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6 August 1992
Fatherland 
by Robert Harris.
Hutchinson, 372 pp., £14.99, May 1992, 0 09 174827 5
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... life rather than art to art, or fiction to fiction. In two respects, unfortunately, Fatherland by Robert Harris makes artistic comparisons inescapable. It belongs, first, to that select genre of fiction which deals in the Alternative Present, or in this case an alternative recent past. It is set in 1964 in the vast, imperial, intimidating Berlin of an ...

What is this Bernard?

Christopher Hitchens

10 January 1991
Good and Faithful Servant: The Unauthorised Biography of Bernard Ingham 
by Robert Harris.
Faber, 202 pp., £14.99, December 1990, 0 571 16108 1
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... Here was a then-regular sodality, consisting at different times of Kingsley Amis, Bernard Levin, Robert Conquest, Anthony Powell, Russell Lewis and assorted others, and calling itself with heavy and definite self-mockery ‘Bertorelli’s Blackshirts’. The conversational scheme was simple (I think it had evolved from a once-famous letter to the Times ...

The Lady in the Back Seat

Thomas Jones: Robert Harris’s Alternative Realities

15 November 2007
The Ghost 
by Robert Harris.
Hutchinson, 310 pp., £18.99, October 2007, 978 0 09 179626 6
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... Robert Harris’s first novel, Fatherland (1992), was a counterfactual historical thriller set in Nazi Germany in 1964. In the alternative reality of the book, Germany defeated the Soviet Union in the Caucasus in 1943, lured the Royal Navy to its destruction after learning that the British had cracked the Enigma code, and intimidated the United States into signing a peace treaty by successfully testing an atom bomb and launching an intercontinental V3 rocket across the Atlantic ...

Bevan’s Boy

John Campbell

20 September 1984
The Making of Neil Kinnock 
by Robert Harris.
Faber, 256 pp., £9.95, September 1984, 0 571 13266 9
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Neil Kinnock: The Path to Leadership 
by G.M.F. Drower.
Weidenfeld, 162 pp., £8.95, July 1984, 0 297 78467 6
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... to do so: it is the first great piece of luck on which his career has flourished. The second, as Robert Harris points out, was the date of his birth: Kinnock is just old enough to have imbibed at first hand from his parents, uncles and grandparents vivid memories of the hardship and degradation of Tredegar between the wars, but just young enough to have ...

Holy Relics

Alan Milward

3 April 1986
Selling Hitler: The story of the Hitler Diaries 
by Robert Harris.
Faber, 402 pp., £10.95, February 1986, 0 571 13557 9
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... boldly written about their authenticity in the Sunday Times, Murdoch swept him aside, according to Robert Harris, with the memorable line: ‘Fuck Dacre, publish.’ Meanwhile the historian David Irving denounced the diaries as fakes, on the radio and television of three countries, although he had no sound evidence for saying so. Two weeks later, when ...

Noddy is on page 248

Jay Griffiths: On the streets

10 June 1999
The Penguin Book of 20th-Century Protest 
edited by Brian MacArthur.
Penguin, 440 pp., £20, October 1998, 0 670 87052 8
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DIY Culture: Party and Protest in Nineties Britain 
edited by George McKay.
Verso, 310 pp., £11, July 1998, 1 85984 260 7
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... of, the Times on seven other pages. The Sunday Times features on six pages. The Times columnist Robert Harris gets two entries compared to Germaine Greer’s one, Gandhi’s one, or Mandela’s one. Noam Chomsky: nil. E.P Thompson: nil. The Times columnist Bernard Levin: two. Levin deserves a special mention. In the Times in May 1996, he implied that ...

Schadenfreude

R.W. Johnson

2 December 1993
The Downing Street Years 
by Margaret Thatcher.
HarperCollins, 914 pp., £25, October 1993, 0 00 255049 0
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... public reaction to the book has centred too narrowly on its slighting references to ex-colleagues. Robert Harris’s furious depiction of it (in the Independent on Sunday) as spluttering with ‘rage, malice, contempt and hatred’ is probably the extreme case. The memoirs of other premiers, Harris notes, have shown ...

Three Poems

Robert Crawford

24 June 2004
... falconer Shouting and shouting to a blank blue sky Until at last, just as he knew it would, The Harris hawk comes from its other world Beyond the human eye, senses his calling, Stoops, and disappears back into view. On Hereditary Slavery A bicycling monarchy? That talk Is wrong. We need to make them ...

No Bottle

Rose George: Water

18 December 2014
Drinking Water: A History 
by James Salzman.
Overlook Duckworth, 320 pp., £9.99, October 2013, 978 0 7156 4528 4
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Parched City: A History of London’s Public and Private Drinking Water 
by Emma Jones.
Zero Books, 361 pp., £17.99, June 2013, 978 1 78099 158 0
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Water 4.0: The Past, Present and Future of the World’s Most Vital Resource 
by David Sedlak.
Yale, 352 pp., £20, March 2014, 978 0 300 17649 0
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...  ...

Immoralist

José Harris

1 December 1983
John Maynard Keynes: Hopes Betrayed 1883-1920 
by Robert Skidelsky.
Macmillan, 447 pp., £14.95, November 1983, 0 333 11599 6
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... but of symbolic logic). Such an acquiescence in classical models is scarcely surprising since, as Robert Skidelsky clearly demonstrates, there was virtually nothing in the world before 1914 to suggest to an academic liberal of Keynes’s background that the classical economic system had failed or broken down. Keynes’s economics before 1914 were therefore ...
21 November 1991
A Passion for Government: The Life of Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough 
by Frances Harris.
Oxford, 421 pp., £25, September 1991, 0 19 820224 5
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... woman have in the past been numerous but in the main soft-centred, preoccupied – as Frances Harris puts it – with her ‘tempestuous personal relationships’. Harris’s own book, by contrast, is founded on careful research in some twenty-five different archives on both sides of the Atlantic. As a curator of the ...
9 September 1993
The Ern Malley Affair 
by Michael Heyward.
Faber, 278 pp., £15, August 1993, 0 571 16781 0
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... to the only avant-garde journal of the time, Angry Penguins. Angry Penguins was edited by Max Harris, a student at Adelaide University, and John Reed, who was 10 years Harris’s senior and lived just outside Melbourne. Independently wealthy, Reed was committed to sponsoring any form of artistic originality that caught ...

Browning Versions

Barbara Everett

4 August 1983
Robert Browning: A Life within Life 
by Donald Thomas.
Weidenfeld, 334 pp., £12.95, August 1982, 0 297 78092 1
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The Elusive Self in the Poetry of Robert Browning 
by Constance Hassett.
Ohio, 186 pp., £17, December 1982, 0 8214 0629 9
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The Complete Works of Robert Browning. Vol. V 
edited by Roma King.
Ohio, 395 pp., £29.75, July 1981, 9780821402207
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The Poetical Works of Robert Browning: Vol. I 
edited by Ian Jack and Margaret Smith.
Oxford, 543 pp., £45, April 1983, 0 19 811893 7
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Robert Browning: The Poems 
edited by John Pettigrew and Thomas Collins.
Yale/Penguin, 1191 pp., £26, January 1982, 0 300 02675 7
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Robert Browning: ‘The Ring and the Book’ 
edited by Richard Altick.
Yale/Penguin, 707 pp., £21, May 1981, 0 300 02677 3
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... his spouse to a dazed friend with ‘That’s My First Wife Up There, and This Is the Present Mrs Harris.’ The first Mrs Harris seems to be crouched on all fours on the top of a very high (glazed) bookcase, just behind the second Mrs Harris. This image has found an appreciative audience ...

Tuesday Girl

Colin Burrow: Seraphick Love

6 March 2003
Transformations of Love: The Friendship of John Evelyn and Margaret Godolphin 
by Frances Harris.
Oxford, 330 pp., £25, January 2003, 0 19 925257 2
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... remained one of Evelyn’s friends for most of his life. He also enjoyed what was called, after Robert Boyle had popularised the term, ‘seraphick love’ with Anne Russell (whom he dubbed ‘Platona’) and Elizabeth Carey (who became his ‘Electra’). It is exceptionally hard to describe what Evelyn felt for these women: probably it is best to say that ...

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