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Diary

Thomas Jones: Death in Florence

21 June 2012
... mother’s father’s father, a year before the First World War began, was registered at the British Consulate in Florence on 29 September 1913, a Monday. According to his death certificate, RichardRoberts, a 67-year-old Justice of the Peace and builder, staying at the Hotel Londres & Métropole in Florence, died at the hospital of Santa Maria Nuova on Saturday, 27 September 1913. The consul ...
9 May 2019
... a convoy of trucks carrying drilling equipment to the Preston New Road fracking site in Lancashire, operated by Cuadrilla. At around 8 a.m. on 25 July 2017, as seven lorries approached the site, RichardRoberts, a piano restorer from London, got through a police cordon and climbed on top of the first lorry, bringing the convoy to a standstill. Rich Loizou, a teacher from Devon, climbed onto the cab ...

Better off in a Stocking

Jamie Martin: The Financial Crisis of 1914

21 May 2014
Saving the City: The Great Financial Crisis of 1914 
by Richard Roberts.
Oxford, 320 pp., £20, November 2013, 978 0 19 964654 8
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... to put the summer’s crisis quickly behind it. This is one of the reasons that the 1914 financial crisis has been almost completely forgotten. This act of historical amnesia is one of the themes of RichardRoberts’s Saving the City, the only major book-length treatment of this topic to appear since 1915. On Roberts’s account, people at the time didn’t really distinguish between the distinct ...

Urban Humanist

Sydney Checkland

15 September 1983
Exploring the Urban Past: Essays in Urban History by H.J. Dyos 
edited by David Cannadine and David Reeder.
Cambridge, 258 pp., £20, September 1982, 0 521 24624 5
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Themes in Urban History: Patricians, Power and Politics in 19th-Century Towns 
edited by David Cannadine.
Leicester University Press, 224 pp., £16.50, October 1982, 9780718511937
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... for the Butes, in the sense that the family might well have done better had they left the dock-making to others and captured the collateral advantages of growth. The industrial frontier of which Richard Trainor writes, the Black Country, was a more complex affair. He has two noble families, the Earls of Dartmouth and Dudley, together with their respective towns, West Bromwich and Dudley. The Black ...
9 May 1996
John Wayne: American 
by Randy Roberts and James Olson.
Free Press, 738 pp., £17.99, March 1996, 0 02 923837 4
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... in the United States. It contained more chapters of the John Birch Society than the rest of the country combined, and John Wayne was in one of them. Orange County is in Southern California, home of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, of Hollywood, Disneyland and John Wayne. Nixon would have lost his home state and the White House in 1968 without his Southern California support. At the 1984 Republican ...

Falling Stars

Alan Coren

5 November 1981
Richard​ Burton 
by Paul Ferris.
Weidenfeld, 212 pp., £7.95, September 1981, 0 297 77966 4
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Peter Sellers 
by Alexander Walker.
Weidenfeld, 240 pp., £7.95, September 1981, 0 297 77965 6
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... It is not easy to determine which is the better book. Richard Burton was printed by Butler and Tanner Limited, Peter Sellers by the Fakenham Press, and since the one establishment is in Somerset and the other in Norfolk, it is fair to absolve both of them from ...

Excessive Bitters

Jenny Diski: The blind man who went around the world

7 September 2006
A Sense of the World: How a Blind Man Became History’s Greatest Traveller 
by Jason Roberts.
Simon and Schuster, 382 pp., £12.99, August 2006, 0 7432 3966 0
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... in the end. What was odd was that the doctors’ demands were all in the name of making her independent. Choosing to sit on her bed when the light of the world was dimming was not an option. Jason Roberts describes something of the same behaviour in James Holman who, in 1810, suddenly went blind at the age of 25: Once hope of a cure is extinguished in the newly blind adult, there is typically a ...

At the Imperial War Museum

Gaby Wood: Lee Miller

17 December 2015
... to be shown in a war. Lee Miller: A Woman’s War (until 24 April) reveals this more clearly than any earlier grouping of her photographs. The exhibition has been rigorously conceived by Hilary Roberts, who has done excellent work in the past on the photographic history of World War One, and on the war work of Miller’s nemesis Cecil Beaton. Roberts has assembled a collection to prove her ...

Most Curious of Seas

Richard​ Fortey: Noah’s Flood

1 July 1999
Noah’s Flood: The New Scientific Discoveries about the Event that Changed History 
by William Ryan and Walter Pitman.
Simon and Schuster, 319 pp., £17.99, February 1999, 0 684 81052 2
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... University of Melbourne and an expert in Turkish geology, recently placed his livelihood in peril to challenge what he sees as Creationist nonsense. A group of local fundamentalists, led by one Allen Roberts, claimed to have found ‘scientific’ evidence of the remains of Noah’s Ark. Plimer counter-claimed that this alleged evidence is a natural geological structure, a syncline, located about 20 ...
1 August 1996
Washington Babylon 
by Alexander Cockburn and Ken Silverstein.
Verso, 316 pp., £31.95, May 1996, 1 85984 092 2
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... the circulation of élites’, Cockburn and Silverstein follow the former Kentucky Junior Miss Diane Sawyer, as she moves from ‘Henry K’s lap’ to the former Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke to her current husband, Hollywood director, Mike Nichols. Sawyer, also circulating from the Nixon White House to CBS’s 60 Minutes to ABC’s Prime Time, earns almost as much in a single ...

Zigzags

John Bossy

4 April 1996
The New Oxford History of England. Vol. II: The Later Tudors 
by Penry Williams.
Oxford, 628 pp., £25, September 1995, 0 19 822820 1
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... extra volume on 1914-45, does not much ring in the mind, except for its first two volumes (Collingwood and Myres, and Stenton) and Taylor’s. I doubt if the new one will fare any better. John Roberts, the general editor, does not show his hand in detail, and we must keep our fingers crossed about the whole being greater than the parts by giving ‘an account of the development of our country in ...

Diary

Ian Hamilton: Sport Poetry

23 January 1986
... of Ardiles ought not to be neglected for too long. As it turned out, he played beautifully, and after about half an hour I was beginning to feel some of the old tension and contentment. Then Graham Roberts struck. With the ball nowhere in sight, Spurs’ neanderthal defender followed through on Charlie Nicholas with such force that the Scot was hurtled over the groundside hoardings into about the fifth ...

English Butter

David Trotter

9 October 1986
Englishness: Politics and Culture 1880-1920 
edited by Robert Colls and Philip Dodd.
Croom Helm, 378 pp., £25, June 1986, 0 7099 0849 0
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The Character Factory: Baden-Powell and the Origins of the Boy Scout Movement 
by Michael Rosenthal.
Collins, 335 pp., £15, August 1986, 0 00 217604 1
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Oxford and Empire: The Last Lost Cause? 
by Richard​ Symonds.
Macmillan, 366 pp., £29.50, July 1986, 0 333 40206 5
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... The editors of Englishness: Politics and Culture 1880-1920 emphasise continuity: ‘it is within the shadow of that period, and its meanings, that we still live.’ They choose as their epigraph Richard Shannon’s claim that ‘the characteristic “Englishness” of English culture was made then very much what it is now.’ The essays they have collected aim to describe the institutions, policies ...

Half a pirate

Patrick O’Brian

22 January 1987
Captain Kidd and the War against the Pirates 
by Robert Ritchie.
Harvard, 306 pp., £16.95, November 1986, 0 674 09501 4
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Richard​ Knight’s Treasure! The True Story of his Extraordinary Quest for Captain Kidd’s Cache 
by Glenys Roberts.
Viking, 198 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 670 80761 3
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... people love to believe, and in spite of all the sensible reasons against the existence of Captain Kidd’s buried treasure, many go in search of it. Some indeed find it, and the latest of these is Richard Knight, whose adventures are told by Glenys Roberts. It appears that Mr Knight, putting all the clues together, found three of the Captain’s buried chests on a small island off the coast of Vietnam ...
25 July 1991
Stanley: The Making of an African Explorer 
by Frank McLynn.
Constable, 411 pp., £17.95, October 1989, 0 09 462420 8
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Stanley: Sorcerer’s Apprentice 
by Frank McLynn.
Constable, 499 pp., £25, January 1991, 0 09 470220 9
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Dark Safari: The Life behind the Legend of Henry Morton Stanley 
by John Bierman.
Hodder, 401 pp., £17.95, January 1991, 0 340 50977 5
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... New documentary sources,’ he writes, ‘include the hitherto unpublished expedition journals of William Grant Stairs and memoirs of Alice Pike Barney’; he also pays generous tribute to Richard Hall’s earlier biography, ‘a model of hard-nosed and painstaking investigation’. Hall was the first to reveal Stanley’s secret engagement to Alice Pike. Unfortunately, his excitement over ...

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