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Rug Time

Jonathan Steinberg, 20 October 1983

Kissinger: The Price of Power 
by Seymour Hersh.
Faber, 699 pp., £15, October 1983, 0 571 13175 1
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... suffer the indignity of having his phone tapped. The lessons of court life are quickly learned. As Roger Morris, one of Kissinger’s original bright young men, put it, in describing the irresistible rise of Al Haig: ‘ “Al was the ultimate special assistant,” he says. “There’s a whole culture in the Defence Department and in the White House. The ...

Knucklehead Truman

Douglas Johnson, 2 June 1983

The Eisenhower Diaries 
edited by Robert Ferrell.
Norton, 445 pp., £15.25, April 1983, 0 393 01432 0
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The Life and Times of Joe McCarthy: A Biography 
by Thomas Reeves.
Blond and Briggs, 819 pp., £11.95, June 1983, 0 85634 131 2
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The past has another pattern 
by George Ball.
Norton, 544 pp., £14.95, September 1982, 0 393 01481 9
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Torn Lace Curtain 
by Frank Saunders and James Southwood.
Sidgwick, 361 pp., £7.95, March 1983, 0 283 98946 7
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The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Path to Power 
by Robert Caro.
Collins, 882 pp., £15, February 1983, 0 00 217062 0
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The Politician: The Life and Times of Lyndon Johnson 
by Ronnie Dugger.
Norton, 514 pp., £13.25, September 1982, 9780393015980
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Years of Upheaval 
by Henry Kissinger.
Weidenfeld/Joseph, 1312 pp., £15.95, March 1982, 0 7181 2115 5
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Richard Nixon: The Shaping of his Character 
by Fawn Brodie.
Norton, 574 pp., £14.95, October 1982, 0 393 01467 3
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Haig: The General’s Progress 
by Roger Morris.
Robson, 458 pp., £8.95, October 1982, 9780860511885
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Keeping Faith: Memoirs of a President 
by Jimmy Carter.
Collins, 622 pp., £15, November 1982, 0 00 216648 8
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Crisis: The Last Year of the Carter Presidency 
by Hamilton Jordan.
Joseph, 431 pp., £12.95, November 1982, 0 7181 2248 8
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Power and Principle: Memoirs of the National Security Adviser 1977-81 
by Zbigniew Brzezinski.
Weidenfeld, 587 pp., £15, April 1983, 0 297 78220 7
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... only knew a few politicians’). What emerges from the Kissinger and Brzezinski memoirs, and from Roger Morris’s hostile account of Haig’s career, is not only the extent and the seriousness of the in-fighting that accompanies the process of nomination: the ensuing struggle for access to the President takes on a life, and a reality, all of its ...

Dear Lad

Penelope Fitzgerald, 19 March 1981

The Simple Life: C.R. Ashbee in the Cotswolds 
by Fiona MacCarthy.
Lund Humphries, 204 pp., £7.95, January 1981, 0 85331 435 7
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Philip Mairet: Autobiographical and Other Papers 
edited by C.H. Sisson.
Carcanet, 266 pp., £7.95, February 1981, 0 85635 326 4
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... and is said to have been cut off with £1000. At Cambridge, where his closest friends were Roger Fry and Lowes Dickinson, he was passionately open to influences, as to the winds that blow. In 1886, Edward Carpenter came on a visit, and ‘after supper we had a delightful walk through the green cornfields in the afterglow. He unfolded to me a wonderful ...

Forster in Cambridge

Richard Shone, 30 July 2020

... in the large, high-ceilinged room with its mass of Victorian furniture, books and pictures against Morris-style wallpaper, curtains drawn, softly lit by table lamps. Then I discovered Forster in a cushiony chair by the fireplace, glass of red Cinzano in hand. He offered me one and we settled down. It wasn’t immediately easy but after some pleasantries (and ...


Rosemary Hill, 5 December 1991

Gertrude Jekyll 
by Sally Festing.
Viking, 323 pp., £17.99, October 1991, 0 670 82788 6
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People’s Parks 
by Hazel Conway.
Cambridge, 287 pp., £49.50, August 1991, 0 521 39070 2
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The History of Garden Design: The Western Tradition from the Renaissance to the Present Day 
edited by Monique Mosser and Georges Teyssot.
Thames and Hudson, 543 pp., £45, May 1991, 0 500 01511 2
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... London offered some curious sights in the 1840s. To the north in Epping Forest the infant William Morris could be seen riding out in a toy suit of armour, while down in Surrey, in the Tillingbourne Valley, little Gertrude Jekyll was learning to make gunpowder. In the event it was Morris who became the political ...


Nicolas Freeling: On Missing the Detective Story, 11 June 1992

... monument; would make a fine pyramid of skulls but who would be bothered? ‘Who cares who killed Roger Ackroyd?’ shouted Edmund Wilson, exasperated, but it would barely be a mutter today. For who, sleepless in the guest bedroom in even the dankest of shires, is going to pounce gleefully upon Freeman Wills Crofts? But in 1930 – name to conjure with. Does ...

Running on Empty

Christopher Hitchens: The Wrong Stuff, 7 January 1999

A Man in Full 
by Tom Wolfe.
Cape, 742 pp., £20, November 1998, 0 224 03036 1
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... of Atlanta, Wes Jordan (get it?), as he shoots the shit with the upwardly mobile black attorney Roger White II, who is known to homeboys (get it?) as Roger Too White: ‘But you, Wes? As I remember, you used to laugh at all this Afrocentric business. I remember one night – when was it? – ’87 – ’88 – you made ...

At Pallant House

Rosemary Hill: Victor Pasmore, 20 April 2017

... like Boulogne. The spell of France, transmitted through Bloomsbury by Clark and the criticism of Roger Fry, was compounded by Pasmore’s overly cerebral approach. He read Van Gogh and Cézanne and, concluding that ‘their theories were far in advance of what they were actually painting’, decided to apply their ideas to his own work. This growing interest ...


Peter Pulzer, 20 February 1986

The Redefinition of Conservatism: Politics and Doctrine 
by Charles Covell.
Macmillan, 267 pp., £27.50, January 1986, 0 333 38463 6
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Thinkers of the New Left 
by Roger Scruton.
Longman, 227 pp., £9.95, January 1986, 0 582 90273 8
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The Idea of Liberalism: Studies for a New Map of Politics 
by George Watson.
Macmillan, 172 pp., £22.50, November 1985, 0 333 38754 6
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Socialism and Freedom 
by Bryan Gould.
Macmillan, 109 pp., £25, November 1985, 0 333 40580 3
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... the dominant figures are far removed from the Methodism, or the cultural critique of Ruskin and Morris, that was once the ethical basis of the Labour movement. What of the anti-revolutionaries? Neo-liberals are not particularly concerned to beat down the legacies of 1789 and 1848, and they view even 1917 with equanimity, given their faith in the power of ...

Wild Hearts

Peter Wollen, 6 April 1995

Virginia Woolf 
by James King.
Hamish Hamilton, 699 pp., £25, September 1994, 0 241 13063 8
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... direction’ that could have been developed further. The Pre-Raphaelites had a similar impact on Morris. With Bloomsbury, Sharratt said that we might look at the avenue Keynes opened up by connecting economic theory with psychoanalysis. Sharratt’s argument was that though these groups might have been re-absorbed, they always left a subversive residue, a ...

Hegel in Green Wellies

Stefan Collini: England, 8 March 2001

England: An Elegy 
by Roger Scruton.
Chatto, 270 pp., £16.99, October 2000, 1 85619 251 2
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The Faber Book of Landscape Poetry 
edited by Kenneth Baker.
Faber, 426 pp., £25, October 2000, 0 571 20071 0
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... School and eventually to qualify as a teacher, later moving to leafy Buckinghamshire, where young Roger grew up. But Jack Scruton nursed a vivid sense of the grievances of his class. He was not just Old Labour, he was Paleo-Labour: the country was in the grip of a ruling class whose comfortable way of life rested on the exploitation of the workers. Scruton ...


Terry Eagleton: T.S. Eliot’s Politics, 19 September 2002

The ‘Criterion’: Cultural Politics and Periodical Networks in Interwar Britain 
by Jason Harding.
Oxford, 250 pp., £35, April 2002, 9780199247172
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... pedigree and civility, it has little in common with Eliot’s benignly landowning, regionalist, Morris-dancing, church-centred social ideal. Even so, there are affinities as well as contrasts between Fascism and conservative reaction. If the former touts a demonic version of blood and soil, the latter promotes an angelic one. Both are elitist, authoritarian ...


Paul Laity: Henry Woodd Nevinson, 3 February 2000

... and William Roberts – and a revolutionary moment in British art. Even to express support for Roger Fry’s Post-Impressionist exhibitions was daring and radical. Nevinson, having seen a contemporary art show in Venice, knew he was ‘bored with the old Masters’. He was ambitious and keen to be liked, but socially difficult. A photo survives of a Slade ...

Sexual Politics

Michael Neve, 5 February 1981

Edward Carpenter, 1844-1929: Prophet of Human Fellowship 
by Chushichi Tsuzuki.
Cambridge, 237 pp., £15, November 1980, 0 521 23371 2
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... The now semi-legendary Thompson announced in 1955 that Carpenter (unlike, of course, William Morris) represented the cosy intellectualism of those ‘whose aspirations are satisfied today by comfortably converted old cottages on the rural fringes of great towns, a goat in the paddock, and an occasional bout of classless bonhomie and darts in the village ...

Francis and Vanessa

Peter Campbell, 15 March 1984

Francis Bacon 
by Michel Leiris, translated by John Weightman.
Phaidon, 271 pp., £50, September 1983, 0 7148 2218 3
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Vanessa Bell 
by Frances Spalding.
Weidenfeld, 399 pp., £12.95, August 1983, 0 297 78162 6
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The Omega Workshops 
by Judith Collins.
Secker, 310 pp., £15.95, January 1984, 0 436 10562 4
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The Omega Workshops 1913-1919: Decorative Arts of Bloomsbury 
Crafts Council, 96 pp., £6.95, March 1984, 0 903798 72 7Show More
The Omega Workshops: Alliance and Enmity in English Art 1911-1920 
Anthony d’Offay Gallery, 80 pp., £4.95, February 1984, 0 947564 00 4Show More
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... studies to start chomping through the Omega files and spinning a story from them. Omega was Roger Fry’s creation. The Omega style was a response to Post-Impressionism. Fry not only organised the 1910 and 1912 Post-Impressionist exhibitions, he invented the very name. He was a publicist of genius. The workshops would not have lasted the six years they ...

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