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All Together Now

John Lloyd: The British Trade Union

19 October 2000
British Trade Unions and Industrial Politics. Vol. I: The Postwar Compromise, 1945-64 
edited by John McIlroy and Nina Fishman et al.
Ashgate, 335 pp., £35, January 2000, 0 7546 0018 1
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British Trade Unions and Industrial Politics. Vol. II: The High Tide of Trade Unionism, 1964-79 
edited by John McIlroy and Nina Fishman et al.
Ashgate, 389 pp., £35, January 2000, 0 7546 0018 1
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The TUC: From the General Strike to New Unionism 
by Robert Taylor.
Palgrave, 299 pp., £45, September 2000, 0 333 93066 5
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... 1974-76 Governments and James Callaghan’s 1976-79 Administration spent more time cajoling, ‘standing up to’, browbeating, placating and schmoozing with union leaders than with any other group. RobertTaylor’s close account of the TUC has in it some wonderfully revealing passages on these (and other) periods: none so rich as the gathering of 1 June 1969 at Chequers which brought together Wilson ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: HBO

10 June 2010
... men either – they brandish their guns as if they were made of plastic – but they say ‘fuck you’ as if they’d just invented it. You might want to take that for granted, but you shouldn’t. RobertTaylor didn’t get to say ‘fuck you’ in the first American Pacific picture, Stand by for Action (1942). And neither did Anthony Quinn in Guadalcanal Diary (1943). There wasn’t a single ‘fuck ...

Forgetting

Nicholas Spice

7 February 1985
A Late Divorce 
by A.B. Yehoshua, translated by Hillel Halkin.
Harvill, 352 pp., £8.95, October 1984, 0 00 271448 5
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Machine Dreams 
by Jayne Anne Phillips.
Faber, 331 pp., £8.95, October 1984, 0 571 13398 3
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... out of college and drawn a bad number in the draft lottery, gets sent as a helicopter gunner to Vietnam. There are letters home, then a telegram from the US Army, then a letter from Billy’s mate, RobertTaylor: ‘We had no word of a hot zone but we came in very hot ...’ In my view, Phillips would have been wise to end her novel here, omitting the thirty pages which stand between the letter from ...

Squealing to Survive

John Lahr: Clancy was here

19 July 2018
Black Sunset: Hollywood Sex, Lies, Glamour, Betrayal and Raging Egos 
by Clancy Sigal.
Icon, 352 pp., £12.99, May 2018, 978 1 78578 439 2
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The London Lover: My Weekend that Lasted Thirty Years 
by Clancy Sigal.
Bloomsbury, 274 pp., £20, May 2018, 978 1 4088 8580 2
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... be” somebody else.’ With a chronically absent father – in fact, his father had a secret second family, so Clancy was doubly betrayed while hardly acknowledged – he grew up with Jimmy Cagney, Robert Mitchum and Clark Gable as his ‘movie fathers’. From an early age he developed what he calls a ‘star astigmatism’. R.D. Laing later told him he had ‘the makings of a first-class ...
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 ...

The Reptile Oculist

John Barrell: On the trail of the mysterious John Taylor

1 April 2004
... John Taylor, the journalist, newspaper editor and poet, was born in 1757. His grandfather, the legendary ‘Chevalier’ Taylor, had been oculist to George II, and afterwards, so his grandson assures us, to ‘every crowned head in Europe’. He was as famous for his womanising as for his knowledge of ophthalmology, but most ...
15 September 1983
Eve and the New Jerusalem: Socialism and Feminism in the 19th Century 
by Barbara Taylor.
Virago, 402 pp., £9.95, March 1983, 0 86068 257 9
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Virgins and Viragos: A History of Women in Scotland from 1080 to 1980 
by Rosalind Marshall.
Collins, 365 pp., £13.50, June 1983, 0 00 216039 0
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... England in 1844. By ‘English socialists’ Engels meant, not the wide range of heterogeneous sects whom the term would have embraced at any later period, but one specific group – the followers of Robert Owen. Like Engels himself, Robert Owen was an unusual figure among the founding fathers of socialism in that he was also a successful capitalist entrepreneur. Born in 1771, the son of a humble Welsh ...
11 October 1990
... The past, we’ve been told, is a different country and they do things differently there, but not for me, not where Alan Taylor is concerned. He had a most wonderfully consistent personality. That look of amused, quizzical discernment which is even in the photographs his third wife Eva took of him in the sunshine on the last ...

Heat-Seeking

Susan Pedersen: A.J.P. Taylor

10 May 2007
A.J.P. TaylorRadical Historian of Europe 
by Chris Wrigley.
Tauris, 439 pp., £25, August 2006, 1 86064 286 1
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... This is the third full biography of A.J.P. Taylor to appear since his death in 1990. I find this fact almost more interesting than anything in the biographies themselves. For more than two decades after the war Taylor was, very nearly, the public ...

Wizard of Ox

Paul Addison

8 November 1990
... Many tributes have been paid to Alan Taylor, including some by old and close friends who knew him very much better than I did. My excuse for adding one more piece is that I would like to explain something of what he meant to younger historians ...

Skimming along

Ross McKibbin

20 October 1994
The Major Effect 
edited by Anthony Seldon and Dennis Kavanagh.
Macmillan, 500 pp., £20, September 1994, 0 333 62273 1
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... a nice and affable man. But these are personal qualities. In politics nice is as nice does – or should be. And the governments in which he has served have done some very un-nice things indeed. As RobertTaylor points out in his trenchant essay on industrial relations, ‘prime ministerial words of compassion were often belied by harshness of executive action.’ Indeed, the Government seems largely ...

Where’s Esther?

Robert​ Alter: The Dead Sea Scrolls

12 September 2013
The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Biography 
by John Collins.
Princeton, 272 pp., £16.95, October 2012, 978 0 691 14367 5
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The Essenes, the Scrolls and the Dead Sea 
by Joan Taylor.
Oxford, 418 pp., £30, November 2012, 978 0 19 955448 5
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... of the era which we know about chiefly from Philo, Josephus and Pliny. As with almost everything else associated with the Scrolls, the identification has been hotly contested. A new book by Joan Taylor, a professor at King’s College London, does not really deal with the contents of the Scrolls but instead concentrates on two related issues: the nature of the Essenes and whether they were likely ...
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 ...

Did You Have Bombs?

Deborah Friedell: ‘The Other Elizabeth Taylor

6 August 2009
The Other Elizabeth Taylor 
by Nicola Beauman.
Persephone, 444 pp., £15, April 2009, 978 1 906462 10 9
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... Do novelists come nicer than Elizabeth Taylor? Her mother died of politeness – she developed appendicitis over Christmas, and didn’t want to interrupt the doctor’s holiday – but rather than renounce good manners on the spot, her ...
19 February 2004
John Clare: A Biography 
by Jonathan Bate.
Picador, 650 pp., £25, October 2003, 0 330 37106 1
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‘I Am’: The Selected Poetry of John Clare 
edited by Jonathan Bate.
Farrar, Straus, 318 pp., $17, November 2003, 0 374 52869 1
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John Clare, Politics and Poetry 
by Alan Vardy.
Palgrave, 221 pp., £45, October 2003, 0 333 96617 1
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John Clare Vol. V: Poems of the Middle Period 1822-37 
edited by Eric Robinson, David Powell and P.M.S. Dawson.
Oxford, 822 pp., £105, January 2003, 0 19 812386 8
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... that he was much more successful in his lifetime than Keats, with whom he shared a publisher). Clare was discovered in 1819, when Edward Drury, a young Stamford bookseller, wrote to his cousin John Taylor, who was also a bookseller – what we would now call a publisher – and told him that he had discovered a wholly untutored genius: Your hopes of good grammar and correct verse, depend on the ...

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