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1 January 1998
The Liar: The Fall of Jonathan Aitken 
by Luke Harding and David Leigh.
Penguin, 205 pp., £6.99, December 1997, 0 14 027290 9
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... Are we all bare-faced liars?’ The question came from Jonathan Aitken, Minister of State for Defence Procurement, in January 1994. It was put to the then editor of the Guardian, PeterPreston. The words ‘we all’ referred to Aitken himself, his wife Lolicia and his faithful Arab friend Said Ayas. The answer to the question was ‘yes’. They were all bare-faced liars, but none more so ...


Conor Gearty: Various Forms of Sleaze

24 November 1994
... crusade against quangos in Thatcher’s early years?) The other great driving force behind the Tories was evident last week in the terrible, passionate animosity shown towards the Guardian editor PeterPreston from all sides of the Party in the Commons debate on the now famous ‘cod fax’. What the Tories miss most in these years of victory and of hegemonic calm is the opportunity to express real ...
13 May 1993
Changing Faces: The History of the ‘Guardian’, 1956-88 
by Geoffrey Taylor.
Fourth Estate, 352 pp., £20, March 1993, 1 85702 100 2
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... on at least one occasion to a correct story of mine being spiked in favour of an untrue one. As Taylor says, Hetherington’s style contrasted sharply with the non-aligned style of his successor, PeterPreston, who took over in 1975 when Alastair left to join the BBC in Scotland. PP, as he is universally known to colleagues, was the winner of a contest whose defeated candidate was John Cole, when ...

Riots, Terrorism etc

John Lanchester: The Great British Press Disaster

6 March 2008
Flat Earth News 
by Nick Davies.
Chatto, 408 pp., £17.99, February 2008, 978 0 7011 8145 1
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... it seems old grudges are playing a role. This has in turn led to something of a backlash in early reviews of Flat Earth News, including a bizarrely hostile (as opposed to merely negative) review by PeterPreston, editor of the Guardian, Davies’s paper, from 1975 to 1995. Preston had a number of harsh things to say about ‘Saint Nick’, one of which had some traction: that he exaggerates the ...


David Trotter

14 September 1989
The Rainbow 
by D.H. Lawrence, edited by Mark Kinkead-Weekes.
Cambridge, 672 pp., £55, March 1989, 0 521 22869 7
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D.H. Lawrence in the Modern World 
edited by Peter Preston and Peter​ Hoare.
Macmillan, 221 pp., £29.50, May 1989, 0 333 45269 0
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D.H. Lawrence and the Phallic Imagination: Essays on Sexual Identity and Feminist Misreading 
by Peter​ Balbert.
Macmillan, 190 pp., £27.50, June 1989, 0 333 43964 3
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... to propose sharply contrasting futures for the novel. And it is the former who has proved more to the taste of the new fastidiousness. Lawrence’s critics, on the other hand, are rarely fastidious. Peter Balbert’s challenge to feminist ‘misreadings’ of Lawrence, for example, is nothing if not combative. Balbert insists that the ‘seminal’ doctrines of the ‘phallic imagination’ have been ...

Homage to Spain

Douglas Johnson

22 May 1986
Homage to Catalonia 
by George Orwell.
Secker, 260 pp., £12.95, April 1986, 0 436 35028 9
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The Spanish Civil War 
by Hugh Thomas.
Hamish Hamilton, 1115 pp., £20, March 1986, 0 241 89450 6
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The Triumph of Democracy in Spain 
by Paul Preston.
Methuen, 274 pp., £14.95, April 1986, 0 416 36350 4
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... appear this year – the fiftieth anniversary of the war’s beginning. Homage to Catalonia is published as one of the first volumes of the complete works of George Orwell, for which the editor, Dr Peter Davison, uses Orwell’s original manuscripts, letters and proofs to establish the text that Orwell would have wished to have. In the case of this work, among the most personal and directly political ...

The Antagoniser’s Agoniser

Peter​ Clarke: Keith Joseph

19 July 2001
Keith Joseph 
by Andrew Denham and Mark Garnett.
Acumen, 488 pp., £28, March 2001, 9781902683034
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... that I was converted to Conservatism. (I had thought I was a Conservative but now I see that I was not really one at all.)’ There followed a succession of well-publicised speeches, notably one at Preston in which he proclaimed his disillusion with the Keynesian policies that every Government had followed since the Second World War. ‘Inflation,’ he warned, ‘is threatening to destroy our society ...
19 February 1987
The Market for Glory: Fleet Street Ownership in the 20th Century 
by Simon Jenkins.
Faber, 247 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 571 14627 9
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The End of the Street 
by Linda Melvern.
Methuen, 276 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 413 14640 5
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... of presentation must the unclouded face of truth suffer wrong.’ And so to Scott’s most enduring aphorism: ‘Comment is free, but facts are sacred.’ By such lofty standards even the Guardian of PeterPreston falls short. Its reporters are men and women with opinions that shine out from its pages. Even if they start their careers with the news, they are hoping for preferment to the editorial pages ...

Why Darcy would not have married Elizabeth Bennet

Linda Colley: Women in Georgian England

3 September 1998
The Gentleman’s Daughter: Women’s Lives in Victorian England 
by Amanda Vickery.
Yale, 436 pp., £19.95, May 1998, 0 300 07531 6
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... of a narrow sample of comfortably-off county families. Unable to spy on her subjects over the card table or across the assembly room, Vickery has instead haunted the Lancashire Record Office at Preston and pored over all the letters, diaries and account books there written by privileged women between 1730 and 1825. The comparison is not a facetious one, because this research strategy has resulted ...
21 January 1982
... years, and it is artificial and unhistorical to try to create a break between the Churchill governments and those of Eden and Macmillan. The new monetarism was brought to England from America by Mr Peter Jay, but politically the beginning of monetarism can be dated from Sir Keith Joseph’s Preston speech of 5 September 1974. The key sentence in that speech was: ‘it is the method that successive ...

Bunny Hell

Christopher Tayler: David Gates

26 August 2015
A Hand Reached Down to Guide Me 
by David Gates.
Serpent’s Tail, 314 pp., £12.99, August 2015, 978 1 78125 491 2
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by David Gates.
Serpent’s Tail, 339 pp., £8.99, August 2015, 978 1 78125 490 5
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... man,” Mr Gates says in his office at Newsweek magazine, where he writes about music and books … He is, he says, “a reluctant writer”, though he doesn’t really know why.’ A second novel, Preston Falls, appeared in 1998 to respectful rather than awestruck reviews; a year later a story collection, The Wonders of the Invisible World, went down pretty well. This time he was on leave from ...
30 August 2012
... really works began with the takeover of City by Francis Lee in 1994. Lee had been City’s top goalscorer in the glory years of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Now he was ousting the deeply unpopular Peter Swales, who had been chairman for twenty years, and I was in the stands cheering his arrival. But when I interviewed Lee, I was unsettled to discover that the takeover was in fact a corporate deal ...

Chucky, Hirple, Clart

David Craig: Robert Macfarlane

23 September 2015
by Robert Macfarlane.
Hamish Hamilton, 387 pp., £20, March 2015, 978 0 241 14653 8
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... changed, even in the country. During the last two decades, in the Cumbrian village of 630 households where I live, a swing made out of rope and a stick on which children went swooping out over the Preston-Kendal canal has disappeared, and a shelter made of branches in a disused orchard has fallen in and rotted away. These things have not been replaced. Macfarlane’s hope is that a conserving and ...

Canterbury Tale

Charles Nicholl

8 December 1988
Christopher Marlowe and Canterbury 
by William Urry, edited by Andrew Butcher.
Faber, 184 pp., £12.95, May 1988, 0 571 14566 3
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John Weever 
by E.A.J. Honigmann.
Manchester, 134 pp., £27.50, April 1987, 0 7190 2217 7
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Rare Sir William Davenant 
by Mary Edmond.
Manchester, 264 pp., £27.50, July 1987, 9780719022869
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... sidesman at the parish church, constable at Westgate – but more often when being sued for debt, nonpayment of rent, or breach of the peace. He was fined for giving his apprentice Lactantius Preston a bloody nose in 1576, and was himself assaulted by another apprentice a few years later. It is hard to avoid seeing Marlowe’s touchy aggressive temper – intellectual and physical – prefigured ...

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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... 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.’ PeterPreston, the former editor of the Guardian, concluded that the alternative verdict reached by the Mail (whose editor, Paul Dacre, knew Neville Lawrence) was ‘a valid way of expressing the extreme ...

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