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John Cannon, 10 May 1990

A Polite and Commercial People: England 1727-1783 
by Paul Langford.
Oxford, 803 pp., £25, September 1989, 0 19 822828 7
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Voters, Patrons and Parties: The Unreformed Electorate of Hanoverian England, 1734-1832 
by Frank O’Gorman.
Oxford, 445 pp., £40, August 1989, 0 19 820056 0
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... The publication of the first volume of the New Oxford History of England series, under the general editorship of J.M. Roberts, is something of an awesome event. Generations of schoolchildren and students thumbed their way through their predecessors, Davies and Clark, Woodward and Ensor, and it must be an agreeable thought to the new authors that their books will be selling deep into the 21st century ...

Downward Mobility

Linda Colley, 4 May 1989

The Blackwell Dictionary of Historians 
edited by John Cannon, R.H.C. Davis, William Doyle and Jack Greene.
Blackwell, 480 pp., £39.95, September 1988, 9780631147084
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Edward Gibbon, Luminous Historian, 1772-1794 
by Patricia Craddock.
Johns Hopkins, 432 pp., £19, February 1989, 0 8018 3720 0
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Gibbon: Making History 
by Roy Porter.
Palgrave, 187 pp., £14.95, February 1989, 0 312 02728 1
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by Owen Dudley Edwards.
Trafalgar Square, 160 pp., £5.95, October 1988, 9780297794684
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by Hugh Tulloch.
Trafalgar Square, 144 pp., £5.95, October 1988, 0 297 79470 1
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... itself, is chiefly valuable for its diversity. The Blackwell Dictionary of Historians edited by John Cannon is a splendid work which, even in these straitened times, should be snapped up by every self-respecting school and college library. There are over two hundred contributors; there are more than four hundred and fifty biographical essays on the ...


Simon Schaffer, 6 April 1995

Sir Hans Sloane: Collector, Scientist, Antiquary, Founding Father of the British Museum 
edited by Arthur MacGregor.
British Museum, 308 pp., £50, November 1994, 0 7141 2085 5
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... natural-history keeper staged annual cremations of Sloane’s decaying entomological specimens. John Cannon, an eminent plant taxonomist, reveals that after contemplating Sloane’s herbarium ‘one is left with a slight nagging feeling of anti-climax’ because the collector had the misfortune to live just before taxonomy became a proper science with ...


Thomas Keymer: Muddy Texts, 25 January 2024

Reading It Wrong: An Alternative History of Early 18th-Century Literature 
by Abigail Williams.
Princeton, 328 pp., £30, November 2023, 978 0 691 17068 8
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... density of satirical allusion. He also admitted to missing the play of intertextuality in John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera, a satire shot through with innuendo and obfuscation: ‘I did not understand that the Scene of Locket and Peachum’s quarrels was an imitation of one between Brutus and Cassius till I was told it.’ Nothing approached the ...

Rogue Socialists

Michael Mason, 1 September 1988

Francis Place, 1771-1854: The Life of a Remarkable Radical 
by Dudley Miles.
Harvester, 206 pp., £40, April 1988, 0 7108 1225 6
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Radical Underworld: Prophets, Revolutionaries and Pornographers in London, 1795-1840 
by Iain McCalman.
Cambridge, 338 pp., £27.50, March 1988, 0 521 30755 4
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... worth speculating about. What, for example, is the truth of the legend that James Mill entrusted John Stuart’s political education to Place? Mr Miles does not touch on it. The story told in Iain McCalman’s Radical Underground is told perforce from the outside. There are no personal records to give an inner logic and life to the careers of the early ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: Ulysses v. O.J. Simpson, 28 July 2016

... the favourite,’ Flynn says. ‘Lord Howard de Walden’s, won at Epsom. Morny Cannon is riding him.’ I paused over that one – Morny Cannon. It turns out he was born in Hampshire, Herbert Mornington Cannon, and came from a long line of jockeys, and has been ...

Marquess Untrussed

Malcolm Gaskill: The Siege of Basing House, 30 March 2023

The Siege of Loyalty House: A Civil War Story 
by Jessie Childs.
Vintage, 318 pp., £12.99, May, 978 1 78470 209 0
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... a comrade would show him the same mercy were he ever in the same state. The general dismounted his cannon and marched his troops to Basingstoke. This had been the first major assault on Basing House, but there would be more.The site of the Tudor palace had been a locus of human activity and power since the Stone Age. A timber fortress stood there, on the banks ...

Grub Street Snob

Terry Eagleton: ‘Fanny Hill’, 13 September 2012

Fanny Hill in Bombay: The Making and Unmaking of John Cleland 
by Hal Gladfelder.
Johns Hopkins, 311 pp., £28.50, July 2012, 978 1 4214 0490 5
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... much in the book to justify it. It is an impressively learned, scrupulously detailed study of John Cleland, author of one of the most salacious pieces of fiction in the English language; but it is no disrespect to Hal Gladfelder to wonder whether the Johns Hopkins press would have been quite so eager to take on an erudite study of an obscure 18th-century ...

A Spanish girl is a volcano

John Pemble: Apostles in Gibraltar, 10 September 2015

John Kemble’s Gibraltar Journal: The Spanish Expedition of the Cambridge Apostles, 1830-31 
by Eric Nye.
Macmillan, 416 pp., £100, January 2015, 978 1 137 38446 1
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... are no sodomites in Greene’s account, and the only coward, crank and sap-headed dilettante is John Sterling, the would-be mastermind of the whole affair. Charismatic, feckless and volatile, Sterling had dropped out of Cambridge, and by 1827, when he was 21, drifted to London, where he was dabbling in journalism and trying to sort out his doubts about ...

Morality in the Oxygen

E.S. Turner: Tobogganing, 14 December 2000

How the English Made the Alps 
by Jim Ring.
Murray, 287 pp., £19.99, September 2000, 0 7195 5689 9
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Killing Dragons: The Conquest of the Alps 
by Fergus Fleming.
Granta, 398 pp., £20, November 2000, 1 86207 379 1
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... climbed for the challenge, those who climbed for science and those who climbed to be nearer Him. John Tyndall, a scientist-mountaineer of high ideals, claimed to find moral and mystical edification in high places: ‘There is assuredly morality in the oxygen of the mountains, as there is immorality in the miasma of a marsh.’ His great rival, Leslie ...


Graham Hough, 16 July 1981

A Start in Life 
by Anita Brookner.
Cape, 176 pp., £5.95, May 1981, 9780224018999
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Rhine Journey 
by Ann Schlee.
Macmillan, 165 pp., £5.95, March 1981, 0 333 28320 1
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The Sure Salvation 
by John Hearne.
Faber, 224 pp., £6.50, May 1981, 0 571 11670 1
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Beloved Latitudes 
by David Pownall.
Gollancz, 140 pp., £6.95, May 1981, 0 575 02988 9
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... of their sorrow are divided on strictly traditional lines by the gender of their authors – the cannon and the firing-squad against the drawing-room and the kitchen stove. At the end of David Pownall’s book the protagonist and his confidant are shot. At the end of John Hearne’s the leading characters have been ...

Short Cuts

Jeremy Harding: Shot At Dawn, 30 November 2006

... an act of parliament in September 2000. Westminster proved more cautious: SAD’s UK organiser, John Hipkin, was rebuffed by the first Blair administration, after meeting with the then armed forces minister, John Reid. The figures for military executions are puzzling. The French were the most enthusiastic executioners of ...

Reduced to Ashes and Rubbage

Jessie Childs: Civil War Traumas, 3 January 2019

Battle-Scarred: Mortality, Medical Care and Military Welfare in the British Civil Wars 
edited by David Appleby and Andrew Hopper.
Manchester, 247 pp., £80, July 2018, 978 1 5261 2480 7
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... and a date: 1633. This was the year a local gentleman, Sir John Reresby of Thrybergh Hall, began to note the contents of his garden. Every peach, pear and plum is catalogued, as are herbs, shrubs, bulbs – ‘Kentish Codlings’, ‘the Granado Gilliflower’, ‘Melincholly Munkes hoode’ – and attempts at grafting ...

One for water, one for urine

Stephen Smith, 3 December 1992

An Evil Cradling 
by Brian Keenan.
Hutchinson, 297 pp., £16.99, September 1992, 0 09 175208 6
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Hostage: The Complete Story of the Lebanese Captives 
by Con Coughlin.
Little, Brown, 461 pp., £16.99, October 1992, 0 316 90304 3
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... to his train, he spoke skittishly of the politicians with whom he had to treat. The sight of the Cannon cinema on the Hagley Road elicited a lively appreciation of the neglected art of the Western. A short time later, when Terry Waite was held hostage in Beirut, journalists found themselves asking what his links were with Oliver North. I have on my desk the ...

Class Traitor

Edward Pearce, 11 June 1992

Maverick: The Life of a Union Rebel 
by Eric Hammond.
Weidenfeld, 214 pp., £16.99, March 1992, 0 297 81200 9
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... or worse, this union in its modern shape and title was born out of the struggle waged by Les Cannon, Jock Byrne and the later deleted Mark Young against the Communist leadership which had rigged elections in a style which would have done credit to the Kennedys or the Daleys in Chicago. The ETU resistance (it was hardly less) had received no succour from ...

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