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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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... ahead). The commissioners were fêted, perhaps too freely, by the millionaire raptors of the 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 ...

Vermicular Dither

Michael Hofmann: Stefan Zweig

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 Belgian poet Emile Verhaeren (in 1905 and 1910) and others; to the dozens and dozens of essays and the popular biographies of Verlaine, Dostoevsky, Balzac, Erasmus, Nietzsche, Dickens etc, which PaulBailey, 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 ...
11 April 2013
... health minister Andy Burnham and intended ‘primarily to give those most affected by poor care an opportunity 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 ...

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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... and became his mistress. Eileen was not the only one. There was something about the monocle, the 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 ...


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 ...
7 August 1980
A Dictionary of the English Language 
by Samuel Johnson.
Times, 2558 pp., £45, June 1980, 0 7230 0228 2
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Dictionary Johnson: Samuel Johnson’s Middle Years 
by James Clifford.
Heinemann, 372 pp., £10, February 1980, 0 434 13805 3
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... dictionaries, to lists of hard words, to attempts early in the 18th century to record every word in the language. A simple record, with some jumbled senses, was all that was given by Nathaniel Bailey, Johnson’s immediate predecessor. In his 1736 edition, Bailey had 60,000 entries, about half as many again as Johnson. In 1747, Johnson, disappointed in his hopes of producing the edition of ...
19 December 1991
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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... missiles, said the prosecution, never existed. The four men, three arms-dealers called Michael Aspin, 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 ...

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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... Harrison Ainsworth, managed nothing more than romantic escapism with a thick accretion of historical 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 ...

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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... barely detectable, comes through strongly.* Blind drunk and defiant, Joyce, the fervent Nazi, the 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 ...

Criminal Justice

Ronan Bennett

24 June 1993
... as the Guildford Four. My first reaction was disbelief; later, the news confirmed and the cuts 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 ...
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 a brisk and efficient trot through all the familiar legends of blood and mohair. The flavour 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 ...

At Tate Britain

Peter Campbell: How We Are

5 July 2007
... in banality of crime-scene photographs is another way of killing art-historical echoes (Nigel Shafran’s 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 ...


Stephen Sedley: At the Courtroom

5 March 1987
... well as that of the men convicted of murdering the newsboy Carl Bridgewater in the same year. Three 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 ...

The Sound of Thunder

Tom Nairn: The Miners’ Strike

8 October 2009
Marching to the Fault Line: The 1984 Miners’ Strike and the Death of Industrial Britain 
by Francis Beckett and David Hencke.
Constable, 303 pp., £18.99, February 2009, 978 1 84901 025 2
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Shafted: The Media, the Miners’ Strike and the Aftermath 
edited by Granville Williams.
Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom, 176 pp., £9.99, March 2009, 978 1 898240 05 1
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... Onwards and forwards, brothers, the future lies ahead,” without thinking through the dangers and hardships into which he was leading them.’ In his contribution to Shafted, the journalist Paul Routledge – the author of a biography of Scargill – concludes dolefully that the ‘war is over. Nothing is gained by remaining in the trenches of 1984, powerful though those experiences and ...
21 March 1996
... Gerry Kelly, one of Sinn Fein’s chief negotiators at Stormont, is a highly placed IRA man who is not even a member of the Party. Kelly, who was sentenced to life imprisonment after the 1973 Old Bailey bombing, may or may not be a member of the IRA army council, but he is certainly a member of Sinn Fein: he stood unsuccessfully at last year’s Árd Fheis, or party conference, for election to the ...

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