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Old Iron-Arse

Simon Collier: Latin America’s independence, 9 August 2001

Liberators: Latin America’s Struggle for Independence, 1810-30 
by Robert Harvey.
Murray, 561 pp., £25, May 2000, 0 7195 5566 3
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... It will end in 2025, with the bicentenary of the end of the wars and the independence of Bolivia. Robert Harvey’s splendid book gives us the first large-scale narrative of Latin America’s struggle for independence in English since – well, when exactly? It is hard to think of any comparable attempt to come to grips with the whole vast story, and in ...

How Much Is Too Much?

Benjamin Kunkel: Marx’s Return, 3 February 2011

The Enigma of Capital: And the Crises of Capitalism 
by David Harvey.
Profile, 296 pp., £14.99, April 2010, 978 1 84668 308 4
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A Companion to Marx’s ‘Capital’ 
by David Harvey.
Verso, 368 pp., £10.99, March 2010, 978 1 84467 359 9
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... the landmarks of Marxian economic thinking include Ernest Mandel’s Late Capitalism (1972), David Harvey’s Limits to Capital (1982), Giovanni Arrighi’s Long 20th Century (1994) and Robert Brenner’s Economics of Global Turbulence (2006), all expressly concerned with the grinding tectonics and punctual quakes of ...

Late Deceiver

Robert Blake, 17 September 1981

Anthony Eden 
by David Carlton.
Allen Lane, 528 pp., £20, August 1981, 0 7139 0829 7
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... biography is said, though I have never seen any public announcement, to have fallen on Robert Rhodes James. If so, it is an excellent decision. Meanwhile Mr David Carlton has produced a scholarly, well-written work of some five hundred pages. The author admits very fairly that it is in the nature of an interim verdict since the official records of ...

Spies and Secret Agents

Ken Follett, 19 June 1980

Conspiracy 
by Anthony Summers.
Gollancz, 639 pp., £9.95, May 1980, 0 575 02846 7
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The Man Who Kept the Secrets 
by Thomas Powers.
Weidenfeld, 393 pp., £10, April 1980, 0 297 77738 6
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... guns means two gunmen, and two gunmen make a conspiracy. But who was in the conspiracy? Well, Lee Harvey Oswald was. It is now fairly clear that he did not shoot the President, but it is equally clear that he was set up – probably willingly – to take the blame. He had played the role of patsy twice before. Summers argues convincingly that Oswald’s ...

Short Cuts

Stephen Sedley: Labour and Anti-Semitism, 10 May 2018

... When​ I was about eight my schoolfriend Harvey invited me to join his Anti-Jew Gang. I was born just after the outbreak of war, so this must have been 1947 or 1948. Harvey hadn’t the slightest idea what a Jew was, but since I was his friend it was evident I couldn’t be one ...

One Thing

John Bayley, 22 November 1990

Jean Rhys 
by Carole Angier.
Deutsch, 780 pp., £15.99, November 1990, 0 233 98597 2
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A Lot to Ask: A Life of Barbara Pym 
by Hazel Holt.
Macmillan, 308 pp., £14.99, November 1990, 0 333 40614 1
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... remained unbroken all her life. Would she have married the most ardent of these crushes – Henry Harvey, later of the British Council – if he had asked her? The answer seems to have been yes, in which case we might well have had no novels, as we should probably have had none if Jane Austen had taken the plunge. But at 19 she was already a dedicated ...

Unaccountables

Donald Davie, 7 March 1985

The Letters of Hugh MacDiarmid 
edited by Alan Bold.
Hamish Hamilton, 910 pp., £20, August 1984, 0 241 11220 6
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Between Moon and Moon: Selected Letters of Robert Graves 1946-1972 
edited by Paul O’Prey.
Hutchinson, 323 pp., £14.95, November 1984, 9780091557508
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... us to take the will for the deed. And he bad not much more interest in prosody than David Jones. Harvey Oxenhorn, in an admirably patient and respectful study,* points out MacDiarmid’s ‘need to provoke and convince’, and remarks: ‘As readers we are not much attuned these days to a verse of exhortation and overt opinion; where MacDiarmid’s writing ...

The Obdurate Knoll

Colin Kidd: The Obdurate Knoll, 1 December 2011

Then Everything Changed: Stunning Alternate Histories of American Politics: JFK, RFK, Carter, Ford, Reagan 
by Jeff Greenfield.
Putnam, 434 pp., £20.25, March 2011, 978 0 399 15706 6
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11.22.63 
by Stephen King.
Hodder, 740 pp., £19.99, November 2011, 978 1 4447 2729 6
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... seems to have been a dysfunctional misfit. Of course, the assassination had puzzling aspects: Lee Harvey Oswald’s lengthy stay in the Soviet Union during some of the hottest years of the Cold War; the unlikely trajectory of one of the three bullets fired from the Texas School Book Depository, the ‘magic bullet’ which passed through the president’s ...

Elegy for Gurney

Sarah Howe: Robert Edric, 4 December 2008

In Zodiac Light 
by Robert Edric.
Doubleday, 368 pp., £16.99, July 2008, 978 0 385 61258 6
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... Robert Edric specialises in historical backwaters. His novels, 19 to date, unfold in isolated fishing villages, colonial outposts or Alpine spa towns. What these places have in common is that they seem removed from larger political conflicts, though they replay them in claustrophobic miniature. Edric’s imagination has always been drawn to the peripheral, to characters who are set apart, or seeking a geography to match their sense of spiritual exile ...

Being splendid

Stephen Wall, 3 March 1988

Civil to Strangers 
by Barbara Pym.
Macmillan, 388 pp., £11.95, October 1987, 0 333 39128 4
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The Pleasure of Miss Pym 
by Charles Burkhart.
Texas, 120 pp., $17.95, July 1987, 0 292 76496 0
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The World of Barbara Pym 
by Janice Rossen.
Macmillan, 193 pp., £27.50, November 1987, 0 333 42372 0
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The Life and Work of Barbara Pym 
edited by Dale Salwak.
Macmillan, 210 pp., £27.50, April 1987, 0 333 40831 4
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... the diaries and letters already available. The early novels reflect Barbara Pym’s love for Henry Harvey, whom she met at Oxford; her alternately anguished and wry but unrewarded pursuit of him is affectingly revealed in the pre-war section of A Very Private Life, and it is touching to find that he visited her in hospital in Oxford three days before she ...

Achieving Disunity

Corey Robin, 25 October 2012

Age of Fracture 
by Daniel Rodgers.
Harvard, 360 pp., £14.95, September 2012, 978 0 674 06436 2
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... and provided much of the rationale for deregulation; the second wave of free-market economists (Robert Lucas, for example, or Gary Becker), who took apart the field of macroeconomics in favour of game theory, behavioural economics, rational expectations and other individualist approaches; and journalists like George Gilder and Jude Wanniski who recast the ...

American English

Robert Ilson, 6 May 1982

Oxford American Dictionary 
Oxford, 816 pp., £9.95, March 1981, 0 19 502795 7Show More
Longman New Generation Dictionary 
Longman, 798 pp., £3.95, July 1981, 0 582 55626 0Show More
Funk and Wagnalls Standard Desk Dictionary 
Harper and Row, 890 pp., £4.95, February 1981, 0 06 180254 9Show More
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... Robert Burchfield, Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, made a bid to unite two nations divided by a common language by unveiling the Oxford American Dictionary, which includes such words as gridlock (“urban traffic jam”). ’ So proclaimed the Sunday Telegraph Magazine. British and American English do indeed differ in all sorts of ways, as the following list of equivalent pairs will remind any doubters: lift/elevator, push-chair/stroller, bonnet/hood, boot/trunk, windscreen/windshield ...

Kindness rules

Gavin Millar, 8 January 1987

A Life in Movies 
by Michael Powell.
Heinemann, 705 pp., £15.95, October 1986, 9780434599455
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All Our Yesterdays: 90 Years of British Cinema 
edited by Charles Barr.
BFI, 446 pp., £12.95, October 1986, 0 85170 179 5
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... we can’t altogether accept the claims of his literary Muse, who allows him some felicities – Robert Flaherty was ‘like an Irish Bishop who had turned gangster’ – but more often lets him flounder (‘She was a neat chick’, of a Czech actress of the Thirties), we can at least salute the book’s utter transparency and lack of guile about both ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Irishman’, 5 December 2019

... no, very old actors – to become the age the time of the action requires. The 76-year-old Robert De Niro gets to play the 40-year-old Sheeran, as well as the same man at 55 and 83. For the record, Harvey Keitel (b. 1939), Al Pacino (b. 1940) and Joe Pesci (b. 1943) also get to inhabit different times, though ...

Thirty Years Ago

Patrick Parrinder, 18 July 1985

Still Life 
by A.S. Byatt.
Chatto, 358 pp., £9.95, June 1985, 0 7011 2667 1
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Wales’ Work 
by Robert Walshe.
Secker, 279 pp., £8.95, July 1985, 9780436561450
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... who gather around her, names such as Raphael Faber (compare Hardy’s Angel Clare), Hugh Pink, Harvey Organ, Ralph Tempest and Harold Manchester. Such names would belong in satire or pastoral but sit oddly in a fictional world which is so close to the fringes of the ‘real’ historical world that it offers walk-on parts to actual persons, including ...

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