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Goodness me

Mary-Kay Wilmers, 26 October 1989

Margaret, Daughter of Beatrice: A Politician’s Psycho-Biography of Margaret Thatcher 
by Leo Abse.
Cape, 288 pp., £13.95, September 1989, 0 224 02726 3
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... Mrs Thatcher, like Hedda Gabler, thinks of herself as her father’s daughter. For a hero, Alderman Roberts may be lacking in style. ‘A cautious, thrifty fellow’ is how Hugo Young describes him and it’s easy to tell he isn’t impressed. But Alfred Roberts was an imposing figure in Grantham and his businesses worked at a time when a great many failed ...

Maggiefication

Peter Clarke, 6 July 1995

The Path to Power 
by Margaret Thatcher.
HarperCollins, 656 pp., £24, June 1995, 0 00 255050 4
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... early in life, it might lead anywhere. Look what happened to the daughter of Councillor Alfred Roberts of Grantham. ‘Perhaps the main interest which my father and I shared while I was a girl was a thirst for knowledge about politics and public affairs,’ Baroness Thatcher tells us in The Path to Power, thus confirming the centrality of Councillor (later ...

Britain’s Thermonuclear Bluff

Norman Dombey and Eric Grove, 22 October 1992

... of support that he was getting and went back to the US. Cook was more sympathetic and arranged for Keith Roberts, who knew the details of the Ward proposal, and Bryan Taylor, who had just joined the Aldermaston staff, to continue work on two-stage radiation implosion devices. They were assisted in the design work by the recruitment of several members of ...

In Coleridge’s Bed

Ange Mlinko: Dead Poets Road Trip, 20 April 2017

Deaths of the Poets 
by Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts.
Cape, 414 pp., £14.99, February 2017, 978 0 224 09754 3
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... threw down the gauntlet to oblivion: come and get me if you can. Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts are poets and professors of poetry, and the authors of a previous collaboration, Edgelands, which took as its subject the dejected spaces that buffer suburban developments, industrial parks, highways and airports. They have now teamed up for a second book ...

My Old, Sweet, Darling Mob

Iain Sinclair: Michael Moorcock, 30 November 2000

King of the City 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 421 pp., £9.99, May 2000, 0 684 86140 2
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Mother London 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 496 pp., £6.99, May 2000, 0 684 86141 0
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... to English Literature: no Gerald Kersh, Kyril Bonfiglioli, M. John Harrison, James Sallis, Keith Roberts, Derek Raymond, Harlan Ellison. No Jack Trevor Story. Moorcock is there. He’s included, quite generously summarised, and not just as a ‘science-fiction writer of the 1960s’. But how strange it must feel, to be allowed into the club, while ...
Dance till the stars come down 
by Frances Spalding.
Hodder, 271 pp., £25, May 1991, 0 340 48555 8
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Keith Vaughan 
by Malcolm Yorke.
Constable, 288 pp., £25, October 1990, 0 09 469780 9
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... in which Minton was far from being the only considerable talent drinking itself to death. The ‘Roberts’ (Colquhoun and MacBryde) were there beside him; Dylan Thomas was boozing in the same pubs. Art is not made in that spirit any more. The notion that all things are a gamble, that candles should be burnt at both ends, that poverty is often art’s ...

On the library coffee-table

Clive James, 17 March 1983

An Illustrated History of Interior Decoration 
by Mario Praz, translated by William Weaver.
Thames and Hudson, 396 pp., £35, March 1982, 0 500 23358 6
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Degas 
by Keith Roberts.
Phaidon, 48 pp., £10.50, March 1982, 0 7148 2226 4
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Monet at Argenteuil 
by Paul Tucker.
Yale, 211 pp., £15, April 1982, 0 300 02577 7
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... the catalogue and editorial control showed signs of desperation. In the 1982 enlarged edition of Keith Roberts’s Degas – one of the books in the old Colour Plate Series which has been bumped up to the new Colour Library format – the flap refers to Edouard Degas, which makes you wonder whether there will be a book on Edgar Manet. Meanwhile the ...

The Rise and Fall of Thatcherism

Peter Clarke: Eight years after, 10 December 1998

... salient features of the post-Thatcherite era of political economy. As Alfred Sherman liked to tell Keith Joseph in the Seventies, Keynes is dead. Thatcherism undoubtedly carried a doctrinal as well as a personal connotation, but it may be that it is best understood in a sense personal to Thatcher; that this helps to explain its ideological resilience in face ...

War and Pax

Claude Rawson, 2 July 1981

War Music. An Account of Books 16 to 19 of Homer’s ‘Iliad’ 
by Christopher Logue.
Cape, 83 pp., £3.95, May 1981, 0 224 01534 6
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Ode to the Dodo. Poems from 1953 to 1978 
by Christopher Logue.
Cape, 176 pp., £6.95, May 1981, 0 224 01892 2
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Under the North Star 
by Ted Hughes and Leonard Baskin.
Faber, 47 pp., £5.95, April 1981, 9780571117215
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Ted Hughes: The Unaccommodated Universe 
by Ekbert Faas.
Black Swallow Press, 229 pp., June 1983, 0 87685 459 5
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Myth in the Poetry of Ted Hughes 
by Stuart Hirschberg.
Wolfhound, 239 pp., £8.50, April 1981, 0 905473 50 7
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Ted Hughes: A Critical Study 
by Terry Gifford and Neil Roberts.
Faber, 288 pp., £9.50, April 1981, 0 571 11701 5
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... pass over this poem, though it gets a sensible if fleeting comment in the new book by Gifford and Roberts. But Hughes’s heroic imagination is not often exercised on ‘heroes’ of the warrior sort, ancient or modern. It is usually displaced, if that is the word, to animals or to inanimate ‘cosmic’ forces, thus neutralising the awkward impulse to moral ...

The New Narrative

John Kerrigan, 16 February 1984

The Oxford Book of Narrative Verse 
edited by Iona Opie and Peter Opie.
Oxford, 407 pp., £8.95, September 1983, 0 19 214131 7
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Time’s Oriel 
by Kevin Crossley-Holland.
Hutchinson, 61 pp., £4.95, August 1983, 0 09 153291 4
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On Gender and Writing 
edited by Michelene Wandor.
Pandora, 166 pp., £3.95, September 1983, 0 86358 021 1
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Stone, Paper, Knife 
by Marge Piercy.
Pandora, 144 pp., £3.95, September 1983, 9780863580222
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The Achievement of Ted Hughes 
edited by Keith Sagar.
Manchester, 377 pp., £27.50, March 1983, 0 7190 0939 1
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Ted Hughes and Paul Muldoon 
Faber, £6.95, June 1983, 0 571 13090 9Show More
River 
by Ted Hughes and Peter Keen.
Faber, 128 pp., £10, September 1983, 0 571 13088 7
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Quoof 
by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 64 pp., £4, September 1983, 0 571 13117 4
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... they are among our most eloquent ‘inner émigrés’. Hence the enormous interest of Michèle Roberts’s contribution to the new Pandora anthology On Gender and Writing. In a volume remarkable for its intelligence and verve – one thinks of Angela Carter on writing fiction, Alison Hennegan on lesbian journalism, Fay Weldon interviewing herself – Ms ...

Free speech for Rupert Murdoch

Stephen Sedley, 19 December 1991

... NCCL was a barometric indication of the state of civil rights and the rule of law when Margaret Roberts was still a child. Yet it has taken the illiberal and unconstitutional conduct of her three governments to push a written constitution and a Bill of Rights to the head of the political agenda. The radical authoritarianism of the Eighties has finally ...

The Finchley Factor

Geoffrey Wheatcroft: Thatcher in Israel, 13 September 2018

Margaret Thatcher and the Middle East 
by Azriel Bermant.
Cambridge, 274 pp., £22.99, September 2017, 978 1 316 60630 8
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... years before, at the 1950 general election, a 24-year-old research chemist by the name of Margaret Roberts had stood unsuccessfully for Parliament. By now called Margaret Thatcher, she was elected MP for Finchley in 1959: the first chapter of Azriel Bermant’s outstandingly valuable Margaret Thatcher and the Middle East is titled ‘Thatcher and the ...

Rat-a-tat-a-tat-a-tat-a-tat

David Runciman: Thatcher’s Rise, 6 June 2013

Margaret Thatcher: The Authorised Biography. Vol. I: Not for Turning 
by Charles Moore.
Allen Lane, 859 pp., £30, April 2013, 978 0 7139 9282 3
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... to humanise it. His great find is a previously unseen cache of letters from the young Margaret Roberts to her older sister, Muriel, written variously from Grantham, Oxford and Dartford. There, she talks about boyfriends, fashion, shopping and the various inconveniences of life in wartime and then austerity Britain. They are, I suppose, human. But boy are ...

Is this successful management?

R.W. Johnson, 20 April 1989

One of Us: A Biography of Margaret Thatcher 
by Hugo Young.
Macmillan, 570 pp., £16.95, April 1989, 0 333 34439 1
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... working class. One or two things seem to have eluded Young. He mentions the young Margaret Roberts’s election campaign in Dartford in 1950, but neglects the best part of it. Ms Roberts insisted throughout the campaign that she would win. As they neared the last lap, her agent advised her to drop this line. She ...

Histories of Australia

Stuart Macintyre, 28 September 1989

The Oxford History of Autralia. Vol III: 1860-1900 
by Beverley Kingston.
Oxford, 368 pp., £22.50, July 1989, 0 19 554611 3
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The Road from Coorain: An Australian Memoir 
by Jill Ker Conway.
Heinemann, 238 pp., £12.95, September 1989, 0 434 14244 1
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A Secret Country 
by John Pilger.
Cape, 286 pp., £12.95, September 1989, 0 224 02600 3
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Convict Workers: Reinterpreting Australia’s Past 
edited by Stephen Nicholas.
Cambridge, 246 pp., $45, June 1989, 0 521 36126 5
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... and universities occurred within an imperial framework until the second half of the century. Sir Keith Hancock wrote his seminal Australia (1930) for a London publisher during a brief inter-war return to his homeland; Sir Ernest Scott edited a more substantial conspectus as a volume of the Cambridge History of the British Empire (1933). It was only with the ...

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