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Disturbingly Slender Waists

Miriam Rothschild, 25 October 1990

The Ants 
by Bert Hölldobler and E.O. Wilson.
Springer, 732 pp., DM 198, March 1990, 3 540 52092 9
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... This is a stunning book. Overwhelming. It achieves the impossible – combining excellent systematics (without dulling the senses) with natural history, biology, biochemistry, and a wealth of extraordinarily interesting detail. I have no doubt that E.O. Wilson is the most distinguished biologist of our times, but it is surprising, even so, that he not only combines profound knowledge of these ‘little creatures who run the world’ with considerable insight into the future trends of biological thought and progress, but manages to involve us personally in the ant world ...

Patria Potestas

David Allen, 19 April 1984

Dear Lord RothschildBirds, Butterflies and History 
by Miriam Rothschild.
Hutchinson, 398 pp., £14.95, November 1983, 0 09 153740 1
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... one of his nieces, was a prime example of the absurdity of that custom. Walter, the second Baron Rothschild, great-great-grandson of the fortune-founding Mayer Amschel, was manifestly without any talent at all for finance, had absolutely no need to earn a living and had a younger brother who possessed in full measure the very abilities in which he was ...

Two Spots and a Bubo

Hugh Pennington: Use soap and water, 21 April 2005

Return of the Black Death: The World’s Greatest Serial Killer 
by Susan Scott and Christopher Duncan.
Wiley, 310 pp., £16.99, May 2004, 0 470 09000 6
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The Great Plague: The Story of London’s Most Deadly Year 
by Lloyd Moote and Dorothy Moote.
Johns Hopkins, 357 pp., £19.95, April 2004, 0 8018 7783 0
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Plague: The Mysterious Past and Terrifying Future of the World’s Most Dangerous Disease 
by Wendy Orent.
Free Press, 276 pp., £17.99, May 2004, 0 7432 3685 8
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... a technical tour de force which ranks him at the top of the class, too, along with Charles Rothschild, who discovered Xenopsylla cheopis in the Sudan in 1901. ‘A grand time up at Shendi some 100m north of Khartoum,’ Rothschild wrote home. ‘We bagged 600 mammals and birds, 500 fleas and a fair lot of Coleoptera ...

One Per Cent

Jonathan Steinberg: The House of Rothschild, 28 October 1999

The World’s Banker: The History of the House of Rothschild 
by Niall Ferguson.
Weidenfeld, 1309 pp., £30, October 1998, 0 297 81539 3
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... to sprout: The shares are a penny and ever so many are                  taken by Rothschild and Baring; And just as a few are allotted to you, you           awake with a shudder despairing. The Lord Chancellor expressed the feelings of many private investors, then and now, who have been victims of market makers, but he was wrong to ...

Rachel and Her Race

Patrick Parrinder, 18 August 1994

Constructions of ‘the Jew’ in English Literature and Society: Racial Representations, 1875-1945 
by Bryan Cheyette.
Cambridge, 301 pp., £35, November 1993, 0 521 44355 5
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The Jewish Heritage in British History: Englishness and Jewishness 
edited by Tony Kushner.
Cass, 234 pp., £25, January 1992, 0 7146 3464 6
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... imagination throughout the 19th century. In James’s The Tragic Muse, the Jewish Cockney actress Miriam Rooth claims to be in the same style as ‘that woman’, and George Eliot’s Gwendolen Harleth foolishly thinks of herself as destined for stardom because she is more beautiful than the ‘thin Jewess’. Rachel not only dominated the Paris stage but ...

Kitty still pines for his dearest Dub

Andrew O’Hagan: Gossip, 6 February 2014

Becoming a Londoner: A Diary 
by David Plante.
Bloomsbury, 534 pp., £20, September 2013, 978 1 4088 3975 1
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The Animals: Love Letters between Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy 
edited by Katherine Bucknell.
Chatto, 481 pp., £25, September 2013, 978 0 7011 8678 4
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... his table-mate Cyril Connolly weeping over an overdone partridge. ‘Stephen laughed. Pauline de Rothschild ate only one pear. W.H. Auden was silent.’ Plante and his partner were smart, pretty, adulatory and new – a shoo-in to the company of elderly gays and needy widows – but the vacancy at the centre of Plante’s ambition is much in evidence. He’s ...

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