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Aliens

John Sutherland, 21 January 1982

Brave Old World 
by Philippe Curval, translated by Steve Cox.
Allison and Busby, 262 pp., £6.95, November 1981, 0 85031 407 0
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The Insider 
by Christopher Evans.
Faber, 215 pp., £6.95, November 1981, 0 571 11774 0
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Genetha 
by Roy Heath.
Allison and Busby, 185 pp., £6.95, November 1981, 0 85031 410 0
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From the Heat of the Day 
by Roy Heath.
Allison and Busby, 159 pp., £6.50, October 1979, 0 85031 325 2
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One Generation 
by Roy Heath.
Allison and Busby, 202 pp., £2.50, March 1981, 9780850312546
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Sardines 
by Nuruddin Farah.
Allison and Busby, 250 pp., £7.95, November 1981, 0 85031 408 9
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... SF ‘liberated and promiscuous’. Its profundities are too painlessly arrived at. With Genetha, Roy Heath completes his Guyana trilogy following the fortunes of the Armstrong family to their dismal conclusion. The first volume, From the Heat of the Day, was set in the 1920s. Gladys married her postmaster; he cheated his sister out of her house so that ...

Comedowns

Susan Fromberg Schaeffer, 12 July 1990

Shadows round the Moon 
by Roy Heath.
Collins, 254 pp., £12.95, May 1990, 0 00 215584 2
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... not of the African woman whose stone baby was shattered, whenever I contemplate the achievement of Roy Heath’s eight novels. Heath, a Guyanese writer, has now produced a remarkable body of work yet is still unknown in America. He is virtually unknown in Britain, where he has lived and written for the last twenty years ...

Short is sharp

John Sutherland, 3 February 1983

Firebird 2 
edited by T.J. Binding.
Penguin, 284 pp., £2.95, January 1983, 0 14 006337 4
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Bech is Back 
by John Updike.
Deutsch, 195 pp., £6.95, January 1983, 0 233 97512 8
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The Pangs of Love 
by Jane Gardam.
Hamish Hamilton, 156 pp., £7.50, February 1983, 0 241 10942 6
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The Man Who Sold Prayers 
by Margaret Creal.
Dent, 198 pp., £7.95, January 1983, 9780460045926
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Happy as a Dead Cat 
by Jill Miller.
Women’s Press, 120 pp., £2.50, January 1983, 9780704338982
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... age-group (the first author is 22, the last 70 plus) and national category (the West Indian writer Roy Heath is represented), and gathers into the volume the famous and the published-here-for-the-first-time. Subtitled ‘Writing Today’, the anthology presumably aims to give the smell of what’s cooking. How well it succeeds is hard to say. But at least ...
Who Framed Colin Wallace? 
by Paul Foot.
Macmillan, 306 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 0 333 47008 7
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... province by leftists (Guy Mollet/Harold Wilson) or weak-minded centrists (Pierre Pflimlin/Edward Heath), the military must ensure that the right sort of government came to power in the metropole. Operation Clockwork Orange was precisely this: an attempt to smear and undermine Labour leaders and Tory wets alike, the short-term aim being to prevent Labour ...

Head over heart for Europe

Peter Pulzer, 21 March 1991

Ever Closer Union: Britain’s Destiny in Europe 
by Hugh Thomas.
Hutchinson, 96 pp., £7.99, January 1991, 0 09 174908 5
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The Challenge of Europe: Can Britain win? 
by Michael Heseltine.
Pan, 226 pp., £5.99, February 1991, 9780330314367
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... not the whole explanation. Ridley is 14 years older than Major, but 12 years younger than Edward Heath. Whether one had fought in the war seems not to be a decisive criterion. Among the public, however, age does matter, as does class. The middle classes – or the better-educated, for it is difficult to know which is the crucial variable – favour European ...

Europe or America?

Ian Gilmour, 7 November 2019

... relationship, was understandable. Almost alone among recent prime ministers, Edward Heath never made the mistake of appearing to be America’s surrogate in Europe; he, at least, never fawned on the White House. Heath is the nearest thing This Blessed Plot has to a politician hero; apart from ...

Hauteur

Ian Gilmour: Britain and Europe, 10 December 1998

This Blessed Plot: Britain and Europe from Churchill to Blair 
by Hugo Young.
Macmillan, 558 pp., £20, November 1998, 0 333 57992 5
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... to join Europe and play our proper part there. Nevertheless, with the conspicuous exception of Ted Heath, most prime ministers have dithered between seeking to co-operate with Europe and accepting American domination, while inclining heavily towards the latter. Nobody is better qualified than Hugo Young to tell the sad tale of Britain’s fumblings with her ...
From Idiocy to Mental Deficiency: Historical Perspectives on People with Learning Disabilities 
edited by David Wright and Anne Digby.
Routledge, 238 pp., £45, October 1996, 9780415112154
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... dead whose minds are irrecoverable and unfathomable, those who, at most, briefly caper across the heath of history crying out ‘come not in here, nuncle,’ or who, as with George Austen, achieve a glimmer of reflected glory. Sister Jane left her novels: the mentally defective brother, boarded out with a poor family near Basingstoke and eventually buried in ...

Who Runs Britain?

Christopher Hitchens, 8 December 1994

The Enemy Within: MI5, Maxwell and the Scargill Affair 
by Seumas Milne.
Verso, 352 pp., £18.95, November 1994, 0 86091 461 5
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... for himself. In union elections that were faintly premonitory of the coming confrontation with the Heath Government, he and a colleague named Owen Briscoe had swept the poll and begun to take over the district. After spending some quality time down the pit and taking the odd sounding at the club, I thought I realised that even the highly taciturn and ...

Questionably Virtuous

Stuart Middleton: Harold Wilson, 7 September 2016

Harold Wilson: The Unprincipled Prime Minister? Reappraising Harold Wilson 
edited by Andrew Crines and Kevin Hickson.
Biteback, 319 pp., £20, March 2016, 978 1 78590 031 0
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... down precisely what it was they disliked about him. Looking back on the factionalism of the 1950s Roy Jenkins recalled that ‘one of the basic tenets of Gaitskellism was that Wilson was a tricky fellow.’ The Gaitskellites’ leading theorist, Anthony Crosland, struggling to convince a journalist of Wilson’s shortcomings, was reduced to ...

We’ve done awfully well

Karl Miller: The Late 1950s, 18 July 2013

Modernity Britain: Opening the Box, 1957-59 
by David Kynaston.
Bloomsbury, 432 pp., £25, June 2013, 978 0 7475 8893 1
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... in his speeches. ‘Lazy? Lazy?’ Bevan responded to a sneer about the laziness of his colleague Roy Jenkins: ‘How can a boy from Abersychan who acquired an accent like that be lazy?’ From Princess Margaret comes a comment on the moribundity of the London Season: ‘Every tart in London can get in.’ Kynaston appreciates the respect for working-class ...

‘Spurious’ is the word we want

Ian Gilmour, 28 November 1996

Diplomacy and Disillusion at the Court of Margaret Thatcher 
by George Urban.
Tauris, 206 pp., £19.95, September 1996, 1 86064 084 2
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... on Grenada, in which he was going to speak. In this debate, ‘Wayland Young (Lord Kennet) and Roy Jenkins (Lord Jenkins) were on particularly good form.’ According to Urban, Roy Jenkins announced that Reagan’s ‘grasp of his marbles sometimes seems to be precarious’, and Urban then quotes another long sentence at ...

Seeing it all

Peter Clarke, 12 October 1989

The Time of My life 
by Denis Healey.
Joseph, 512 pp., £17.95, October 1989, 0 7181 3114 2
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... the Seventies, Polaris was eventually updated with Chevaline – a commitment inherited from the Heath Government which Healey now regrets not having scuppered when he became Chancellor in 1974. More than anyone else, he was responsible, by commission and omission, for the maintenance of ‘a British bomb’. And it was this which became the dominant emotive ...

Upside Down, Inside Out

Colin Kidd: The 1975 Referendum, 25 October 2018

Yes to Europe! The 1975 Referendum and Seventies Britain 
by Robert Saunders.
Cambridge, 509 pp., £24.99, March 2018, 978 1 108 42535 3
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... a powerful Labour campaign against the Common Market, in itself a pejorative term on the left. But Roy Jenkins and others on Labour’s centre-right emphasised reconciliation with former enemies, highlighting in particular the community of purpose with the German Social Democrats, and stressed the importance to the ordinary British worker of trade with ...

My Life with Harold Wilson

Peter Jenkins, 20 December 1979

Final Term: The Labour Government 1974-76 
by Harold Wilson.
Weidenfeld/Joseph, 322 pp., £8.95
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... from within. Wilson claims in his book to have been thoroughly vindicated in rejecting the Heath terms but not the Common Market, and in his subsequent U-turn over the referendum. He quotes with great satisfaction an editorial from the Times which said that in the referendum he found the answer, ‘perhaps the only answer, to the problem of getting ...

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