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Chucky, Hirple, Clart

David Craig: Robert Macfarlane, 24 September 2015

Landmarks 
by Robert Macfarlane.
Hamish Hamilton, 387 pp., £20, March 2015, 978 0 241 14653 8
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... Most of the chapters are a very personal kind of literary criticism of books by writers such as Peter Davidson (The Idea of North), Nan Shepherd (The Living Mountain), Richard Jefferies (Nature near London), J.A. Baker (The Peregrine), Jacquetta Hawkes (A Land) and Roger Deakin (Waterlog). It’s interesting that all ...

Snug

John Bayley, 9 September 1993

The Life of Ian Fleming 
by Donald McCormick.
Peter Owen, 231 pp., £18.50, July 1993, 0 7206 0888 0
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... waiting dejectedly for custom in his own surgery. Not only do cases or patients turn up at the Baker Street sitting-room with dramatic regularity, but each presents its own fascinating problem, which only the fantasy couple are competent to solve. What bored doctor could ask for more? Yet sometimes things seem to work the other way round. A highly ...

Put a fist through it

Harriet Baker: The Hampstead Modernists, 8 October 2020

Circles and Squares: The Lives and Art of the Hampstead Modernists 
by Caroline Maclean.
Bloomsbury, 296 pp., £30, April, 978 1 4088 8969 5
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The See-Through House: My Father in Full Colour 
by Shelley Klein.
Chatto, 271 pp., £16.99, April, 978 1 78474 310 9
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... der Rohe’s Farnsworth House, it glows at night, as if floating among the trees. Its architect, Peter Womersley, has been largely overlooked in accounts of British modernism, perhaps because he mostly worked in northern England and the Borders, leaving only a scattering of buildings, including the University of Hull sports centre and a concrete grandstand ...

Diary

Jane Miller: On the National Curriculum, 15 October 1987

... and go into schools have been astonishingly foolish. We thought that others listening to Kenneth Baker’s pronouncements as they tumbled out before, during and after the election would be bound to doubt his wisdom and good faith. We thought that other people would laugh, too, at his picture of all those classrooms in ‘loony left’ boroughs where peace ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Darwinians & Creationists, 1 November 2001

... one demands cause, the other demands purpose; both recoil from the random and the accidental. Peter Carey has deservedly won the Booker Prize for True History of the Kelly Gang. The WHSmith Book Award, continuing its flight from elitism, has renamed itself ‘The People’s Choice’. To have a go at being the people’s Kenneth ...

The Party in Government

Conor Gearty, 9 March 1995

... can in many ways be as disgraceful as resignations. The leading figure here is Kenneth Baker, who perfected a theory about why he should slay as Home Secretary despite the succession of calamities that surrounded him, until he was eventually jettisoned by the Prime Minister after the 1992 election. Holding steadfastly to the view that policy was ...

Sex is best when you lose your head

James Meek, 16 November 2000

Promiscuity: An Evolutionary History of Sperm Competition and Sexual Conflict 
by Tim Birkhead.
Faber, 272 pp., £9.99, May 2000, 0 571 19360 9
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... in the dim light of dawn to visit one of the males in his own territory.’ Back in the 1960s, Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive arachnid, turned into Spiderman and acquired the ability to scuttle up the sides of tall buildings. Birkhead’s book could inspire a whole new breed of pornographic superheroes, replete with extraordinary powers and dark ...

Architect as Hero

David Cannadine, 21 January 1982

Lutyens: The Work of the English Architect Sir Edwin Lutyens 
Hayward Gallery, 200 pp., £15, November 1981, 0 7287 0304 1Show More
Edwin Lutyens: Architect Laureate 
by Roderick Gradidge.
Allen and Unwin, 167 pp., £13.95, November 1981, 0 04 720023 5
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Indian Summer: Lutyens, Baker and Imperial Delhi 
by Robert Grant Irving.
Yale, 406 pp., £20, November 1981, 0 300 02422 3
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Lutyens: Country Houses 
by Daniel O’Neill.
Lund Humphries, 167 pp., £8.95, May 1980, 0 85331 428 4
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Lutyens and the Sea Captain 
by Margaret Richardson.
Scolar, 40 pp., £5.95, November 1981, 0 85967 646 3
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Houses and Gardens by E.L. Lutyens 
by Lawrence Weaver.
Antique Collectors’ Club, 344 pp., £19.50, January 1982, 0 902028 98 7
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... in this premier league, the referee could be stern and the spectators unbending. Unlike Herbert Baker, who was at his best on committees, Lutyens dismissed them as ‘horrible, ignorant and unsympathetic’, and was too intent on being a great man to learn the arts of compromise and conciliation. But while charm and insistence worked wonders with rich and ...

Short Cuts

Peter Geoghegan: FOI, 4 February 2021

... My Search for Secrets in the Ruins of the Freedom of Information Act (Penguin, $30), Nicholson Baker charts ‘the pathology of government secrecy’ through myriad frustrated FOIA requests about the US government’s biological weapons programme in the 1950s.In many countries, FOI is accused of reducing transparency by encouraging a parallel, paperless ...

Jingoes

R.W. Johnson: Britain and South Africa since the Boer War, 6 May 2004

The Lion and the Springbok: Britain and South Africa since the Boer War 
by Ronald Hyam and Peter Henshaw.
Cambridge, 379 pp., £45, May 2003, 0 521 82453 2
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... This book begins with real passion as Ronald Hyam and Peter Henshaw lash into those historians who they believe have made unwarranted assumptions about the links between Britain and South Africa: to wit, that Britain fought the Boer War to get its hands on the gold and that economic considerations remained the motivating force in its difficult relationship with South Africa thereafter ...

McNed

Gillian Darley: Lutyens, 17 April 2003

The Architect and His Wife: A Life of Edwin Lutyens 
by Jane Ridley.
Chatto, 524 pp., £25, June 2002, 0 7011 7201 0
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Edwin Lutyens, Country Houses: From the Archives of ‘Country Life’ 
by Gavin Stamp.
Aurum, 192 pp., £35, May 2001, 1 85410 763 1
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Lutyens Abroad 
edited by Andrew Hopkins and Gavin Stamp.
British School at Rome, 260 pp., £34.95, March 2002, 0 904152 37 5
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... 1921, almost a decade after he had begun working on the plans for New Delhi. Lutyens and Herbert Baker, who had also been a pupil of Ernest George and Harold Peto’s many years before, were jointly appointed to this huge task, which would become a sour professional (and personal) battle and win them both knighthoods. The siting and designing of the vast ...

Jewish Blood

Michael Church, 7 February 1985

Moving Pictures: Memories of a Hollywood Prince 
by Budd Schulberg.
Penguin, 500 pp., £4.95, September 1984, 0 14 006769 8
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Baku to Baker Street: The Memoirs of Flora Solomon 
by Barnet Litvinoff.
Collins, 230 pp., £11.95, June 1984, 0 00 217094 9
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Wilfrid Israel: German Jewry’s Secret Ambassador 
by Naomi Shepherd.
Weidenfeld, 286 pp., £12.95, March 1984, 0 297 78308 4
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The Smiths of Moscow: A Story of Britons Abroad 
by Harvey Pitcher.
Swallow House Books, 176 pp., £5.95, September 1984, 0 905265 01 7
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Family Secrets 
by David Leitch.
Heinemann, 242 pp., £8.95, October 1984, 0 434 41345 3
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... grandmother had fled from Cossack persecution at Dvinsk. Flora Solomon, the author of Baku to Baker Street, was brought up in Minsk, a nearby town in the Jewish Pale of Settlement. She, too, had a gambler-philanderer-millionaire for a father, and she too, was impelled by her upbringing to become a socialist, and even to pass on the contagion to her son ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: Hemingway the Spy, 16 February 2017

... only so much damage one can do with a Robert Frost interview, but that didn’t stop the late Peter Matthiessen, one of the founding editors, from now and then leaving the office, or the Himalayas, to spy on supposed enemies of the United States. Matthiessen later said he had used the magazine as cover for some high-level snitching, but in the annals of ...

Profits Now, Costs Later

David Woodruff: Mariana Mazzucato, 22 November 2018

The Value of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Economy 
by Mariana Mazzucato.
Allen Lane, 384 pp., £20, April 2018, 978 0 241 18881 1
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... the venerable retailer BHS in 2015 and his recent naming in the House of Lords by the Labour peer Peter Hain as a ‘powerful businessman using non-disclosure agreements and substantial payments to conceal the truth about serious and repeated sexual harassment, racist abuse and bullying’, Philip Green gave a self-congratulatory interview to the ...

Knowledge Infinite

D.J. Enright, 16 August 1990

The Don Giovanni Book: Myths of Seduction and Betrayal 
edited by Jonathan Miller.
Faber, 127 pp., £6.99, July 1990, 0 571 14542 6
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... approach the subject from varying angles, and not all of them approach very close. Malcolm Baker writes on tomb sculpture, ‘the static intermediary between the earthly and the eternal’, where the stone figure of the Commendatore is undeniably a case in point. Peter Gay explores the opera’s ‘hidden ...

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