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British Facts

Rosalind Mitchison, 19 September 1985

Social Trends 15 
edited by Deo Ramprakash.
HMSO, 208 pp., £19.95, January 1985, 0 11 620102 9
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State of the World 1984: A Worldwatch Institute Report on Progress toward a Sustainable Society 
by Lester Brown.
Norton, 252 pp., £7.95, December 1984, 0 393 30176 1
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The Facts of Everyday Life 
by Tony Osman.
Faber, 160 pp., £6.95, April 1985, 0 571 13513 7
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The State of the Nation: An Atlas of Britain in the Eighties 
by Stephen Fothergill and Jill Vincent, edited by Michael Kidron.
Heinemann/Pan, 128 pp., £12.50, May 1985, 0 435 35288 1
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British Social Attitudes: The 1985 Report 
edited by Roger Jowell and Sharon Witherspoon.
Gower, 260 pp., £18.50, July 1985, 9780566007385
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... These books all set out to tell us about ourselves, and to do it by quantification. Their statements are based on economic statistics, demography, official and unofficial measurements, including the measurement of opinion. Some of their conclusions will surprise, for no one reader can expect to have covered the full range of social activity. Their quality must depend on the quality of the ‘facts’ they elicit ...
British Social Attitudes: The 1987 Report 
edited by Roger Jowell, Sharon Witherspoon and Lindsay Brock.
Gower, 260 pp., £28.50, October 1987, 0 556 00740 9
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Educational Opportunity and Social Change in England 
by Michael Sanderson.
Faber, 164 pp., £3.95, September 1987, 9780571148769
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Wealth and Inequality in Britain 
by W.D. Rubinstein.
Faber, 167 pp., £3.95, August 1986, 0 571 13924 8
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AProperty-Owning Democracy? Housing in Britain 
by M.J. Daunton.
Faber, 148 pp., £3.95, September 1987, 0 571 14615 5
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The Government of Space: Town Planning in Modern Society 
by Alison Ravetz.
Faber, 154 pp., £3.95, August 1986, 9780571145683
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... One of the few growth areas in Britain today is the Thatcher industry. Battalions of journalists, political scientists and ‘contemporary historians’ are busily exploiting the phenomenon of ‘Thatcherism’ by analysing its origins, meaning and impact. No doubt, from the perspective of the British political élite, cocooned in the hothouse atmosphere of Whitehall-Westminster, it appears a very real thing ...

Pink and Bare

Bee Wilson: Nicole Kidman, 8 February 2007

Nicole Kidman 
by David Thomson.
Bloomsbury, 311 pp., £18.99, September 2006, 0 7475 7710 2
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... by Michelle Pfeiffer, Meg Ryan, Julia Roberts, Elisabeth Shue . . . Gwyneth Paltrow, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Lopez, Halle Berry and so on. There are so many of them, and so many more who want to be in their places and who might do anything to be in their places. He might have mentioned: Cameron Diaz, Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Charlize ...

Very like St Paul

Ian Sansom: Johnny Cash, 9 March 2006

The Man Called Cash: The Life, Love and Faith of an American Legend 
by Steve Turner.
Bloomsbury, 363 pp., £8.99, February 2006, 0 7475 8079 0
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Walk the Line 
directed by James Mangold.
November 2005
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... and danger (June Carter, played with great enthusiasm and almost entirely with her teeth by Reese Witherspoon); and in the end, of course, rescue. Mangold’s Cash is no saint; he’s Odysseus. We shouldn’t take any of these stories, Christian or Greek, at face value. In Killing Yourself to Live – well worth reading if only for its hilarious ...

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