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Slippery Prince

Graham Robb: Napoleon III

19 June 2003
Napoleon III and His Regime: An Extravaganza 
by David Baguley.
Louisiana State, 392 pp., £38.50, December 2000, 0 8071 2624 1
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The French Second Empire: An Anatomy of Political Power 
by Roger Price.
Cambridge, 507 pp., £55, January 2002, 0 521 80830 8
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... Amazingly, he won 74.2 per cent of the vote in the Presidential election of December 1848. As Roger Price says in The French Second Empire, this was the first time that the entire male population of a major European state had been able to vote. The fact that it voted for a Bonaparte reflects the political, economic and social fragility of France in ...
2 March 2000
Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism 
by John Cooley.
Pluto, 276 pp., £20, June 1999, 0 7453 1328 0
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... amply documented, is that virtually everyone involved in the Afghan affair paid an extortionate price. Afghanistan itself lay in ruins. The Afghan debacle hastened the end of the Soviet empire. Thousands of embittered war veterans returned to a humiliated Russia; many of them had become drug addicts. China faced an aggravated Muslim insurgency. And America ...

Short Cuts

Christopher Tayler: Costume Drama

11 October 2012
... in this production). There were too many smug interpolations: a visit to one of Roger Fry’s Post-Impressionist exhibitions, ladies coming and going talking of Michelangelo etc. But the script did a heroic job of sculpting followable storylines while making some of the nuances TV-comprehensible. In the largely confected Episode 2, it even ...
10 November 1994
Hanson: A Biography 
by Alex Brummer and Roger Cowe.
Fourth Estate, 336 pp., £20, September 1994, 1 85702 189 4
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... Manchester on packhorses – pulsed through the veins of her great-grandsons,’ Alex Brummer and Roger Cowe write without a trace of irony. One of these was Robert Hanson, the great James’s father, through whose veins the entrepreneurial spirit pulsed so fiercely that he stored other people’s furniture in a warehouse next to a garage packed with ...
21 August 1997
The Car that Could: The Inside Story of GM’s Revolutionary Electric Vehicle 
by Michael Shnayerson.
Random House, 295 pp., $25, November 1996, 9780679421054
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... to make it start. The future lay with gasoline. In 1908, Henry Ford’s mass-produced Model T, priced at a level which Ford’s own $5-a-day workers could afford, gave oil-based fuel (of which America was then the world’s main producer) a commercial edge. In 1912, the electric starter and the regenerating battery, which allowed an independent electrical ...

A Man of No Mind

Colm Tóibín: The Passion of Roger Casement

13 September 2012
The Dream of the Celt 
by Mario Vargas Llosa and Edith Grossman.
Faber, 404 pp., £18.99, June 2012, 978 0 571 27571 7
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... explored the route, the novelist Joseph Conrad, and the Irish patriot and human rights activist Roger Casement. It was Casement and a Frenchman living in England, E.D. Morel, who first drew attention to the crimes committed in the Congo in the name of progress and trade. Mario Vargas Llosa wrote about them in an essay published in 2001: ‘Both deserve the ...

Counter-Factuals

Linda Colley

1 November 1984
The Origins of Anglo-American Radicalism 
edited by Margaret Jacob and James Jacob.
Allen and Unwin, 333 pp., £18.50, February 1984, 0 04 909015 1
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Insurrection: The British Experience 1795-1803 
by Roger Wells.
Alan Sutton, 312 pp., £16, May 1983, 9780862990190
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Radicalism and Freethought in 19th-Century Britain 
by Joel Wiener.
Greenwood, 285 pp., $29.95, March 1983, 0 313 23532 5
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For King, Constitution and Country: The English Loyalists and the French Revolution 
by Robert Dozier.
Kentucky, 213 pp., £20.90, February 1984, 9780813114903
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... the obligation to study past radicalism felt by many socialist historians, and (to borrow one of Roger Wells’s more charitable epithets) ‘what passes for liberal historians’, seems only to have been intensified by resurgent conservatism on both sides of the Atlantic. Thus, according to its publisher’s blurb, the Jacobs’ volume is designed to ...

The Statistical Gaze

Helen McCarthy: The British Census

28 June 2017
The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick-Maker: The Story of Britain through Its Census, since 1801 
by Roger Hutchinson.
Little, Brown, 352 pp., £20, February 2017, 978 1 4087 0701 2
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... census, the decennial population count established in 1801, would have shared this sensation. As Roger Hutchinson tells us in his very lively account, the early 19th-century equivalents of my visitor were an amateurish assortment of parish overseers, churchwardens, constables and schoolmasters who trudged through fields, knocked on doors and filled in paper ...

Top Dog

Geoffrey Hawthorn

6 December 1990
Nippon, New Superpower: Japan since 1945 
by William Horsley and Roger Buckley.
BBC, 278 pp., £15, November 1990, 0 563 20875 9
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United Nations Human Development Report 1990 
by Mahbub al Haq.
Oxford, 189 pp., £9.95, May 1990, 9780195064810
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Nationalism and International Society 
by James Mayall.
Cambridge, 175 pp., £25, March 1990, 0 521 37312 3
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The International Relations of Japan 
edited by Kathleen Newland.
Macmillan, 232 pp., £40, November 1990, 0 333 53456 5
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... confers. Japan may have more leverage over its borrowers than the Saudis had after the first oil-price rise in 1973. But it has much less than the United States was able to exert throughout the Fifties and Sixties. If there is a power in Japan’s new economic strength, Helleiner argues, it lies in the newly international character of its financial ...
23 April 1987
Molehunt: The Full Story of the Soviet Mole in MI5 
by Nigel West.
Weidenfeld, 208 pp., £10.95, March 1987, 0 297 79150 8
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... MI5 campaign to root out the traitors in their midst. The finger of suspicion was pointed at Sir Roger Hollis, the hard-working, conventionally-minded former head of MI5, and his deputy Graham Mitchell. Mitchell, Nigel West tells us, had, at some time in his career, ‘gained something of a reputation as a Leftist’. This was a remarkable achievement, since ...
11 March 1993
Churchill: The End of Glory 
by John Charmley.
Hodder, 648 pp., £30, January 1993, 9780340487952
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Churchill: A Major New Assessment of his Life in Peace and War 
edited by Robert Blake and Wm Roger Louis.
Oxford, 517 pp., £19.95, February 1993, 0 19 820317 9
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... that was activated by the German invasion of Poland. Had Churchill tried to start a peace-at-any-price Cabinet revolt, he would have merely repeated his father’s ruinous trajectory by being swiftly tossed out of the Government, the Party and his constituency. 3. Nor can it reasonably be argued that Churchill should have extracted Britain from the war after ...

Fellow Freaks

Sam Thompson: Wells Tower

9 July 2009
Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned 
by Wells Tower.
Granta, 238 pp., £10.99, April 2009, 978 1 84708 048 6
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... Energies’, who carries a lifetime’s resentment of his charismatic, self-centred father, Roger. Burt spent his childhood with a crush on his young stepmother, Lucy, and cherished a vague belief that, around his 16th birthday, he would somehow inherit her, perhaps along with his father’s Mustang fastback. But ...

The Tangible Page

Leah Price: Books as Things

31 October 2002
The Book History Reader 
edited by David Finkelstein and Alistair McCleery.
Routledge, 390 pp., £17.99, November 2001, 0 415 22658 9
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Making Meaning: ‘Printers of the Mind’ and Other Essays 
by D.F. McKenzie, edited by Peter D. McDonald and Michael F. Suarez.
Massachusetts, 296 pp., £20.95, June 2002, 1 55849 336 0
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... Oxford Companion to English Literature, and the names most ubiquitous in The Book History Reader, Roger Chartier and D.F. McKenzie, can be found on none of the new Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism’s several thousand pages. Perhaps this is as it should be; to call book history a theory would be to read it against the grain. For many literary critics ...

One Chapter More

Leah Price: Ectoplasm

6 July 2000
Teller of Tales: The Life of Arthur Conan Doyle 
by Daniel Stashower.
Penguin, 472 pp., £18.99, February 2000, 0 7139 9373 1
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... back from retirement to contribute to the war effort disguised as an Irish-American spy) against Roger Casement’s execution for treason. But when it comes to the detective stories themselves, Stashower looks less like the analyst Holmes than like the annalist Watson: engaging, enthusiastic, informative, but always just missing the point. ‘The principal ...
21 January 1982
... All that they needed to remember (while acting accordingly) was that changes in the general price level are determined by changes in the quantity of money, and that government is able to determine the quantity of money. Finally, Conservative governments and the Conservative Party since the war made the fatal mistake of seeking the middle ground. In ...

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