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Beware the Ides of Mogg

Will Hutton, 9 April 1992

The Great Reckoning: How the world will change in the depression of the Nineties 
by James Dale Davidson and William Rees-Mogg.
Sidgwick, 531 pp., £20, January 1992, 0 283 06116 2
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... This book warns that the world is on the threshold of a savage deflation caused by too much personal, corporate and government debt. Lord Rees-Mogg and his American acolyte, to whom is attributed all the leg work, have been bold enough to set themselves up as 20th-century prophets of doom with more than a modicum of good reason. But their pessimism arises as much from flagrant conservative prejudice as from historical, economic and political analysis ...

Fenmen

Ronald Hutton, 5 August 1982

Fenland Riots and the English Revolution 
by Keith Lindley.
Heinemann, 259 pp., £16.50, March 1982, 0 435 32535 3
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Commonwealth to Protectorate 
by Austin Woolrych.
Oxford, 433 pp., £22.50, March 1982, 0 19 822659 4
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... In previous centuries most histories of the English Revolution were coloured by the rival ideologies of Royalist and Roundhead. In the past few generations the division has tended to be drawn instead between the followers of Karl Marx and those of Samuel Gardiner, between those who see political action as an expression of tensions within society as a whole and those who see the vital political events as occurring at the centre and echoing in the provinces ...

At The Hutton Enquiry

Daniel Soar: Hutton’s Big Top, 11 September 2003

... evidence aren’t very well blacked out). And here is a question put by James Dingemans QC (Lord Hutton’s chief – and, currently, chiefly benign – inquisitor) to Alastair Campbell: ‘Mr Powell told us yesterday that you had told him that Mr Baldwin had told you that the person who told him this information was Mr Sambrook.’ Campbell’s ...

Megalo

R.W. Johnson, 9 March 1995

The State We’re In 
by Will Hutton.
Cape, 352 pp., £16.99, January 1995, 0 224 03688 2
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... Will Hutton, the Guardian’s economics editor, has produced a book which is part show-biz – it carries a passionate puff from Ian McEwan on the front cover and leapt straight into the bestseller list – and part political event: it clearly aims to provide a sweeping economic and political platform for Labour, has been elaborated with the help of Tony Blair’s adviser, David Miliband, and sees Blair’s election as leader as an epochal event, finally settling Labour’s commitment to social democracy ...

A Misreading of the Law

Conor Gearty: Why didn’t Campbell sue?, 19 February 2004

Report of the Inquiry into the Circumstances Surrounding the Death of Dr David Kelly CMG 
by Lord Hutton.
Stationery Office, 740 pp., £70, January 2004, 0 10 292715 4
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... At first sight, the Hutton Report seemed to provide further evidence of Tony Blair’s intuitive political genius. It was extraordinary to have reaped from the appointment of Lord Hutton a set of findings which transformed a crisis that threatened to be overwhelming into a vindication of every aspect of the government’s conduct, and of the prime minister’s moral probity in particular ...

Solomon Tuesday

Rosemary Ashton, 8 January 1987

R.H. HuttonCritic and Theologian 
by Malcolm Woodfield.
Oxford, 227 pp., £25, September 1986, 0 19 818564 2
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... was brought out from the shadows where he now lurks, uncollected and unread. For Richard Holt Hutton was a prodigious and impressive critic. And unlike Arnold he made literary (and theological) criticism his profession. Hutton was the author of about seven thousand reviews and essays. He edited the Spectator from 1861 ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: Postscript, 19 February 2004

... may be a weasel in talcum powder. One person who saw it coming was Ludovic Kennedy who, hearing Hutton named to head the inquiry, correctly predicted the outcome. I looked up the judge, then Sir Brian Hutton, in Kennedy’s Thirty-Six Murders, where he pinpoints one of Hutton’s ...

Lighting-Up Time

Wendy Doniger, 6 March 1997

The Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain 
by Ronald Hutton.
Oxford, 542 pp., £19.99, June 1996, 0 19 820570 8
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... source of both modern folk rituals and Christianity. Against Frazer and the neo-Frazerian coven, Hutton argues that each of the major rituals that we still celebrate today (Christmas, New Year, Valentine’s Day, Shrove Tuesday, Easter, May Day, Guy Fawkes and some others) can be traced back to a specific moment in British history, and that few, if any, are ...

Bardism

Tom Shippey: The Druids, 9 July 2009

Blood and Mistletoe: The History of the Druids in Britain 
by Ronald Hutton.
Yale, 491 pp., £30, May 2009, 978 0 300 14485 7
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... When I first met Ronald Hutton, at a conference in Montana ten years ago, he remarked that if you looked at a modern book on druids, what you were likely to find was a number of chapters about ancient druids – about whom we know very little – followed by a perfunctory coda on modern druids, about whom we know a great deal ...

War without an Enemy

Blair Worden, 21 January 1982

The Outbreak of the English Civil War 
by Anthony Fletcher.
Arnold, 446 pp., £24, October 1981, 0 7131 6320 8
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The Royalist War Effort 
by Ronald Hutton.
Longman, £12, October 1981, 0 582 50301 9
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... the political preoccupations of the capital is a subject on which Anthony Fletcher and Ronald Hutton might disagree, but they are at one in urging us to use the terms ‘neutralism’ and ‘localism’ more discriminately, and in demonstrating that many of the ‘neutrality pacts’ which have commanded recent attention prove to have been born of ...

Jigsaw Mummies

Tom Shippey: Pagan Britain, 6 November 2014

Pagan Britain 
by Ronald Hutton.
Yale, 480 pp., £25, November 2013, 978 0 300 19771 6
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The King in the North: The Life and Times of Oswald of Northumbria 
by Max Adams.
Head of Zeus, 450 pp., £25, August 2013, 978 1 78185 418 1
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... ago, and more information is being unearthed all the time. A paradox that emerges from Ronald Hutton’s extraordinarily wide-ranging survey is that the more data archaeology supplies, the less sure we are of what it all means, or meant. Take the case of the Red Lady of Paviland on the Gower Peninsula, the earliest indication of religious sentiment in ...

Bound for the bad

Mary Beard, 14 September 1989

Loss of the Good Authority: The Cause of Delinquency 
by Tom Pitt-Aikens and Alice Thomas Ellis.
Viking, 264 pp., £14.95, July 1989, 0 670 82493 3
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... discussion included gross errors about the names, identities and history of key individuals in the Hutton story – errors that were more often the consequence of appalling ignorance than (on the more charitable interpretation) deeply significant psychic confusion. No wonder that Geoffrey often decided not to turn up! The more sinister aspect of Secrets is the ...

Maypoles

Conrad Russell, 5 September 1985

The Restoration: A Political and Religious History of England and Wales 1658-1667 
by Ronald Hutton.
Oxford, 379 pp., £17.50, June 1985, 0 19 822698 5
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... for historians, the most remarkable fact about this book is that it remained to be written. Dr Hutton was justified in complaining that hitherto the history of the ‘English Revolution’ has read like ‘a marvellous story with the last chapter missing’. This is so no longer, but what does it tell us about ourselves that we have allowed the concept of ...

What did Cook want?

Jon Lawrence: Both ‘on message’ and off, 19 February 2004

The Point of Departure 
by Robin Cook.
Simon and Schuster, 368 pp., £20, October 2003, 0 7432 5255 1
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... of Iraq in March 2003. He may have wanted to get the book out quickly while Iraq, WMDs and Hutton still dominate the headlines, but, more important, writing exclusively about the Blair second term allows him to construct a narrative of political disillusion shorn of awkward questions about the compromises that had been necessary for him to stay loyal ...

Short Cuts

Norman Dombey: False Intelligence, 19 February 2004

... provided by [the] British security services’. In the light of the evidence presented to the Hutton Inquiry, it is entirely believable that MI6 helped 10 Downing Street to persuade the British public that there was a case for war, just as the Office of Special Plans in the Pentagon was doing in the United States. After all, John Scarlett, the present ...

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