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What did Cook want?

Jon Lawrence: Both ‘on message’ and off, 19 February 2004

The Point of Departure 
by Robin Cook.
Simon and Schuster, 368 pp., £20, October 2003, 0 7432 5255 1
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... Robin Cook’s memoir concentrates on the first two years of the second Blair government, from his ‘demotion’ to leader of the House immediately after the 2001 general election to his resignation over the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. He may have wanted to get the book out quickly while Iraq, WMDs and Hutton still dominate the headlines, but, more important, writing exclusively about the Blair second term allows him to construct a narrative of political disillusion shorn of awkward questions about the compromises that had been necessary for him to stay loyal to the New Labour ‘project’ before 2001 ...

Festschriftiness

Susan Pedersen, 6 October 2011

Structures and Transformations in Modern British History 
edited by David Feldman and Jon Lawrence.
Cambridge, 331 pp., £50, January 2011, 978 0 521 51882 6
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The Peculiarities of Liberal Modernity in Imperial Britain 
edited by Simon Gunn and James Vernon.
California, 271 pp., £20.95, May 2011, 978 0 9845909 5 7
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Classes, Cultures and Politics: Essays on British History for Ross McKibbin 
edited by Clare Griffiths, John Nott and William Whyte.
Oxford, 320 pp., £65, April 2011, 978 0 19 957988 4
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... turn’ in an essay published in Social History in 1992, a tempest ensued. Jon Lawrence and Miles Taylor, two of Stedman Jones’s recent PhD students, insisted that Mayfield and Thorne had entirely misunderstood their mentor’s work, which they felt should be judged not in terms of its theoretical affiliations but according to an ...

Shock Cities

Susan Pedersen: The Fate of Social Democracy, 2 January 2020

Thatcher’s Progress: From Social Democracy to Market Liberalism through an English New Town 
by Guy Ortolano.
Cambridge, 301 pp., £29.99, June 2019, 978 1 108 48266 0
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Me, Me, Me? The Search for Community in Postwar England 
by Jon Lawrence.
Oxford, 327 pp., £25, June 2019, 978 0 19 877953 7
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... of the experiment, is never quite addressed. For help with these matters, we can turn, though, to Jon Lawrence’s Me, Me, Me? The Search for Community in Postwar England. The book is based on a careful rereading of the records of ten major community studies in postwar England (Lawrence doesn’t look at ...

Dear boy, I’d rather see you in your coffin

Jon Day: Paid to Race, 16 July 2020

To Hell and Back: An Autobiography 
by Niki Lauda.
Ebury, 314 pp., £16.99, February, 978 1 5291 0679 4
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A Race with Love and Death: The Story of Britain’s First Great Grand Prix Driver, Richard Seaman 
by Richard Williams.
Simon and Schuster, 388 pp., £20, March, 978 1 4711 7935 8
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... enough you can buy yourself in at the top as a ‘pay driver’. In 2017 the Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll paid $80 million to Williams to let his son Lance race for them. For the 2019 season Lawrence bought his own team. That Lance is not the slowest driver in the paddock – he came 12th in the ...

Accessibility

Derek Mahon, 5 June 1980

Carminalenia 
by Christopher Middleton.
Carcanet, 120 pp., £3.95, February 1980, 0 85635 284 5
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The Strange Museum 
by Tom Paulin.
Faber, 51 pp., £3.50, March 1980, 9780571115112
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The Psalms with their Spoils 
by Jon Silkin.
Routledge, 74 pp., £2.95, April 1980, 0 7100 0497 4
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The Equal Skies 
by Norman MacCaig.
Chatto, 64 pp., £3.75, March 1980, 0 7011 2491 1
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Sibyls and Others 
by Ruth Fainlight.
Hutchinson, 141 pp., £5.95, March 1980, 0 09 141030 4
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... symbolically quasi-human and flickeringly active, as in a newsreel of the period. Like Middleton, Jon Silkin is very much his own man. An active propagandist for poetry, he nevertheless belongs to no ‘school’, although I would guess that somewhere along the line he absorbed the influence, for example, of the Minnesota poets, Robert Bly and James ...

More about Marilyn

Michael Church, 20 February 1986

Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe 
by Anthony Summers.
Gollancz, 414 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 575 03641 9
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Norma Jeane: The Life and Death of Marilyn Monroe 
by Fred Lawrence Guiles.
Granada, 377 pp., £12.95, June 1985, 0 246 12307 9
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Poor Little Rich Girl: The Life and Legend of Barbara Hutton 
by C. David Heymann.
Hutchinson, 390 pp., £12.95, March 1985, 0 09 146010 7
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Deams that money can buy: The Tragic Life of Libby Holman 
by Jon Bradshaw.
Cape, 431 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 224 02846 4
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All Those Tomorrows 
by Mai Zetterling.
Cape, 230 pp., £9.95, November 1985, 0 224 01841 8
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Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady 
by Florence King.
Joseph, 278 pp., £8.95, August 1985, 0 7181 2611 4
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... proved a triumph of intuitive speculation. Mailer leaned heavily on the first edition of Fred Lawrence Guiles’s book, suggesting that one day a great biography might be built on its workmanlike foundations. That was 12 years ago and no such thing has materialised: unless Miller’s own memoirs, now in gestation, miraculously turn up trumps, it looks as ...

Community Relations

Daniel Finn: In Belfast, 27 August 2009

... that Northern Ireland is as British as – if not Finchley, at least Burnley.’ Channel 4’s Jon Snow drew on that narrative when he attacked Northern Ireland’s assistant chief constable for his failure to protect the Romanians: ‘It really does seem as if the PSNI’ – the heir of the RUC – ‘has learned absolutely nothing from the murder of ...

Charmed Life

John Bayley, 15 September 1983

The Russian Revolutionary Novel: Turgenev to Pasternak 
by Richard Freeborn.
Cambridge, 256 pp., £27.50, January 1983, 0 521 24442 0
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Boris Pasternak: His Life and Art 
by Guy de Mallac.
Souvenir, 450 pp., £14.95, February 1983, 0 285 62558 6
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Pasternak: A Biography 
by Ronald Hingley.
Weidenfeld, 294 pp., £12.95, August 1983, 9780297782070
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Selected Poems 
by Boris Pasternak, translated by Jon Stallworthy and Peter France.
Allen Lane, 160 pp., £7.50, February 1983, 0 7139 1497 1
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Poets of Modern Russia 
by Peter France.
Cambridge, 240 pp., £20, February 1983, 0 521 23490 5
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Russian Literature since the Revolution 
by Edward Brown.
Harvard, 413 pp., £20, December 1982, 0 674 78203 8
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... continues after his death. This occurs in a very obvious sense in relation to an artist like D.H. Lawrence, but in a much more subtle and peculiar sense it is true of a great poet-artist like Pasternak. The tradition in English is different: the greatness in poetry of a Yeats or an Eliot, however complex a matter, does not depend directly on their ...

Lady Thatcher’s Bastards

Iain Sinclair, 27 February 1992

Class War: A Decade of Disorder 
edited by Ian Bone, Alan Pullen and Tim Scargill.
Verso, 113 pp., £7.95, November 1991, 0 86091 558 1
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... discovered keeping company with the skeleton of her brother, who had been, in the words of Russ Lawrence of the Hackney Gazette, ‘propped up in an armchair’. She had conducted her life with the decaying corpse for six months, transfixed in a ghastly conversation piece, unremarked by the mundane world that surrounded her. Now, in December 1991, the ...

Nonetheless

John Bayley, 2 February 1989

The Lost Voices of World War One: An International Anthology of Writers, Poets and Playwrights 
edited by Tim Cross.
Bloomsbury, 406 pp., £12.95, November 1988, 0 7475 0276 5
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Poems 
by Paul Celan, translated by Michael Hamburger.
Anvil, 350 pp., £15.95, January 1989, 0 85646 198 9
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Flights of Passage: Reflections of a World War Two Aviator 
by Samuel Hynes.
Bloomsbury, 270 pp., £13.95, November 1988, 0 7475 0333 8
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... as alive as Sorley, Ledwidge, and their other English opposite numbers admirably presented by Jon Stallworthy. Ian Higgins has done an equally good job for the young Frenchmen or Belgians – Gaston de Ruyter, Jean de La Ville de Mirmont, Marc de Larreguy de Civrieux – and V. Nersessian gives selections from the work of young Armenians killed in the ...

Who’s the real cunt?

Andrew O’Hagan: Dacre’s Paper, 1 June 2017

Mail Men: The Unauthorised Story of the ‘Daily Mail’, the Paper that Divided and Conquered Britain 
by Adrian Addison.
Atlantic, 407 pp., £20, March 2017, 978 1 78239 970 4
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... Street Kensington – he lives on carpets. The Mail’s biggest human story, the murder of Stephen Lawrence, turned out to be one of the very rare instances in which the editor showed fellow-feeling. It wasn’t difficult: the father of the murdered boy was a plasterer who had worked at Dacre’s house. But there was more to it than that: Dacre hates judges ...

Dialling for Dollars

Deborah Friedell: Corruption in America, 19 March 2015

Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin’s Snuff Box to Citizens United 
by Zephyr Teachout.
Harvard, 376 pp., £22.95, October 2014, 978 0 674 05040 2
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... of his SuperPac over to ‘this guy I barely know’, the co-executive producer of his TV show, Jon Stewart. Rechristened as The Definitely Not Co-ordinating with Stephen Colbert SuperPac, it paid for some TV ads (one compared Romney to a serial killer), and the rest of the money was given to charity, though it could have been spent on ‘any lawful ...

A Town Called Mørk

Adam Mars-Jones: Per Petterson, 6 November 2014

I Refuse 
by Per Petterson, translated by Don Bartlett.
Harvill Secker, 282 pp., £16.99, October 2014, 978 1 84655 781 1
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... skin can be shiny at certain times, in certain situations’, and that though Tommy now looks like Jon Voight in Enemy of the State the horizontal scar above his left eye is ‘still evident, white, luminous, silver’. A scar is backstory made flesh. The narrative switches back and forward between 2006 and the 1960s and 1970s, when Jim and Tommy were ...

The Ribs of Rosinante

Richard Gott, 21 August 1997

Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life 
by Jon Lee Anderson.
Bantam, 814 pp., £25, April 1997, 0 593 03403 1
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Compañero: The Life and Death of Che Guevara 
by Jorge Castañeda, translated by Marina Castañeda.
Bloomsbury, 480 pp., £20, October 1997, 0 7475 3334 2
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... enchantment that came completely naturally,’ Julia Costenla, an Argentine journalist told Jon Lee Anderson when he was researching his biography of Guevara. ‘If he entered a room, everything began revolving around him.’That night he found a seat in a corner of the embassy gardens and everyone gathered round. I haven’t much memory of what was ...

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