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What is this Bernard?

Christopher Hitchens, 10 January 1991

Good and Faithful Servant: The Unauthorised Biography of Bernard Ingham 
by Robert Harris.
Faber, 202 pp., £14.99, December 1990, 0 571 16108 1
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... supposed to be the captors of Terry Waite. They were also the subject of covert talks between Oliver North and the Ayatollah’s men during a time when Mrs Thatcher was publicly exonerating Ronald Reagan of the charge of hostage-trading. So much is known. Any news of them today? Suddenly, HMG becomes HMV. I am fixed by Ingham with a dull Wackford ...

One Winter’s Night

Gunnar Pettersson, 18 May 1989

Death of a Statesman: The Solution to the Murder of Olof Palme 
by Ruth Freeman.
Hale, 205 pp., £12.95, March 1989, 0 7090 3698 1
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... group of pseudo-government investigators headed by the publisher Ebbe Carlsson – the ‘Swedish Oliver North’ and a close personal friend of Holmer’s. So far, there have been no known results of their efforts – apart from their getting caught trying to smuggle illegal bugging equipment into Sweden last summer. That started a series of allegations ...

Mailer’s Muddy Friend

Stephen Ambrose, 1 September 1988

Citizen Cohn 
by Nicholas von Hoffman.
Harrap, 483 pp., £12.95, August 1988, 0 245 54605 7
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... greeting to your little mother who is sitting up in New York watching on television.’ Lt Colonel Oliver North must have been watching. Cohn and McCarthy were disgraced in the hearings, shown up for what they were. Cohn lost his staff position, McCarthy was censured by the Senate. Nevertheless, there was a banquet in Cohn’s honour at the Astor Hotel on ...

Family Stories

Patrice Higonnet, 4 August 1994

The Past in French History 
by Robert Gildea.
Yale, 416 pp., £30, February 1994, 0 300 05799 7
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La Gauche survivra-t-elle aux socialistes? 
by Jean-Marie Colombani.
Flammarion, 213 pp., frs 105, March 1994, 2 08 066953 2
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... a human face’, a means of governance foreshadowed by figures as varied as Philippe de Villiers, Oliver North and Berlusconi. It matters to us all that French political traditions should continue to provide the answers they once did; but contrary to what Gildea believes, that does not seem to be on the cards ...

Against it

Ross McKibbin, 24 February 1994

For the Sake of Argument 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Verso, 353 pp., £19.95, May 1993, 0 86091 435 6
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... or indirectly about America – particularly the America of Kissinger, Nixon, Reagan, Bush, Oliver North, the CIA, the Shah, the Contras, Castro and the Cubans, Vietnam, Saddam Hussein, the Gulf War, Shamir and the Likud. What this catalogue does to you rather depends on where you stand. To Hitchens it represents the external aspects of the secret ...

Be Rapture Ready! The end times are nigh!

John Sutherland: Armageddon - out of here, 5 June 2003

Armageddon: The Cosmic Battle of the Ages 
by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins.
Tyndale House, 398 pp., £15.99, April 2003, 0 8423 3234 0
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... leader of Gun Owners of America, the fanatic pro-Lifer Ralph Reed and the convicted criminal Oliver North), and such high-profile evangelists as Pat Robertson. Ashcroft was a member before he joined the Administration. CNP meetings are closed to the public and the press, but it’s likely that they see their job as being the formulation of policy on ...

More Pasts Than One

Eric Foner, 23 March 1995

Telling the Truth about History 
by Joyce Appleby, Lynn Hunt and Margaret Jacob.
Norton, 322 pp., £19.95, August 1994, 0 393 03615 4
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... marches and countermarches; it even became an issue in the Virginia Senate campaign between Oliver North (who favoured the flag) and Charles Robb (who opposed it). A proposed exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum to mark the 50th anniversary of the dropping of the first atomic bomb produced howls of outrage from ...

The peculiar river

Douglas Oliver, 23 September 1993

... furs cover the transom the boat is named with Celtic signs which send the imagination farther north, the unique river lengthening into regions where no map takes it, re-invented to flow through a landscape of the mind until the journey reaches a remembered mountain, Ben Alligin shouldering down to Shieldaig Loch. There, I’ll simply tack ...

Cirque d’hiver

Douglas Oliver, 21 October 1993

... grises, very stolid. But I admired most gentle Maurice Chanteloup on our desk who’d been in North Korean prison camps, spoke six languages, and would read Horace at idle moments – he was paid less bonus than I was, though imitating news agency style was no more natural to me than writing imitation Kenneth Koch poems about circuses is natural. I felt ...

At least they paid their taxes

Linda Colley, 25 July 1991

Nancy Reagan: The Unauthorised Biography 
by Kitty Kelley.
Bantam, 532 pp., £16.99, April 1991, 0 593 02450 8
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... over her husband on the Star Wars project, on abortion, on aid to the Contras, and on a pardon for Oliver North. Little evidence is given for these claims, and Kelley rather spoils her case by describing Nancy on another page as ‘uncommitted to a core of political principles herself’. But was she perhaps not so much a liberal as an instinctively ...

Dashing for Freedom

Paul Foot, 12 December 1996

Full Disclosure 
by Andrew Neil.
Macmillan, 481 pp., £20, October 1996, 0 333 64682 7
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... with, ‘much more right-wing than is generally thought’. His hero is America’s Greatest Liar, Oliver North. He engages in constant ‘telephone terrorism’ against his editors, reducing supposedly hard men like Kelvin MacKenzie and David Montgomery to stammering wrecks and causing Patsy Chapman, the editor of the News of the World, to suffer a ...

Leaping on Tables

Norman Vance: Thomas Carlyle, 2 November 2000

Sartor Resartus 
by Thomas Carlyle, edited by Rodger Tarr and Mark Engel.
California, 774 pp., £38, April 2000, 0 520 20928 1
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... him by reading out inspirational bits of Frederick the Great. Carlyle has usually fared better in North America, where more respectable enthusiasts have never been scarce. He had enormous difficulty in getting a British publisher for Sartor Resartus, his first important book, written in 1831, and eventually settled for serial publication in Fraser’s ...

A Salvo for Malawi

Douglas Oliver, 23 June 1994

... need drives themto recruit in our German war,the Boche attacking by lake and landfrom the North, long lines of porterscarrying munitions on their heads,dying in a two-thirds majorityover the whites, their only democracy.It’s unjust, but they’re not ready for any other.As Miss Marguerite Roby said in her recent book:‘It is conceivable that the ...

Behind the Green Baize Door

Alison Light: The Servant Problem, 5 March 2020

Feminism and the Servant Problem: Class and Domestic Labour in the Women’s Suffrage Movement 
by Laura Schwartz.
Cambridge, 248 pp., £75, July 2019, 978 1 108 47133 6
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... have just as much right to my opinion as they.’ Many servants, especially from the North of England, brought a knowledge of trade unionism and its tactics to the campaign for the vote. They also organised themselves. Central to Schwartz’s book – and closest to her heart, I suspect – is her research on the Domestic Workers’ Union of ...

Picture in Little

Charles Nicholl: Hilliard’s Trajectory, 19 December 2019

Nicholas Hilliard: Life of an Artist 
by Elizabeth Goldring.
Yale, 337 pp., £40, February 2019, 978 0 300 24142 6
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... copy in Edinburgh University Library. In it he describes the ideal studio as having a northerly or north-easterly aspect, with light from a ‘great and fair’ window without ‘impeachment or reflections of walls or trees’. The crowded inner city setting of Gutter Lane may not have offered this luxury – in 1600 he complained that ‘the lights thereof ...

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