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5 July 1984
Smoke Ring: The Politics of Tobacco 
by Peter Taylor.
Bodley Head, 384 pp., £9.95, March 1984, 0 370 30513 2
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... extension of government over the great corporations were ushering in a dark age of bureaucratic tyranny. This theory later became the central slogan of the Thatcher-Reagan reaction of the Eighties. PeterTaylor’s marvellous book does awful damage to it. He deals with the power of the tobacco companies, especially the six giant ones which control the production, distribution and marketing of the ...
12 January 1995
In the Tennessee Country: A Novel 
by Peter Taylor.
Chatto, 226 pp., £14.99, September 1994, 0 7011 6253 8
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... forgotten boredom’. And only the best writers can deliberately reveal their own past as a foreign country, where things are differently done. I had not encountered the Tennessee novelist PeterTaylor before, and this book came as something of a revelation. As a writer he has the gift, which seems both wholly natural and yet to go with a very conscious discipline and decorum, of putting the ...

Memphis Blues

Karl Miller

5 September 1985
The Old Forest 
by Peter Taylor.
Chatto, 358 pp., £9.95, August 1985, 0 7011 3967 6
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... be all right to talk of classes with reference to the work of writers who did not themselves do so. Backward-ranging comparisons, and a risk of anachronism, are likely to enter into an experience of PeterTaylor’s fine stories, for his is an art which makes much of the existence of traditions, and of a deep past. At all events, it seems clear that the stories exhibit Austen’s dedication to a class ...
3 March 1988
Stalker 
by John Stalker.
Harrap, 288 pp., £12.95, February 1988, 0 245 54616 2
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Stalker: The Search for the Truth 
by Peter Taylor.
Faber, 231 pp., £9.95, May 1987, 0 571 14836 0
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... and it grinds very selectively. It therefore fails to give us the necessary objective information to answer the crucial question: did he fall or was he pushed? For illumination it helps to turn to PeterTaylor, an investigative journalist whose Panorama programme first told the public that the scene of one of the shootings had been bugged by MI5. Taylor’s painstakingly detailed analysis reveals ...

Diary

Paul Foot: Two Views of John Stalker

3 March 1988
... jobs which happened to be vacant. They offered themselves as referees if he chose to do so. On the other (the stick), secret Police inquiries started into a Manchester Conservative businessman, Kevin Taylor, who had been John Stalker’s friend. Inquiries were discreet at first, but they were what Mr Stalker calls ‘a trawling operation’ to see whether there was any dirt on the Deputy Chief Constable ...

The Stamp of One Defect

David Edgar: Jeremy Thorpe

29 July 2015
Jeremy Thorpe 
by Michael Bloch.
Little, Brown, 606 pp., £25, December 2014, 978 0 316 85685 0
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Closet Queens: Some 20th-Century British Politicians 
by Michael Bloch.
Little, Brown, 320 pp., £25, May 2015, 978 1 4087 0412 7
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... up, his conveniently timed passing of £10,000 to Holmes supposedly for election expenses, and the plot to get rid of Scott. Despite support from the militant Young Liberals (whose former chairman, Peter Hain, insisted that ‘we are with you in resisting the politics of smear and innuendo’), Thorpe resigned as Liberal leader in 1976, soon after Newton’s conviction. He lost his seat in the 1979 ...

Diary

Stephen Sedley: The man who tried to bring Pinochet to justice

24 June 2004
... in, but in most cases he or she doesn’t know what the relator has said. This offends the common law notion of open adversarial justice, and it is soon to end; but I recall that it was only when PeterTaylor became Lord Chief Justice in 1992 that our own criminal appeal court began letting the defence see the case summaries prepared by the court’s officials. Things which you have lived with tend ...

What Fred Did

Owen Bennett-Jones: Go-Betweens in Northern Ireland

22 January 2015
... was contested, but the British took him to be someone who could speak for the IRA. The message had a long backstory, much of it chronicled three years ago by the leading journalist of the Troubles, PeterTaylor, in Talking to Terrorists (yes, Jonathan Powell lifted someone else’s title). There had been intermittent contact between the British government and the IRA throughout the Troubles. Having ...

Wake up. Foul mood. Detest myself

Ysenda Maxtone Graham: ‘Lost Girls’

9 December 2019
Lost Girls: Love, War and Literature, 1939-51 
by D.J. Taylor.
Constable, 388 pp., £25, September, 978 1 4721 2686 3
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... Rather​ D.J. Taylor than me, when it comes to untangling the unbelievably complicated and messy love lives of the so-called Horizon circle: the people who clustered adoringly around Cyril Connolly during his years as ...
18 July 1985
The Ponting Affair 
by Richard Norton-Taylor.
Cecil Woolf, 144 pp., £5.95, June 1985, 0 900821 74 4
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Who Killed Hilda Murrell? 
by Judith Cook.
New English Library, 182 pp., £1.95, June 1985, 0 450 05885 9
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... Without Richard Norton-Taylor of the Guardian, there would be no Belgrano affair, and doubtless Mr Clive Ponting OBE would be plying his way, ever upwards, in the Ministry of Defence. This is no exaggeration. Simply a statement ...

Wife Overboard

John Sutherland: Thackeray

20 January 2000
Thackeray 
by D.J. Taylor.
Chatto, 494 pp., £25, October 1999, 0 7011 6231 7
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... first came out. I have used it over the years and find it very perceptive. It was also the first biographical study to integrate a wealth of Thackeray illustration into its text, something that D.J. Taylor also does effectively. Taylor’s book represents a third generation of biography. His judgment on Thackeray is generous, but much less inclusive than Ray’s. The basis of Taylor’s admiration is ...

Having it both ways

Peter​ Clarke

27 January 1994
A.J.P. TaylorA Biography 
by Adam Sisman.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 468 pp., £18.99, January 1994, 1 85619 210 5
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A.J.P. TaylorThe Traitor within the Gates 
by Robert Cole.
Macmillan, 285 pp., £40, November 1993, 0 333 59273 5
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From Napoleon to the Second International: International Essays on the 19th Century 
by A.J.P. Taylor, edited by Chris Wrigley.
Hamish Hamilton, 426 pp., £25, November 1993, 0 241 13444 7
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... market through the columns of the popular press; the author of controversial works which made news as well as money. No one asked A.J.P. Who? Such tensions are worth exploring; and the more A.J.P. Taylor’s life is explored, the more tensions are disclosed. When he wrote his autobiography, he proposed to call it ‘An Uninteresting Story’, doubtless suspecting that his publishers would veto this ...
27 September 1990
A Very Decided Preference: Life with Peter​ Medawar 
by Jean Medawar.
Oxford, 256 pp., £15, August 1990, 0 19 217779 6
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The Threat and the Glory: Reflections on Science and Scientists 
by Peter​ Medawar, edited by David Pyke.
Oxford, 291 pp., £15, August 1990, 0 19 217778 8
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... Jean Taylor met Peter Medawar when they were students. When she married him she therefore knew that he was an extremely able biologist, but she cannot have foreseen what an energetic polymath she was attaching herself to ...
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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... risky and a radical departure from the paper’s traditional methods of recruiting staff. Whether I would have been quite so ebullient about it if I had known what I know now, after reading Geoffrey Taylor’s riveting book, is another matter entirely. To be sure, I knew that the dear old Grauniad was not exactly flush – my new salary would have told me that even if I hadn’t noticed that one of my ...
22 April 1993
Behind Closed Doors 
by Irving Scholar and Mihir Bose.
Deutsch, 367 pp., £14.99, November 1992, 0 233 98824 6
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Sick as a Parrot: The Inside Story of the Spurs Fiasco 
by Chris Horrie.
Virgin, 293 pp., £4.99, August 1992, 0 86369 620 1
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Gary Lineker: Strikingly Different 
by Colin Malam.
Stanley Paul, 147 pp., £12.99, January 1993, 0 09 175424 0
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... himself to Gatsby: ‘his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it.’ And he is forever boasting of his polished Euro-know-how, his multilingual communication skills. Peter Shreeve, who preceded David Pleat, was probably the sort of manager he would have wished Terry Venables to be, or to become: It was this reference to the French that was to produce a curious ...

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