mark Philippousis, among others. Exactly how, though, on the evidence of this as-told-to memoir, remains a mystery. Who needs the world’s best tennis coach to be reminded to ‘keep your opponent guessing’ or to ‘focus at ...

If Goofy Could Talk

Frank Cioffi, 6 April 1995

When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals 
by Jeffrey Masson and Susan McCarthy.
Cape, 268 pp., £14.99, September 1994, 0 224 03554 1
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The Hidden Life of Dogs 
by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas.
Weidenfeld, 148 pp., £12.50, May 1994, 0 297 81461 3
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The Tribe of Tiger 
by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas.
Weidenfeld, 240 pp., £12.99, October 1994, 0 297 81508 3
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... Captain Kirk’s ears which they would have found captivating. Moreover, if it weren’t for our prior enthralment with feline physiognomy the stories that Thomas recounts would be much less absorbing. The interest inspired by the big cats is not exhausted in resolving the explanatory puzzles they raise, or even in the correction of our misconceptions ...


Alan Bennett: My 2006, 4 January 2007

... look like a 1940s cinema manager. 22 April. I do the rounds of the TV and radio arts programmes prior to the opening of the play on Sunday, accompanied by Jim Bik, our young low-key PR man. At one venue we are met in the lobby of some huge new communications emporium by the TV call boy who takes us through various ...

Dev and Dan

Tom Dunne, 21 April 1988

The Hereditary Bondsman: Daniel O’Connell, 1775-1829 
by Oliver MacDonagh..
Weidenfeld, 328 pp., £16.95, January 1988, 0 297 79221 0
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Eamon de Valera 
by Owen Dudley Edwards.
University of Wales Press, 161 pp., £19.95, November 1987, 0 7083 0986 0
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Nationalism and Popular Protest in Ireland 
edited by C.H.E. Philpin.
Cambridge, 466 pp., £27.50, November 1987, 0 521 26816 8
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Northern Ireland: Soldiers talking, 1969 to Today 
by Max Arthur.
Sidgwick, 271 pp., £13.95, October 1987, 0 283 99375 8
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War as a Way of Life: A Belfast Diary 
by John Conroy.
Heinemann, 218 pp., £12.95, February 1988, 0 434 14217 4
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... sophisticated organisation. All the work on agrarian secret societies (notably by Jim Donnelly) bears out Tom Bartlett’s claim that the violence they produced in this period was quite limited by European standards, amounting to only 50 deaths in the 30 years prior to 1793. In sharp contrast, 230 lives were ...

Famous Four

R.W. Johnson, 30 November 1995

SDP: The Birth, Life and Death of the Social Democratic Party 
by Ivor Crewe and Anthony King.
Oxford, 611 pp., £25, November 1995, 0 19 828050 5
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... Jenkins bring off a spectacular result there; tried to take the nomination at Croydon despite the prior agreement that it was the Liberals’ turn; had to back out of that; and found herself forced to take up the next seat, Crosby, which she was bound to lose in the next election – the term used to describe her behaviour is ‘graceful’.The treatment of ...

Here for the crunch

R.W. Johnson, 28 April 1994

... do we have to allocate to get it free and fair?’ I was called to the phone. It was my friend, Jim, who’s been election-watching down on the Natal south coast. He’d just come back from seeing the bodies of a family of nine killed at Folweni. ‘They were butchered, I mean almost literally,’ he said. ‘Of course, neither the local Inkatha guys nor ...


James Meek: Waiting for the War to Begin, 28 July 2016

... It looks as if we’ve stumbled on the forward assembly area for one of the British brigades prior to invasion. On the way back we pass a line of coaches disgorging hundreds of British and US Marines. We stop and get out to talk to them. I don’t open my notebook but Paul takes pictures. They are wary and reserved, the Marines, standing tough and ...

Educating the planet

Frank Kermode, 20 March 1980

... extended the note, Richards added to it some lines, now but not then famous, from Conrad’s Lord Jim. ‘The way is to the destructive element submit yourself ... So if you ask me how to be? In the destructive element immerse ... that was the way.’ This is an instance of his uncanny aptness in quotation: the way to read The Waste Land, and the way to live ...

Rising Moon

R.W. Johnson, 18 December 1986

L’Empire Moon 
by Jean-Francois Boyer.
La Découverte, 419 pp., August 1986, 2 7071 1604 1
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The Rise and Fall of the Bulgarian Connection 
by Edward Herman and Frank Brodhead.
Sheridan Square, 255 pp., $19.95, May 1986, 0 940380 07 2
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... Moonie influence. William Simon, who had been one of Reagan’s chief fund-raisers in 1980, Jim Watts, Reagan’s Interior Secretary, and the Presidential counsellor, Claire Booth Luce, all agreed to accept honorific positions with the Times, which rapidly became the preferred house magazine of the Reagan Administration. The President himself has ...

So much was expected

R.W. Johnson, 3 December 1992

Harold Wilson 
by Ben Pimlott.
HarperCollins, 811 pp., £20, October 1992, 0 00 215189 8
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Harold Wilson 
by Austen Morgan.
Pluto, 625 pp., £25, May 1992, 0 7453 0635 7
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... frustration are quite palpable. Even so, one boggles at a process of selection which made Wilson, prior to Thatcher, the longest-serving modern prime minister. Like many grammar-school meritocrats, the young Harold early developed an exaggerated need to please authority. As school captain he lavished praise on the house system, became a patrol leader at ...

Say hello to Rodney

Peter Wollen: How art becomes kitsch, 17 February 2000

The Artificial Kingdom: A Treasury of the Kitsch Experience 
by Celeste Olalquiaga.
Bloomsbury, 321 pp., £20, November 1999, 0 7475 4535 9
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... and also no risk for the spectator’. In 1939, however, Greenberg was still writing from a point prior to the triumph of American Modernism. He was attempting to justify Modernism by recalling the avant-garde’s origin in the secession of artists from the 19th-century French bourgeoisie, first into bohemia and then into the depoliticised embrace of ‘art ...

Making It Up

Raphael Samuel, 4 July 1996

Raymond Williams 
by Fred Inglis.
Routledge, 333 pp., £19.99, October 1995, 0 415 08960 3
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... no novelist; Eric Bellchambers, WEA organiser in his Sussex days, remembers him as a prima donna; Jim Fyrth, an extra-mural tutor who prides himself on using ‘simple but lively language’, rebukes Raymond for being ‘convoluted’, ‘dense’ and ‘impenetrable’ (‘I often could not understand what he was talking about’); his Cambridge colleagues ...


John Kerr, 23 March 1995

The Jung Cult: Origins of a Charismatic Movement 
by Richard Noll.
Princeton, 387 pp., £19.95, January 1995, 0 691 03724 8
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... psychology, means accepting the theory that grew out of an experience as though it were logically prior. Henri Ellenberger, a psychiatrist by training and an inspired historian of the ‘unconscious’, was sufficiently impressed by Jung’s disclosures to allow Jung to review the chapter on himself in The Discovery of the Unconscious. Which caused the ...

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