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Was she nice?

Thomas McKeown, 17 February 1983

Florence Nightingale: Reputation and Power 
by F.B. Smith.
Croom Helm, 216 pp., £12.95, March 1982, 0 7099 2314 7
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Edward Jenner: The Cheltenham Years 1795-1823 
by Paul Saunders.
University Press of New England, 469 pp., £15, May 1982, 0 87451 215 8
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... Jenner developed gives good grounds for thinking that it can be controlled. The new biography by Paul Saunders is based on a careful examination of original documents and an intimate knowledge of Cheltenham, where Jenner spent the most important years of his professional life. It covers the period in which vaccination established itself, from Jenner’s ...

Gaol Fever

David Saunders-Wilson, 24 July 1986

Prisons and the Process of Justice 
by Andrew Rutherford.
Oxford, 217 pp., £5.95, June 1986, 0 19 281932 1
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Growing out of Crime: Society and Young People in Trouble 
by Andrew Rutherford.
Penguin, 189 pp., £3.95, January 1986, 0 14 022383 5
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... had been inspired by the careers of Jimmy Boyle, John McVicar, ‘Dirty Den’ of EastEnders, and Paul Barber, one of the ‘Brothers McGregor’ who also spent some time inside, and who recently claimed in the Sun: ‘Jailed turned me into a star.’ Burglary, theft, blackmail, arson, extortion, violence – including rape – have become socially ...


Paul Foot: Windsor Girls School on 22 June, 4 July 1985

... force. The winner of the audition to read ‘Men of England’ was a young black woman. Lesley Saunders, a Greenham Common campaigner and local Labour Party member, read some of her poems, including a rumbustious reply to John Betjeman which she called ‘In Praise of Slough’ – ‘those bombs aren’t such a huge joke any more.’ The main session ...

Degeneration Gap

Andreas Huyssen: Cold War culture conflicts, 7 October 2004

The Dancer Defects: The Struggle for Cultural Supremacy during the Cold War 
by David Caute.
Oxford, 788 pp., £30, September 2003, 0 19 924908 3
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... success of American Modernism was all due to CIA machinations was resurrected by Frances Stonor Saunders in Who Paid the Piper? (1999). Saunders does an excellent job in tracing the financial and organisational trail left by the CIA’s involvement in cultural politics. She has little to say, however, about the content of ...

What the Japanese are saying

T.H. Barrett, 10 March 1994

Central Asia in World History 
by S.A.M. Adshead.
Macmillan, 291 pp., £42.50, February 1993, 0 333 57827 9
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Japan’s Orient: Rendering Pasts into History 
by Stefan Tanaka.
California, 331 pp., £30, July 1993, 0 520 07731 8
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... encouraged a certain breadth of vision rare in other centres: one thinks, for example, of J.J. Saunders and his writings on the Mongol Empire and its place in world history. This intellectual legacy has been taken up with a vengeance by S.A.M. Adshead, by origin a historian of late imperial China, in recent works such as China in World History and Salt and ...

Where on Earth are you?

Frances Stonor Saunders, 3 March 2016

... no appeal, the one ‘likeness’ guaranteed to show you looking the way you never want to look. Paul Fussell called it ‘the most egregious little modernism’, redolent of ‘the world of Prufrock and Joseph K and Malone’, and indeed every time my photo is scrutinised by a passport officer, it’s as if I’ve entered that same world of anxiety and ...

Miracle on Fleet Street

Martin Hickman: Operation Elveden, 7 January 2016

... On​ 11 December, the director of public prosecutions, Alison Saunders, announced that all outstanding cases against Mirror Group journalists for phone hacking would be dropped, and that no corporate case would be brought against Rupert Murdoch’s News UK for hacking or perverting the course of justice. It was Christmas come early on Fleet Street, but that isn’t the way the papers chose to tell it ...

Stuck on the Flypaper

Frances Stonor Saunders: The Hobsbawm File, 9 April 2015

... kettles in a room on the first floor of the Post Office’s St Martin’s-le-Grand depot, near St Paul’s Cathedral. The existence of the GPO’s Special Investigations Unit, which had a facility in every major sorting office in the country, was highly classified, but, like Congreve’s secret, it was whispered everywhere (the postman and future home ...

I did not pan out

Christian Lorentzen: Sam Lipsyte, 6 June 2019

by Sam Lipsyte.
Granta, 304 pp., £12.99, March 2019, 978 1 78378 321 2
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... the intellectual. But he is also one of the few working American novelists – along with Paul Beatty, Lydia Millet, Mark Leyner, Mark Doten – truly committed to satire. The opening passage of The Ask compares America to a ‘run-down and demented pimp’ slumped in the corner of a pool hall, a novel image of imperial decline. Sometimes it’s the ...

Au revoir et merci

Christopher Tayler: Romain Gary, 6 December 2018

The Roots of Heaven 
by Romain Gary, translated by Jonathan Griffin.
Godine, 434 pp., $18.95, November 2018, 978 1 56792 626 2
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Promise at Dawn 
by Romain Gary, translated by John Markham Beach.
Penguin, 314 pp., £9.99, September 2018, 978 0 241 34763 8
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... used a jumbled, malaprop French that served as a vehicle for pathos as well as humour. (George Saunders might be the best current analogue in English.) Gary let his own publisher in on the secret but the rest of the firm was kept in the dark. Raymond Queneau, passing Ajar’s first novel to a Gallimard subsidiary for publication, observed that the pastiche ...

Doctor in the Dock

Stephen Sedley, 20 October 1994

Medical Negligence 
edited by Michael Powers and Nigel Harris.
Butterworth, 1188 pp., £155, July 1994, 0 406 00452 8
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... whose concern is to use the formal complaints channels to obtain evidence for use in court; and by Paul Knapman, an experienced coroner, who describes carefully the powers and procedures of his office – a useful source of evidence for lawsuits and often the only formal inquiry into a iatrogenic death – but omits to mention that an inquest verdict is not ...


Alan Bennett: Bennett’s Dissection, 1 January 2009

... us, we have never acquired the adult mind.’ 18 February. Ned Sherrin’s memorial service at St Paul’s, Covent Garden. A friendly service interspersed with songs, some from Sondheim, some from Sherrin and Brahms, but with none of them as tuneful as the hymns. The audience is very responsive, and it’s the only occasion in my experience that the lesson ...

Courage, mon amie

Terry Castle: Disquiet on the Western Front, 4 April 2002

... at Home in German Dugouts!’) I’ve got a whole shelf on war artists: C.R.W. Nevinson, Paul Nash, William Roberts, Wyndham Lewis, and the skullishly named Muirhead Bone. I’ve got books about Fabian Ware and the founding of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. I’ve a 1920 Blue Guide to Belgium and the Western Front and a Michelin Somme guide ...

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