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John Bossy, 4 April 1996

The New Oxford History of England. Vol. II: The Later Tudors 
by Penry Williams.
Oxford, 628 pp., £25, September 1995, 0 19 822820 1
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... and Myres, and Stenton) and Taylor’s. I doubt if the new one will fare any better. John Roberts, the general editor, does not show his hand in detail, and we must keep our fingers crossed about the whole being greater than the parts by giving ‘an account of the development of our country in time’ – ‘our country’ meaning something ...

Green Pastel Redness

Colin Kidd: The Supreme Court Coup, 24 March 2022

Dissent: The Radicalisation of the Republican Party and Its Capture of the Supreme Court 
by Jackie Calmes.
Twelve, 478 pp., £25, July 2021, 978 1 5387 0079 2
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Justice on the Brink: The Death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Rise of Amy Coney Barrett, and Twelve Months that Transformed the Supreme Court 
by Linda Greenhouse.
Random House, 300 pp., £22.50, November 2021, 978 0 593 44793 2
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... never be construed as substantive: it was, by definition, procedural. The distinguished jurist John Hart Ely considered substantive due process an oxymoron, just like ‘green pastel redness’. Some conservatives asked whether abortion rights were conjured out of judicial subjectivity and caprice.Strangely, in retrospect, at the time of Roe v. Wade ...

The Stealth Revolution, Continued

Bruce Ackerman: Samuel Alito and the Supreme Court, 9 February 2006

... future performance. Not that this administration was equally in the dark. During the 1980s, both John Roberts and Samuel Alito were bright young recruits to the Reagan Justice Department’s efforts to reverse the liberal jurisprudence of the Supreme Court; and their membership of the right-wing Federalist Society gave the neo-conservative establishment ...

Short Cuts

Frederick Wilmot-Smith: RBG’s Big Mistake, 8 October 2020

... sexual assault. The political centre of the court now shifted from Kennedy to the chief justice, John Roberts. Appointed by George W. Bush in 2005, Roberts was at one time a reliable Republican. He has been a bit less predictable of late, principally because, as chief justice, he is trying to ensure that the court ...

How have they made it so soon?

John Lloyd, 21 November 1991

The Soviet Mafia 
by Arkady Vaksberg, translated by John Roberts and Elizabeth Roberts.
Weidenfeld, 275 pp., £19.99, September 1991, 0 297 81202 5
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... A recent interview I had with the chairman of the Russian Central Bank exemplifies the dangerously tense atmosphere within which the politics of the Soviet Union have been conducted since the August putsch – and underscores the importance of what Arkady Vaksberg writes in his uneven, irritating but critically important book. What Georgy Matiukhin wanted to say was that a large part of the developing business culture of the Soviet Union was criminal ...

Cobban’s Vindication

Olwen Hufton, 20 August 1981

Origins of the French Revolution 
by William Doyle.
Oxford, 247 pp., £12.50, January 1981, 0 19 873020 9
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... linked constitutional crisis, which forced the monarchy to call the Estates General. The first, John Bosher has told us, was the result not only of defaultings in tax payments after bad harvests but of the system itself, which was dependent upon the personal credit of innumerable local tax officials and provincial trésoriers who anticipated revenues by ...

Beast and Frog

John Bayley, 4 November 1993

Dr Johnson & Mr Savage 
by Richard Holmes.
Hodder, 260 pp., £19.99, October 1993, 0 340 52974 1
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Samuel Johnson 
by Pat Rogers.
Oxford, 116 pp., £4.99, April 1993, 0 19 287593 0
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... shrewd enough to see the possibilities in a life of Savage when he put the matter to his publisher John Roberts in 1744, a year after his friend’s death. Everyone who heard about the dead poet at once became interested in him. Sir Joshua Reynolds remembered how he had found a copy of Johnson’s book, when it first came out, on a friend’s ...

Cynical Realism

Randall Kennedy: Supreme Court Biases, 21 January 2021

... is in dissent, the senior justice in the majority does the assigning. The current chief justice is John Roberts, who was nominated in 2005 by George W. Bush. Clarence Thomas, the most senior associate justice, was nominated in 1991 by George H.W. Bush. Stephen Breyer was nominated in 1994 by Bill Clinton, Samuel Alito in 2005 by George W. Bush, and Sonia ...

Be Dull, Mr President

Kim Phillips-Fein: Remembering Reagan, 19 October 2006

President Reagan: The Triumph of Imagination 
by Richard Reeves.
Simon and Schuster, 571 pp., £20, March 2006, 0 7432 3022 1
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... The lineage of many of the most powerful figures in America today – Dick Cheney, George Bush, John Roberts, Samuel Alito – can be traced back through the Reagan administration. Conservatives disaffected with Bush accuse him of the worst sin they can imagine: betraying Reagan’s legacy. Even Democrats have forgotten the harsh feelings they once ...

Why read Clausewitz when Shock and Awe can make a clean sweep of things?

Andrew Bacevich: The Rumsfeld Doctrine, 8 June 2006

Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq 
by Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor.
Atlantic, 603 pp., £25, March 2006, 1 84354 352 4
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... bud by the fortuitous retirement of one justice followed by the death of another. In appointing John Roberts and Samuel Alito, Bush elevated to the court two jurists with track records of giving the executive branch a wide berth on matters relating to national security. (Once on the court, justices don’t always perform as expected; whether the ...

Inside Out

John Bayley, 4 September 1980

The Collected Ewart 1933-1980 
by Gavin Ewart.
Hutchinson, 412 pp., £10, June 1980, 0 09 141000 2
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Selected Poems and Prose 
by Michael Roberts, edited by Frederick Grubb.
Carcanet, 205 pp., £7.95, June 1980, 0 85635 263 2
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... about sex – the purple penises and panties round the ankles – was beginning to pall. Michael Roberts, editor of the original Faber Book of Modern Poetry, was also a poet, but it seems unlikely that his own poems will be remembered, Time, as Auden pointed out, worships language and forgives everyone by whom it lives, but is apt to be indifferent to ...

Little Englander Histories

Linda Colley: Little Englandism, 22 July 2010

A Mad, Bad & Dangerous People? England 1783-1846 
by Boyd Hilton.
Oxford, 757 pp., £21, June 2008, 978 0 19 921891 2
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Replenishing the Earth: The Settler Revolution and the Rise of the Angloworld, 1780-1939 
by James Belich.
Oxford, 573 pp., £25, June 2009, 978 0 19 929727 6
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... of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, and myriad small islands off their coasts. The late John Roberts, himself a pioneering exponent of world history, acknowledged some of these complexities in his editorial preface to the New Oxford History of England, the even more multi-volume successor, still in progress, to the original and influential ...

No Innovations in My Time

Ferdinand Mount: George III, 16 December 2021

George III: The Life and Reign of Britain’s Most Misunderstood Monarch 
by Andrew Roberts.
Allen Lane, 763 pp., £35, October, 978 0 241 41333 3
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... who has the best claim to have founded our modern idea of the royal family. The reader of Andrew Roberts’s new biography rejoices too. In many ways, the king’s madness is the most interesting thing about a monarch who never included among his delusions the idea that he was anything but a very ordinary person. No other writer, except possibly Alan ...

Changing the law

Paul Foot, 26 July 1990

A Radical Lawyer in Victorian England: W.P. Roberts and the Struggle for Workers’ Rights 
by Raymond Challinor.
Tauris, 302 pp., £14.95, June 1990, 1 85043 150 7
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... Most of these gentlemen were not worth an obituary, let alone a biography. Fortunately, W.P. Roberts was something much rarer than a radical lawyer. He was a fighting lawyer, a principled lawyer, a lawyer driven all his life by hatred and contempt for the class into which he was born. He was, in short, not the sort of lawyer about whom historians (or ...

Sahib and Son

J.I.M. Stewart, 22 December 1983

‘Oh Beloved Kids’: Rudyard Kipling’s Letters to his Children 
edited by Elliot Gilbert.
Weidenfeld, 225 pp., £10.95, October 1983, 0 297 78296 7
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... O ship bound for Egypt, he writes to his daughter Elsie, who is just seventeen, and to his son John, 18 months younger: I haven’t found anybody interesting yet. There are not many young people and the small ‘Robert’ (who calls himself ‘Wob’) doesn’t mind accepting a box of bricks (bought at the barber’s) from me but he doesn’t want me to ...

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