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Darwin among the Gentry

Adrian Desmond, 23 May 1985

The Correspondence of Charles Darwin. Vol. I: 1821-1836 
edited by Frederick Burkhardt and Sydney Smith.
Cambridge, 702 pp., £30, March 1985, 0 521 25587 2
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The Survival of Charles Darwin: A Biography of a Man and an Idea 
by Ronald Clark.
Weidenfeld, 449 pp., £14.95, April 1985, 0 297 78377 7
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... sloth fossils (bought from a gaucho for two shillings). ‘His companions on the Beagle,’ writes Ronald Clark, ‘soon ceased to wonder at the young man who caught 68 species of beetle in a single day and shot 80 species of birds in a morning’s walk.’ It was the daily drudgery – the describing, packing, numbering and shipping of skins, bottles and ...

Accepting Freud

Stuart Hampshire, 4 December 1980

Freud 
by Ronald Clark.
Weidenfeld, 652 pp., £9.95, July 1980, 0 297 77661 4
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... biography of Freud, and that they will gradually emerge from hiding as the years pass. Mr Clark refers to the suspicion, and he has, in fact, made use of some useful sources which were not available to Ernest Jones. The most important are the original series of letters to Wilhelm Fliess without the excisions which had apparently been intended to ...

World Policeman

Colin Legum, 20 November 1986

With the Contras: A Reporter in the Wilds of Nicaragua 
by Christopher Dickey.
Faber, 327 pp., £12.50, September 1986, 9780571146048
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Jonas Savimbi: A Key to Africa 
by Fred Bridgland.
Mainstream, 513 pp., £14.95, October 1986, 0 906391 99 7
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... long way against interventionism, and even conservative Republicans like California’s Governor, Ronald Reagan, fulminated against the idea of America being expected to act as policeman for the world. Sickened by exposures of Nixon’s misuse of the CIA, Congress asserted itself in the mid-Seventies, appointing its own committee to share with the Executive ...

Knobs, Dots and Grooves

Peter Campbell: Henry Moore, 8 August 2002

Henry Moore: Writings and Conversations 
edited by Alan Wilkinson.
Lund Humphries, 320 pp., £35, February 2002, 0 85331 847 6
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The Penguin Modern Painters: A History 
by Carol Peaker.
Penguin Collectors’ Society, 124 pp., £15, August 2001, 0 9527401 4 1
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... way of exhibitions and the publicity that accompanies them. Nearly half a century later, Kenneth Clark, writing to Eunice Frost at Penguin about the inclusion of Braque in the Modern Painters series, which had until then featured only British artists, said: The old scheme seemed to me valuable because it helped people to understand painters whose work they ...

Lola did the driving

Inigo Thomas: Pevsner’s Suffolk, 5 May 2016

Suffolk: East, The Buildings of England 
by James Bettley and Nikolaus Pevsner.
Yale, 677 pp., £35, April 2015, 978 0 300 19654 2
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... from Aldeburgh. ‘Whole town rather solitary,’ Carlyle said. (These details are lifted from Ronald Blythe’s The Time by the Sea: Aldeburgh 1955-58, an account of years spent with Benjamin Britten, Peter Pears and E.M. Forster on the east coast.) ‘I see by a handbill in the grocer’s shop that a man is going to lecture on the Gorilla in a few ...

Disintegration

Frank Kermode, 27 January 1994

The Varieties of Metaphysical Poetry 
by T.S. Eliot, edited by Ronald Schuchard.
Faber, 343 pp., £25, November 1993, 0 571 14230 3
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... Eliot’s Clark Lectures ‘On the Metaphysical Poetry of the 17th Century with Special Reference to Donne, Crashaw and Cowley’ were commissioned in 1925 and delivered at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1926. Since then they have been famous for not being available. Eliot intended to make them into a book called The School of Donne, which would be far longer, partly because – on the face of it unexpectedly, given his title – he wanted to write a lot more about Dante ...

World History

Maxine Berg, 22 January 1981

The Human Condition 
by William McNeill.
Princeton, 81 pp., £4.75, October 1980, 0 691 05317 0
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... an attempt to grasp the grand sweep of history. Originally delivered as the Brand-Lee Lectures at Clark University, the book is an abstract of ideas developed in his earlier works, in particular Plagues and People (1977). The Human Condition needs to be understood in terms of Professor McNeill’s views on the purposes of writing history. These views ...

Ronbo

Michael Rogin, 13 October 1988

Guts and Glory: The Rise and Fall of Oliver North 
by Ben Bradlee.
Grafton, 572 pp., £14.95, September 1988, 0 246 13364 3
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For the Record: From Wall Street to Washington 
by Donald Regan.
Hutchinson, 397 pp., £16.95, June 1988, 0 09 173622 6
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... Ronald Reagan’s autobiography, Where’s the rest of me?, repeated the question the actor had asked in the movie King’s Row, when he woke up in a hospital bed to discover that his legs had been amputated. Reagan lost his legs in Hollywood, the autobiography explains, and recovered ‘the rest of me’ (that phrase is the leitmotif of his text) by fighting Communist influence there, acquiring personal and institutional backing, and marrying Nancy Davis ...

Licence to kill

Paul Foot, 10 February 1994

Spider’s Web: Bush, Saddam, Thatcher and the Decade of Deceit 
by Alan Friedman.
Faber, 455 pp., £17.50, November 1993, 0 571 17002 1
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The Unlikely Spy 
by Paul Henderson.
Bloomsbury, 294 pp., £16.99, September 1993, 0 7475 1597 2
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... It was the patrician Alan Clark who most accurately summed up the approach of the British and American Governments to the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. Nothing, he reckoned, was better for business than a lot of foreigners killing one another. This has been true of all foreign wars throughout the ages, but for businessmen of the Clark mentality a hot war in the Eighties which demanded endless supplies of expensive weaponry and technology was almost too good to be true ...

The Same Old Solotaire

Peter Wollen, 4 July 1996

‘Salome’ and ‘Under the Hill’ 
by Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley.
Creation, 123 pp., £7.95, April 1996, 1 871592 12 7
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Aubrey Beardsley: Dandy of the Grotesque 
by Chris Snodgrass.
Oxford, 338 pp., £35, August 1995, 0 19 509062 4
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... a Modernist, or at least as an important source for Modernism, was most carefully made by Kenneth Clark in the Sixties, a decade which saw its own ‘Beardsley boom’, a popular revival which accompanied op art, Beaton’s Ascot, Yellow Submarine and Performance. Clark described the drawings from Salome as ‘hard-edged ...

Not Just a Phase

Nora Berend and Christopher Clark: Rewriting Hungary’s Past, 20 November 2014

... Budapest, one of the last Soviet memorials left in the city, and a life-sized statue of a grinning Ronald Reagan, erected in 2011. Even the Soviet war memorial sits on the foundations of an earlier monument that mourned the lands taken from Hungary under the terms of the Treaty of Trianon, imposed by the victors of the First World War. From early April, when ...

British Worthies

David Cannadine, 3 December 1981

The Directory of National Biography, 1961-1970 
edited by E.T. Williams and C.S. Nicholls.
Oxford, 1178 pp., £40, October 1981, 0 19 865207 0
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... Mervyn Peake, living on ‘this desperate edge of now’, or the mercurial evanescence of a Jim Clark or a Joe Orton, counts for little in the scales of achievement when weighed against such elephantine stamina and titanic endurance. This book is, unashamedly, perhaps inevitably, a monument to the loneliness of the long-distance runner, rather than a paean ...

Dirty Money

Paul Foot, 17 December 1992

A Full Service Bank: How BCCI stole millions around the world 
by James Ring Adams and Douglas Frantz.
Simon and Schuster, 381 pp., £16.99, April 1992, 0 671 71133 4
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Bankrupt: The BCCI Fraud 
by Nick Kochan and Bob Whittington.
Gollancz, 234 pp., £4.99, November 1991, 0 575 05279 1
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The BCCI Affair: A Report to The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations 
by Senators John Kerry and Hank Brown.
US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 800 pp., September 1992
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Inquiry into the Supervision of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International 
by Lord Justice Bingham.
HMSO, 218 pp., £19.30, October 1992, 0 10 219893 4
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... of course, but the two men were firm friends for life. Another much more distinguished convert was Clark Clifford, the beautifully-spoken lawyer who had been a friend of the Kennedys and Defence Secretary to Lyndon Johnson. When Abedi first met him Clifford was looking for a cause – especially if it had a few million dollars attached to it. Adams and Frantz ...

Bounty Hunter

John Sutherland, 17 July 1997

Riders of the Purple Sage 
by Zane Grey.
Oxford, 265 pp., £4.99, May 1995, 0 19 282443 0
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The Man of the Forest: The Authorised Version 
by Zane Grey.
Nebraska, 383 pp., $15, September 1996, 0 8032 7062 3
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The Thundering Herd: The Authorised Version 
by Zane Grey.
Nebraska, 400 pp., $16, September 1996, 0 8032 7065 8
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... fact that Hitler was addicted to the ersatz Westerns of Kurt May, and even as President of the US, Ronald Reagan looked as if he’d just walked off the Death Valley set). The Man of the Forest (1921) is one of the more ‘scenic’ of Grey’s novels, set in the White Mountains of Arizona. The Mysterious Rider (1921) is a lyrical reworking of the ...

Everybody

Craig Raine, 3 February 1983

Confessions of an Actor 
by Laurence Olivier.
Weidenfeld, 305 pp., £9.95, October 1982, 0 297 78106 5
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... There are a number of photographs in this book which show Olivier purloining the moustache of Ronald Coleman and the tidal quiff of Clark Gable. Handsome, yes. Real, absolutely not. At any rate, a million miles away from ‘The Laurels’, Brickfield Terrace, Holloway, where the Pooters lived. The good thing to emerge ...

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