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Saying yes

Rupert Wilkinson, 19 July 1984

... The Democratic and Republican National Party Conventions (opening on 16 July and 20 August) will culminate in the acceptance speeches of the two nominees for President. When the nominees step up to the microphones to address the cheering party faithful in the convention hall, and the nation on television and radio, they will leave behind them the committee wranglings over party platforms and the balloting of the state party delegates which brought them their nominations ...


Rupert Wilkinson: Harvard '61, 20 November 1986

... The class reunion – the gathering of a given year of graduates at their high school or college – is a Big American Event, and the biggest, most elaborate class reunion is the ‘Harvard 25th’, celebrating the quarter-century from each Harvard class’s year of graduation. When the first of a light snow of Harvard missives arrived a year ago in October, reminding me that the 25th-year reunion of my Harvard Class of 1961 would be the following June, my reactions were mixed ...

Black, White and Female

Betty Wood, 2 May 1985

The Limits of Liberty: American History 1607-1980 
by Maldwyn Jones.
Oxford, 696 pp., £22.50, November 1983, 0 19 913074 4
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America: A Narrative History 
by Charles Brown Tindall.
Norton, 1425 pp., £16.95, July 1984, 0 393 95435 8
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The Longman History of the United States 
by Hugh Brogan.
Longman, 740 pp., £19.95, March 1985, 0 582 35385 8
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American Tough: The Tough-Guy Tradition and American Character 
by Rupert Wilkinson.
Greenwood, 221 pp., £27.95, March 1984, 0 313 23797 2
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... Nowadays, as in the past, few are without an opinion, if not their own pet theory, on the subject. Rupert Wilkinson claims, not unreasonably, that an essential ingredient of the American character, and one which owes as much to the mythologising as to the reality of the American past, is ‘toughness’. This quality, or set of qualities and values, ...

Miss Dior, Prodigally Applied

Ian Patterson: Jilly Cooper, 18 May 2017

by Jilly Cooper.
Corgi, 610 pp., £7.99, February 2017, 978 0 552 17028 4
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... apparently – various dashing and extant English aristocrats, including Andrew Parker Bowles. Rupert Campbell-Black, wealthy landowner, sometime world champion showjumper, sometime Tory MP and sports minister, exuder of brio, glamour and charisma, is an all-round amoral charmer and shit, immune to scandal and opinion, and the envy of lesser men. Tony ...

A Babylonian Touch

Susan Pedersen: Weimar in Britain, 6 November 2008

‘We Danced All Night’: A Social History of Britain between the Wars 
by Martin Pugh.
Bodley Head, 495 pp., £20, July 2008, 978 0 224 07698 2
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... as the perspective it attempts to displace. The bias is more subtle, for unlike Orwell, Ellen Wilkinson and other chroniclers of interwar poverty, Pugh writes as a historian and not a crusader, but it is nevertheless marked. In attempting to correct an earlier generation’s imbalances, Pugh has written social history with the workers left out. A glance ...

Vermin Correspondence

Iain Sinclair, 20 October 1994

Frank Zappa: The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play 
by Ben Watson.
Quartet, 597 pp., £25, May 1994, 0 7043 7066 2
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Her Weasels Wild Returning 
by J.H. Prynne.
Equipage, 12 pp., £2, May 1994
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... everything short of pre-paid order forms. The illuminati have been smuggled into the Index: John Wilkinson, Peter Riley, Drew Milne, Rod Mengham and (of course) J.H. Prynne himself. Prynne and Zappa? Certainly, why not? Ben Watson (the footnotes): ‘When I asked Jeremy Prynne what he thought of Captain Beefheart, he said he thought he sounded like Little ...

Bush’s Choice

Tom Farer, 12 October 1989

... Investigating the American character is a line of work extending back at least to de Tocqueville. Rupert Wilkinson’s book, The Pursuit of the American Character,* is one of its more useful contemporary products. The book aims to give a fresh perspective on the tensions between individualism, community and conformity. It focuses on ‘four historic ...

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