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Ian Hamilton

21 October 1982
Women Working: Prostitution Now 
by Eileen McLeod.
Croom Helm, 177 pp., £6.95, August 1982, 0 7099 1717 1
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An English Madam: The Life and Work of Cynthia Payne 
by Paul Bailey.
Cape, 166 pp., £7.50, October 1982, 0 224 02037 4
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All the Girls 
by Martin​ O’Brien.
Macmillan, 268 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 333 31099 3
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... can’t afford it, I mean. I’d have slaves to do the cleaning and Mistresses to see that they don’t cut corners. I’m surprised that no one’s thought of it before. Norman Fowler, please note. Martin O’Brien is exactly the sort of Jack-my-lad who would have been barred from Cynthia Payne’s premises. In All the Girls he sets off round the world (or parts of the world) with unlimited funds and ...


Ronan Bennett: The IRA Ceasefire

22 September 1994
... airtime for the rest of the day was given to the question of whether ‘complete’ meant ‘permanent’. On The World at One, Sir Patrick Mayhew was invited to respond to a (dubbed) interview with Martin McGuinness in which Sinn Fein’s vice-president had said the ceasefire would endure ‘in all circumstances’. Mayhew said he thought what Martin had had to say was of great interest. Martin? Does ...
26 July 1990
The things they carried 
by Tim O’Brien.
Collins, 255 pp., £12.95, May 1990, 0 00 223603 6
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... with a witness’s blasted catalogue, something between a lament and an army dispatch: It was a bad time. Billy Boy Watkins was dead, and so was Frenchie Tucker ... Bernie Lynn and Lieutenant Sidney Martin had died in tunnels. Pederson was dead and Rudy Chassler was dead. Buff was dead. Ready Mix was dead. They were all among the dead. The same witnessing is done in this latest book. In one of the ...

Colloquially Speaking

Patrick McGuinness: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945

1 April 1999
The Penguin Book of Poetry from Britain and Ireland since 1945 
edited by Simon Armitage and Robert Crawford.
Viking, 480 pp., £10.99, September 1998, 0 670 86829 9
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The Firebox: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945 
edited by Sean O’Brien.
Picador, 534 pp., £16.99, October 1998, 0 330 36918 0
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... des refusés, there is another category, the salon of the half-admitted, who appear in one book but not the other. Kathleen Raine and Ruth Pitter cannot be found in O’Brien, but Elma Mitchell and Martin Bell cannot be found in Armitage and Crawford. Elma Mitchell’s ‘Thoughts after Ruskin’ is a revelation, and to put her in is to do exactly the sort of thing anthologies are meant to do: extend ...

Dr Vlad

Terry Eagleton: Edna O’Brien

21 October 2015
The Little Red Chairs 
by Edna O’Brien.
Faber, 320 pp., £18.99, October 2015, 978 0 571 31628 1
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... leapt from being a largely agricultural society to one of high-tech finance capitalism, information technology and the service industries. Rural drama has given way to Riverdance, and Lady Gregory to Martin McDonagh. The passage from the premodern to the postmodern, partly eclipsing modernity proper, was smoothed by the fact that Ireland had no industrial infrastructure to dismantle. You can go ...
2 August 1984
... cabaret in Harcourt Street selling poteen out of teacups. Muttonhead the barman in the House of Laurels opposite the Gaiety Theatre, always good for drink on tick. George Moore’s yellow front door. Martin Murphy the stage manager at the Gaiety whom Count Markievicz taught how to welcome Pavlova to Dublin in Russian that meant Kiss my Bottom. The Bird Flanagan, undefined. The Toucher Doyle, a famous ...

No Waverers Allowed

Clair Wills: Eamonn McCann

23 May 2019
War and an Irish Town 
by Eamonn McCann.
Haymarket, 288 pp., £14.99, October 2018, 978 1 60846 567 5
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... from Westminster in March of that year. He acknowledges the part played by ‘old’ republicans, as well as the newer kinds – socialist republicans in the Official IRA, and irreconcilables like Martin McGuinness, who joined the Provisionals. He describes how the British soldiers took on the role of the RUC, until they became indistinguishable from it. (‘The only difference between the army and ...


Christopher Hitchens: In Washington

7 February 1991
... which has spoken throughout in strictly isolationist terms. True, there was some revulsion at the choice of 15 January for the deadline, because it is the officially celebrated birthday of Martin Luther King and many felt that Bush either knew this and did not care or, worse still, had not noticed. But, except for a fistful of Trotskyists, all those attending the rally in Lafayette Park last ...
22 February 1996
... prize. How many of us could say what difference would be made to our lives by winning £42 million rather than £24 million (the previous week’s total) or £10 million (the week before that)? As Martin Amis has pointed out in another context, though it is hard to say what difference would be made by having £40 million rather than £20 million at one’s disposal, it is easy enough to see that the ...
20 March 1997
Republics, Nations and Tribes 
by Martin​ Thom.
Verso, 359 pp., £45, July 1995, 1 85984 020 5
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... the Indie trying to cheer us up? Or perhaps it was offering a little consolation to those already suffering from the fin-de-siècle drowning sensation. More serious victims might also try turning to Martin Thom’s careful and deep fathoming of a similar great transition two hundred years ago: the birth of modern nationalism. There is more to be learned on that particular subject here than from most ...
10 May 1990
... Dear Kingsley, Many thanks for your letter. Far from resenting it, I appreciate very deeply the friendship that it implies. Of course the problem of writing for the Sunday Pic has exercised my mind. But I ask myself: ought I to be content with teaching ten or fifteen undergraduates in Magdalen, or even with writing for the fairly limited readers of the New Statesman and the Manchester Guardian? If ...
4 November 1982
Powers of the Press: The World’s Great Newspapers 
by Martin​ Walker.
Quartet, 401 pp., £15, July 1982, 0 7043 2271 4
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Goodbye Gutenberg: The Newspaper Revolution of the 1980s 
by Anthony Smith.
Oxford, 367 pp., £3.95, January 1982, 9780198272434
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New Technology and Industrial Relations in Fleet Street 
by Roderick Martin.
Oxford, 367 pp., £17.50, October 1981, 9780198272434
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News Ltd: Why you can’t read all about it 
by Brian Whitaker.
Minority Press Group, 176 pp., £3.25, June 1981, 0 906890 04 7
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... information, it can promote or block a proper understanding of major events. A different kind of relationship, however, exists between newspapers and the national Establishment. On this point Martin Walker quotes approvingly the views of Wilbur Schramm: ‘Prestige papers are shaped, to an important degree, by what the leadership in the country wants to know and wants known. The leadership in ...

Martian Arts

Jonathan Raban

23 July 1987
Home and Away 
by Steve Ellis.
Bloodaxe, 62 pp., £4.50, February 1987, 9781852240271
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The Ballad of the Yorkshire Ripper 
by Blake Morrison.
Chatto, 48 pp., £4.95, May 1987, 0 7011 3227 2
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The Frighteners 
by Sean O’Brien.
Bloodaxe, 64 pp., £4.50, February 1987, 9781852240134
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... sleep will stretchand turn and sleep again, we drowseda few more summers in the sun ...The poem is called ‘The Building of the Missile Base’ – of course – and it might well stand, along with Martin Amis’s prose polemic ‘Thinkability’, as an epigraph to a whole pile of collections whose authors seem to have discovered the joy of family life as if they belonged to the first generation ever ...

Bland Fanatics

Pankaj Mishra: Liberalism and Colonialism

3 December 2015
On Politics: A History of Political Thought from Herodotus to the Present 
by Alan Ryan.
Penguin, 1152 pp., £14.99, September 2013, 978 0 14 028518 5
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Inventing the Individual: The Origins of Western Liberalism 
by Larry Siedentop.
Penguin, 448 pp., £9.99, January 2015, 978 0 14 100954 4
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Liberalism: The Life of an Idea 
by Edmund Fawcett.
Princeton, 496 pp., £16.95, September 2015, 978 0 691 16839 5
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An Imperial Path to Modernity: Yoshino Sakuzō and a New Liberal Order in East Asia 1905-37 
by Jung-Sun Ni Han.
Harvard, 244 pp., £29.95, March 2013, 978 0 674 06571 0
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... it by dwelling on such fundamentalist agitators as Sayyid Qutb, whose shrill anti-Westernism became, after 9/11, the lens through which self-styled defenders of the liberal-democratic West like Martin Amis chose to view Islam. In this version of Western liberalism, it seems enough to posit the defence of individual liberty as the highest task of politics, and then dismiss all other political ...

Meg, Jo, Beth and Me

Elaine Showalter

23 March 1995
Little Women 
directed by Gillian Armstrong.
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... and copyright, and then sold the book to Random House through his enthusiastic agent Lane Zachary, another Alcott buff, for what is described as a seven-figure advance. (Eat your heart out, Martin Amis.) Part of the mystery is why the Pratt family, and the Houghton Library, so underestimated the worth of the manuscript; by these accounts, Bicknell has made a killing (he’s giving some of the ...

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