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Mad or bad?

Michael Ignatieff, 18 June 1981

Trial by Medicine: Insanity and Responsibility in Victorian Trials 
by Roger Smith.
Edinburgh, 288 pp., £15, March 1981, 9780852244074
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... ourselves. Such help is at hand in a historical work, published by chance during the trial. Roger Smith’s history of the conflict between medical and legal discourses in the insanity trials of the 19th century is ‘relevant’ in a way he could never have anticipated or, in this tragic instance, have wished. His book is more than a history of ...

Unplug the car and let’s go!

John Sutherland, 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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... edging battery-powered and hybrid cars toward practicality.’ Sunraycer was also a triumph for Roger Smith, General Motors’ chief executive. Smith badly needed a triumph. The firm was under fire for its corporate unfriendliness. What was good for GM was generally seen as bad for America. In 1989 Michael Moore’s ...

How Do You Pay?

Bee Wilson: Falling for Michael Moore, 1 November 2007

Citizen Moore: An American Maverick 
by Roger Rapoport.
Methuen, 361 pp., £8.99, July 2007, 978 0 413 77649 5
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Manufacturing Dissent 
directed by Rick Caine and Debbie Melnyk.
October 2007
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Sicko 
directed by Michael Moore.
October 2007
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... grew up in the more affluent suburb of Davison, ‘a city known for its churches’, according to Roger Rapoport.) He was taught by the Sisters of Saint Joseph and was known at school for his singing voice and his ability to make the nuns giggle. One of the nuns remembers him as the ‘brightest student’ she’d encountered in her entire teaching career. It ...

Putting the Manifesto before the Movie

Ryan Gilbey: Ken Loach, 31 October 2002

Sweet Sixteen 
directed by Ken Loach.
October 2002
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The Cinema of Ken Loach: Art in the Service of the People 
by Jacob Leigh.
Wallflower, 192 pp., £13.99, May 2002, 1 903364 31 0
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... working on episodes of Z Cars, found allies in the Wednesday Play’s script editor and producer, Roger Smith and Tony Garnett. ‘What we realised,’ Loach said, ‘was that social democrats and Labour politicians were simply acting on behalf of the ruling class, protecting the interests of capital.’ No sooner had he identified a politically ...

Heart of Darkness

Christopher Hitchens, 28 June 1990

Not Many Dead: Journal of a Year in Fleet Street 
by Nicholas Garland.
Hutchinson, 299 pp., £16.95, April 1990, 0 09 174449 0
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A Slight Case of Libel: Meacher v. Trelford and Others 
by Alan Watkins.
Duckworth, 241 pp., £14.95, June 1990, 0 7156 2334 6
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... Entry for 18 April 1986, Not Many Dead The success of Michael Moore’s film about Roger Smith and General Motors has aroused an envious spirit of emulation in my breast. ‘Conrad and Me’, a script which I hone and burnish in slack moments, has the following points of mild interest. In the summer of 1985, I wrote an article for the ...

Out of a job in Aberdeen

Roger Penrose, 26 September 1991

The Scientific Letters and Papers of James Clerk Maxwell 
edited by P.M. Harman.
Cambridge, 748 pp., £125, November 1990, 0 521 25625 9
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... The model was actually constructed (by Charles Ramage, of the Aberdeen instrument-makers Smith and Ramage) in 1858. Maxwell also constructed numerous optical devices, in connection, in particular, with his researches into colour vision. The frontispiece to the volume shows him in the autumn of 1855 holding his colour top, a picture which conveys ...

Menswear

Philip Booth, 20 July 1995

Drag: A History of Female Impersonation in the Performing Arts 
by Roger Baker.
Cassell, 284 pp., £35, December 1994, 0 304 32836 7
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... Nowadays it’s possible to make a career exclusively within gay journalism. Roger Baker, however, was a journalist of wide-ranging interests whose careful think-pieces were a strong feature of Gay News in the mid-Seventies, but who was just as comfortable writing for the Times. His books include studies of those gay icons Bette Davis and Marilyn Monroe, but he also published works on exorcism and Israel ...

A Whale of a Time

Colm Tóibín, 2 October 1997

Roger Casement’s Diaries. 1910: The Black and the White 
edited by Roger Sawyer.
Pimlico, 288 pp., £10, October 1997, 9780712673754
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The Amazon Journal of Roger Casement 
edited by Angus Mitchell.
Anaconda, 534 pp., £40, October 1997, 9781901990010
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... Jessie Conrad remembered his visit: Sir Roger Casement, a fanatical Irish protestant, came to see us, remaining some two days our guest. He was a very handsome man with a thick, dark beard and piercing, restless eyes. His personality impressed me greatly. It was about the time when he was interested in bringing to light certain atrocities which were taking place in the Belgian Congo ...

Photo-Finish

John Hedley Brooke, 23 May 1985

Just Before the Origin: Alfred Russel Wallace’s Theory of Evolution 
by John Langdon Brooks.
Columbia, 284 pp., $39, January 1984, 0 231 05676 1
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China and Charles Darwin 
by James Reeve Pusey.
Harvard, 544 pp., £21.25, February 1984, 0 674 11735 2
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... was only perfunctorily chased in England, it seems (according to a recent study by Robert W. Smith) that this was partly due to an assumption among the élite that the optical discovery ought to be the property of Cambridge, the director of whose observatory, James Challis, however, trailed his feet rather than trained his eyes. Because Le Verrier had ...

Made for TV

Jenny Diski, 14 December 1995

Fight & Kick & Bite: The Life and Work of Dennis Potter 
by W. Stephen Gilbert.
Hodder, 382 pp., £18.99, November 1995, 0 340 64047 2
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Dennis Potter: A Life on Screen 
by John Cook.
Manchester, 368 pp., £45, October 1995, 0 7190 4601 7
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... Boring characters ... they don’t work. I find them rather dull.’ It was Nancy Banks-Smith, in a review of Stand Up Nigel Barton, who, according to Gilbert, put her finger on the flaw which ‘would run right through Potter’s work: “The women were weird. The witch, a bitch and a fool. The schoolmistress was a nightmare to frighten little ...

On the Rwandan Border

Stephen Smith, 9 June 1994

... may secretly yearn to ascribe to them. Toasting the engagement of the BBC’s man in the region, Roger Hearing, with a bottle of champagne which, a proud best man, I had resourcefully procured one night, I swallowed hard as he told me of witnessing killings at Rwandan Government checkpoints in the first days of the crisis ‘There was no passion. It was like ...

Tit for Tat

Margaret Anne Doody, 21 December 1989

Eighteenth-Century Women Poets: An Oxford Anthology 
edited by Roger Lonsdale.
Oxford, 555 pp., £20, September 1989, 0 19 811769 8
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... The publication of this anthology is an important event – as significant as the appearance of Roger Lonsdale’s earlier Oxford Book of 18th-Century Verse, that unmarmoreal volume. As our battle of the books is waged, and canons to the left and right volley and thunder, this dignified Fellow of Balliol has done more to change our view of the 18th century than many avowed canon-chargers with more ostensibly up-to-date artillery ...

Transfigurations

Roger Garfitt, 20 March 1980

The Weddings at Nether Powers 
by Peter Redgrove.
Routledge, 166 pp., £2.95, July 1979, 0 7100 0255 6
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... visibility on high, to a more sober celebration of the responsibilities of the pattern in ‘The Smith’s Anvil’:                 The smith Changes old iron into new. What he does Sings with his blows for ever afterwards. Redgrove takes a particular delight in turning the pattern inside ...

Social Policy

Ralf Dahrendorf, 3 July 1980

Understanding Social Policy 
by Michael Hill.
Blackwell, 280 pp., £12, April 1980, 0 631 18170 9
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Poverty and Inequality in Common Market Countries 
edited by Vic George and Roger Lawson.
Routledge, 253 pp., £9.50, April 1980, 0 7100 0424 9
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Planning for Welfare: Social Policy and the Expenditure Process 
edited by Timothy Booth.
Blackwell, 208 pp., £12, November 1980, 0 631 19560 2
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The City and Social Theory 
by Michael Peter Smith.
Blackwell, 315 pp., £12, April 1980, 9780631121510
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The Good City: A Study of Urban Development and Policy in Britain 
by David Donnison.
Heinemann, 221 pp., £4.95, April 1980, 0 435 85217 5
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The Economics of Prosperity: Social Priorities in the Eighties 
by David Blake and Paul Ormerod.
Grant Mclntyre, 230 pp., £3.95, April 1980, 0 86216 013 8
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... the compassion of the rest to survive, and to live a decent life. Who are they? Vic George and Roger Lawson provide much valuable material on Poverty and Inequality in Common Market Countries, though their book is misleading in some respects and all too predictable in others. However hard they try, they cannot persuade one reader at least that ...

In the Know

Simon Schaffer, 10 November 1994

Science and the Secrets of Nature: Books of Secrets in Medieval and Early Modern Culture 
by William Eamon.
Princeton, 490 pp., £38.50, July 1994, 0 691 03402 8
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The Business of Alchemy: Science and Culture in the Holy Roman Empire 
by Pamela Smith.
Princeton, 308 pp., £30, July 1994, 0 691 05691 9
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... Le Goff calls ‘an intellectual technocracy’. In the 13th century, the Franciscan philosopher Roger Bacon explained to the Pope that his astrological and technical skills promised big military and political pay-offs: ‘the Church should consider the employment of these inventions against unbelievers and rebels to spare Christian blood.’ Improvements in ...

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