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Aids and the Polio Vaccine

Edward Hooper: New evidence

3 April 2003
... been made locally. They didn’t have the equipment, they said; they couldn’t possibly have produced a vaccine at a primitive lab like that. But Kanyama explained that he had started working in Paul Osterrieth’s virology department at LMS on 12 February 1958, and that Osterrieth had already been making polio vaccine before his arrival. He described how Osterrieth would bring the vaccine from ...

Race, God and Family

Dan Hancox: Francoism

1 July 2015
Franco’s Crypt: Spanish Culture and Memory since 1936 
by Jeremy Treglown.
Vintage, 336 pp., £16.99, March 2015, 978 1 78470 115 4
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... new dictatorship. Franco’s victorious army was ordered to focus inwards, to abandon all preparations for foreign wars and to learn tactics of domestic crowd control. Under Franco, history was, in PaulPreston’s words, ‘the continuation of the war by other means’ – in propaganda, school textbooks, church sermons and through monuments, public holidays and other state-sponsored culture ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2014

8 January 2015
... a friend both on the strength of what she has written and because we were both part of a group of writers on a courtesy visit to the USSR, as it then was, in 1988, a party which included Craig Raine, Paul Bailey and Timothy Mo. I don’t remember laughing more on any trip before or since; we were a very silly group, so much so that we often mystified our hosts and sometimes behaved disgracefully. Sue ...

Men in Aprons

Colin Kidd: Freemasonry

7 May 1998
Who’s Afraid of Freemasons? The Phenomenon of Freemasonry 
by Alexander Piatigorsky.
Harvill, 398 pp., £25, August 1997, 1 86046 029 1
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... Piatigorsky does not explore this question. Historians remain uncertain about the political colours of 18th-century Masonry, but their tentative conclusions are at odds with Piatigorsky’s thesis. Paul Monod thinks that the message of restoration underpinning Masonic ritual – the rebirth in every Master Mason of King Solomon’s murdered builder Hiram Abiff – proved congenial to English ...


Brian Harrison

6 December 1984
Significant Sisters: The Grassroots of Active Feminism 1839-1939 
by Margaret Forster.
Secker, 353 pp., £12.50, September 1984, 0 436 16113 3
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Stepping Stones to Women’s Liberty: Feminist Ideas in the Women’s Movement 1900-1918 
by Les Garner.
Gower, 142 pp., £15, July 1984, 0 435 32357 1
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Women First: The Female Tradition in English Physical Education 1880-1980 
by Sheila Fletcher.
Athlone, 194 pp., £18, July 1984, 0 485 11248 5
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A Woman’s Place: An Oral History of Working-Class Women 1890-1940 
by Elizabeth Roberts.
Blackwell, 246 pp., £14.95, September 1984, 0 631 13572 3
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... her informants ‘expressed surprise that anyone should be interested in their “uneventful” lives.’ The book rests on interviews with about 160 people of both sexes in Barrow, Lancaster and Preston. Roberts does not tell us how her interviewees were contacted or selected, but she is ‘confident that they are a representative sample of the working class in all three areas.’ She also fails to ...
23 June 1994
Thinking the Unthinkable: Think-Tanks and the Economic Counter-Revolution, 1931-83 
by Richard Cockett.
HarperCollins, 390 pp., £25, May 1994, 0 00 223672 9
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... but merely changed the political doctrine in which they believed.’ This is surely a valid insight, with psychological implications which the author might well have pressed further. As it is, Paul Johnson, still hot (at any rate under the collar) from his editorship of the New Statesman, receives a comment so bland – ‘To Johnson and others, the prophecy of Hayek’s Road to Serfdom was ...

Young Brutes

R.W. Johnson: The Amerys

23 February 2006
Speaking for England: Leo, Julian and John Amery: The Tragedy of a Political Family 
by David Faber.
Free Press, 612 pp., £20, October 2005, 0 7432 5688 3
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... by the age of three, and had French, German, Italian, Bulgarian, Turkish, Serbian and Hungarian, knew Sanskrit and could rapidly mug up almost any other language he wanted (chatting away to Paul Kruger in Afrikaans, for example). As a child brought up by a single parent without any of the advantages of aristocratic descent or a wider family network, he embraced wholeheartedly and ...
1 September 1983
Family Forms in Historic Europe 
edited by Richard Wall.
Cambridge, 606 pp., £37.50, March 1983, 0 521 24547 8
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Servants in Husbandry in Early Modern England 
by Ann Kussmaul.
Cambridge, 245 pp., £22, December 1981, 0 521 23566 9
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The Subversive Family: An Alternative History of Love and Marriage 
by Ferdinand Mount.
Cape, 282 pp., £9.50, July 1982, 0 224 01999 6
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... unsatisfied. In England, a potent modifier of the nuclear family was the new 19th-century pattern of industrialisation and urban growth. In the earlier volume Michael Anderson showed from a study of Preston in 1851 how this occurred. Early marriage was made possible by the new job structure, and the disappearance of family-based economic activity allowed the young to stay at home longer: meanwhile the ...

What does a chicken know of bombs?

David Thomson: A Key to Brando

25 November 2019
The Contender: The Story of Marlon Brando 
by William J. Mann.
HarperCollins, 718 pp., £22, November, 978 0 06 242764 9
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... William Mann sees On the Waterfront as the central achievement. It too was a Kazan project, but this time the director was less convinced that Brando should be the lead. He considered a young Paul Newman and even Frank Sinatra. Did he reckon Marlon had a soft look, or too much beauty, for Terry Malloy, the failed boxer? Or had he heard that Marlon had been bad-mouthing him because Kazan (after ...

The smallest details speak the loudest

John Upton: The Stephen Lawrence inquiry

1 July 1999
The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry 
by Sir William Macpherson.
Stationery Office, 335 pp., £26, February 1999, 0 10 142622 4
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The Case of Stephen Lawrence 
by Brian Cathcart.
Viking, 418 pp., £16.99, May 1999, 0 670 88604 1
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... no further clues. Still these men, according to the prevailing wisdom, should be denied their rights in law. ‘I don’t normally think it’s right for people to be witch-hunted in this way,’ Paul Foot remarked, ‘but in this case the legal process had run its course and the case against these men was overwhelming.’ Peter Preston, the former editor of the Guardian, concluded that the ...

North and South

Raphael Samuel

22 June 1995
Coming Back Brockens: A Year in a Mining Village 
by Mark Hudson.
Cape, 320 pp., £16.99, October 1994, 0 224 04170 3
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... travel writing in which Mark Hudson’s book could plausibly be placed would be the journey through ruins, the exploration of geographical and social wastelands. Some, following in the footsteps of Paul Theroux’s Kingdom by the Sea, see the Northern towns as horrors. Others, indignant at the haemorrhage of jobs and skills, chart the progress of disindustrialisation. Ian Jack’s Before the Oil Ran ...

Neutered Valentines

David Bromwich: James Agee

7 September 2006
‘Let Us Now Praise Famous Men’, ‘A Death in the Family’, Shorter Fiction 
by James Agee.
Library of America, 818 pp., $35, October 2005, 1 931082 81 2
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Film Writing and Selected Journalism 
by James Agee.
Library of America, 748 pp., $40, October 2005, 1 931082 82 0
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Brooklyn Is 
by James Agee.
Fordham, 64 pp., $16.95, October 2005, 0 8232 2492 9
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... you. There is a particularly disheartening moment in the postscript to ‘Pseudo-Folk’, in which Agee concedes that he has not seen two of his main examples of the degradation of American culture, Paul Robeson’s Othello and the musical Oklahoma, but that friends he trusts have told him all he needs to know. A second cause of the failure of perception here is the fetish of greatness. ‘Great ...

A Car of One’s Own

Andrew O’Hagan: Chariots of Desire

11 June 2009
... in advertisements: people could seem charged with natural specificity even in the thick of a crowd. In some way the crowd did not become them, as it could seem to in Europe. In American movies, in Preston Sturges, in Frank Capra, the crowds whizz past in their comfortable clothes, and each person might be thinking their own thoughts, before one of them, Claudette Colbert or Jimmy Stewart, steps out ...

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