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At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Long Good Friday’, 2 July 2015

The Long Good Friday 
directed by John MacKenzie.
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... them, they aren’t behind the bombings and the killing, they don’t know anything. The director, John Mackenzie, uses an elegant stylistic effect to make this point, so that we get it subliminally before we are anywhere near working out its contours. The camera keeps arriving at a scene – a country cottage seen from a small distance, the interior of ...

Kipling the Reliable

David Trotter, 6 March 1986

Early Verse by Rudyard Kipling 1879-1889 
edited by Andrew Rutherford.
Oxford, 497 pp., £19.50, March 1986, 9780198123231
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Kipling’s India: Uncollected Sketches 1884-88 
edited by Thomas Pinney.
Macmillan, 301 pp., £25, January 1986, 0 333 38467 9
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Imperialism and Popular Culture 
edited by John MacKenzie.
Manchester, 264 pp., £25, February 1986, 9780719017704
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Hobson-Jobson: A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words and Phrases 
edited by Henry Yule and A.C. Burnell.
Routledge, 1021 pp., £18.95, November 1985, 0 7100 2886 5
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... connection with the homeland. Such rites of passage became the staple of popular fiction. In John Buchan’s The Half-Hearted, a cynical and lethargic young man is persuaded to use his knowledge of the Indian frontier to help foil an invasion, and the challenge transforms him. ‘Life was quick in his sinews, his brain was a weathercock, his strength was ...

Ages of the Train

Christopher Driver, 8 January 1987

The Railway Station: A Social History 
by Jeffrey Richards and John MacKenzie.
Oxford, 440 pp., £15, April 1986, 0 19 215876 7
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The Railways of Britain: A Journey through History 
by Jack Simmons.
Macmillan, 255 pp., £15.95, May 1986, 0 333 40766 0
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... It is no wonder that none of the particulars I have so far cited appear in Jeffrey Richards and John MacKenzie’s history, exceptionally rich though it is in station lore collected world-wide, and assiduous in its pursuit both of main-line socio-economic themes and of lightly trafficked sub-cultural branches. I claim no special knowledge of my own but ...

What are we at war about?

Isaac Land: Nelson the Populist, 1 December 2005

The Pursuit of Victory: The Life and Achievement of Horatio Nelson 
by Roger Knight.
Allen Lane, 874 pp., £30, July 2005, 0 7139 9619 6
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Admiral Lord Nelson: Context and Legacy 
edited by David Cannadine.
Palgrave, 201 pp., £19.99, June 2005, 1 4039 3906 3
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... an English (or even a British) one, and it has become less so with every generation. The essays by John MacKenzie and John Hattendorf in Cannadine’s collection address this subject, although clearly the ‘global’ Nelson could have filled a volume by himself. A substantial percentage of his crews were not from the ...

Azure Puddles

John Bayley, 21 May 1987

Compton MackenzieA Life 
by Andro Linklater.
Chatto, 384 pp., £14.95, May 1987, 0 7011 2583 7
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... the only reading-matter was a medical textbook and the first volume of what was to become Compton Mackenzie’s quadrilogy, The East, West, South and North Winds of Love. I embarked on it with hope and confidence, but after only a few pages had to give up and turn for entertainment to the medical book. Considering myself a mature and experienced reader, I was ...

Hereditary Genius

A.W.F. Edwards, 6 August 1981

Statistics in Britain 1865-1930: The Social Construction of Scientific Knowledge 
by Donald MacKenzie.
Edinburgh, 306 pp., £12.50, April 1981, 0 85224 369 3
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... conscience by promoting good causes at other people’s expense? In Statistics in Britain D.A. MacKenzie has harnessed this theory to explain the work of Francis Galton (1822-1911), Karl Pearson (1857-1936) and R.A. Fisher (1890-1962): ‘I argue that eugenics did not merely motivate their statistical work but affected its content.’ That one’s family ...

Always on Top

Edward Said: From Birmingham to Jamaica, 20 March 2003

Civilising Subjects: Metropole and Colony in the English Imagination 1830-67 
by Catherine Hall.
Polity, 556 pp., £60, April 2002, 0 7456 1820 0
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... of these critics, but the realisation that writers like Conrad and Kipling, or Jane Austen and John Stuart Mill, thought and wrote without the natives in mind as an audience. An Indian or Jamaican woman reading Kim or Jane Eyre was able to bring to light the usually unstated colonial and male-dominated ideological assumptions behind the form of the novel ...

Born of the age we live in

John Lanchester, 6 December 1990

Stick it up your punter! The Rise and Fall of the ‘Sun’ 
by Peter Chippindale and Chris Horrie.
Heinemann, 372 pp., £14.99, November 1990, 0 434 12624 1
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All played out: The True Story of Italia ’90 
by Pete Davies.
Heinemann, 471 pp., £14.99, October 1990, 0 434 17908 6
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Gazza! A Biography 
by Robin McGibbon.
Penguin, 204 pp., £3.99, October 1990, 9780140148688
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... I’ve got air conditioning.’) The same charges could not be levelled at the new editor, Kelvin Mackenzie, a foul-mouthed, hyper-energetic 34-year-old South Londoner who was, at the time of his appointment, the Night Editor of the Daily Express. Irked by his being poached, the Express insisted on Mackenzie’s working out ...

Clashes and Collaborations

Linda Colley, 18 July 1996

Empire: The British Imperial Experience, from 1765 to the Present 
by Denis Judd.
HarperCollins, 517 pp., £25, March 1996, 9780002552370
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Cambridge Illustrated History of the British Empire 
edited by P.J. Marshall.
Cambridge, 400 pp., £24.95, March 1996, 0 521 43211 1
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Lords of All the World: Ideologies of Empire in Spain, Britain and France, c.1500-c.1800 
by Anthony Pagden.
Yale, 244 pp., £19.95, August 1995, 0 300 06415 2
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... development or under-development. Ged Martin and Benjamin Kline discuss emigration and identities. John MacKenzie supplies a piece on imperial art. Finally, Marshall, followed by an Australian, an African and an Indian, offer their own, inevitably different, verdicts on Empire’s legacy. Throughout, we are reminded that British power to control events ...

Eyes and Ears

Anthony Thwaite, 23 June 1988

The Silence in the Garden 
by William Trevor.
Bodley Head, 204 pp., £9.95, June 1988, 9780370312187
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Sea Music 
by David Profumo.
Secker, 207 pp., £10.95, May 1988, 9780436387142
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Tell it me again 
by John Fuller.
Chatto, 202 pp., £10.95, April 1988, 0 7011 3288 4
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The Continuing Silence of a Poet: The Collected Short Stories of A.B. Yehoshua 
Peter Halban/Weidenfeld, 377 pp., £11.95, June 1988, 1 870015 14 2Show More
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... and assured novel. The experience, and the experiences, transmitted to James by Alec and by Rachel Mackenzie are in the foreground, far more important to him than the club-like asseverations of Richard Benson and the other Southern bores with whom he has to endure his summer holidays. The mysteries of fishing – which are not only mysteries but skills ...

Must Do Better

Donald MacKenzie: Why isn’t banking cheaper?, 5 May 2016

... system channels savers’ money to productive uses in the non-financial economy. As the economist John Kay points out, being an intermediary tends to create an inherent bias towards activity, even when it’s wiser and cheaper to do nothing, because you have to give the appearance of ‘earning your keep’. Investment managers, for example, cannot ...


David Craig, 6 July 1989

A Search for Scotland 
by R.F. Mackenzie.
Collins, 280 pp., £16.95, May 1989, 0 00 215185 5
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A Claim of Right for Scotland 
edited by Owen Dudley Edwards.
Polygon, 202 pp., £14.95, May 1989, 0 7486 6022 4
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The Eclipse of Scottish Culture 
by Craig Beveridge and Ronald Turnbull.
Polygon, 121 pp., £6.95, May 1989, 0 7486 6000 3
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The Bird Path: Collected Longer Poems 
by Kenneth White.
Mainstream, 239 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 1 85158 245 2
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Travels in the Drifting Dawn 
by Kenneth White.
Mainstream, 160 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 1 85158 240 1
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... is that much less of a nostalgic heimat, that much more of an independent society. So R.F. Mackenzie, veteran champion and practitioner of libertarian schooling, travels Scotland towards the end of his life, gauging morale and wondering what system could help young folk to flourish. Kenneth White, a Glaswegian based in Brittany and professor at the ...

Cleaning up

Simon Schaffer, 1 July 1982

Explaining the Unexplained: Mysteries of the Paranormal 
by Hans Eysenck and Carl Sargent.
Weidenfeld, 192 pp., £9.95, April 1982, 0 297 78068 9
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Appearances of the Dead: A Cultural History of Ghosts 
by R.C. Finucane.
Junction, 292 pp., £13.50, May 1982, 0 86245 043 8
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Hauntings and Apparitions 
by Andrew Mackenzie.
Heinemann, 240 pp., £8.50, June 1982, 0 434 44051 5
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Beyond the Body: An Investigation of Out-of-the-Body Experiences 
by Susan Blackmore.
Heinemann, 270 pp., £8.50, June 1982, 0 434 07470 5
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... heroes and psychical research have always been close. In his foreword to the two books, by Mackenzie and Blackmore, published to celebrate the Society’s centenary, Brian Inglis recalls the roll of honour among scientific converts: it includes Marie Curie and Sigmund Freud. But of course what these two books also recall, and what is made even clearer ...

Happier Days

Rosalind Mitchison, 4 April 1991

Scottish Voices 1745-1960 
by T.C. Smout and Sydney Wood.
Collins, 334 pp., £16.95, August 1990, 0 00 215190 1
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... pubs where ‘no one’ wants to be distracted from drinking ‘by music or women’. We have John Boyd Orr describing how he propelled selected children – male, of course – from a poor school into scholarships: his achievement leads him to comment on the ‘many potential first-class leaders and scientists’ lost to the country in ‘the poorer ...

Down among the press lords

Alan Rusbridger, 3 March 1983

The Life and Death of the Press Barons 
by Piers Brendon.
Secker, 288 pp., £12.50, December 1982, 0 436 06811 7
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... country in – well, let us say in the lifetime of its unlikeable editor, the 35-year-old Kelvin MacKenzie. This book invites comparisons between different ages of journalism, so perhaps, for old times’ sake, we could just recite again some morsels from the Sun’s coverage of a war in which more than a thousand people died. It was the paper that ...

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