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Streamlined Smiles

Rosemary Dinnage: Erik Erikson, 2 March 2000

Identity’s Architect: A Biography of Erik Erikson 
by Lawrence Friedman.
Free Association, 592 pp., £15.95, May 1999, 9781853434716
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... within the consulting room. There is a story, though, from his years of fame, that when Edward Kennedy came over from Hyannisport to consult him about running for President, Erikson asked him to think about what kind of old age he wanted. He had at first been doubtful about the whole psychoanalytical milieu, so ‘intensely verbal’ as he described ...

Achieving Disunity

Corey Robin, 25 October 2012

Age of Fracture 
by Daniel Rodgers.
Harvard, 360 pp., £14.95, September 2012, 978 0 674 06436 2
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... churches, families and firms. As Rodgers points out, even Hayek’s most influential student, Margaret Thatcher, when she stated that ‘there is no such thing as society,’ added a rider regarding the irreducibly social and institutional nature of humanity: ‘There are individual men and women and there are families.’ In this, she was merely echoing ...

Dreamtime with Whitlam

Michael Davie, 4 September 1986

The Whitlam Government 1972-1975 
by Gough Whitlam.
Viking, 788 pp., £17.95, July 1986, 0 670 80287 5
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... companion and host. He tells the story here of a previous Australian Labor leader who told Margaret Whitlam, his wife, that no one would ever get him going to South-East Asia: ‘You never know what you’ll catch.’ Mr Whitlam, by contrast, is rarely happier than when abroad. He translated the menu for me in Sofia, discoursing on the etymology of ...


Richard Gott: Víctor Jara’s Chile, 17 September 1998

... journalists present in Santiago that month, it was a less than glorious moment to be British. Only Margaret Anstee, a British UN representative in the city, emerged with credit – she unilaterally extended diplomatic immunity to those taken into the homes of UN personnel. The Estadio Chile was still forbidden territory when I arrived in Santiago, but I went ...

I’ll be back

Marjorie Garber: Sequels, 19 August 1999

Part Two: Reflections on the Sequel 
edited by Paul Budra and Betty Schellenberg.
Toronto, 217 pp., £40, February 1999, 0 8020 0915 8
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... the same pointed zeal as have the sequels to Austen. In the 20th century dozens of sequels, from Margaret Dashwood, or Interference (a sequel to Sense and Sensibility by Edith Charlotte Brown, 1929) to Consequence, or Whatever Became of Charlotte Lucas (Elizabeth Newark, 1997) and Desire & Duty: A Sequel to Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ (Ted ...

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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... a whole interview with Betty Ford and on another occasion pretended to have been in Dallas the day Kennedy was shot.) By the end of his valiant career, Sir David, who edited the paper for two decades, had won all the awards and accepted all the gongs. ‘David English had a romantic feeling for newspapers amounting to a passion,’ the Independent reported the ...


John Sutherland, 19 August 1982

A Prodigal Child 
by David Storey.
Cape, 319 pp., £7.50, June 1982, 0 224 02027 7
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The Prodigal Daughter 
by Jeffrey Archer.
Hodder, 447 pp., £7.95, July 1982, 0 340 27687 8
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by John Stonehouse.
Cape, 318 pp., £6.95, May 1982, 0 224 02019 6
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The Man from St Petersburg 
by Ken Follett.
Hamish Hamilton, 292 pp., £7.95, May 1982, 0 241 10783 0
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The Patriot Game 
by George Higgins.
Secker, 237 pp., £7.50, July 1982, 0 436 19589 5
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... He has returned to home ground for the Coronation street-party (now, it seems, hitched up with Margaret, the farmer’s daughter he played with as a child). But despite the feasting, this is not a prodigal’s return. ‘I mean to go on,’ he says. At the heart of this engrossing novel there is something left deliberately inarticulate. Storey’s ...

Downward Mobility

Linda Colley, 4 May 1989

The Blackwell Dictionary of Historians 
edited by John Cannon, R.H.C. Davis, William Doyle and Jack Greene.
Blackwell, 480 pp., £39.95, September 1988, 9780631147084
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Edward Gibbon, Luminous Historian, 1772-1794 
by Patricia Craddock.
Johns Hopkins, 432 pp., £19, February 1989, 0 8018 3720 0
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Gibbon: Making History 
by Roy Porter.
Palgrave, 187 pp., £14.95, February 1989, 0 312 02728 1
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by Owen Dudley Edwards.
Trafalgar Square, 160 pp., £5.95, October 1988, 9780297794684
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by Hugh Tulloch.
Trafalgar Square, 144 pp., £5.95, October 1988, 0 297 79470 1
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... disintegrated not because it was corrupt, but because it suffered from, and embodied, what Paul Kennedy might call imperial overstretch. The cause of the Empire’s decline and fall was ‘in a sense, its very existence’ (Craddock). Eighteenth-century Europe, by contrast (for Gibbon did not foresee Napoleon), was secured and stabilised by its competing ...

The Stamp of One Defect

David Edgar: Jeremy Thorpe, 30 July 2015

Jeremy Thorpe 
by Michael Bloch.
Little, Brown, 606 pp., £25, December 2014, 978 0 316 85685 0
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Closet Queens: Some 20th-Century British Politicians 
by Michael Bloch.
Little, Brown, 320 pp., £25, May 2015, 978 1 4087 0412 7
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... of the Times) for the Union presidency. Like one of his successors as Liberal leader, Charles Kennedy, he became an MP at a young age and came to public notice through his entertaining performances on radio (particularly in Any Questions?) and television. By the time of his election to the Liberal Party leadership in 1967, succeeding Jo Grimond, Thorpe ...
Secret Affairs: Franklin Roosevelt, Cordell Hull and Sumner Welles 
by Irwin Gellman.
Johns Hopkins, 499 pp., $29.95, April 1995, 0 8018 5083 5
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Closest Companion: The Unknown Story of the Intimate Friendship between Franklin Roosevelt and Margaret Suckley 
edited by Geoffrey Ward.
Houghton Mifflin, 444 pp., $24.95, April 1995, 0 395 66080 7
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No Ordinary Time. Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War Two 
by Doris Kearns Goodwin.
Simon and Schuster, 759 pp., £18, June 1995, 0 671 64240 5
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The End of Reform 
by Alan Brinkley.
Knopf, 371 pp., $27.50, March 1995, 0 394 53573 1
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... Sumner Welles, Franklin Roosevelt and the making of New Deal foreign policy). Closest Companion (Margaret Suckley’s diary and the letters she exchanged with her cousin Franklin Roosevelt, found and edited by Geoffrey Ward) and No Ordinary Time (Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Pulitzer Prize-winning history of the home front during World War Two) are products of ...

Lace the air with LSD

Mike Jay: Brain Warfare, 4 February 2021

Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control 
by Stephen Kinzer.
Henry Holt, 384 pp., £11.99, November 2020, 978 1 250 76262 7
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... In private he was a nonconformist, living in a cabin in the Virginia backwoods with his wife, Margaret, who had grown up among Presbyterian missionaries.As chief of the newly constituted Chemical Division of the Technical Services Staff, Gottlieb set about expanding and refining Dulles’s programme. The trials on ‘expendables’, in his estimation, had ...

Djojo on the Corner

Benedict Anderson, 24 August 1995

After the Fact: Two Countries, Four Decades, One Anthropologist 
by Clifford Geertz.
Harvard, 198 pp., £17.95, April 1995, 0 674 00871 5
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... with Ruth Benedict (1887) at the tail end. The second generation were born in the decade 1901-11: Margaret Mead (1901), Edward Evans-Pritchard (1902), Claude Lévi-Strauss (1908), Edmund Leach (1910), Louis Dumont and Max Gluckman (1911). They were formed in the age of Hitler and Stalin, and, in the cases of France and Britain, of impending imperial ...

Whisky and Soda Man

Thomas Jones: J.G. Ballard, 10 April 2008

Miracles of Life: Shanghai to Shepperton – An Autobiography 
by J.G. Ballard.
Fourth Estate, 278 pp., £14.99, February 2008, 978 0 00 727072 9
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... the war, Ballard took a boat to Southampton with his mother and younger sister. In 1947, Edna and Margaret rejoined Ballard’s father in Shanghai, while he remained in England, boarding at The Leys School in Cambridge and spending the holidays with his maternal grandparents in West Bromwich. He hated it. ‘England seemed derelict, dark and half-ruined ...

Rah, Rah, Cheers, Queers

Terry Castle: On Getting Married, 29 August 2013

... turn … [cry?] …) Victory is sweet, even if glimpsed from afar. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on Sunday denied a request from Proposition 8 supporters to halt the issuance of same-sex marriage licences in California. Dozens of same-sex weddings have taken place in the state since Friday, following the Supreme Court’s decision on Wednesday to ...

Holding all the strings

Ian Gilmour, 27 July 1989

Macmillan. Vol. II: 1957-1986 
by Alistair Horne.
Macmillan, 741 pp., £18.95, June 1989, 0 333 49621 3
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... sometimes gives the impression that he would have been happier writing the authorised biography of Margaret Thatcher. He indulges in forays against Conservatives who do not match his exacting right-wing standards, But he does not appear to possess the factual knowledge to make his excursions, as Michelin would say, vaut le voyage. Ted Heath, he tells us, has ...

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