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Boomster and the Quack

Stefan Collini: How to Get on in the Literary World, 2 November 2006

Writers, Readers and Reputations: Literary Life in Britain 1870-1918 
by Philip Waller.
Oxford, 1181 pp., £85, April 2006, 0 19 820677 1
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... Hugh Benson, Laurence Binyon, Robert Bridges, Hall Caine, G.K. Chesterton, Arthur Conan Doyle, John Galsworthy, Thomas Hardy, Maurice Hewlett, Anthony Hope, W.J. Locke, E.V. Lucas, J.W. Mackail, John Masefield, A.E.W. Mason, Gilbert Murray, Henry Newbolt, Owen Seaman, G.M. Trevelyan, H.G. Wells and Israel Zangwill ...

Keeping out and coming close

Michael Church, 3 October 1985

Here lies: An Autobiography 
by Eric Ambler.
Weidenfeld, 234 pp., £10.95, June 1985, 0 297 78588 5
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The Levanter 
by Eric Ambler.
Weidenfeld, 216 pp., £8.95, June 1985, 0 297 99521 9
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Doctor Frigo 
by Eric Ambler.
Weidenfeld, 250 pp., £8.95, June 1985, 0 297 76848 4
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The Other Side of the Moon: The Life of David Niven 
by Sheridan Morley.
Weidenfeld, 300 pp., £10.95, September 1985, 9780297787082
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Secrets: Boyhood in a Jewish Hotel 1932-1954 
by Ronald Hayman.
Peter Owen, 224 pp., £12, July 1985, 9780720606423
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A Woman in Custody 
by Audrey Peckham.
Fontana, 253 pp., £3.95, June 1985, 0 00 636952 9
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No Gangster More Bold 
by John Morgan.
Hodder, 179 pp., £9.95, July 1985, 0 340 26387 3
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... liked it, however, to ensure that a sequel was both made and shown. Ambler was then sent to help John Huston make a film about the liberation of Italy: his account of this collaboration, which took them into front-line fighting, is by turns funny, frightening and, in the miseries they witnessed, dreadfully sad. The blurb claims (well, it would, wouldn’t ...

Diary

Paul Foot: Awaiting the Truth about Hanratty, 11 December 1997

... Could he find any of these people, we asked? Yes, he would try. The following week Jo Mennel and John Morgan, the reporter, went back to interview the Rhyl witnesses on camera. Over a cup of tea in a café, Terry Evans gave them the disappointing news that he could not find the main man he was looking for, a newspaper-seller called Charlie Jones. As the ...

Upper-Class Contemplative

John Bayley, 7 February 1985

The Fountain 
by Charles Morgan.
Boydell, 434 pp., £4.95, November 1984, 0 85115 237 6
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... to the spirit of the age in which they appear. The Fountain, the novel which made Charles Morgan’s reputation, came out in 1932 and had a very considerable succès d’estime. It was much admired in France, where Morgan still has a solid reputation. Valéry admired it, writing that in ...

Mirror Images

Jenny Diski: Piers Morgan, 31 March 2005

The Insider: The Private Diaries of a Scandalous Decade 
by Piers Morgan.
Ebury, 484 pp., £17.99, March 2005, 0 09 190506 0
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... Life, Piers Morgan says about being sacked in 2004 as editor of the Mirror, is as serious as you want it to be. Lighten up, he repeatedly tells sad celebrities who complain about his front page exposés that result in their unemployment or divorce. Take it easy, he emails spin doctors and government ministers who fear for their majorities after he has trashed their policies or their love lives to two million readers of the Mirror ...

All Those Arrows

Donald MacKenzie: A Major Cause of the Financial Crisis, 25 June 2009

Fool’s Gold: How Unrestrained Greed Corrupted a Dream, Shattered Global Markets and Unleashed a Catastrophe 
by Gillian Tett.
Little, Brown, 338 pp., £18.99, April 2009, 978 1 4087 0164 5
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... the ceremony were – those up on the conference hall’s stage. ‘They used to all work at J.P. Morgan,’ he answered. ‘It’s like this Morgan mafia thing. They sort of created the credit derivatives market.’ The answer surprised her. J.P. Morgan was not Goldman Sachs; it wasn’t ...

Is he winking?

Joseph J. Ellis: Benjamin Franklin, 20 March 2003

Benjamin Franklin 
by Edmund S. Morgan.
Yale, 339 pp., £19.95, October 2002, 0 300 09532 5
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... good. One of the leading historians of early American history during the last half-century, Edmund Morgan has, like Franklin, demonstrated great range, oblivious to the habit of specialisation and the accompanying turf wars that claim so many academic casualties. He has written biographies of John Winthrop, Ezra ...

800 Napkins, 47 Finger Bowls

Zachary Leader, 16 March 2000

MorganAmerican Financier 
by Jean Strouse.
Harvill, 816 pp., £25, June 1999, 9781860463556
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... of wealth and power was alarming. In 1912, officials from five New York banks – J.P. Morgan and Co, National City, the First National, Bankers Trust and Guaranty Trust – held 341 directorships in 112 US companies, including other banks, public utilities, and companies involved in insurance, transportation, manufacturing and trade. The ...

Up the Garden Path

R.W. Johnson: Michael Foot, 26 April 2007

Michael Foot: A Life 
by Kenneth O. Morgan.
Harper, 568 pp., £25, March 2007, 978 0 00 717826 1
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... actually voted for him ten years earlier, and I’d done it with some exasperation. Kenneth Morgan’s over-long biography brings back all these feelings. Part of the problem is Morgan himself. He has written a long list of books about Wales, the Labour Party, Lloyd George, Wales, Jim Callaghan, Wales, the Labour ...

Middle Way

Paul Addison, 6 December 1979

Consensus and Disunity: The Lloyd George Coalition Government 1918-1922 
by Kenneth O. Morgan.
Oxford, 436 pp., £15
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... and, as if in sympathy, historians have moved to reassess the forgotten regimes. Now Kenneth Morgan has written a first-class study of the Lloyd Georgian experiment of 1918-1922. For some time a muffled debate has been in progress about how political history should be interpreted; from the top downwards, or from the grass roots up? Dr ...

Gaelic Communist

Graham Walker, 12 October 1989

James Connolly: A Political Biography 
by Austen Morgan.
Manchester, 244 pp., £9.95, October 1989, 0 7190 2958 9
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James Connolly: Selected Writings 
edited by P. Beresford Ellis.
Pluto, 256 pp., £8.95, April 1988, 9780745302676
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... and intensively concentrated than Connolly. The welcome and long overdue appearance of Austen Morgan’s book provides an opportunity to assess the state of the Connolly historiography and to examine themes which are central to his reputation. The book is a critical study which, in conjunction with other recent published work, redresses the hagiographical ...

Bankocracy

John Lanchester: Lehman Brothers, 5 November 2009

The Murder of Lehman Brothers: An Insider’s Look at the Global Meltdown 
by Joseph Tibman.
Brick Tower, 243 pp., £16.95, September 2009, 978 1 883283 71 1
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A Colossal Failure of Common Sense: The Incredible Inside Story of the Collapse of Lehman Brothers 
by Larry McDonald, in collaboration with Patrick Robinson.
Ebury, 351 pp., £7.99, September 2009, 978 0 09 193615 0
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... quarter of 2008, and then another record of $3.9 billion for the third; its own bankers, J.P. Morgan, asked for an increase in its Lehman collateral – in effect, its safety margin of deposits – of $5 billion; Lehman couldn’t find the cash, and went to the Treasury for help. The response of Hank Paulson, Treasury secretary, backed by the head of the ...

The Greatest Geek

Richard Barnett: Nikola Tesla, 5 February 2015

Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age 
by W. Bernard Carlson.
Princeton, 520 pp., £19.95, April 2015, 978 0 691 05776 7
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... and ‘broadcast power around the entire planet’. In the spring of 1899 he secured $100,000 from John Jacob Astor IV (later the richest man to drown on the Titanic) for the development of a new lighting system. Disregarding Astor’s expressed intentions, Tesla spent it on moving his entire wireless-power operation to the mountain resort of Colorado ...

I Will Tell You Everything

Rosemary Hill: Iris Murdoch, 22 April 2010

Iris Murdoch: A Writer at War – Letters and Diaries 1939-45 
edited by Peter Conradi.
Short Books, 303 pp., £16.99, January 2010, 978 1 906021 22 1
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With Love and Rage: A Friendship with Iris Murdoch 
by David Morgan.
Kingston, 143 pp., £13.99, March 2010, 978 1 899999 42 2
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... Iris Murdoch was not dead before the battle for her memory began. Her husband John Bayley’s first volume of reminiscences, Iris: A Memoir, was published when she was in the later stages of dementia, an undignified, soul-stripping illness whose details Bayley did not spare. After her death in 1999 things sped up ...

John Bayley writes about Graham Greene

John Bayley, 25 April 1991

... connected with the Dostoevskian legacy. He is popular there in much the same way that Charles Morgan became a popular ‘spiritual’ novelist in France. Certainly Greene established popular prototypes, even if he did not create them, and they may well survive in the form he gave them, rather like the heroes and heroines of the old romances or the ...

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