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Joining up

Angus Calder

3 April 1986
Soldier, Soldier 
by Tony Parker.
Heinemann, 244 pp., £9.95, September 1985, 0 434 57770 7
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Echoes of the Great War: The Diary of the Reverend Andrew Clark 1914-1919 
edited by James Munson.
Oxford, 304 pp., £10.95, October 1985, 0 19 212984 8
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The Unknown Army: Mutinies in the British Army in World War One 
by Gloden Dallas and Douglas Gill.
Verso, 178 pp., £18.50, July 1985, 0 86091 106 3
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Soldiers: A History of Men in Battle 
by John Keegan and Richard Holmes.
Hamish Hamilton, 288 pp., £12.95, September 1985, 0 241 11583 3
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... A major in the Royal Anglian Regiment talks to TonyParker about battle: I’ve only been in that kind of situation where someone’s been shooting at me, a total of about twelve times altogether – in Ireland, in Aden, and we had a couple of dust-ups with ...

Losers

Ross McKibbin

23 October 1986
The Politics of the UCS Work-In: Class Alliances and the Right to Work 
by John Foster and Charles Woolfson.
Lawrence and Wishart, 446 pp., £9.95, July 1986, 0 85315 663 8
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A Lost Left: Three Studies in Socialism and Nationalism 
by David Howell.
Manchester, 351 pp., £29.95, July 1986, 0 7190 1959 1
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The Miners’ Strike 1984-5: Loss without Limit 
by Martin Adeney and John Lloyd.
Routledge, 319 pp., £14.95, October 1986, 0 7102 0694 1
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Red Hill: A Mining Community 
by Tony Parker.
Heinemann, 196 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 434 57771 5
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Strike Free: New Industrial Relations in Britain 
by Philip Bassett.
Macmillan, 197 pp., £10.95, August 1986, 9780333418000
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... shipyards is placed firmly in the context of the Scottish and international economy. Upper Clyde Shipbuilders was created by the first Wilson government – the book has a treacherous preface by Tony Benn – out of the wreckage of the old Fairfields yard. In 1971 it was allowed to go ‘bankrupt’ by the Heath Government. The work-force responded with unexpected spirit, occupied the yards as a ...

De Mortuis

Christopher Driver

28 June 1990
The Ruffian on the Stair: Reflection on Death 
edited by Rosemary Dinnage.
Viking, 291 pp., £14.99, April 1990, 0 670 82763 0
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Death, Ritual and Bereavement 
edited by Ralph Houlbrooke.
Routledge, 250 pp., £35, October 1990, 0 415 01165 5
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In the Face of Death 
by Peter Noll, translated by Hans Noll.
Viking, 254 pp., £15.99, April 1990, 0 670 80703 6
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... Dinnage’s book is not only anecdotal, as it has to be, but oddly inconsequential in selection. This is just to indicate that the books have not been ordered by the literary imagination of a TonyParker (or indeed of Dinnage’s own writing). Particular contributions are well worth reading: in Houlbrooke, for instance, Lucinda McCray Beier on ‘The Good Death in 17th-Century England’, Jennifer ...

Strangers

John Lanchester

11 July 1991
Serial Murder: An Elusive Phenomenon 
edited by Stephen Egger.
Praeger, 250 pp., £33.50, October 1990, 0 275 92986 8
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Serial Killers 
by Joel Norris.
Arrow, 333 pp., £4.99, July 1990, 0 09 971750 6
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Life after Life 
by Tony Parker.
Pan, 256 pp., £4.50, May 1991, 0 330 31528 5
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American Psycho 
by Bret Easton Ellis.
Picador, 399 pp., £6.99, April 1991, 0 330 31992 2
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Dirty Weekend 
by Helen Zahavi.
Macmillan, 185 pp., £13.99, April 1991, 0 333 54723 3
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Silence of the Lambs 
by Thomas Harris.
Mandarin, 366 pp., £4.99, April 1991, 0 7493 0942 3
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... 15 people, and no one had noticed that the victims were missing. In that sense, Nilsen – eight of whose victims have yet to be identified – was a much more modern serial killer than Sutcliffe. TonyParker’s excellent book indirectly offers important insight into the phenomenon of serial murder. As Joel Norris remarks, it is the ‘weight’ of the crime that undoes most murderers – the ...
20 March 1997
Why Vote Conservative? 
by David Willetts.
Penguin, 108 pp., £3.99, February 1997, 0 14 026304 7
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Why Vote Liberal Democrat? 
by William Wallace.
Penguin, 120 pp., £3.99, February 1997, 0 14 026303 9
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Why Vote Labour? 
by Tony​ Wright.
Penguin, 111 pp., £3.99, February 1997, 0 14 026397 7
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... the general election without being overtaken by it. Over the last half-century, Penguin have intermittently filled this kind of slot, beginning in 1947, when they commissioned the Labour MP John Parker and the Conservative MP Quintin Hogg, now Lord Hailsham, to produce books of a couple of hundred pages each. ‘When the manuscripts were received,’ the publishers were forced to reveal, ‘it was ...

At Home in the Huntington

John Sutherland: The Isherwood Archive

10 June 1999
... as the ‘Rupert Brooke of the Depression’.) Isherwood, he grudgingly conceded, could claim ‘accomplishment’. Isherwood returned the tepid compliment, 12 years later, with a script for the Tony Richardson production of The Loved One. The movie regularly makes the lists of alltime turkeys. Would that my enemy had written a book and I might adapt it for the screen. The stock of the various ...
5 February 1987
Jane Austen 
by Tony​ Tanner.
Macmillan, 291 pp., £20, November 1986, 0 333 32317 3
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... been to move their own special machinery into place on him. But it has happened with Swift, with Richardson, with Dickens and the Romantic poets, and it is now happening with Jane Austen. Not that Tony Tanner’s study is wilfully abstract or – except for his use of the unnecessary term ‘discourse’ – filled with modern jargon. It is, on the contrary, one of the most readable books yet to ...

High on His Own Supply

Christopher Tayler: Amis Recycled

11 September 2003
Yellow Dog 
by Martin Amis.
Cape, 340 pp., £16.99, September 2003, 0 224 05061 3
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... with much subtlety. When we meet Joseph Andrews, for instance, he’s in the middle of dictating his memoirs. This allows Amis to parody the hard-man autobiographies turned out by the likes of TonyParker and ‘Mad’ Frankie Fraser (his acknowledged sources). The dictation device also allows him to crack such jokes as ‘I hadn’t been out for long when I was fancied for a murder [click] which I ...
25 February 1993
Inside the Firm: The Untold Story of the Krays’ Reign of Terror 
by Tony​ Lambrianou and Carol Clerk.
Pan, 256 pp., £4.99, October 1992, 0 330 32284 2
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Gangland: London’s Underworld 
by James Morton.
Little, Brown, 349 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 356 20889 3
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Nipper: The Story of Leonard ‘Nipper’ Read 
by Leonard Read and James Morton.
Warner, 318 pp., £5.99, September 1992, 0 7515 0001 1
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Smash and Grab: Gangsters in the London Underworld 
by Robert Murphy.
Faber, 182 pp., £15.99, February 1993, 0 571 15442 5
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... the self-confessed author of Inside the Firm: The Untold Story of the Krays’ Reign of Terror, admits that Ronnie Kray did shock him. Just once. An unforgettable occasion. A motor eased alongside Tony at the corner of Blythe Street, Bethnal Green. Ron and Reg were inside, keeping company with a known associate, Dickie Morgan. Reg was nicely cased in a blue three-piece by Woods of Kingsland Road ...

Sewing furiously

Rosalind Mitchison

7 March 1985
The Subversive Stitch: Embroidery and the Making of the Feminine 
by Rozsika Parker.
Women’s Press, 256 pp., £14.95, October 1984, 0 7043 2842 9
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Living the Fishing 
by Paul Thompson, Tony​ Wailey and Trevor Lummis.
Routledge, 398 pp., £13.95, September 1983, 0 7100 9508 2
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By the Sweat of their Brow: Women Workers at Victorian Coal Mines 
by Angela John.
Routledge, 247 pp., £4.95, February 1984, 0 7102 0142 7
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... a pre-puberty rite. Girls of good family worked over their samplers as their brothers did over Latin verse, to produce objects which indicated a social setting of relative leisure. Rozsika Parker’s book, which sets out to show how feminine expression was channelled by the stereotype of the girl with her needle, never actually asks what the artistic purpose of the work was, but has much to ...

Tea-Leafing

Duncan Campbell

19 October 1995
The Autobiography of a Thief 
by Bruce Reynolds.
Bantam, 320 pp., £15.99, April 1995, 0 593 03779 0
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... homage to Jean Genet. The Thief’s Journal was being translated into English just as Bruce and Buster and Charlie were driving £2,631,684 in mail bags to Leather-slade Farm on 8 August 1963, with Tony Bennett singing ‘The Good Life’ on the radio. When Buster Edwards hanged himself last year and I rang Bruce Reynolds for a comment (an explanation, if there can ever be such a thing) he referred ...

So Ordinary, So Glamorous

Thomas Jones: Eternal Bowie

5 April 2012
Starman: David Bowie, the Definitive Biography 
by Paul Trynka.
Sphere, 440 pp., £9.99, March 2012, 978 0 7515 4293 6
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The Man Who Sold the World: David Bowie and the 1970s 
by Peter Doggett.
Bodley Head, 424 pp., £20, September 2011, 978 1 84792 144 4
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... dilated. As for the music, Ronson wasn’t only Bowie’s guitarist but was also largely responsible for the arrangements. And overseeing the whole enterprise alongside Bowie was his manager, Tony Defries, whose taste and talent for theatrical gestures rivalled Bowie’s own. The metamorphosis couldn’t stop at Ziggy Stardust: butterflies, as Bowie realised but his friend and rival Marc Bolan ...

Diary

James Meek: Bobos for Boris?

26 April 2012
... to serfdom; the state is not in the business of picking winners. Having sided with the lefty technocrats, Johnson went with the utopian socialists too. It was in the spirit of William Morris, Barry Parker and Raymond Unwin that those family gaggles of Routemaster fans came out to bid the old version of the bus farewell, in the belief that efficiency and the bottom line aren’t enough, that the ...

Utopian about the Present

Christopher Turner: The Brutalist Ethic

4 July 2019
Alison and Peter Smithson 
by Mark Crinson.
Historic England, 150 pp., £30, June 2018, 978 1 84802 352 9
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Municipal Dreams: The Rise and Fall of Council Housing 
by John Boughton.
Verso, 330 pp., £9.99, April, 978 1 78478 740 0
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... poorer residents were concentrated on estates such as Robin Hood Gardens. In 1997, New Labour’s Social Exclusion Unit began to inject millions of pounds into the worst ‘problem estates’. Tony Blair pioneered the public-private partnerships that operate today, whereby estates are demolished and council tenants rehoused in ‘social rented’ properties administered by housing associations ...

Miss Dior, Prodigally Applied

Ian Patterson: Jilly Cooper

17 May 2017
Mount! 
by Jilly Cooper.
Corgi, 610 pp., £7.99, February 2017, 978 0 552 17028 4
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... of males, a character created from a mixture of Mr Rochester, Clark Gable, Casanova, the late Alan Clark MP, and – 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 ...

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