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The Iceman Cometh

Ross McKibbin: Tony Adams

6 January 2000
Addicted 
by Tony Adams and Ian Ridley.
HarperCollins, 384 pp., £6.99, August 1999, 0 00 218795 7
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... Arsenal’. But if they do not play the game they are forgotten. And in one important respect Arsenal remains almost bulldog British: in its ageing but still formidable defence. Which brings us to TonyAdams. Of those bulldogs Adams is the most redoubtable; a man of immense pertinacity and skill who has saved both Arsenal and England on many occasions. And he has been in the game long enough to see ...

Tony

Elaine Feinstein

18 April 1996
... at your urging, and copies of that magazine you and I ran together which the police came to investigate after a delivery of Naked Lunch from Olympia. For a few years, you moved whenever we did, from Adams Road to Sherlock, then De Freville where the printer we owed money lived next door. You wrote your first book for three hours a day and then felt restless, since your body liked to use its energies ...

Out of the Pound Loney

Ronan Bennett: The demonising of Gerry Adams

5 March 1998
Man of War, Man of Peace? The Unauthorised Biography of Gerry Adams 
by David Sharrock and Mark Devenport.
Macmillan, 488 pp., £16.99, November 1997, 0 333 69883 5
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... Shortly after the 1994 IRA ceasefire, the New Statesman ran a cartoon depicting Gerry Adams as a reptilian protohuman emerging from a primordial sea to take his first trepid step on the long evolutionary walk from terrorist godfather to constitutional politician. To judge from this ...
24 September 1992
Tony​ Benn 
by Jad Adams.
Macmillan, 576 pp., £20, July 1992, 0 333 52558 2
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The End of an Era: Diaries, 1980-1990 
by Tony​ Benn, edited by Ruth Winstone.
Hutchinson, 704 pp., £25, September 1992, 0 09 174857 7
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... socialist was elected President of the Oxford Union in 1947 and, within three years, became Labour candidate in a by-election in Bristol South East. He was literally returned to Westminster. Jad Adams has written a much needed biography, largely based on Benn’s own voluminous archive, notably his massive diaries, which are a major source for the political history of the past thirty years. Ruth ...

I only want to keep my hand in

Owen Bennett-Jones: Gerry Adams

16 November 2017
Gerry AdamsAn Unauthorised Life 
by Malachi O’Doherty.
Faber, 356 pp., £14.99, September 2017, 978 0 571 31595 6
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... to the leaders of paramilitary groups, have chronicled what happened. One aspect of the conflict all these sources reveal is the extent of the British state’s confusion about how to deal with Gerry Adams. Police repeatedly raided Adams’s childhood home. When he was 23 the courts interned him for five years, beginning with a spell on a prison ship. A few months later he was released so that the RAF ...

Marching Orders

Ronan Bennett: The new future of Northern Ireland

30 July 1998
... to be another O’Neill or Faulkner, that he would remain staunch in their interests. The first IRA ceasefire was then entering its second year. Trimble declared that he did not believe that Gerry Adams and Sinn Fein were committed to achieving a settlement by exclusively peaceful means, and consistently played on the issue of the decommissioning of IRA arms as an excuse to prevent progress towards ...
21 May 1981
A Lonely Business: A Self-Portrait of James Pope-Hennessy 
edited by Peter Quennell.
Weidenfeld, 278 pp., £12.50, April 1981, 0 297 77918 4
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... but (as Mr Quennell remarks in a note) ‘he soon found the task of keeping exotic birds more onerous than he expected.’ It was therefore fortunate for him that a pugnacious paratrooper, Len Adams, first encountered in a Holland Park underground station lift in 1948, remained a stabilising influence in his life ever after. Among the Tonys, Rays, Jeffreys, the guardsmen and the convicts, it was ...

Diary

David Bromwich: President-Speak

10 April 2008
... Cheney (as well as the National Security Strategy of September 2002, largely written by Condoleezza Rice); and a few celebrated statements about the duties and limitations of democracy by John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy. Adams’s 1821 Independence Day address to the House of Representatives was delivered while he was secretary of state in the administration of James Monroe. A ...

Extraordinarily Graceful Exits from Power

Nicholas Guyatt: George Washington’s Reticence

17 November 2005
His Excellency George Washington 
by Joseph J. Ellis.
Faber, 320 pp., £20, March 2005, 0 571 21212 3
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... acts, and whose character is shrouded by an almost painful formality? It’s no surprise that Joseph Ellis should now venture an answer to this question, having already produced biographies of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, as well as a book about the 1790s, Founding Brothers, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2001. Like many Americans, George Washington took arms against Britain in 1775 resignedly ...

Adored Gazelle

Ferdinand Mount: Cherubino at Number Ten

20 March 2008
Balfour: The Last Grandee 
by R.J.Q. Adams.
Murray, 479 pp., £30, November 2007, 978 0 7195 5424 7
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... politician’. In 1911, Balfour cautioned the Palace against awarding the Order of Merit to Rosebery. Five years later, Rosebery bitterly opposed Balfour’s OM. It is perhaps over the top for R.J.Q. Adams to subtitle his Life of Balfour, ‘The Last Grandee’, with Rosebery lurking up the Firth of Forth getting steadily fatter and redder in the face, while Balfour remained lithe and bonny on his 36 ...

Problems

Peter Campbell

1 October 1981
Early Disorder 
by Rebecca Josephs.
Farrar, Straus/Faber, 186 pp., £5.50, September 1981, 0 571 12031 8
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A Star for the Latecomer 
by Bonnie Zindel.
Bodley Head, 186 pp., £3.95, March 1981, 0 370 30319 9
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Catherine loves 
by Timothy Ireland.
Bodley Head, 117 pp., £3.95, June 1981, 0 370 30292 3
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Jacob have I loved 
by Katherine Paterson.
Gollancz, 216 pp., £4.95, April 1981, 0 575 02961 7
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... only thing left for you to do. Catherine loves is set in a narrower English world where not all the problems are psychological ones. Catherine’s mother takes her with her when she goes to live with Tony, her lover. A baby comes and she returns to her husband: Catherine gives to the new baby the affection no one else seems able to return. Things get better, then worse, and mother leaves again ...

Diary

W.G. Runciman: Exit Blair

24 May 2007
... Now that Tony Blair has almost stopped hanging around the office poisoning the chalice for his inevitable successor, the season for political obituaries is wide open. Not that it hadn’t already started, with a ...
2 September 1999
... that there could be no negotiations with armed terrorists – and successive British Governments were well aware of this, as were the Unionists. In 1993, however, John Hume’s talks with Gerry Adams reached the point where an unconditional cessation of IRA violence became a real possibility and the Major Government was persuaded by Dublin to open the way for such a development by committing ...
17 December 1981
The Forward March of Labour Halted? 
by Eric Hobsbawm, Ken Gill and Tony​ Benn.
Verso, 182 pp., £8.50, November 1981, 0 86091 041 5
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... There has been a trahison des roturiers which has not only led to working-class votes being cast for Margaret Thatcher but might, even now, lead to their being switched to Roy Jenkins instead of Tony Benn. It is true that the record of an internal debate among the committed is not to be read as a prospectus for potential converts. But the cries of disappointment and betrayal, the denunciations of ...

Christian v. Cannibal

Michael Rogin: Norman Mailer and American history

1 April 1999
The American Century 
by Harold Evans.
Cape, 710 pp., £40, November 1998, 0 224 05217 9
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The Time of Our Time 
by Norman Mailer.
Little, Brown, 1286 pp., £25, September 1998, 0 316 64571 0
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... the historian Sean Wilentz). The antagonist he explicitly argues with most often is his fellow philo-American of British origins, Paul Johnson (once on the Left, then Thatcherite, now an admirer of Tony Blair), whose own celebratory history of the United States appeared in 1997. In imagining an American narrative around which a renewed progressivism could unite, Evans adopts the Popular Front model ...

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