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Vermicular Dither

Michael Hofmann, 28 January 2010

The World of Yesterday 
by Stefan Zweig, translated by Anthea Bell.
Pushkin Press, 474 pp., £20, 1 906548 12 9
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... the popular biographies of Verlaine, Dostoevsky, Balzac, Erasmus, Nietzsche, Dickens etc, which Paul Bailey, an admirer of at least some of Zweig’s fiction, describes as ‘slightly embarrassing’; the lectures and statements and appeals; the intermittent plays and the libretto (for Richard Strauss); and all the stories and novellas, mainly framed ...

Outbreak of Pleasure

Angus Calder, 23 January 1986

Now the war is over: A Social History of Britain 1945-51 
by Paul Addison.
BBC/Cape, 223 pp., £10.95, September 1985, 0 563 20407 9
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England First and Last 
by Anthony Bailey.
Faber, 212 pp., £12.50, October 1985, 0 571 13587 0
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A World Still to Win: The Reconstruction of the Post-War Working Class 
by Trevor Blackwell and Jeremy Seabrook.
Faber, 189 pp., £4.50, October 1985, 0 571 13701 6
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The Issue of War: States, Societies and the Far Eastern Conflict of 1941-1945 
by Christopher Thorne.
Hamish Hamilton, 364 pp., £15, April 1985, 0 241 10239 1
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The Hiroshima Maidens 
by Rodney Barker.
Viking, 240 pp., £9.95, July 1985, 0 670 80609 9
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Faces of Hiroshima: A Report 
by Anne Chisholm.
Cape, 182 pp., £9.95, August 1985, 0 224 02831 6
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End of Empire 
by Brain Lapping.
Granada, 560 pp., £14.95, March 1985, 0 246 11969 1
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Outposts 
by Simon Winchester.
Hodder, 317 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 340 33772 9
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... of a world revolution of the common man, aimed at a new world of plenty and security’. Paul Addison, in Now the war is over, an excellent book derived from a good TV series, sees Common Wealth as representing a ‘strand of socialist utopianism, to be found mainly among the professional middle classes, that ran through the Forties’. Yet Richard ...

Rigging the Death Rate

Paul Taylor, 11 April 2013

... to tell their stories’. Many such stories had been collected by campaigners like Julie Bailey, a café-owner whose mother died in Stafford Hospital after being treated with callous incompetence. In November 2007, Bailey founded a pressure group called Cure the NHS and began to gather reports of patients left to ...

White Peril

E.S. Turner: H. Rider Haggard, 20 September 2001

Diary of an African Journey (1914) 
by H. Rider Haggard.
Hurst, 345 pp., £20, August 2001, 1 85065 468 9
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... Rand. ‘Almost everybody seems to have a title,’ Haggard notes. In the marble halls of Sir Abe Bailey, the mine-owner, famous in Britain for his racehorses, dinner guests discussed the Jameson Raid. Haggard said he thought it had been a wretched failure, but Bailey insisted it had been a ‘splendid success’, since it ...
Under Fire: An American Story 
by Oliver North and William Novak.
HarperCollins, 446 pp., £17.99, October 1991, 0 06 018334 9
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Terry Waite: Why was he kidnapped? 
by Gavin Hewitt.
Bloomsbury, 230 pp., £15.99, November 1991, 0 7475 0375 3
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... Eric Matson and John Taylor and a Lloyds underwriter called William Harper, were tried at the Old Bailey in early 1988. Aspin, Harper and Matson were found guilty and sent to prison – Aspin is still inside. Taylor was acquitted. Aspin, who was cast as the ringleader, pleaded in his defence that the deal to sell arms to Iran had been set up by the CIA. His ...

Uneasy Listening

Paul Laity: ‘Lord Haw-Haw’, 8 July 2004

Germany Calling: A Personal Biography of William Joyce, ‘Lord Haw-Haw’ 
by Mary Kenny.
New Island, 300 pp., £17.99, November 2003, 1 902602 78 1
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Lord Haw-Haw: The English Voice of Nazi Germany 
by Peter Martland.
National Archives, 309 pp., £19.99, March 2003, 1 903365 17 1
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... Mosleyite mob-orator, had returned to the Galway of his youth. His trial for treason at the Old Bailey was a sensation. Crowds gathered outside, desperate to catch a glimpse of their would-be destroyer. In 1940, two-thirds of the population had tuned in at least occasionally to hear Lord Haw-Haw gloat when British ships were sunk and pronounce the ...

Tea-Leafing

Duncan Campbell, 19 October 1995

The Autobiography of a Thief 
by Bruce Reynolds.
Bantam, 320 pp., £15.99, April 1995, 0 593 03779 0
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... A robber is a bandit, an outlaw, a desperado. A thief is a tea-leaf. A robber ends up at the Old Bailey – the London Palladium of the nation’s courts – and gets a ten stretch. A thief appears before the beak at Old Street magistrate’s court and gets three months. A robber takes the girlfriend off to Longchamp for the weekend ...

Mauve Monkeys

William Fiennes, 18 September 1997

Wilde’s Last Stand: Decadence, Conspiracy and the First World War 
by Philip Hoare.
Duckworth, 250 pp., £16.95, July 1997, 0 7156 2737 6
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... lemon Rolls, the infallible bisection of his hair. As soon as the trial got under way at the Old Bailey in May 1918, Billing attracted the support of the Christian Scientists, who believed him to be ‘the Saviour, Christ the King, come to redeem them in this moment of national peril’. Concerned that he would not be able to continue his work if ...

At Tate Britain

Peter Campbell: How We Are, 5 July 2007

... charity-shop interior does that), as is the paparazzi in-your-face flash snapshooting used by Paul Reas and Martin Parr. Photography now builds on its own history. In the exhibition you see the influence on later pictures of William Eggleston’s prints of penetratingly ordinary American things and places, which released art photography from puritanical ...

Criminal Justice

Ronan Bennett, 24 June 1993

... from London in my hands, I spent a long time pondering the implications. For almost fifteen years Paul Hill, Gerry Conlon, Paddy Armstrong and Carole Richardson had insisted they were innocent and had been framed by the police. I recalled that Sir Michael Havers, who led for the Crown in the 1975 trial, had reasoned to the jury that if the Four were ...

Suffocating Suspense

Richard Davenport-Hines, 16 March 2000

Cult Criminals: The Newgate Novels 1830-47 
by Juliet John.
Routledge, 2750 pp., £399, December 1998, 0 415 14383 7
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... allusions. Bulwer-Lytton himself had inaugurated the fashion for this brand of crime fiction with Paul Clifford (1830), and restrained the tendency to verbosity and false pathos that marks his other fiction. He believed, he wrote in an essay of 1838, that in the portraiture of evil and criminal characters lies the widest scope for an author profoundly versed ...

You’ve got it or you haven’t

Iain Sinclair, 25 February 1993

Inside the Firm: The Untold Story of the Krays’ Reign of Terror 
by Tony Lambrianou and Carol Clerk.
Pan, 256 pp., £4.99, October 1992, 0 330 32284 2
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Gangland: London’s Underworld 
by James Morton.
Little, Brown, 349 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 356 20889 3
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Nipper: The Story of Leonard ‘Nipper’ Read 
by Leonard Read and James Morton.
Warner, 318 pp., £5.99, September 1992, 0 7515 0001 1
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Smash and Grab: Gangsters in the London Underworld 
by Robert Murphy.
Faber, 182 pp., £15.99, February 1993, 0 571 15442 5
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... is gossipy, anecdotal. It’s like eavesdropping in the snug of some public-house adjacent to the Bailey, when the gents in the greasy raincoats sit down with a coven of bent briefs. Morton, a former solicitor, has filleted his sources with a notable absence of fuss. He is not embarrassed at recycling large chunks of his Nipper Read ...

Delightful to be Robbed

E.S. Turner: Stand and deliver, 9 May 2002

Outlaws and Highwaymen: The Cult of the Robber in England from the Middle Ages to the 19th century 
by Gillian Spraggs.
Pimlico, 372 pp., £12.50, November 2001, 0 7126 6479 3
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... him in the instant when he is attempting to rob me, than afterwards swear against him at the Old Bailey, to take away his life after he has robbed me.’ This may well have been the sentiment of many victims, unwilling to face the onus of identification. It is not easy to picture the shambling Doctor engaged in a roadside fire fight. Good or bad, highwaymen ...

Mirror Images

Jenny Diski: Piers Morgan, 31 March 2005

The Insider: The Private Diaries of a Scandalous Decade 
by Piers Morgan.
Ebury, 484 pp., £17.99, March 2005, 0 09 190506 0
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... taken seriously by Elton John, Princess Diana, George Michael, Anthea Turner, Richard Branson, Paul McCartney, Patsy Kensit, Ian Botham, Jordan, Mohammed al Fayed, Cherie Blair, Alastair Campbell, Peter Mandelson and Tony Blair. (If there are names in that list you haven’t heard of, don’t worry, none of them matters as much as they think they do.) At a ...

Diary

Stephen Sedley: At the Courtroom, 5 March 1987

... books followed each other in rapid succession last year: Chris Mullin’s on the Birmingham case, Paul Foot’s on the Bridgewater case and then Robert Kee’s* on the Guildford case. Kee’s is a drier, less passionate book than the other two, partly because its prose is more visibly marked by the size-12 footprints of the libel lawyer. Once again we have a ...

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