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David Underdown, 4 May 1989

Village Revolts: Social Protest and Popular Disturbances in England 1509-1640 
by Roger Manning.
Oxford, 354 pp., £35, February 1988, 0 19 820116 8
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... in so far as it was reasonable to do so? The rural riots described at such length by Professor Manning were, in this view, simply blind Luddite protests by people defending their own outmoded special interests against the onward march of modernisation and the marketplace, though in some of them agrarian grievances were merely pretexts for the pursuit of ...

Underneath the Spreading Christmas Tree

Gareth Stedman Jones, 22 December 1994

Private Lives, Public Spirit: A Social History of Britain 1870-1914 
by José Harris.
Oxford, 283 pp., £17.95, June 1993, 0 19 820412 4
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... 1910, the year of the Post-Impressionist Exhibition (the birth of the modern world, according to Roger Fry); or, more obviously, 1914. The terms of this contrast were clearly implied in Lytton Strachey’s Eminent Victorians, published in 1918. Of Strachey’s chosen targets, Cardinal Manning was a self-deceiving ...

A Dreadful Drumming

Theo Tait: Ghosts, 6 June 2013

The Undiscovered Country: Journeys among the Dead 
by Carl Watkins.
Bodley Head, 318 pp., £20, January 2012, 978 1 84792 140 6
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A Natural History of Ghosts: 500 Years of Hunting for Proof 
by Roger Clarke.
Particular, 360 pp., £20, November 2012, 978 1 84614 333 5
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... the heart and burned the ashes, banishing the revenant for ever. In A Natural History of Ghosts, Roger Clarke retells ‘the first true modern ghost story’, from Pliny’s letters, about a house in Athens haunted by ‘an old man, emaciated and filthy, with a long beard and unkempt hair’, who rattled his chains and drove the inhabitants to illness and ...

Stupid Questions

Laleh Khalili: Battlefield to Boardroom, 24 February 2022

Risk: A User’s Guide 
by Stanley McChrystal and Anna Butrico.
Penguin, 343 pp., £20, October 2021, 978 0 241 48192 9
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... communist. I hadn’t known that this was McChrystal’s idea. He also told his officers to read Roger Trinquier’s Modern Warfare, a French counterinsurgency handbook designed for use in Algeria and famous for its advocacy of torture.McChrystal followed his memoir with three business self-help manuals, published at three-year intervals and copyrighted to ...

Memories are made of this

Patricia Beer, 16 December 1993

Aren’t We Due a Royalty Statement? 
by Giles Gordon.
Chatto, 352 pp., £16.99, August 1993, 0 7011 6022 5
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Yesterday Came Suddenly 
by Francis King.
Constable, 336 pp., £16.95, September 1993, 9780094722200
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Excursions in the Real World 
by William Trevor.
Hutchinson, 201 pp., £16.99, September 1993, 0 09 177086 6
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... to be difficult and in London there seems to have been no lack of choice. The sketch of Olivia Manning is one of the best. He presents her irritating, often unpleasant vagaries with something like affection. It is part of King’s technique that when he has something nasty to say he quotes somebody else as saying it: a device that is several years older ...

What Is Great about Ourselves

Pankaj Mishra: Closing Time, 21 September 2017

The Retreat of Western Liberalism 
by Edward Luce.
Little, Brown, 240 pp., £16.99, May 2017, 978 1 4087 1041 8
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The Fate of the West: Battle to Save the World’s Most Successful Political Idea 
by Bill Emmott.
Economist, 257 pp., £22, May 2017, 978 1 61039 780 3
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The Road to Somewhere: The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics 
by David Goodhart.
Hurst, 256 pp., £20, March 2017, 978 1 84904 799 9
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The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics 
by Mark Lilla.
Harper, 143 pp., £20, August 2017, 978 0 06 269743 1
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The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam 
by Douglas Murray.
Bloomsbury, 343 pp., £18.99, May 2017, 978 1 4729 4224 1
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... May reproved ‘citizens of nowhere’ for their rootless cosmopolitanism. Moreover, the straw-manning of multiculturalism has been popular in Britain’s right-wing press since Khomeini’s fatwa against Salman Rushdie. And there is nothing ‘post-liberal’ about arguments for a less diverse population. Liberalism, flatteringly identified by Goodhart ...

The Great Fear

William Lamont, 21 July 1983

Charles I and the Popish Plot 
by Caroline Hibbard.
North Carolina, 342 pp., £21, May 1983, 0 8078 1520 9
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Charles I: The Personal Monarch 
by Charles Carlton.
Routledge, 426 pp., £14.95, June 1983, 9780710094858
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The Puritan Moment: The Coming of Revolution in an English County 
by William Hunt.
Harvard, 365 pp., £24, April 1983, 0 674 73903 5
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... source has enjoyed so much esteem: the writings of the respected contemporary historian, Brian Manning, are heavily derivative on Baxter for an explanation of how a constitutional struggle (1640-3) broadened into a religious struggle (1643-9). But such reliance is dangerous. For one thing, as we have seen, it is an account written after the ...

Ah, la vie!

Ruth Bernard Yeazell: Lytton Strachey’s letters, 1 December 2005

The Letters of Lytton Strachey 
edited by Paul Levy.
Viking, 698 pp., £30, March 2005, 0 670 89112 6
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... his parents’ generation can still relish his devastating satire of the all-too-worldly Cardinal Manning or his shrewd portrait of the demons that drove the supposedly saintly Florence Nightingale. Yet Strachey himself seems less our contemporary now than he did when Michael Holroyd’s biography appeared in the late 1960s. Greeting the publication of ...

White Lie Number Ten

Nicholas Jose: Australia’s aboriginal sovereignty, 19 February 1998

Race Matters: Indigenous Australians and ‘Our’ Society 
edited by Gillian Cowlishaw and Barry Morris.
Aboriginal Studies Press, 295 pp., AUS $29.95, March 1998, 0 85575 294 7
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Aboriginal Sovereignty: Reflections on Race, State and Nation 
by Henry Reynolds.
Allen and Unwin, 221 pp., AUS $17.95, July 1996, 1 86373 969 6
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... Governor George Gipps, portrayed with careful scholarship and a novelist’s empathy by Roger Millis in his monumental Water-loo Creek (1992), arrived in Sydney in 1838 wielding the report of a House of Commons committee chaired by the Quaker anti-slavery campaigner and philanthropist Thomas Fowell Buxton. The report was scathing about the treatment ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 1995, 4 January 1996

... been playing, with, responsible for their suppression, the commissioner of police for Bruges, one Roger de Bris. This gives quiet pleasure as it’s also the name of the transvestite stage director in Mel Brooks’s The Producers, who makes his appearance bare-shouldered and in a heavy ball gown. 7 March. Our pillar box is now emptied at 9 a.m. not by the ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan, 7 June 2018

... lead his brother to safety but the police wouldn’t let him. They had set up a cordon and were manning it, their faces full of panic. A crowd of young Muslim boys just back from the mosque were agitating to get past. Omar looked up and could see that the flames were almost in their flat. ‘I want to speak to the family,’ Mohammad said and Omar’s heart ...

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