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His Bonnet Akimbo

Patrick Wright: Hamish Henderson

3 November 2011
Hamish Henderson: A Biography. Vol. I: The Making of the Poet (1919-53) 
by Timothy Neat.
Polygon, 416 pp., £14.99, May 2009, 978 1 84697 132 7
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Hamish Henderson: A Biography. Vol. II: Poetry Becomes People (1954-2002) 
by Timothy Neat.
Polygon, 395 pp., £25, November 2009, 978 1 84697 063 4
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... in the way of the blessed inebriate in Richard Thompson’s song ‘God Loves a Drunk’ (‘His shouts and his curses they are just hymns and praises/To kick-start his mind now and then’)? TimothyNeat writes not in order to leave his late friend in a heap on the floor, least of all the floor of the hostelry that Henderson had long since helped to establish as ‘the hub of the Scottish Folk ...
18 February 1982
Plotting the Golden West: American Literature and the Rhetoric of the California Trail 
by Stephen Fender.
Cambridge, 241 pp., £15, January 1982, 0 521 23924 9
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Witnesses to a Vanishing America: The 19th-Century Response 
by Lee Clark Mitchell.
Princeton, 320 pp., £10.70, July 1981, 9780691064611
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... to one of the key sources for that kind of anguished energy which is so often a distinctive mark of American writing. Chapter One draws on Washington Irving and on less well-known figures such as Timothy Flint and James Hall, and, taking up the fairly familiar point that when confronted by any new scene or phenomenon we need ‘reassuring frames’ or ‘focusing devices’, Fender shows in what ways ...
5 February 1981
... West Frontier Province. During the preceding year in England and all along the route to Kabul I met people who spoke of the world in specifically anti-rationalist terms. The talk was of Alan Watts, Timothy Leary, Ken Kesey, Ouspensky, of bits and pieces of Jung, of the I Ching and the Tarot cards and of how psychotropic drugs, which we consumed in large quantities, might transform the mechanistic ...
23 April 1992
Holograms of Fear 
by Slavenka Drakulic, translated by Ellen Elias-Barsaic and Slavenka Drakulic.
Hutchinson, 184 pp., £13.99, January 1992, 0 09 174994 8
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Revolution From Within 
by Gloria Steinem.
Bloomsbury, 377 pp., £14.99, January 1992, 0 7475 1006 7
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How we survived Communism and even laughed 
by Slavenka Drakulic.
Hutchinson, 193 pp., £15.99, January 1992, 0 09 174925 5
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... place, subject fuses with object. Though few general-interest Western readers know or care enough about Eastern Europe to want to be bothered with such things as diversity, complexity or change, a neat little package with a handful of simple, grabbing truths in it is the sort of book everybody can buy and linger over. Timothy Garton-Ash has done it several times already, so why shouldn’t she ...

Back to the Wall

Nicholas Penny

21 September 1995
In Perfect Harmony: Picture and Frame 1850-1920 
edited by Eva Mendgen.
Reaktion, 278 pp., £45, May 1995, 90 400 9729 1
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... mid-18th-century France. Yet it could not be plausibly argued that these styles of frame evolved in response to the needs of particular styles of painting. The dark rectilinear frames reveal the same neat machined finish, techniques of veneering and exotic materials found in contemporary cabinets, while the French rococo frames were the work of sculptors who also carved ornamental wall-panelling, and ...

Mohocks

Liam McIlvanney: The House of Blackwood

5 June 2003
The House of Blackwood: Author-Publisher Relations in the Victorian Era 
by David Finkelstein.
Pennsylvania State, 199 pp., £44.95, April 2002, 0 271 02179 9
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... pitched in to write the early dialogues – it soon became the sole preserve of Wilson. The Noctes are the table-talk of the Blackwood wits – North himself, James Hogg the ‘Ettrick Shepherd’, Timothy Tickler and others – as they discuss the latest books and reviews and whatever else takes their notion. The articles are not uniformly good. They are sometimes dull and often too long. But when ...

Tycooniest

Deborah Friedell: Trump and Son

21 October 2015
Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success 
by Michael D’Antonio.
Thomas Dunne, 389 pp., £18, September 2015, 978 1 250 04238 5
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... the Trump Management Corporation for refusing to rent apartments to African Americans. Donald insisted that his family wasn’t racist: they were just trying to avoid tenants who wouldn’t be ‘neat and clean’ or on welfare; his lawyer said that by interfering with how Donald ran his business the government was behaving like ‘storm troopers’, the ‘Gestapo’. The Trumps settled – they ...

Spending Hitler’s Money

Bee Wilson: The D-Day Spies

19 July 2012
Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies 
by Ben Macintyre.
Bloomsbury, 417 pp., £16.99, March 2012, 978 1 4088 1990 6
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... and complex. If Macintyre believes this, he has mistaken the near irresistible appeal of his books. Much recent revisionist history of the Second World War has served to undermine Allied smugness. Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands (2010), for example, treats the mass murder of civilians by the Nazis as part of a continuum with the mass killings set in motion by our ally Stalin. Macintyre’s war takes ...

What Is Great about Ourselves

Pankaj Mishra: Closing Time

20 September 2017
The Retreat of Western Liberalism 
by Edward Luce.
Little, Brown, 240 pp., £16.99, May 2017, 978 1 4087 1041 8
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The Fate of the West: Battle to Save the World’s Most Successful Political Idea 
by Bill Emmott.
Economist, 257 pp., £22, May 2017, 978 1 61039 780 3
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The Road to Somewhere: The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics 
by David Goodhart.
Hurst, 256 pp., £20, March 2017, 978 1 84904 799 9
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The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics 
by Mark Lilla.
Harper, 143 pp., £20, August 2017, 978 0 06 269743 1
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The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam 
by Douglas Murray.
Bloomsbury, 343 pp., £18.99, May 2017, 978 1 4729 4224 1
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... base in the public-sector middle class and working class? In Free World: Why a Crisis of the West Reveals the Opportunity of our Times (2004), an early dirge about the waning of Anglo-American power, Timothy Garton Ash approvingly quoted a Canadian friend as saying that the trouble with Britain is that ‘it doesn’t know what story it wants to tell.’ This was certainly true of New Labour, which had ...

Silks and Bright Scarlet

Christopher Kelly: Wealth and the Romans

3 December 2015
Through the Eye of a Needle: Wealth, the Fall of Rome and the Making of Christianity in the West, 350-550 AD 
by Peter Brown.
Princeton, 759 pp., £16.95, March 2014, 978 0 691 16177 8
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The Ransom of the Soul: Afterlife and Wealth in Early Western Christianity 
by Peter Brown.
Harvard, 262 pp., £18.95, April 2015, 978 0 674 96758 8
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... Pelagian potlatch: it was to be given to the Church and its good causes. ‘A community of sinners was to be a community of givers.’ In framing his advice to the wealthy, Augustine cited 1 Timothy 6:17-18 (from a New Testament letter attributed to Saint Paul): ‘Command the rich of this world not to be proud. Let them be rich in good works, let them give readily, let them share.’ What was ...

Was Ma Hump to blame?

John Sutherland: Aldous Huxley

11 July 2002
Aldous Huxley: An English Intellectual 
by Nicholas Murray.
Little, Brown, 496 pp., £20, April 2002, 0 316 85492 1
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TheCat's Meow 
directed by Peter Bogdanovich.
April 2002
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... results have been gratifying for the posthumous estates of both writers. The other book of Huxley’s to achieve enduring fame is The Doors of Perception, which has won its author a place alongside Timothy Leary in the pantheon of Class-A substance evangelism. As Murray and other biographers stress, Huxley’s experiments with mescalin, under the influence of which he was vouchsafed a vision of the ...

When the Floods Came

James Meek: England’s Water

31 July 2008
... the Severn side. With the shutdown complete the flooded site was abandoned at 6 a.m. When he appeared before MPs after the emergency, the head of Gold Command and Gloucestershire’s chief constable, Timothy Brain, complained that he and his staff hadn’t been told of the Mythe crisis until seven hours after flood water had entered the treatment works. They had no idea that a water cut-off was even a ...

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