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The Old, Bad Civilisation

Arnold Rattenbury: Second World War poetry, 4 October 2001

Selected Poems 
by Randall Swingler, edited by Andy Croft.
Trent, 113 pp., £7.99, October 2000, 1 84233 014 4
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British Writing of the Second World War 
by Mark Rawlinson.
Oxford, 256 pp., £35, June 2000, 0 19 818456 5
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... by a majority of more than 400.) In the same desert battles as Douglas’s, another poet, Hamish Henderson, would introduce his Elegies for the Dead in Cyrenaica (1942-47, published 1948) with most un-Douglas-like vocabulary and implication, speaking of ‘that eternally wronged proletariat of levelling death in which all the fallen are comrades’ – the ...

Colloquially Speaking

Patrick McGuinness: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945, 1 April 1999

The Penguin Book of Poetry from Britain and Ireland since 1945 
edited by Simon Armitage and Robert Crawford.
Viking, 480 pp., £10.99, September 1998, 0 670 86829 9
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The Firebox: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945 
edited by Sean O’Brien.
Picador, 534 pp., £16.99, October 1998, 0 330 36918 0
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... they were tussling with, A. Alvarez’s The New Poetry (which was tussling with its predecessor, Robert Conquest’s New Lines). ‘This anthology,’ they wrote in their preface to the Penguin Book of Contemporary British Poetry, ‘is intended to be didactic as well as representative.’ Though the things anthologies make happen may be confined to ...

How Left was he?

Paul Addison, 7 January 1993

John Maynard Keynes: The Economist as Saviour 1920-1937 
by Robert Skidelsky.
Macmillan, 731 pp., £20, November 1992, 0 333 37138 0
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Maynard Keynes: An Economist’s Biography 
by D.E. Moggridge.
Routledge, 941 pp., £35, April 1992, 9780415051415
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... Theory. A biographer of Keynes has to straddle two very different worlds, and it is one measure of Robert Skidelsky’s achievement that he writes with equal authority of both in this deeply researched and densely textured book. But what marks out his work as truly masterly is his portrayal of the interplay between the private and the public in Keynes, the ...

Jackson breaks the ice

Andrew Forge, 4 April 1991

Jackson Pollock: An American Saga 
by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith.
Barrie and Jenkins, 934 pp., £19.95, March 1990, 0 7126 3866 0
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Abstract Expressionism 
by David Anfam.
Thames and Hudson, 216 pp., £5.95, August 1990, 0 500 20243 5
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Night Studio: A Memoir of Philip Guston 
by Musa Mayer.
Thames and Hudson, 256 pp., £8.95, February 1991, 0 500 27633 1
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... it. Nor, they tell us, was he able to come to terms with his own sexuality. There are villains: Dr Henderson, Pollock’s Jungian analyst, Robert Motherwell, Clement Greenberg; and heroes and heroines: the sad, remote father, the brothers, particularly Sande, and his wife Arloie, Reuben Kadish, Roger Wilcox, Rita ...

Crypto-Republican

Simon Adams: Was Mary Queen of Scots a Murderer?, 11 June 2009

Burghley: William Cecil at the Court of Elizabeth I 
by Stephen Alford.
Yale, 412 pp., £25, May 2008, 978 0 300 11896 4
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... some were actually written by Mary to Lord Darnley at an earlier date. His leading opponent, T.F. Henderson, dismissed this theory on the grounds that, unlike Bothwell, Darnley could not read French, but we can no longer be so sure of that. In 1965, a Newcastle doctor, M.H. Armstrong Davison, advanced the ‘other woman thesis’ – that some of the letters ...

Joining them

Conrad Russell, 24 January 1985

Goodwin Wharton 
by J. Kent Clark.
Oxford, 408 pp., £15, November 1984, 0 19 212234 7
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Witchcraft and Religion 
by Christina Larner.
Blackwell, 184 pp., October 1984, 0 631 13447 6
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Lordship to Patronage: Scotland 1603-1745 
by Rosalind Mitchison.
Arnold, 198 pp., £5.95, November 1983, 0 7131 6313 5
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... thought drew more heavily on French monarchomachi than the English ever did, and a man like Robert Baillie felt more involved in the progress of the Thirty Years’ War than the English normally did. Indeed, it is an important part of why the Scots resisted the invention of ‘Anglicanism’ during the 1630s that they were far more aware than their ...

Hooked Trout

Geoffrey Best: Appeasement please, 2 June 2005

Making Friends with Hitler: Lord Londonderry and Britain’s Road to War 
by Ian Kershaw.
Allen Lane, 488 pp., £20, October 2004, 0 7139 9717 6
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... diplomacy, and even the two good British ambassadors in Berlin who preceded the lamentable Nevile Henderson, Horace Rumbold and Eric Phipps, could not quite make up their minds about the Führer. What they were sure of, however, was that Hitler was not to be trusted. Londonderry had a formal meeting with him in February 1936, during the first of his five ...

Woolsorters’ Disease

Hugh Pennington: The history of anthrax, 29 November 2001

... be added to spore suspensions to stop them clumping when they are prepared and dried, but as David Henderson from Porton Down said in 1952, in a journal to be found in any medical school library, ‘fortunately many substances added to the suspension will prevent clumping. The simplest and most effective that has been found is sodium alginate used in ...

Toshie Trashed

Gavin Stamp: The Glasgow School of Art Fire, 19 June 2014

... of Mackintosh came with the publication in 1968 of a study by the Canadian-born architect Robert Macleod, who concluded that he was ‘a last and remote efflorescence of a vital British tradition which reached back to Pugin … With his pursuit of the “modern”, his love of the old, and his obsessive individuality, he was one of the last and one of ...

Thank God for Traitors

Bernard Porter: GCHQ, 18 November 2010

GCHQ: The Uncensored Story of Britain’s Most Secret Intelligence Agency 
by Richard Aldrich.
Harper, 666 pp., £30, June 2010, 978 0 00 727847 3
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... lowest public profile. (How many spy novels can you think of that feature ‘sigint’, aside from Robert Harris’s Enigma?) Yet today it is probably the most important, and certainly the most expensive. It is housed in Cheltenham in ‘the largest building ever initiated by the British government’. The building is shaped like a doughnut, which is the ...

Just like Mother

Theo Tait: Richard Yates, 6 February 2003

Collected Stories 
by Richard Yates.
Methuen, 474 pp., £17.99, January 2002, 0 413 77125 3
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Revolutionary Road 
by Richard Yates.
Methuen, 346 pp., £6.99, February 2001, 0 413 75710 2
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The Easter Parade 
by Richard Yates.
Methuen, 226 pp., £10, January 2003, 0 413 77202 0
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... in Hollywood, but none of his scripts was ever produced. He worked as a speech-writer for Robert Kennedy, a career cut short by JFK’s assassination. Recently, there has been a considerable resurgence of interest in his writing, previously limited to a small but dedicated following among writers such as Richard Ford, Stewart O’Nan and Michael ...

Furibundo de la Serna

Laurence Whitehead, 2 November 1995

The Motorcycle Diaries: A Journey around South America 
by Ernesto Che Guevara, translated by Ann Wright.
Verso, 155 pp., £19.95, June 1995, 1 85984 942 3
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Che Guevara 
by Jean Cormier, with Hilda Guevara and Alberto Grando.
Editions du Rocher, 448 pp., frs 139, August 1995, 2 268 01967 5
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Journal de Bolivie 
by Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, translated by Fanchita Gonzalez- Batlle and France Binard.
La Découverte, 256 pp., frs 120, August 1995, 2 7071 2482 6
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L’Année ou nous n’étions nulle part: Extraits du journal de Che Guevara en Afrique 
edited by Paco Ignacio Taibo, Froilán Escóbar and Félix Guerra, translated by Mara Hernandez and René Solis.
Métaillié, 281 pp., frs 120, September 1995, 2 86424 205 2
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... Bolivia, General Rene Barrientos, apparently first consulted with the American Ambassador Douglas Henderson, then ordered Che to be summarily shot. (Jean Cormier’s new biography follows the Cuban line that this was a decision made in Washington.) Che’s diary of the Bolivian campaign was subsequently extracted from his captors, and published in 1968 to a ...

Heroes of Our Time

Karl Miller, 19 May 1988

The Monument 
by T. Behrens.
Cape, 258 pp., £11.95, May 1988, 0 224 02510 4
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The Passion of John Aspinall 
by Brian Masters.
Cape, 360 pp., £12.95, May 1988, 0 224 02353 5
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... They include Mr Gerald Albertini, The Rt Hon. Peter Archer MP, Miss Amanda Aspinall, Dr Robert Aspinall, The Duke of Atholl, Miss Julie Battersea, Mr Tom Begg, Dr Kurt Benirschke, Mr Robin Birley, Mr Anthony Blond, Mr Robert Boutwood, Mr Claus von Bülow, Mr Timothy Cassel, The Hon. Mr Alan Clark, Sir David Crouch ...

Gruesomeness is my policy

Richard J. Evans: German Colonialism, 9 February 2012

German Colonialism: A Short History 
by Sebastian Conrad.
Cambridge, 233 pp., £17.99, November 2011, 978 1 107 40047 4
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... as there was on the subject – the work of the Anglo-German economic historian William Otto Henderson was the outstanding instance – tended to focus on refuting the allegations of violence and brutality that had led to the empire’s dismantling and redistribution at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. By the 1960s these arguments were no longer very ...

What did they do in the war?

Angus Calder, 20 June 1985

Firing Line 
by Richard Holmes.
Cape, 436 pp., £12.95, March 1985, 0 224 02043 9
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The Right of the Line: The Royal Air Force in the European War 1939-1945 
by John Terraine.
Hodder, 841 pp., £14.95, March 1985, 0 340 26644 9
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The Bomber Command War Diaries: An Operational Reference Book 
by Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt.
Viking, 804 pp., £25, May 1985, 0 670 80137 2
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’45: The Final Drive from the Rhine to the Baltic 
by Charles Whiting.
Century, 192 pp., £7.95, March 1985, 0 7126 0812 5
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In the Ruins of the Reich 
by Douglas Botting.
Allen and Unwin, 248 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 9780049430365
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1945: The World We Fought For 
by Robert Kee.
Hamish Hamilton, 371 pp., £12.95, May 1985, 0 241 11531 0
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VE Day: Victory in Europe 1945 
by Robin Cross.
Sidgwick, 223 pp., £12.95, May 1985, 0 283 99220 4
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One Family’s War 
edited by Patrick Mayhew.
Hutchinson, 237 pp., £10.95, May 1985, 0 7126 0812 5
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Poems of the Second World War: The Oasis Selection 
edited by Victor Selwyn.
Dent, 386 pp., £12, May 1985, 0 460 10432 2
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My Life 
by Bert Hardy.
Gordon Fraser, 192 pp., £14.95, March 1985, 0 86092 083 6
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Victory in Europe: D Day to VE Day 
by Max Hastings and George Stevens.
Weidenfeld, 192 pp., £10.95, April 1985, 0 297 78650 4
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... more crazy if we were to have more casualties on our side to save the Japanese. This is quoted in Robert Kee’s 1945 – The World We Fought For. Kee’s method is to construct an account of the year from contemporary newspapers and journals. Its vice is that it can look rather lazily tacked together. Its virtue is that it helps us to see events as the ...

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