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When Pigs Ruled the Earth

James Secord: A prehistoric apocalypse, 1 April 2004

When Life Nearly Died: The Greatest Mass Extinction of All Time 
by Michael Benton.
Thames and Hudson, 336 pp., £16.95, March 2003, 9780500051160
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... succession of events that fed into one another until the final collapse. In When Life Nearly Died, Michael Benton, a palaeontologist, describes the decades of research that led to the current consensus about what happened, and argues against an extraterrestrial cause for the catastrophe. It is astonishing that scientists have acknowledged the existence of ...

Door Closing!

Mark Ford: Randall Jarrell, 21 October 2010

Pictures from an Institution: A Comedy 
by Randall Jarrell.
Chicago, 277 pp., £10.50, April 2010, 978 0 226 39375 9
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... truth: ‘but, alas, eternity!’ or ‘I, I, the future that mends everything’. And yet, as Michael Hofmann has argued, Jarrell the poet is really at his most original when he is at his most wayward and leisurely, in prolix, rambling pieces like ‘The End of the Rainbow’, which presents the life of an ageing New England-born landscape painter called ...

Why the Tories Lost

Ross McKibbin, 3 July 1997

... Major in Huntingdon, received 55.3 per cent of the vote: the most successful Labour candidate, Mr Benton in Bootle, 82.8 per cent. What is striking is how few MPs from the Conservative heartlands in the suburbanised county constituencies of the South and East Anglia were able to win 50 per cent of the vote. It has been usual to compare this result with ...

I adore your moustache

James Wolcott: Styron’s Letters, 24 January 2013

Selected Letters of William Styron 
edited by Rose Styron and R. Blakeslee Gilpin.
Random House, 643 pp., £24.99, December 2012, 978 1 4000 6806 7
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... of the Yale English school, now a financial officer at the ad agency whose long name still ends in Benton and Bowles. That little rat, Jerzy R. Kosinski, thought Conrad was a good subject to bring up with him, but it didn’t interest him very much. All the while, host Bill Styron looking a bit subdued as usual these days; we talked about Randall Jarrell’s ...

Iraq, 2 May 2005

Andrew O’Hagan: Two Soldiers, 6 March 2008

... Angela knew Anthony and Ann when they first met. ‘He had a huge picture of the singer George Michael above his bed,’ said Angela. ‘Everybody teased him about it, but he said: “One day I’ll be famous like him.”’ Angela was wearing huge hooped earrings and slippers covered in hearts. Whenever she got excited she kicked an Argos catalogue that ...

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