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What he meant by happiness

Patricia Beer, 11 June 1992

The Wreck of the Deutschland 
by Sean Street.
Souvenir, 208 pp., £15.99, March 1992, 0 285 63051 2
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Hopkins: A Literary Biography 
by Norman White.
Oxford, 531 pp., £35, March 1992, 0 19 812099 0
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... Martin’s book, published last year, summarises the information in two competent pages. In Norman White’s Hopkins: A Literary Biography his comments on what happened, scattered passim through the relevant chapter, are even more cursory. Obviously neither of them is of the school which thinks, say, that a knowledge of what Maud Gonne put into the ...

Were I a cloud

Patricia Beer, 28 January 1993

Robert Bridges: A Biography 
by Catherine Phillips.
Oxford, 363 pp., £25, August 1992, 0 19 212251 7
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... and, of course, the two recent books on Gerard Manley Hopkins, one by Robert Martin and one by Norman White, but there has been nothing comprehensive. There is now. In Robert Bridges Catherine Phillips tells us everything we could reasonably wish to know about his life. About his poetry there is more still to be said, but one of the merits of this ...

Iran’s Bomb: A Revision

Norman Dombey: Iran’s Bomb: A Revision, 24 January 2008

... with Iran without preconditions. Iran can afford to wait until there is a new occupant of the White House. So can the US: Iran will not have the option to start building a weapon until he or she is in ...

What is Trident for?

Norman Dombey: America’s Poodle, 5 April 2007

The Future of the UK’s Strategic Nuclear Deterrent: The White Paper, Cm. 6994 
Stationery Office, 140 pp., £13.50, December 2006, 0 10 169942 5Show More
The Future of the UK’s Strategic Nuclear Deterrent: The White Paper. Ninth Report, House of Commons Defence Committee, HC 225-I 
Stationery Office, 88 pp., £14.50, March 2007, 978 0 215 03281 2Show More
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... independent nuclear deterrent’, as Tony Blair described it in his foreword to the December 2006 White Paper on the renewal of Polaris’s replacement, Trident. The Nassau statement goes into some detail about the use of the Polaris force ‘for the purposes of international defence’: it would be ‘part of a Nato nuclear force and targeted in accordance ...

Cheese and Late Modernity

Steven Shapin: The changing rind of Camembert, 20 November 2003

Camembert: A National Myth 
by Pierre Boisard, translated by Richard Miller.
California, 254 pp., £19.95, June 2003, 0 520 22550 3
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... an American devotee visited Normandy, having heard a story that Camembert was created in 1791 by a Norman woman named Mme Marie Harel, who got the secret from the Abbé Gobert – in other versions, the Abbé Bonvoust – a recusant priest from the area around Brie whom she was protecting from the Terror. Supposedly, the priest had taught her how to make a ...


Norman Buchan: In Defence of the Word, 1 October 1987

... within the meaning of this Bill.’ Perhaps it was because of this piece of logic that Mrs Mary White-house assailed me in the corridor as ‘a disgrace to the Scottish race’. It was not simple pornography or Page Three that worried the promoters of the Bill. Time after time the same example arose – the necessary copulation scene in The Singing ...

The Pilot in Winter

Tobias Hill, 13 November 1997

... In a remote coastal town to the south-west of Corinth is the grave-site of Norman MacKay. In accordance with Greek Christian Orthodoxy, his bones have been dug up, washed with wine and laid in a box the length of his thigh-bone. The townspeople believe MacKay dropped the atom bomb on Hiroshima from the B29 ‘Enola Gay’ on the morning of 6 August 1945 ...

Christian v. Cannibal

Michael Rogin: Norman Mailer and American history, 1 April 1999

The American Century 
by Harold Evans.
Cape, 710 pp., £40, November 1998, 0 224 05217 9
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The Time of Our Time 
by Norman Mailer.
Little, Brown, 1286 pp., £25, September 1998, 0 316 64571 0
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... feature of the ‘American exceptionalism’ celebrated in the introduction. He identifies white supremacy as another constitutive feature of the United States, one that became ever more pervasive after the Emancipation Proclamation, and one which, according to Evans, white Americans have had more difficulty coming ...

Still Dithering

Norman Dombey: After Trident, 16 December 2010

... service was the Vanguard in December 1994. It was designed to last 25 years; in the 2006 defence White Paper this was extended by five years. Any replacement would be expected to enter service by 2025. If it were decided that three submarines would do, the first replacement would be needed by 2026. Let’s assume it would take ten years to build a submarine ...

Coats of Every Cut

Michael Mason, 9 June 1994

Robert Surtees and Early Victorian Society 
by Norman Gash.
Oxford, 407 pp., £40, September 1993, 0 19 820429 9
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... about the capacity of fiction to report on the world is still very fashionable, and in that sense Norman Gash’s book on Robert Surtees goes against the grain of present-day literary analysis. It does not go against the traditional grain of writing about Surtees, a novelist who has almost always been praised simply as a reporter of the English scene in the ...

White Man’s Heaven

Michael Wood, 7 February 1991

Talking at the Gates: A Life of James Baldwin 
by James Campbell.
Faber, 306 pp., £14.99, January 1991, 0 571 15391 7
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James Baldwin: Artist on Fire 
by W.J. Weatherby.
Joseph, 412 pp., £17.99, June 1990, 0 7181 3403 6
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... is not a human or personal reality; it is a political reality.’ A white liberal would say the same, but then, I take it, so would Nelson Mandela. The difference is in the intensity with which the political reality is experienced or denied. Baldwin understands the needs met by the Black Muslim movement in America, even as he ...

Iran and the Bomb

Norman Dombey: Don’t Do It, 25 January 2007

... Bush and Cheney are determined to deal with Iran before this administration ends and that ‘White House hawks led by Vice President Dick Cheney were intent on attacking Iran with or without the approval of the US Congress.’ John Pike of predicts US strikes this summer, safely distant from the presidential election next year. Bush ...


Norman Buchan: Press Freedom v. the Home Office, 19 March 1987

... with government. Their case and the Government’s response would be published in the form of a White Paper and subject to an annual debate in the House of Commons. This would fulfil the Select Committee’s recommendation of an annual ‘State of the Arts’ White Paper and Debate. We have redefined and strengthened the ...

Po-210 as a Poison

Norman Dombey: Death by Polonium, 2 August 2007

Death of a Dissident: The Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko and the Return of the KGB 
by Alex Goldfarb, with Marina Litvinenko.
Simon and Schuster, 369 pp., £18.99, June 2007, 978 1 84737 081 5
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... It was a poisoning without a poison. What we didn’t like from the start was the low level of white blood cells. It was as if his immune system was switched off.’ The patient was Roman Tsepov, who was, O’Halloran continued, in the security and bodyguard business. In the 1990s, he’d guarded the city’s powerful mayor and even the local man ...

Arms and Saddam

Norman Dombey, 24 October 1991

... have been thoroughly damaged and will not be effective for quite some number of years,’ General Norman Schwarzkopf said on US television on 20 January, four days after the beginning of the air war in support of the liberation of Kuwait. Iraq’s ability to build nuclear weapons, he stressed, was at an end. The reactors in question were two small research ...

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