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Standing on the Wharf, Weeping

Greg Dening: Australia, 25 September 2003

The Enlightenment and the Origins of European Australia 
by John Gascoigne.
Cambridge, 233 pp., £45, September 2002, 0 521 80343 8
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Looking for Blackfella’s Point: An Australian History of Place 
by Mark McKenna.
New South Wales, 268 pp., £14.50, August 2002, 0 86840 644 9
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Words for Country: Landscape and Language in Australia 
by Tim Bonyhady and Tom Griffiths.
New South Wales, 253 pp., £15.50, October 2001, 0 86840 628 7
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The Land Is a Map: Placenames of Indigenous Origin in Australia 
edited by Luise Hercus, Flavia Hodges and Jane Simpson.
Pandanus, 304 pp., AUS $39.95, October 2002, 1 74076 020 4
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... was geared towards a pastoral economy, already ‘capitalised’, we might say. According to Mark McKenna, in Looking for Blackfella’s Point, ‘the Aborigines’ tracks laid the basis of the road networks, their campsites became homesteads and towns, their yam grounds became arable fields, and all their hunting grounds, so carefully tended ...

Cursing and Breast-Beating

Ross McKibbin: Manning Clark’s Legacy, 23 February 2012

An Eye for Eternity: The Life of Manning Clark 
by Mark McKenna.
Miegunyah, 793 pp., £57.95, May 2011, 978 0 522 85617 0
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... much hung on these things; to some extent it still does. All this and much more is examined in Mark McKenna’s outstanding biography of Clark. It is a book of thorough and scrupulous research, which draws not only on Clark’s huge archive – which, as McKenna points out, he helpfully annotated and dated for the ...

Oh God, can we face it?

Daniel Finn: ‘The BBC’s Irish Troubles’, 19 May 2016

The BBC’s ‘Irish Troubles’: Television, Conflict and Northern Ireland 
by Robert Savage.
Manchester, 298 pp., £70, May 2015, 978 0 7190 8733 2
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... taken from London. In 1958, the BBC showed an interview with the Belfast-born actress Siobhan McKenna in which she described IRA members as ‘young idealists’. There was a furious response from the Northern Irish authorities: the elderly Ulster Unionist Party leader, Basil Brooke, suggested that if McKenna were ...

Honest Graft

Michael Brock, 23 June 1988

Corruption in British Politics, 1895-1930 
by G.R. Searle.
Oxford, 448 pp., £19.50, November 1987, 0 19 822915 1
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... in Birmingham industry as the Chamberlains were bound to be involved in war contracting. Reginald McKenna may have hit on the right explanation for the undue favour shown to Kynochs in the cordite contracts in his remark: ‘when officials have to deal with companies which have the guarantee of great names behind them their judgment and independence are ...

Second Time Around

Stephen Sedley: In the Court of Appeal, 6 September 2007

The Court of Appeal 
by Gavin Drewry, Louis Blom-Cooper and Charles Blake.
Hart, 196 pp., £30, April 2007, 978 1 84113 387 4
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... of Appeal are uneasy about this, and so are many judges. A good High Court judge, Sir Brian McKenna, once wrote: ‘I doubt my own ability . . . to discern from a witness’s demeanour or the tone of his voice whether he is telling the truth. He speaks hesitantly. Is that the mark of a cautious man . . . or is he ...

Miss Lachrymose

Liz Brown: Doris Day’s Performances, 11 September 2008

Doris Day: The Untold Story of the Girl Next Door 
by David Kaufman.
Virgin, 628 pp., £29.95, June 2008, 978 1 905264 30 8
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... Russo’s The Celluloid Closet, with its clip of Doris belting out her ‘Secret Love’, but also Mark Rappaport’s Rock Hudson’s Home Movies. By then Hudson had been dead for ten years; his last appearance – the one that made known the fact he had Aids – was on Doris Day’s Best Friends, a cable-only show about pet care. These glimpses led the ...

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