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Diary

Mike Selvey: Dumping Gower, 24 September 1992

... at that point to set the juices racing. ‘I think a cup of coffee is in order,’ I said to Martin Johnson of the Independent and Alan Lee of the Times, ‘and the only place on the ground that serves a proper filtered cup of the stuff is the Hove Shop.’ Most County grounds have an establishment like this, where anything that can reasonably be ...

Squealing

Ian Buruma, 13 May 1993

Gower: The Autobiography 
by David Gower and Martin Johnson.
Collins Willow, 256 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 00 218413 3
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... Gooch, and they were (are) all very much Players. In his autobiography, breezily ghost-written by Martin Johnson, the joker of the Independent’s back page, Gower plays up his Cavalier image for all its worth. And he makes no bones about his contempt for the ‘soccer-manager style of bullshit’ that has been brought into the game by ...

Short Cuts

John Lanchester: #tevezexcuses, 20 October 2011

... in football, so this may be one of the last public meltdowns of its kind. The England manager, Martin Johnson, struck a magnificently lordly note in dismissing the subject: ‘Rugby player drinks beer, shocker.’ A good line, almost as good as the observation V.S. Naipaul once made to his biographer, that Zara Phillips has ‘a criminal ...

At Driscoll Babcock

Christopher Benfey: The Shock of the Old, 15 June 2016

... for other territory. Albert Bierstadt and Blakelock went west; Church and his sometime studio-mate Martin Johnson Heade (whose arresting paintings of impending thunderstorms have been rather fancifully interpreted by art historians as portending the war), went to South America in search of more exotic sublimities: the Edenic Heart of the Andes for Church ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: The Spectator, 25 January 2001

... When, in May, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson gives up his role as Tory MP for the Spectator to take over from Michael Heseltine as the editor of Henley-on-Thames, you have to wonder where they’re going to find someone sufficiently blond to be his successor at Doughty Street (from which sturdy address the organ Johnson currently oversees emerges each week ...

N.V. Rampant meets Martin Amis

N.V. Rampant, 18 October 1984

... This is the big one,’ I told myself nervously. ‘The Martin Amis interview. This is the one that could make you or break you.’ As I neared his front door my heart was in my mouth. No doubt he would have said it more cleverly. He would have said his heart was palpitating with trepidation like a poodle in heat in a monastery of mastiffs ...

Seven Days

R.W. Johnson, 4 July 1985

The Pick of Paul JohnsonAn Anthology 
Harrap, 277 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 0 245 54246 9Show More
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... Paul Johnson does not, as they say, need much introduction. Whatever one thinks of his opinions, one has to admire his frenetic energy. From 1955 to 1970 he poured forth strong left-wing views in the New Statesman, and since then has moved to pouring forth strong right-wing views in a whole host of publications, books and speeches ...
... Astor, he was a friend – sent him the Observer. And he had lots of American friends, especially Martin Luther King. It was a terrible thing for us when Martin was killed. Father had a whole collection of Martin’s speeches on tape and he used to play them over and over ...

Eden without the Serpent

Eric Foner, 11 December 1997

A History of the American People 
by Paul Johnson.
Weidenfeld, 925 pp., £25, October 1997, 0 297 81569 5
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... Paul Johnson is one of the most indefatigable writers on either side of the Atlantic. In the past twenty years, the former editor of the New Statesman turned ardent Thatcherite has produced, among other books, The Birth of the Modern (weighing in at more than a thousand pages), Modern Times, a massive chronicle of the 20th century, and lengthy histories of Christianity and Judaism ...

Pay me for it

Helen Deutsch: Summoning Dr Johnson, 9 February 2012

Samuel JohnsonA Life 
by David Nokes.
Faber, 415 pp., £9.99, August 2010, 978 0 571 22636 8
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Selected Writings 
by Samuel Johnson, edited by Peter Martin.
Harvard, 503 pp., £16.95, May 2011, 978 0 674 06034 0
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The Brothers Boswell: A Novel 
by Philip Baruth.
Corvus, 336 pp., £7.99, January 2011, 978 1 84887 446 6
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The Life of Samuel Johnson LL.D. 
by John Hawkins, edited by O.M. Brack.
Georgia, 554 pp., £53.50, August 2010, 978 0 8203 2995 6
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... On Saturday, July 30, Dr Johnson and I took a sculler at the Temple-stairs, and set out for Greenwich. I asked him if he really thought a knowledge of the Greek and Latin languages an essential requisite to a good education. JOHNSON. ‘Most certainly, sir; for those who know them have a very great advantage over those who do not ...

Those Genes!

Charles Wheeler, 17 July 1997

Personal History 
by Katharine Graham.
Weidenfeld, 642 pp., £25, May 1997, 9780297819646
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... her husband shot himself in 1963. It was Philip Graham who induced John Kennedy to choose Lyndon Johnson as his running-mate in 1960. This was wise and far-reaching advice, for without Johnson on the ticket Kennedy would not have been elected. Consequently, without Graham’s intervention there might never have been a ...

Dwarf-Basher

Michael Dobson, 8 June 1995

Edmond Malone, Shakespearean Scholar: A Literary Biography 
by Peter Martin.
Cambridge, 298 pp., £40, April 1995, 0 521 46030 1
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... and insistence finally coaxed his friend Boswell’s Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides and Life of Johnson into shape and into print. In the hands of this apparently diffident Irishman, the practice of literary history changed for ever: as far as the privileging of meticulous textual scholarship and painstaking archival research is concerned, Malone wrote the ...

Public Enemy

R.W. Johnson, 26 November 1987

Secrecy and Power: The Life of J. Edgar Hoover 
by Richard Gid Powers.
Hutchinson, 624 pp., £16.95, August 1987, 0 02 925060 9
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... again to maintain security. He’s the only one you can put your complete trust in’: thus Lyndon Johnson to Richard Nixon, 1968. It is not often that a book casts fresh light on American history throughout this century, but this biography of Edgar Hoover does just that. Not only was Hoover, as head of the FBI, America’s leading policeman: he enjoyed an ...

Diary

R.W. Johnson: Magdalen College, 19 November 2009

... pay.) The college’s ‘long 18th century’ was made even longer by the 63-year presidency of Martin Routh, who signalled his attachment to the past by wearing an 18th-century wig and knee-breeches until his death in 1854. He insisted on taking a coach and horses to London and when told by undergraduates that the train was far quicker, angrily retorted ...

Just Had To

R.W. Johnson: LBJ, 20 March 2003

The Years of Lyndon Johnson. Vol III: Master of the Senate 
by Robert A. Caro.
Cape, 1102 pp., £30, August 2002, 0 394 52836 0
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... else again. Whereas British political biography, with the (white) elephantine exception of Martin Gilbert’s Churchill is, almost as a matter of professional pride, a one-volume affair, there is a well established American tradition of monumentalism, based, it seems, on the assumption that a blockbusting person requires a blockbuster book. Caro seems ...

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