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Into the sunset

Peter Clarke

30 August 1990
Ideas and Politics in Modern Britain 
edited by J.C.D. Clark.
Macmillan, 271 pp., £40, July 1990, 0 333 51550 1
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The Philosopher on Dover Beach 
by Roger Scruton.
Carcanet, 344 pp., £18.95, June 1990, 0 85635 857 6
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... now seems as dated as the yellow copies of the Sun which were always its proper home. ‘Economic Revival’ is the title of one important section of the book, containing essays by Patrick Minford, MartinHolmes and John Redwood. Minford recapitulates an already familiar analysis of the three parts of Thatcher’s economic programme, ‘the conquest of inflation, the promotion of efficiency, and the ...

Downhill

David Marquand

19 September 1985
Years of Recovery: British Economic Policy 1945-51 
by Alec Cairncross.
Methuen, 527 pp., £35, April 1985, 0 416 37920 6
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The Politics of Recession 
by R.W. Johnson.
Macmillan, 275 pp., £20, January 1985, 0 333 36786 3
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The Labour Government 1974-79: Political Aims and Economic Reality 
by Martin Holmes.
Macmillan, 206 pp., £25, May 1985, 0 333 36735 9
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New Jerusalems: The Labour Party and the Economics of Democratic Socialism 
by Elizabeth Durbin and Roy Hattersley.
Routledge, 341 pp., £16.95, March 1985, 9780710096500
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... into an instrument for short-term demand management, and collapsed under the burdens which this perversion placed upon it. The Wilson-Callaghan Government of the Seventies – the anti-hero of MartinHolmes’s thorough, if rather dead-pan study – performed even less impressively. The social contract was a disaster. The quasi-statutory incomes policy which followed it fell apart in the winter ...

By the Roots

Jeremy Waldron

9 February 1995
The Anatomy of Anti-Liberalism 
by Stephen Holmes.
Harvard, 330 pp., £23.95, November 1993, 0 674 03180 6
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... Thus Joseph de Maistre (1754-1821), Savoyard philosopher, counter-revolutionary, ultramontane Catholic and the first of six exemplars of anti-liberal sentiment, past and present, chosen by Stephen Holmes for dissection in his Anatomy. The others are Carl Schmitt, Leo Strauss, Alasdair MacIntyre, Christopher Lasch and Roberto Unger. To choose Maistre as one’s point of departure is to set a ...

One Chapter More

Leah Price: Ectoplasm

6 July 2000
Teller of Tales: The Life of Arthur Conan Doyle 
by Daniel Stashower.
Penguin, 472 pp., £18.99, February 2000, 0 7139 9373 1
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... and Jiggery-Pokery’ along with ‘Ghosts, Hypnotism, Trap-Doors and Chinamen’. Conan Doyle himself never did. In 1917, with a lacklustre medical career and three decades of best-selling Sherlock Holmes stories behind him, he announced that he had received messages from the dead. These exchanges continued for the rest of his life – and beyond, if you believe such sources as News from the next ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Dead Babies

16 November 2000
... cinematograph to the Athanasian Creed – then it is obviously a task, not to be justifiably avoided, to place some higher example before the world. Carp would have been appalled by the goings-on in Martin Amis’s Dead Babies – all kinds of sex, all kinds of drugs, all kinds of violence, if little or no arson – which was written a mere fifty years later, and has just been adapted for the ...

The White Tree

Colin Dayan: The Jena Six

1 November 2007
... the guilt which should have been ascribed to beer.’ The ritual survived in England until 1846, when the public balked at its application to railway engines. In The Common Law (1881), Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote that ‘the customs, beliefs or needs of a primitive time establish a rule or a formula. In the course of centuries the custom, belief or necessity disappears, but the rule remains.’ In the ...
20 June 1985
Firing Line 
by Richard Holmes.
Cape, 436 pp., £12.95, March 1985, 0 224 02043 9
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The Right of the Line: The Royal Air Force in the European War 1939-1945 
by John Terraine.
Hodder, 841 pp., £14.95, March 1985, 0 340 26644 9
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The Bomber Command War Diaries: An Operational Reference Book 
by Martin​ Middlebrook and Chris Everitt.
Viking, 804 pp., £25, May 1985, 0 670 80137 2
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’45: The Final Drive from the Rhine to the Baltic 
by Charles Whiting.
Century, 192 pp., £7.95, March 1985, 0 7126 0812 5
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In the Ruins of the Reich 
by Douglas Botting.
Allen and Unwin, 248 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 9780049430365
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1945: The World We Fought For 
by Robert Kee.
Hamish Hamilton, 371 pp., £12.95, May 1985, 0 241 11531 0
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VE Day: Victory in Europe 1945 
by Robin Cross.
Sidgwick, 223 pp., £12.95, May 1985, 0 283 99220 4
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One Family’s War 
edited by Patrick Mayhew.
Hutchinson, 237 pp., £10.95, May 1985, 0 7126 0812 5
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Poems of the Second World War: The Oasis Selection 
edited by Victor Selwyn.
Dent, 386 pp., £12, May 1985, 0 460 10432 2
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My Life 
by Bert Hardy.
Gordon Fraser, 192 pp., £14.95, March 1985, 0 86092 083 6
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Victory in Europe: D Day to VE Day 
by Max Hastings and George Stevens.
Weidenfeld, 192 pp., £10.95, April 1985, 0 297 78650 4
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... a Frenchman bears down with fixed bayonet, Nikolai flings his pistol at him and runs for the nearest bushes, possessed by ‘a single unmixed instinct of fear for his young and happy life’. Richard Holmes’s impressive and absorbing Firing Line shows how accurately Tolstoy projected, in this episode and others, the psychology of troops in battle. Holmes quotes Lieutenant David Tinker on his first ...

At the Party

Christopher Hitchens

17 April 1986
Hollywood Babylon II 
by Kenneth Anger.
Arrow, 323 pp., £5.95, January 1986, 0 09 945110 7
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Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan 
by Robin Wood.
Columbia, 336 pp., $25, October 1985, 0 231 05776 8
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... communicates at unconscious levels a political (here deeply reactionary) statement. Those ‘levels’ again. One sees, despite the chaotic punctuation, what is meant. One also sees what Sherlock Holmes meant in his equally famous first words to Dr Watson (‘I perceive that you have lately been in Afghanistan’). But whereas Holmes was deductive, and Barthes inductive, Wood is merely intuitive. If ...
25 March 1993
... should she? She lived and worked in London, England. She didn’t have to know about Mount Rushmore. Except that she’d been woken up, and her night’s sleep ruined worrying about it. She wished Martin hadn’t taken his Encyclopaedia Britannica with him when they split up. She missed that more than she missed him. Tomorrow, she promised herself, she would go to the library at school and check it ...
7 May 1987
Road to Victory: Winston Churchill 1941-1945 
by Martin​ Gilbert.
Heinemann, 1417 pp., £20, September 1986, 0 434 29186 2
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... The latest volume of Martin Gilbert’s Churchill biography is the fifth he has published since taking up the task in 1968. This time he accompanies Churchill on the long march from the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour to VE ...

Fame at last

Elaine Showalter

7 November 1991
Anne Sexton: A Biography 
by Diane Wood Middlebrook.
Virago, 488 pp., £20, November 1991, 1 85381 406 7
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... line: A woman like that is not afraid to die. I have been her kind. Taken from her first book, To Bedlam and Part Way Back (1960), the poem shows Sexton’s craft, honed with advice from John Holmes, W.D. Snodgrass and Robert Lowell. Retrieved at the last moment from her ‘bone pile’ of discards to fill out the book, it had gone through 19 drafts before Sexton achieved what Middlebrook calls ...

Free-Marketeering

Stephen Holmes: Naomi Klein

8 May 2008
The Shock Doctrine 
by Naomi Klein.
Penguin, 558 pp., £8.99, June 2008, 978 0 14 102453 0
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... themselves – for a profit. For the most part, they capitalise on emergencies rather than deliberately bringing them about. But the distinction is not always so clear: the stock price of Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest defence contractor, almost tripled between 2003 and 2007 after a former vice president at the firm chaired a committee agitating for war with Iraq. The Iraq war was also ‘the ...
22 April 1993
Behind Closed Doors 
by Irving Scholar and Mihir Bose.
Deutsch, 367 pp., £14.99, November 1992, 0 233 98824 6
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Sick as a Parrot: The Inside Story of the Spurs Fiasco 
by Chris Horrie.
Virgin, 293 pp., £4.99, August 1992, 0 86369 620 1
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Gary Lineker: Strikingly Different 
by Colin Malam.
Stanley Paul, 147 pp., £12.99, January 1993, 0 09 175424 0
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... Powell of the Daily Mail is said to have ‘got’ Venables his earlier big job at Barcelona and is named here as one of Terry’s ‘sycophants’ – the others are Kevin Moseley of the Express and Martin Samuel of the Sun. Scholar suggests that – on the matter of Pleat – he knows more than he is saving, and no doubt he does: after all, it was he who chose to accept Pleat’s resignation. ‘I was ...

Boutique Faith

Jeremy Waldron: Against Free Speech

20 July 2006
Courting the Abyss: Free Speech and the Liberal Tradition 
by John Durham Peters.
Chicago, 309 pp., £18.50, April 2005, 0 226 66274 8
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... of great men, to whom she is but rarely known and more rarely welcome’.) Peters has plenty to say about these, too, much of it sceptical, all of it telling. He reminds us that it was Oliver Wendell Holmes who said, in a Supreme Court dissent in 1919, that ‘the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market,’ but also that Holmes spoiled the ...

Skipwith and Anktill

David Wootton: Tudor Microhistory

10 August 2000
Travesties and Transgressions in Tudor and Stuart England 
by David Cressy.
Oxford, 351 pp., £25, November 1999, 0 19 820781 6
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A House in Gross Disorder: Sex, Law, and the Second Earl of Castlehaven 
by Cynthia Herrup.
Oxford, 216 pp., £18.99, December 1999, 0 19 512518 5
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... Both David Cressy and Cynthia Herrup believe they are writing microhistory, a word coined by Italians, but used to describe above all the work of Natalie Zemon Davis (The Return of Martin Guerre, 1983) and Robert Darnton (The Great Cat Massacre, 1984). Microhistorians have turned to the verbatim records of interrogations kept in the law courts of early modern Europe (or at least those ...

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