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Malcolm Vale: Agincourt, 19 May 2016

The Hundred Years War, Vol. IV: Cursed Kings 
by Jonathan Sumption.
Faber, 909 pp., £40, August 2015, 978 0 571 27454 3
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Agincourt 
by Anne Curry.
Oxford, 272 pp., £18.99, August 2015, 978 0 19 968101 3
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The Battle of Agincourt 
edited by Anne Curry and Malcolm Mercer.
Yale, 344 pp., £30, October 2015, 978 0 300 21430 7
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24 Hours at Agincourt: 25 October 1415 
by Michael Jones.
W.H. Allen, 352 pp., £20, September 2015, 978 0 7535 5545 3
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Agincourt: Henry V, the Man-at-Arms and the Archer 
by W.B. Bartlett.
Amberley, 447 pp., £20, September 2015, 978 1 4456 3949 9
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... to find supporters. English pragmatism, sobriety, professionalism and discipline won the day. Michael Jones, in 24 Hours at Agincourt, endorses this view, as does W.B. Bartlett, both of whom attempt to give hour-by-hour accounts of the battle and its preliminaries. It has become fashionable to try to lend verisimilitude and immediacy to ...

Medieval Fictions

Stuart Airlie, 21 February 1985

Chivalry 
by Maurice Keen.
Yale, 303 pp., £12.95, April 1984, 0 300 03150 5
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The Rise of Romance 
by Eugène Vinaver.
Boydell, 158 pp., £12, February 1984, 0 85991 158 6
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War in the Middle Ages 
by Philippe Contamine, translated by Michael Jones.
Blackwell, 387 pp., £17.50, June 1984, 0 631 13142 6
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War and Government in the Middle Ages 
edited by John Gillingham and J.C. Holt.
Boydell, 198 pp., £25, July 1984, 0 85115 404 2
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Prussian Society and the German Order 
by Michael Burleigh.
Cambridge, 217 pp., £22.50, May 1984, 9780521261043
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... the law of conquest. In his stimulating work on Medieval literacy, From Memory to Written Record, Michael Clanchy has stressed the importance of this conflict in Medieval culture between the clerks’ notions of records and rights which were expressed in parchment (notions congenial to desk-bound historians) and the notions of warriors, men of the sword. In ...

Michael Foot’s Fathers

D.A.N. Jones, 4 December 1980

My Life with Nye 
by Jennie Lee.
Cape, 277 pp., £8.50, November 1980, 0 224 01785 3
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Debts of Honour 
by Michael Foot.
Davis-Poynter, 240 pp., £9.50, November 1980, 0 7067 6243 6
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... If Jennie Lee, Aneurin Bevan and Michael Foot had achieved Cabinet rank together in the 1960s, the United Kingdom would be in better shape now. ‘That is my truth,’ as Bevan used to say. ‘Now tell me yours.’ What have they in common, though, this leftist Gang of Three, the Englishman, the Welshman and the Scot, Bevan, his wife and his friend, all from such different backgrounds? They have similar opinions, of course: but what of their human and moral nature, their style of writing and speaking? It may be worth noting that all three are childless and parentful: all three have been devoted to Protestant Christian parents and have (to my regret) firmly rejected the faith of their fathers ...

Paraphernalia

Diarmaid MacCulloch: Tudor Spin, 19 November 2009

Selling the Tudor Monarchy: Authority and Image in 16th-Century England 
by Kevin Sharpe.
Yale, 588 pp., £30, April 2009, 978 0 300 14098 9
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... in 15th-century England. Her role, largely forgotten for centuries and thrillingly rediscovered by Michael Jones and Malcolm Underwood in The King’s Mother (1992), might usefully have played a greater part in Kevin Sharpe’s admittedly already massive study of Tudor spin-doctoring. Sharpe’s subject is the considerable range of devices which the Tudor ...

Short Cuts

Paul Laity: Alternative Weeping, 7 September 2000

... course, the chance to see and hear David Starkey cheek by jowl with Zadie Smith, Roy Strong, Terry Jones, Michael Holroyd and all the other writers showcasing their various talents this year. Such events certainly seem to be increasing rapidly in number and variety. Cheltenham and Hay-on-Wye (Tony Benn: ‘In my mind, it has ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Michael Jackson’s frailties, 31 March 2005

... Catching news about the Michael Jackson trial, I can’t help being reminded of a caustic song by Dan Bern, a singer less famous than Jackson by several orders of magnitude, called ‘Too Late to Die Young’. ‘The day that Elvis died was like a mercy killing,’ it begins, before turning its attention to the inglorious late careers of other fallen idols of American popular culture, challenging listeners to ‘name the last good film that Marlon Brando made/While trying to keep his kid from going to jail ...

Claiming victory

John Lloyd, 21 November 1985

The Miners’ Strike 
by Geoffrey Goodman.
Pluto, 213 pp., £4.50, September 1985, 0 7453 0073 1
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Strike: Thatcher, Scargill and the Miners 
by Peter Wilsher, Donald Macintyre and Michael Jones.
Deutsch, 284 pp., £9.95, September 1985, 0 233 97825 9
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... an agreement with each other even if they had been willing to do so.’ ‘Insight’ quotes Michael Eaton, the now-retired Board spokesman, as drawing on his ten years’ experience of negotiations with Scargill to tell ministers that he would not settle. I believe that settlement was impossible, and that the reasons lay in both the ‘normal’ and the ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: What’s in a name?, 19 October 2000

... for using his name without permission. There are no less than four limited companies called Thomas Jones, with or without sons and various parenthetical geographical locations. While de Bernières is just going to have to get used to sharing his name, other novelists can indulge themselves for a bit longer. The Companies House website, at ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Alastair Campbell, Good Bloke, 18 March 2004

... hundreds of thrusting young Fabians and other ambitious New Labour apparatchiks, not to mention Michael Portillo – with just one heroic heckler. She tolerated the cant for well over an hour, her reticence finally breaking when Campbell said that there are good people who go into politics, and bad people: ‘Like you, Campbell, you lying bastard,’ she ...

Last Word

Michael Ignatieff, 3 February 1983

The Wolf-Man: Sixty Years Later 
by Karin Obholzer, translated by Michael Shaw.
Routledge, 250 pp., £12.50, November 1982, 0 7100 9354 3
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Ernest JonesFreud’s Alter Ego 
by Vincent Brome.
Caliban, 250 pp., £12.50, January 1983, 0 904573 57 5
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... feeling is strengthened by reading Vincent Brome’s diligently researched biography of Ernest Jones. At the end of his life the charming old autocrat remarked that he had always been ‘an old-fashioned materialist’ and a disciple of T.H. Huxley. This is a revealing admission of how little a clever man can learn after the age of 20. It is also some ...

The Third Suitcase

Thomas Jones: Michael Frayn, 24 May 2012

Skios 
by Michael Frayn.
Faber, 278 pp., £15.99, May 2012, 978 0 571 28141 1
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... About ten years ago I went to see Michael Frayn’s Noises Off in the West End. The play has been revived, and rewritten, many times since its first run in 1982 and its place in the farcical canon is undisputed. One consequence of its (entirely deserved) reputation for being hilarious is that audiences strongly expect it to make them laugh ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: The Quiet American, 14 November 2002

... of the films showing at the London Film Festival later this month is The Quiet American, starring Michael Caine and Brendan Fraser, directed by Philip Noyce, and based on Graham Greene’s novel. (It isn’t the first time the book’s been adapted for the screen: Mankiewicz made a version in 1958 which Greene, who anyway tended to have a very low opinion of ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Is it just me?, 1 December 2005

... though it features in what they have to say about ‘common sense’, where they quote Michael Howard: ‘Whenever there is a conflict between political correctness and common sense, let me tell you where I stand – firmly on the side of common sense!’ ‘Common sense’ here being a Tory euphemism, as Lowe and McArthur point out, for ‘hating ...

That Corrupting Country

Thomas Keymer: Orientalist Jones, 9 May 2013

Orientalist JonesSir William Jones, Poet, Lawyer and Linguist, 1746-94 
by Michael Franklin.
Oxford, 396 pp., £35, September 2011, 978 0 19 953200 1
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... Sir William Jones, the Enlightenment polymath who established the shared origins of Indo-European languages and cultures, certainly didn’t lack a capacity for big vision. But he was also keen on details, with no time for broad-brush talk about the seven ages of man. He was 47 – still in Jaques’s fifth age (‘And then the justice … with eyes severe’) – when he died in 1794, in the fancy Calcutta suburb of Garden Reach ...

Parkinson Lobby

Alan Rusbridger, 17 November 1983

... had a private telephone conversation with Mr Parkinson and after. The first-edition story, bylined Michael Jones, Political Editor, had extensive and detailed contradictions of Miss Keays’s version of events by the travelling troupe of Mr Parkinson’s friends, plus the odd insult, and the statement that Mr Parkinson had kept to his side of the ...

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