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Smarter, Happier, More Productive

Jim Holt: ‘The Shallows’

3 March 2011
The Shallows: How the Internet Is Changing the Way We Think, Read and Remember 
by Nicholas Carr.
Atlantic, 276 pp., £17.99, September 2010, 978 1 84887 225 7
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... affecting us in a more insidious fashion than we realise. They may be reshaping our brains – and not for the better. That was the drift of ‘Is Google Making Us Stupid?’, a 2008 cover story by NicholasCarr in the Atlantic. Carr, a technology writer and a former executive editor of the Harvard Business Review, has now elaborated his indictment of digital culture into a book, The Shallows. Carr ...

In Pursuit of an Heiress

Nicholas​ Penny: Hermann von Pückler-Muskau

15 June 2016
Letters of a Dead Man 
by Hermann von Pückler-Muskau, edited and translated by Linda Parshall.
Dumbarton Oaks, 753 pp., £55.95, May 2016, 978 0 88402 411 8
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... gain insight into the aesthetic values and modes of interpretation characteristic of a cosmopolitan man of taste at that date. He visits the small but exceedingly choice collection of ‘a certain Mr Carr’ (the Rev. William Holwell Carr) not long before it was bequeathed to the National Gallery and is transported above all else by two paintings that detain few today: a small painting of Saint ...

Leader-Bashing

Robert Service

24 January 1991
The Russian Revolution 1899-1919 
by Richard Pipes.
Harvill, 946 pp., £20, December 1990, 0 00 272086 8
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... The transformation of the Soviet political scene under Gorbachev has ended such bifurcation. A reversion to the traditions of the earliest Sovietology has occurred. Founding figures such as E.H. Carr and Leonard Schapiro were renowned for their ability to write as knowledgeably about 1917 as about the latest political developments. Once again it is thought absurd to hold the Soviet past – which ...

Unfair to Stalin

Robert Service

17 March 1988
Perestroika: New Thinking for Our Country and the World 
by Mikhail Gorbachev.
Collins, 254 pp., £12.95, November 1987, 0 00 215660 1
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The Birth of Stalinism: The USSR on the Eve of the ‘Second Revolution’ 
by Michal Reiman, translated by George Saunders.
Tauris, 188 pp., £24.50, November 1987, 1 85043 066 7
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Stalin in October: The Man who Missed the Revolution 
by Robert Slusser.
Johns Hopkins, 281 pp., £20.25, December 1987, 0 8018 3457 0
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... without the necessity of Stalinism. Popular political choice and participation were themes that ran through his speech. He even spoke of the February Revolution of 1917, which saw the overthrow of Nicholas II and the installation of the Provisional Government, in terms which only briefly discussed the role played by the Bolsheviks. A fondness for the NEP is not new among professional historians in the ...

Costa del Pym

Nicholas​ Spice

4 July 1985
Crampton Hodnet 
by Barbara Pym.
Macmillan, 216 pp., £8.95, June 1985, 0 333 39129 2
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Foreign Land 
by Jonathan Raban.
Harvill, 352 pp., £9.50, June 1985, 0 00 222918 8
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Black Marina 
by Emma Tennant.
Faber, 157 pp., £8.95, June 1985, 9780571134670
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... off to London by Holly’s friend Teza, and who made it big in Britain, first as a poet fêted by the London literary world, and then as an activist in the Black Power movement. We meet Maldwin Carr, correspondent of a leading London Sunday newspaper, who has turned up on St James to find out exactly who it was who was shot two months ago; and we meet Marina, the young woman who believes herself ...

Hew their bones in sunder

Eamon Duffy: Lancelot Andrewes

3 August 2006
Lancelot Andrewes: Selected Sermons and Lectures 
edited by Peter McCullough.
Oxford, 491 pp., £90, November 2005, 0 19 818774 2
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... cunning knowledge of the . . . weaknesses of the human heart . . . and in a kind of smiling tolerance among his menaces of damnation’. Recent writing on the English Reformation by Peter Lake, Nicholas Tyacke and others has exploded Eliot’s account of Andrewes as the voice of a tranquil via media, a man whose confidence sprang from the settled possession of ‘a formed visible church behind him ...

Pseud’s Corner

John Sutherland

17 July 1980
Duffy 
by Dan Kavanagh.
Cape, 181 pp., £4.95, July 1980, 0 224 01822 1
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Moscow Gold 
by John Salisbury.
Futura, 320 pp., £1.10, March 1980, 0 7088 1702 5
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The Middle Ground 
by Margaret Drabble.
Weidenfeld, 248 pp., £5.95, June 1980, 0 297 77808 0
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The Boy Who Followed Ripley 
by Patricia Highsmith.
Heinemann, 292 pp., £6.50, April 1980, 0 434 33520 7
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... the other practical benefit of allowing the versatile writer to pinpoint on separate targets without confusion of brand names. Thus, as was recently divulged, Victoria Holt, Jean Plaidy and Philippa Carr are all best-selling partitions of the same author, each catering to different preferences in the general area of women’s historical romance. In the opposite way, genre fiction can employ ...

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