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Us and Them

Robert Taubman

4 September 1980
The Secret Servant 
by Gavin Lyall.
Hodder, 224 pp., £5.50, June 1980, 0 340 25385 1
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The Flowers of the Forest 
by Joseph Hone.
Secker, 365 pp., £5.95, July 1980, 0 436 20087 2
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A Talent to Deceive: An Appreciation of Agatha Christie 
by Robert Barnard.
Collins, 203 pp., £5.95, April 1980, 0 00 216190 7
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Enter the Lion: A Posthumus Memoir of Mycroft Holmes 
by Michael Hodel and Sean Wright.
Dent, 237 pp., £4.95, May 1980, 0 460 04483 4
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Dorothy I. Sayers: Nine Literary Studies 
by Trevor Hall.
Duckworth, 132 pp., £12.50, April 1980, 9780715614556
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Milk Dime 
by Barry Fantoni.
Hodder, 192 pp., £5.50, May 1980, 0 340 25350 9
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... for the specialists of the Dorothy L. Sayers Historical and Literary Society. Others may note that Trevor Hall isn’t quite reliable off his own subject: a poem by T. S. Eliot that he says ‘was not reprinted elsewhere so far as I am aware’ was indeed reprinted, and not only in the Collected Poems. If John Buchan, in spite of his influence, hasn’t ...

Christendom

Conrad Russell

7 November 1985
F.W. Maitland 
by G.R. Elton.
Weidenfeld, 118 pp., £12.95, June 1985, 0 297 78614 8
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Renaissance Essays 
by Hugh Trevor-Roper.
Secker, 312 pp., £15, July 1985, 0 436 42511 4
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History, Society and the Churches: Essays in Honour of Owen Chadwick 
edited by Derek Beales and Geoffrey Best.
Cambridge, 335 pp., £30, May 1985, 0 521 25486 8
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... his predecessor in the same chair, while Lord Dacre of Glanton, more commonly known as Professor Trevor-Roper, is the recently retired Regius Professor at Oxford. From this conjunction, a classical or prophetic scholar would no doubt bring forth a portent: if the conjunction of three kings signified so much, what might the conjunction of three Regiuses ...
15 August 1991
... contesting 50th place with Winnie Mandela. As the 2354 delegates assembled in the conference hall one’s overwhelming impression was of a sea of young black males: in fact, 83 per cent were men and the average delegate age was 34. For rank-and-file delegates T-shirts were de rigueur (‘Forward to the Democratic Working-Class Control of Sport’ and ...

In Service

Anthony Thwaite

18 May 1989
The Remains of the Day 
by Kazuo Ishiguro.
Faber, 245 pp., £10.99, May 1989, 0 571 15310 0
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I served the King of England 
by Bohumil Hrabal, translated by Paul Wilson.
Chatto, 243 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 0 7011 3462 3
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Beautiful Mutants 
by Deborah Levy.
Cape, 90 pp., £9.95, May 1989, 0 224 02651 8
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When the monster dies 
by Kate Pullinger.
Cape, 173 pp., £10.95, May 1989, 9780224026338
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The Colour of Memory 
by Geoff Dyer.
Cape, 228 pp., £11.95, May 1989, 0 224 02585 6
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Sexual Intercourse 
by Rose Boyt.
Cape, 160 pp., £10.95, May 1989, 0 224 02666 6
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The Children’s Crusade 
by Rebecca Brown.
Picador, 121 pp., £10.95, March 1989, 0 330 30529 8
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... events between the two great wars. In the service of the late Lord Darlington, at Darlington Hall, Stevens was Miltonically aware that they also serve who only stand and wait. Service, indeed, has been Stevens’s guiding principle through a long professional career. He has thought much about ‘dignity’, as a quality to be striven for by men whose ...
27 January 1994
A.J.P. Taylor: A Biography 
by Adam Sisman.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 468 pp., £18.99, January 1994, 1 85619 210 5
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A.J.P. Taylor: The Traitor within the Gates 
by Robert Cole.
Macmillan, 285 pp., £40, November 1993, 0 333 59273 5
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From Napoleon to the Second International: International Essays on the 19th Century 
by A.J.P. Taylor, edited by Chris Wrigley.
Hamish Hamilton, 426 pp., £25, November 1993, 0 241 13444 7
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... it was, the suggestion was not, as it first appears, a modest proposal. For it was precisely the challenge of triumphing against all odds, of subverting conventional expectations, of winning popular acclaim while affecting to disdain it, which most gratified Taylor’s self-esteem, as he more or less admitted. Thus he relished not only the fact that he was ...

A Fue Respectable Friends

John Lloyd: British brass bands

5 April 2001
The British Brass Band: A Musical and Social History 
by Trevor Herbert.
Oxford, 381 pp., £48, June 2000, 0 19 816698 2
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... class. Brass bands were not originally working-class institutions. They were led at first by what Trevor Herbert calls ‘the socially superior classes’; they depended on a musical establishment with a taste for classical and religious music; they were formed into a network and encouraged to compete at open-air shows by entrepreneurs, instrument makers and ...

My Old, Sweet, Darling Mob

Iain Sinclair: Michael Moorcock

30 November 2000
King of the City 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 421 pp., £9.99, May 2000, 0 684 86140 2
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Mother London 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 496 pp., £6.99, May 2000, 0 684 86141 0
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... Actually, this fly-pitched outlaw, spotted on the side of a telephone junction box outside Toynbee Hall, on Commercial Street in Whitechapel, had been got up to look like a charity case, or a Wanted poster. Dead or alive. ‘Vote Michael Moorcock’, it said. ‘King of the City’. King of the City, a hefty London novel, character-packed, busy with competing ...

Rolling Stone

Peter Burke

20 August 1981
The Past and the Present 
by Lawrence Stone.
Routledge, 274 pp., £8.75, June 1981, 0 7100 0628 4
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... of Wadham. He was already a controversial figure who had, as we all knew, crossed swords with Hugh Trevor-Roper over the state of the Elizabethan aristocracy and with Geoffrey Elton over the question of Tudor despotism. Stone’s favourite theme at that time was ‘The Coming of the English Revolution’. Looking back from the later 17th century, Lord ...

Ages of the Train

Christopher Driver

8 January 1987
The Railway Station: A Social History 
by Jeffrey Richards and John MacKenzie.
Oxford, 440 pp., £15, April 1986, 0 19 215876 7
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The Railways of Britain: A Journey through History 
by Jack Simmons.
Macmillan, 255 pp., £15.95, May 1986, 0 333 40766 0
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... was forsaken by Ingrid Bergman and entrained at the Gare de Lyon, when Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard had their Brief Encounter in Carnforth refreshment room, their audiences were emotionally prepared for the settings. Boarding-school children learnt early to associate sorrows and joys with railway stations, whether they concealed or betrayed them ...
25 June 1992
Sir Philip Sidney: Courtier Poet 
by Katherine Duncan-Jones.
Hamish Hamilton, 350 pp., £20, September 1991, 0 241 12650 9
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Algernon Sidney and the Restoration Crisis 
by Jonathan Scott.
Cambridge, 406 pp., £40, October 1991, 0 521 35291 6
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Algernon Sidney and the Republican Heritage 
by Alan Craig Houston.
Princeton, 335 pp., £22.50, November 1991, 0 691 07860 2
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Milton’s ‘History of Britain’: Republican Historiography in the English Revolution 
by Nicholas von Maltzahn.
Oxford, 244 pp., £32.50, November 1991, 0 19 812897 5
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... inheritance, which survives as a glorious muddle of a house, centred on an enchanting Medieval hall and sprawling out into its Renaissance and later additions. Jonson’s poem makes virtues of the family’s necessities. Though the Sidneys thought of their ancestors as grand Medieval landlords, a conceit reinforced by a fake family tree concocted for ...

Vidkids

Tom Shippey

30 December 1982
Invasion of the Space Invaders: An Addict’s Guide to Battle Tactics, Big Scores and the Best, Machines 
by Martin Amis.
Hutchinson, 128 pp., £5.95, September 1982, 0 09 147841 3
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Dicing with Dragons: An Introduction to Role-Playing Games 
by Ian Livingstone.
Routledge, 216 pp., £3.95, October 1982, 0 7100 9466 3
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... and while it’s OK for little boys to run round wearing Liverpool shirts or shouting ‘I’ll be Trevor Francis,’ this is strongly frowned upon for even slightly bigger boys. One remembers the games teacher in Kes who ran the whole football session so he could pretend he was Bobby Charlton. Everybody does this in their heads, just like Walter Mitty, but ...

What’s not to like?

Stefan Collini: Ernest Gellner

2 June 2011
Ernest Gellner: An Intellectual Biography 
by John Hall.
Verso, 400 pp., £29.99, July 2010, 978 1 84467 602 6
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... and as philosophers of social-scientific method. The comparison becomes almost a reflex in John Hall’s outstanding biography: ‘Gellner’s understanding and account of modern cognition were profoundly Weberian’; ‘No modern thinker has stood so close to Weber in insisting that our times must be disenchanted’; Gellner’s account is ‘Weberian both ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2010

16 December 2010
... years. The next blue moon on New Year’s Eve won’t be until 2028 so it’s the last one I shall ever see – and it’s also the first that I ever knew about. The moon is strong enough to cast sharp shadows, with the sky blue except for occasional reefs of cloud so that with the snow still lying in drifts on the road earth and heaven seem one. 23 ...

Miracle on Fleet Street

Martin Hickman: Operation Elveden

7 January 2016
... out to be a high-ranking official at the Ministry of Defence. In April 2012, News International challenged the police to say whether it was itself under investigation by Elveden. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers formally confirmed that it was. The MSC halted its co-operation and released information only when police obtained a court order. On 6 March ...

Only Men in Mind

Susan Pedersen: R.H. Tawney

20 August 2014
The Life of R.H. Tawney 
by Lawrence Goldman.
Bloomsbury, 411 pp., £65, September 2013, 978 1 78093 704 5
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... governing elite. And that had consequences.Leaving Oxford in 1903, Tawney went to Toynbee Hall, the settlement house in East London, where Beveridge had taken the job of sub-warden. Like so many other morally serious and striving young Edwardians, he threw himself into social service, working for an organisation that sent poor children on restorative ...

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