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Who needs nuclear weapons?

Philip Towle, 27 October 1988

Without the Bomb: The Politics of Nuclear Non-Proliferation 
by Mitchell Reiss.
Columbia, 337 pp., $35, January 1988, 0 231 06438 1
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Deep Black: The Secrets of Space Espionage 
by William Burrows.
Bantam, 401 pp., £14.95, January 1988, 0 593 01342 5
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Democracy and Deterrence: The History and Future of Nuclear Strategy 
by Philip Bobbitt.
Macmillan, 350 pp., £29.50, March 1988, 0 333 43537 0
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... relations. But Power’s aircraft was soon supplemented with the spy satellites whose development William Burrows traces. Today, they can photograph every part of the world in minute detail. They are assisted by more and more powerful computers which can use the photographs to ‘produce three-dimensional images of extraordinary depth and ...


Peter Barham: Madness in the nineteenth century, 17 August 2006

Madness at Home: The Psychiatrist, the Patient and the Family in England 1820-60 
by Akihito Suzuki.
California, 260 pp., £32.50, March 2006, 0 520 24580 6
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... and his wife of ten years, Mary Anne Hanson. She had for some time been having an affair with William Rowland Alder, a lawyer. The pair abused and mocked Lord Portsmouth, both physically and mentally, even making him a spectator to their fornication. These details came to light through a legal instrument known as a ‘commission in lunacy’, whose roots ...

Consider the Wombat

Katherine Rundell, 11 October 2018

... above all, he loved wombats. Rossetti mourning his wombat. He had two, one named Top after William Morris, whose nickname ‘Topsy’ came from his head of tight curls. In September 1869, Rossetti wrote in a letter that the wombat had successfully interrupted a seemingly uninterruptable monologue by John Ruskin by burrowing its nose between the ...


Jane Campbell: The Rarest Bird in the World, 5 July 2018

... 28 July 1609. It was the crew of that ship who became the first castaways on the island, including William Strachey, who wrote a dramatic account of the storm in a 3000-word letter to an unidentified ‘excellent lady’ in London, which is vividly echoed in the first scene of The Tempest. It was the survivors of that shipwreck that later became the first ...

No Longer Here

William Deresiewicz: Julio Llamazares, 25 September 2003

The Yellow Rain 
by Julio Llamazares, translated by Margaret Jull Costa.
Harvill, 130 pp., £10.99, March 2003, 9781860469541
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... we see the characteristic transformation of the external into an image of his mental state.) As he burrows deeper into his grief, the meaning of the image expands – he speaks of the yellow rain of time, of the yellow rain of oblivion – until the notion of the yellow rain itself becomes a kind of yellow rain, covering everything in his mind. Yellow stains ...

Tasty Butterflies

Richard Fortey: Entomologists, 24 September 2009

Bugs and the Victorians 
by J.F.M. Clark.
Yale, 322 pp., £25, June 2009, 978 0 300 15091 9
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... have been repeatedly recruited to offer support for the scientific or social arguments of the day. William Kirby, a parson-naturalist of the early 19th century, sought support from the ordered world of social insects for a kind of high church Toryism, and found evidence there of design in Nature ordered by God’s almighty hand. Even at the time, his ...


Denis Arnold, 19 September 1985

Interpreting Bach’s ‘Well-Tempered Clavier’: A Performer’s Discourse of Method 
by Ralph Kirkpatrick.
Yale, 132 pp., £14.95, January 1985, 0 300 03058 4
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Bach, Handel, Scarlatti: Tercentenary Essays 
edited by Peter Williams.
Cambridge, 363 pp., £27.50, April 1985, 0 521 25217 2
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Handel: The Man and his Music 
by Jonathan Keates.
Gollancz, 346 pp., £12.95, February 1985, 0 575 03573 0
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Sensibility and English Song: Critical Studies of the Early 20th Century: Vols I and II 
by Stephen Banfield.
Cambridge, 619 pp., £27.50, April 1985, 0 521 23085 3
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... Hendrie are distinctive and valuable contributions to knowledge. More unexpectedly, so is Donald Burrows’s account of Handel’s relationship with the court of Hanover, for we might have thought that German scholars would have done all that. But no, Hanover, like many of the other German courts, remains shadowy to music historians. ...

Into the Underworld

Iain Sinclair: The Hackney Underworld, 22 January 2015

... to east, tracked by property speculators staying ahead of the game, becomes a warren of invasive burrows in every direction. Huge tunnelling monsters summon up the Megalosaurus referenced by Dickens, at the dawn of the first railway age, in the opening of Bleak House, ‘waddling like an elephantine lizard up Holborn Hill’. Mere ‘foot ...

Condy’s Fluid

P.N. Furbank, 25 October 1990

A War Imagined: The First World War and English Culture 
by Samuel Hynes.
Bodley Head, 514 pp., £20, October 1990, 0 370 30451 9
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Killing in Verse and Prose, and Other Essays 
by Paul Fussell.
Bellew, 294 pp., £9.95, October 1990, 0 947792 55 4
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... view are certainly great, and are as rich in the present book as in its predecessors. He burrows in all the media and always comes back with some choice morsel between his jaws. How significant it is, or so he makes it seem (but we need to ponder what the significance is), that, in the government-sponsored film of the Somme offensive in 1916, there ...

Britain’s Thermonuclear Bluff

Norman Dombey and Eric Grove, 22 October 1992

... forthcoming obituary, in the Biographical Memoirs of the Fellows of the Royal Society, of Sir William Cook, scientific director of the Grapple test series; some recent disclosures on the part of John Ward, who was employed at the British nuclear weapons laboratory at Aldermaston for six months during 1955; and a group of declassified US documents obtained ...

Darkness Audible

Nicholas Spice, 11 February 1993

Benjamin Britten 
by Humphrey Carpenter.
Faber, 680 pp., £20, September 1992, 0 571 14324 5
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... It is this aspect of the paedophile predicament which is so sympathetically captured by William Golding in his portrait of Mr Pedigree, the poor benighted soul who haunts the municipal parks of Greenfield in Darkness Visible. Mr Pedigree is described as ‘stuck like a broken gramophone record’. Carpenter’s insistence on researching the last ...

Why the bastards wouldn’t stand and fight

Murray Sayle: Mao in Vietnam, 21 February 2002

China and the Vietnam Wars 1950-75 
by Qiang Zhai.
North Carolina, 304 pp., $49.95, April 2000, 0 8078 4842 5
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None so Blind: A Personal Account of the Intelligence Failure in Vietnam 
by George Allen.
Ivan Dee, 296 pp., $27.50, October 2001, 1 56663 387 7
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No Peace, No Honour: Nixon, Kissinger and Betrayal in Vietnam 
by Larry Berman.
Free Press, 334 pp., $27.50, November 2001, 0 684 84968 2
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... and, separately, from the United States Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, whose boss, General William Westmoreland, had the Shakespearean sounding title of COMUSMACV. (In the flesh, Westy came over more as a hard-driving business executive.) On one busy day in the flourishing Saigon black market I bought an American fatigue uniform, boots, jungle hat and ...

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