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La Perestroika

Harold Perkin, 24 January 1991

The Second Socialist Revolution: An Alternative Soviet Strategy 
by Tatyana Zaslavskaya, translated by Susan Davies.
Tauris, 241 pp., £19.95, February 1990, 1 85043 151 5
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... Although she is too modest to say so directly, Tatyana Zaslavskaya is the woman who invented perestroika. ‘By an irony of fate,’ she writes, ‘I became a “supporter of restructuring” several years before the word “perestroika” was uttered for the first time, and I shared Gorbachev’s views long before he became General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party and made his political programme public ...

Across the Tellyverse

Jenny Turner: Daleks v. Cybermen, 22 June 2006

Doctor Who 
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Doctor Who: A Critical Reading of the Series 
by Kim Newman.
BFI, 138 pp., £12, December 2005, 1 84457 090 8
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... two teachers at the local secondary modern are disturbed by the behaviour of a pupil called Susan, and investigate. Susan turns out to be the granddaughter and travelling companion of a strange old man, known only as the Doctor – she was made a relative, it is said, because the writer was uncomfortable with the ...

Those rooms had life

Sameer Rahim: The Yacoubian Building, 10 May 2007

The Yacoubian Building 
by Alaa al-Aswany, translated by Humphrey Davies.
Fourth Estate, 255 pp., £14.99, February 2007, 978 0 00 724361 7
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... because the book was already too well known. The novel itself was published in 2002. (Humphrey Davies translated the book into English in 2004: the film’s success is what has drawn British publishers’ attention.) Al-Aswany was born in Cairo in 1957. He was educated at a French school and learned English at an early age. A graduate course in dentistry ...

Mothers were different

Susan Pedersen: The Breadwinner Norm, 19 November 2020

Bread Winner: An Intimate History of the Victorian Economy 
by Emma Griffin.
Yale, 389 pp., £20, April 2020, 978 0 300 23006 2
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... Margaret Loane, the Fabian socialists Barbara Drake and Maud Pember Reeves, Margaret Llewelyn Davies of the Women’s Co-operative Guild and, especially, the social reformer and politician Eleanor Rathbone: these were the women whose studies first documented the inadequacies of the male breadwinner norm.These works supply confirmation of Griffin’s ...

Bolsheviks and Bohemians

Angus Calder, 5 April 1984

The Life of Arthur Ransome 
by Hugh Brogan.
Cape, 456 pp., £10.95, January 1984, 0 224 02010 2
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Bohemia in London 
by Arthur Ransome, introduced by Rupert Hart-Davis.
Oxford, 284 pp., £3.50, January 1984, 0 19 281412 5
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... the author of children’s tales loved by millions – nor that his liking for the verse of W.H. Davies, from which he quoted at length in Bohemia, was the portent of a shift in taste which would dominate middlebrow readers for decades. Young Ransome – 23 when he published Bohemia – did realise that he lived in a phase of transition. He evokes, with long ...


Alan Brien, 5 December 1985

Orson Welles 
by Barbara Leaming.
Weidenfeld, 562 pp., £14.95, October 1985, 0 297 78476 5
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The Making of ‘Citizen Kane’ 
by Robert Carringer.
Murray, 180 pp., £8.95, October 1985, 0 7195 4248 0
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Spike Milligan 
by Pauline Scudamore.
Granada, 318 pp., £8.95, October 1985, 0 246 12275 7
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Nancy Mitford 
by Selina Hastings.
Hamish Hamilton, 274 pp., £12.50, October 1985, 0 241 11684 8
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Rebel: The Short Life of Esmond Romilly 
by Kevin Ingram.
Weidenfeld, 252 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 297 78707 1
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The Mitford Family Album 
by Sophia Murphy.
Sidgwick, 160 pp., £12.95, November 1985, 0 283 99115 1
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... wife, Virginia, later married Charles Lederer, the scriptwriter nephew of the mistress, Marion Davies. The couple spent a lot of time at Hearst’s castle, San Simeon. Herman Mankiewicz, who shared the script credit on Kane (rightly, according to both books), and who so feared that Welles would try to deprive him of this (wrongly, according to Ms ...

Inquisition Mode

Tariq Ali: Victor Serge’s Defective Bolshevism, 16 July 2020

Notebooks: 1936-47 
by Victor Serge, translated by Mitchell Abidor and Richard Greeman.
NYRB, 651 pp., £17.99, April 2019, 978 1 68137 270 9
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... has been written about Serge’s life, first and foremost in his own Memoirs of a Revolutionary. Susan Weissman provided a meticulous account in Victor Serge: A Political Biography, published in 2001. Born Victor Lvovich Kibalchich in Brussels in 1890, Serge was the son of poverty-stricken intellectuals who had fled tsarist Russia. The family name itself was ...

Absolute Modernity

Paul Driver, 26 September 1991

Gabriel Fauré: A Musical Life 
by Jean-Michel Nectoux, translated by Roger Nichols.
Cambridge, 646 pp., £45, April 1991, 0 521 23524 3
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Pierre Boulez 
by Dominique Jameux, translated by Susan Bradshaw.
Faber, 422 pp., £25, March 1991, 9780571137442
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Stocktakings from an Apprenticeship 
by Pierre Boulez, translated by Stephen Walsh.
Oxford, 316 pp., £40, August 1991, 0 19 311210 8
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... period) with direct or indirect consequences for composers from Frank Bridge to Peter Maxwell Davies and Alexander Goehr (both the last mentioned have matured into a style informed by a concept of modal tonality), and from Messiaen to Pierre Boulez – whose orchestral Rituel in memoriam Maderna (1974) rescinds ‘total serialism’ and plumps (as ...

Who Cares?

Jean McNicol, 9 February 1995

The Report of the Inquiry into the Care and Treatment of Christopher Clunis 
by Jean Ritchie, Donald Dick and Richard Lingham.
HMSO, 146 pp., £9.50, February 1994, 0 11 701798 1
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Creating Community Care: Report of the Mental Health Foundation into Community Care for People with Severe Mental Illness 
by William Utting.
Mental Health Foundation, 76 pp., £9.50, September 1994, 0 901944 17 3
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Finding a Place: A Review of Mental Health Services for Adults 
HMSO, 94 pp., £11, November 1994, 0 11 886143 3Show More
The Falling Shadow: One Patient’s Mental Health Care. Report of the Committee of Inquiry into the Events Leading up to and Surrounding the Fatal Incident at the Edith Morgan Centre, Torbay, on 1 September 1993 
by Louis Blom-Cooper, Helen Hally and Elaine Murphy.
Duckworth, 230 pp., £12.99, January 1995, 0 7156 2662 0
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... this and claimed that he had had no idea who attacked Nigel Bartlett. About half an hour later, Susan Parashar, who lived nearby in Whittington Road, bumped into her son and his friends while she was taking her dogs for a walk. A large man came up and began, incoherently, to talk to them. He tried to pat one of her dogs, but it growled at him and the man ...

Barely under Control

Jenny Turner: Who’s in charge?, 7 May 2015

... head at Churchill Gardens, Jane Thomas, retired at the end of the summer term in 2013; her deputy, Susan Rankin-Reid, took over, but soon left the school herself. In the Guardian Rajeev Syal reported that Rankin-Reid had been ‘bullied by academy managers’ and that ‘parents … blamed the academy for forcing her out’: the people I talked to who knew the ...

I’m an intelligence

Joanna Biggs: Sylvia Plath at 86, 20 December 2018

The Letters of Sylvia Plath, Vol. I: 1940-56 
edited by Peter Steinberg and Karen Kukil.
Faber, 1388 pp., £35, September 2017, 978 0 571 32899 4
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The Letters of Sylvia Plath, Vol. II: 1956-63 
edited by Peter Steinberg and Karen Kukil.
Faber, 1025 pp., £35, September 2018, 978 0 571 33920 4
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... substituting the holy ghost where the mother should be’ – and befriended her midwife, Winifred Davies. ‘I find myself liking baby talk,’ she told Marty, ‘but I miss the other things ––– notions, ideas, I don’t know what.’ In spring, the bank bloomed yellow with daffodils. But in early July, she picked up the phone to a woman’s ...

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