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The Metronomic Moon

Michael Young, 9 January 1992

... In other years I would say, how pretty they are, The cherries outside our house. This autumn I see the first leaves Writhe from the green into the yellow and From the yellow into what seems a frantic red Before they corkscrew to their conclusion When the morning wipers scrape them from the windscreens To drop them in the dog shit on the pavement. Their beauty has not brought them mercy ...

Down with Age

Michael Young, 25 October 1990

... of age. Who would not toil should not eat. Exceptions were, of course, made for the very young and the very old, but in England as elsewhere children were dressed up like little adults as soon as they could walk, and set to work. To Daniel Defoe, on his tour of the country in 1727, this was a sign that all was well in Britain. ‘If we knock’d at ...

Scarlet Woman

Michael Young, 1 September 1988

East End 1888: A Year in a London Borough among the Labouring Poor 
by William Fishman.
Duckworth, 343 pp., £18.95, June 1988, 0 7156 2174 2
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... I do not see how Professor Fishman could do more than he has done to convince us that he was there in 1888, qualified as only an eyewitness can be to guide us 1988ers through the streets of Tower Hamlets as they were, and are, to him. We can walk with him downwind and eastwards from the Mansion House and are soon slowed by the all-pervading smell of poverty and filth as we traverse streets with the same names – Great Alie Street, Flower and Dean Street, Bethnal Green Road ...

Initiatives

Geoffrey Hawthorn, 15 November 1984

Social Scientist as Innovator 
by Michael Young.
Abt Books, 265 pp., $28, April 1984, 0 89011 593 1
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Revolution from Within: Co-operatives and Co-operation in British Industry 
by Michael Young and Marianne Rigge.
Weidenfeld, 188 pp., £12.95, July 1983, 0 297 78234 7
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Dilemmas of Liberal Democracies: Studies in Fred Hirsch’s ‘Social Limits to Growth’ 
edited by Adrian Ellis and Krishan Kumar.
Tavistock, 212 pp., £12.95, September 1983, 0 422 78460 5
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... to be able to hear any voices but their own. One of those they should have been hearing was Michael Young’s. Young is the country’s most compelling sociologist. Not lower-middle-class in origin, not indeed English at all, but half-Irish and half-Australian, educated outside the normal rut at Dartington, and ...

Fisherman’s Friend

David Landes, 27 October 1988

The Metronomic Society: Natural Rhythms and Human Timetables 
by Michael Young.
Thames and Hudson, 301 pp., £16.95, May 1988, 0 500 01443 4
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... Michael Young is a rarity among sociologists: he has a feel for the people he writes about, and he writes well. When he takes us into a Merseyside factory and walks us around in the company of Joe Murgatroyd, works superintendant, we can hear the shoes clopping, the machines humming or missing, we can see the workers cocking an ear, and we can feel the anxiety of the foremen running to keep things in hand ...

We’ve done awfully well

Karl Miller: The Late 1950s, 18 July 2013

Modernity Britain: Opening the Box, 1957-59 
by David Kynaston.
Bloomsbury, 432 pp., £25, June 2013, 978 0 7475 8893 1
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... can be surmised for the romantic socialism of Aneurin Bevan, and for the romantic sociology of Michael Young and Raymond Williams, as the views of these three have been characterised. One of the best sayings culled for the new volume is drawn from Bevan, and is as good as the ‘poetry’ heard by someone in his speeches. ‘Lazy? Lazy?’ Bevan ...

On Michael Neve

Mike Jay, 19 November 2019

... Michael​ Neve died on 9 October. I first met him in 1995, at a funeral. We had been taught Nietzsche by the same lecturer at Cambridge; that had been enough academia for me, but Michael had advanced (or, by his own account, stumbled haplessly) to the position of senior lecturer at the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL ...

Diary

John Bayley: On Retiring, 25 July 1991

... but the daily rite of time and precision is still enacted. This nugget of information from Michael Young and Tom Schuller’s Life after Work* is both moving and symbolic. Greenwich was the chosen area of their enquiry into what happens to us after we stop clocking in. As one with a year or so to go, I found their survey gripping. Time, which you ...

Utopia Limited

David Cannadine, 15 July 1982

Fabianism and Culture: A Study in British Socialism and the Arts, 1884-1918 
by Ian Britain.
Cambridge, 344 pp., £19.50, June 1982, 0 521 23563 4
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The Elmhirsts of Dartington: The Creation of an Utopian Community 
by Michael Young.
Routledge, 381 pp., £15, June 1982, 9780710090515
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... book is a revised doctoral dissertation which views the Webbs with Webb-like detachment: Young’s account is longer but also slighter – an affectionate (if faintly equivocal) survey by an Old Dartingtonian, who knew both Elmhirsts well, and is himself a trustee of the school. As Britain explains, the Fabians have usually been depicted as ...

How Not to Invade

Patrick Cockburn: Lebanon, 5 August 2010

Beware of Small States: Lebanon, Battleground of the Middle East 
by David Hirst.
Faber, 480 pp., £20, March 2010, 978 0 571 23741 8
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The Ghosts of Martyrs Square: An Eyewitness Account of Lebanon’s Life Struggle 
by Michael Young.
Simon and Schuster, 295 pp., £17.99, July 2010, 978 1 4165 9862 6
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... over others that has blighted the rest of the Arab world. Here Hirst is in agreement with Michael Young, whose eloquent, colourful book is mostly about Syria’s attempt to control Lebanon: its murder of the Sunni leader and former prime minister Rafik Hariri in February 2005; the anti-Syrian protests which followed, known as the Independence ...
The Alternative: Politics for a Change 
edited by Ben Pimlott, Anthony Wright and Tony Flower.
W.H. Allen, 260 pp., £14.95, July 1990, 9781852271688
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... Party and of no party at all. Many of the contributors still are these things, though some, like Michael Young, have returned to the Labour Party de jure and others de facto. It was a measure both of the successes of the Conservative Party in the Eighties and the apparent decay of the social-democratic and Marxist alternatives that such a popular front ...

Shock Cities

Susan Pedersen: The Fate of Social Democracy, 2 January 2020

Thatcher’s Progress: From Social Democracy to Market Liberalism through an English New Town 
by Guy Ortolano.
Cambridge, 301 pp., £29.99, June 2019, 978 1 108 48266 0
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Me, Me, Me? The Search for Community in Postwar England 
by Jon Lawrence.
Oxford, 327 pp., £25, June 2019, 978 0 19 877953 7
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... as revealed by the records of Raymond Firth’s study of Bermondsey in 1947-49 and 1958-59, and Michael Young and Peter Willmott’s studies of Bethnal Green and Essex in 1953 and 1955. He then turns to Raphael Samuel’s interviews in Stevenage in 1959-60 and John Goldthorpe and David Lockwood’s surveys in Cambridge and Luton in the early 1960s to ...

Our Sort and Their Sort

Ralf Dahrendorf, 20 December 1979

Class 
by Jilly Cooper.
Eyre Methuen, 283 pp., £4.95
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... Cooper has not let her subject down. She quotes the Registrar General and Richard Hoggart and Michael Young, while writing in a manner that falls somewhere between Nancy Mitford and a Daily Mail column. Her characters are fun, her observations acute, and since she does not try her hand at analysis, it is hard to fault her. Yet the question ...

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 ...

Falklands Retrospect

Hugo Young, 17 August 1989

The Little Platoon: Diplomacy and the Falklands Dispute 
by Michael Charlton.
Blackwell, 230 pp., £14.95, June 1989, 0 631 16564 9
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... the Falklands War broke out, the Permanent Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign Office was Sir Michael Palliser. He was not disposed to blame his department for the catastrophe. Unlike the Prime Minister, for whom the war was proof of Foreign Office incompetence if not perfidy, Sir Michael pleaded after the event that he ...

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