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How bad are we?

Bernard Porter: Genocide in Tasmania

30 July 2014
The Last Man: A British Genocide in Tasmania 
by Tom Lawson.
Tauris, 263 pp., £25, January 2014, 978 1 78076 626 3
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... thousand aborigines lived on the island, and that by 1876 there were none – only mixed-race Tasmanians and those deported to the Australian mainland survived. (William Lanne, the ‘last man’ of TomLawson’s title, died in 1869; two Tasmanian women survived him briefly.) There is also disagreement about the way they met their end, or rather about the relative roles played by settler violence ...

Dislocations

Stephen Fender

19 January 1989
Landscape and Written Expression in Revolutionary America: The world turned upside down 
by Robert Lawson-Peebles.
Cambridge, 384 pp., £35, March 1988, 0 521 34647 9
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Mark Twain’s Letters. Vol. I: 1853-1866 
edited by Edgar Marquess Branch, Michael Frank and Kenneth Sanderson.
California, 616 pp., $35, May 1988, 0 520 03668 9
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A Writer’s America: Landscape in Literature 
by Alfred Kazin.
Thames and Hudson, 240 pp., £15.95, September 1988, 0 500 01424 8
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... of this long-awaited and deftly-annotated edition by the Mark Twain Project at Berkeley, the West presented economic and social, as well as physical, hazards. For most of the writers represented in Lawson-Peebles’s study, too, the confrontation posed problems of style. Only in Kazin’s wide survey are American writers at ease in their surroundings. A common response to the unexpected is a retreat ...
18 February 1988
The Road to Botany Bay 
by Paul Carter.
Faber, 384 pp., £14.95, October 1987, 0 571 14551 5
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The Oxford History of Australia. Vol. IV: 1901-1942 
by Stuart Macintyre.
Oxford, 399 pp., £22.50, October 1987, 0 19 554612 1
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The Archibald Paradox: A Strange Case of Authorship 
by Sylvia Lawson.
Penguin Australia, 292 pp., AUS $12.95, September 1987, 0 14 009848 8
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The Lucky Country Revisited 
by Donald Horne.
Dent, 235 pp., AUS $34.95, October 1987, 9780867700671
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... Some of the best Australian history is cultural history, not just because better written, but because the culturati, eternally anxious to place themselves in a context, try hard to evoke it. Sylvia Lawson, a descendant of Henry Lawson, was a pioneer –the pioneer – Australian woman literary journalist in the Fifties. In the editorial office of Tom Fitzgerald’s Nation magazine in George Street ...
9 December 1999
The Autobiography 
by John Major.
HarperCollins, 774 pp., £25, October 1999, 0 00 257004 1
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In Office 
by Norman Lamont.
Little, Brown, 567 pp., £20, October 1999, 0 316 64707 1
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... Lamont and Major have not been on speaking terms for six years now – to show where her favours lay. Norman Lamont, who served continuously at the Treasury from 1986 to 1993 – a period when first Lawson and then Major consistently argued for the ERM – tries hard to pretend that he was too busy dealing with the fairies at the bottom of the garden to notice any of it. He claims that when Britain ...

Short Cuts

Christopher Tayler: Costume Drama

11 October 2012
... rectitude. Costume drama audiences are widely reckoned to respond to obliquity of the kind Ford specialised in as Wyndham Lewis did in 1914: ‘What balls!’ So even given the participation of Tom Stoppard, Rebecca Hall and Benedict Cumberbatch, it was surprising to see a Ford adaptation given five hours on BBC2. Ford was last unloosed in this way in 1981, when Julian Mitchell adapted The Good ...
10 November 1994
Hanson: A Biography 
by Alex Brummer and Roger Cowe.
Fourth Estate, 336 pp., £20, September 1994, 1 85702 189 4
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... Honours List in 1991. In the same year, Kenneth Baker got a job on Hanson’s board. In the Thatcher years, Hanson felt he was part of the Government. He demanded and got an interview with Nigel Lawson in which he offered to buy the BP shares the Government were selling – for six billion pounds. Lawson showed him the door, believing at least a little in his own rhetoric about a shareholders ...

Diary

Noël Annan: On Ralph Dahrendorf

27 September 1990
... I wonder whether east of the Elbe people will feel the same. Dahrendorf thinks it will take at least six years to get economic results there. But to establish civil society will take far longer. Tom Marshall used to say at the LSE that it took three centuries to build it in Britain. Nevertheless the point Dahrendorf is making is that West Germany is not a Hayek state. It is a mixed economy, a ...
6 October 1994
Knowledge of Angels 
by Jill Paton Walsh.
Green Bay in association with Colt, 268 pp., £14.99, July 1994, 0 948845 05 8
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... Bradbury’s Post-Modernist attempt to win the Booker (if that is what it was) by sending up the Booker Prize in Doctor Criminale was quixotic and doomed, even with professional humorists like Mark Lawson on the panel. The other main prejudice built into the system arises from its rule that ‘the Prize is open to novels written in English by citizens of the British Commonwealth and the Republic of ...

Poet Squab

Claude Rawson

3 March 1988
John Dryden and His World 
by James Anderson Winn..
Yale, 651 pp., £19.95, November 1987, 0 300 02994 2
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John Dryden 
edited by Keith Walker.
Oxford, 967 pp., £22.50, January 1987, 0 19 254192 7
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... of Dryden, ‘dated 1657 but probably 1662’, which shows a full-fed figure with plump alert eyes, comfortable and predatory. He seems poised between repletion and dyspepsia, like a bewigged Nigel Lawson, arrested for all time at the moment of incipient eructation. James Winn says: ‘His short, squat figure later led his enemies to call him “Poet Squab”, and the plump birdlike face in this ...
17 October 1996
Sleaze: Politicians, Private Interests and Public Reaction 
edited by F.F. Ridley and Alan Doig.
Oxford, 222 pp., £10.99, April 1996, 0 19 922273 8
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Changing Trains: The Autobiography of Steven Norris 
Hutchinson, 273 pp., £16.99, October 1996, 0 09 180212 1Show More
The Quango Debate 
edited by F.F. Ridley and David Wilson.
Oxford, 188 pp., £10.99, September 1995, 9780199222384
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... None of this seemed to shock anyone. When MacGregor later gave evidence to the Nolan Commission on standards in public life, a member of the Commission, MacGregor’s former cabinet colleague Tom King, signalled his approach to MacGregor’s conduct with the memorable sentence: ‘I will embarrass you now by saying I always thought you should be Chancellor of the Exchequer.’ MacGregor’s ...

The Ugly Revolution

Michael Rogin: Martin Luther King Jr

10 May 2001
I May Not Get there with You: The True Martin Luther King Jr 
by Michael Eric Dyson.
Free Press, 404 pp., £15.99, May 2000, 0 684 86776 1
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The Papers of Martin Luther King Jr. Vol. IV: Symbol of the Movement January 1957-December 1958 
edited by Clayborne Carson et al.
California, 637 pp., £31.50, May 2000, 0 520 22231 8
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... on board the Arbella before it ever reached Massachusetts Bay and ‘the ligaments of this body which knit together are love.’ ‘Love is the central motif of non-violence,’ the Rev. James Lawson told the founding meeting of the Student Non-Violent Co-ordinating Committee (SNCC) in Greensboro, North Carolina on 15 April 1960. ‘It matches the capacity of evil to inflict suffering with an ...

Excellence

Patrick Wright

21 May 1987
Creating excellence: Managing corporate culture, strategy and change in the New Age 
by Craig Hickman and Michael Silva.
Allen and Unwin, 305 pp., £12.50, April 1985, 0 04 658252 5
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Intrapreneuring: Why you don’t have to leave the corporation to become an entrepreneur 
by Gifford Pinchot.
Harper and Row, 368 pp., £15.95, August 1985, 0 06 015305 9
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The IBM Way: Insights into the World’s Most Successful Marketing Organisation 
by Buck Rodgers.
Harper and Row, 224 pp., £12.95, April 1986, 0 06 015522 1
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Innovation: The Attacker’s Advantage 
by Richard Foster.
Macmillan, 316 pp., £14.95, September 1986, 0 333 43511 7
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Ford 
by Robert Lacey.
Heinemann, 778 pp., £15, July 1986, 0 434 40192 7
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Company of Adventurers: The Story of the Hudson’s Bay Company 
by Peter Newman.
Viking, 413 pp., £14.95, March 1986, 0 670 80379 0
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Augustine’s Laws 
by Norman Augustine.
Viking, 380 pp., £12.95, July 1986, 9780670809424
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Peak Performers: The New Heroes in Business 
by Charles Garfield.
Hutchinson, 333 pp., £12.95, October 1986, 0 09 167391 7
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Going for it: How to Succeed as an Entrepreneur 
by Victor Kiam.
Collins, 223 pp., £9.95, May 1986, 0 00 217603 3
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Take a chance to be first: The Secrets of Entrepreneurial Success 
by Warren Avis.
Macmillan, 222 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 02 504410 9
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The Winning Streak 
by Walter Goldsmith and David Clutterbuck.
Weidenfeld/Penguin, 224 pp., £9.95, September 1984, 0 297 78469 2
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The Roots of Excellence 
by Ronnie Lessem.
Fontana, 318 pp., £3.95, December 1985, 0 00 636874 3
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The New Management of Local Government 
by John Stewart.
Allen and Unwin, 208 pp., £20, October 1986, 0 00 435232 7
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... of encrustation after a hundred and fifty years in the industrial bureaucratic swamp. In Search of Excellence was an immediate million-seller, and its success unleashed a flurry of like-minded books. Tom Peters teamed up with Nancy Austin to restate the main arguments in A Passion For Excellence2 – a second-try book which set out to be a little more practical in its recommendations and which also ...
9 March 1995
... Pensions and Salaries Act 1991 provides for tax-free golden handshakes for ministers leaving the Government. The first of these pay-outs were made on 11 April 1992, with the former Defence Secretary Tom King, the finally jettisoned Kenneth Baker, and the former Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Brooke each receiving £8049 of public money to assuage their sense of political failure. Lord Waddington ...

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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... not repeat itself. It didn’t even rhyme: 2016 was 1975 through the looking-glass. Most of the surviving protagonists of the 1975 referendum – such as the former Europhiles David Owen and Nigel Lawson; Neil Kinnock, a prominent Labour anti in 1975; or Alex Salmond, then a youthful SNP anti-Marketeer – found themselves on the other side of the debate from their former selves. The exception was ...

How bad can it get?

LRB Contributors

15 August 2019
... Neal Ascherson, Mary Beard, Jonathan Coe, Tom Crewe, William Davies, Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, Lorna Finlayson, Daniel Finn, Katrina Forrester, Jeremy Harding, Daisy Hildyard, Colin Kidd, James Meek, Ferdinand Mount, Jan-Werner Müller, Jonathan ...

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