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Soldier, Sailor, Poacher

E.S. Turner, 3 October 1985

Great Britons: 20th-Century Lives 
by Harold Oxbury.
Oxford, 371 pp., £14.95, September 1985, 0 19 211599 5
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The Oxford Book of Military Anecdotes 
edited by Max Hastings.
Oxford, 514 pp., £9.50, October 1985, 0 19 214107 4
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The Long Affray: The Poaching Wars in Britain 
by Harry Hopkins.
Secker, 344 pp., £12.95, August 1985, 9780436201028
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... the first woman barrister, Ivy Williams. The first private to win a field-marshal’s baton, Sir William Robertson, is missing. Billy Smart, the circus proprietor, is in, though not Sir Alan Cobham, whose private air force introduced millions to flying, or Sir Donald Wolfit. Tom Webster, the sports cartoonist, gains his niche, but not ...

Gissing may damage your health

Jane Miller, 7 March 1991

The Collected Letters of George Gissing. Vol. I: 1863-1880 
edited by Paul Mattheisen, Arthur Young and Pierre Coustillas.
Ohio, 334 pp., £47.50, September 1990, 0 8214 0955 7
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... any claim to being considered middle-class. At 15 Gissing won a scholarship to Owens College in Manchester, which was at that time still principally an institution for preparing students for entry to Oxford, Cambridge and London. Gissing was a star student until the moment in his third year when he was caught stealing money, and was expelled and then gaoled ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: Save the Round Reading-Room! , 20 February 1986

... The late Professor Tate of Manchester University, I have been told, made his last ascent of Scafell pike at the age of 93. I made my last ascent of Pillar at the age of little more than seventy. I used to go abroad at least once a year and often twice. Now I have put all that behind me and have been content for a long time with Yarmouth mill in the Isle of Wight ...

Punk-U-Like

Dave Haslam, 20 July 1995

The Black Album 
by Hanif Kureishi.
Faber, 230 pp., £14.99, March 1995, 0 571 15086 1
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The Faber Book of Pop 
edited by Hanif Kureishi and Jon Savage.
Faber, 813 pp., £16.99, May 1995, 0 571 16992 9
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... record labels like EMI, Decca and Pye had started to refine the art of hit-making, and Manchester had an import record shop bringing American rhythm and blues direct to Northern youth. By the mid-Sixties Jamaican sound systems in South London, Birmingham and the North of England were playing the bluebeat and ska records that marked the ripening of ...

Holy Terrors

Penelope Fitzgerald, 4 December 1986

‘Elizabeth’: The Author of ‘Elizabeth and her German Garden’ 
by Karen Usborne.
Bodley Head, 341 pp., £15, October 1986, 0 370 30887 5
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Alison Uttley: The Life of a Country Child 
by Denis Judd.
Joseph, 264 pp., £15.95, October 1986, 0 7181 2449 9
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Richmal Crompton: The Woman behind William 
by Mary Cadogan.
Allen and Unwin, 169 pp., £12.95, October 1986, 0 04 928054 6
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... Uttley created Little Grey Rabbit (1929-1973), Richmal Crompton thought of Just William and kept him going for 48 years, May Annette Beauchamp invented herself as Elizabeth. All three of them were, and had to be, resilient women, gallant survivors, Elizabeth in particular. As May Beauchamp, she had, after all, a doubtful start. Her father ...

Brief Shining Moments

Christopher Hitchens: Donkey Business in the White House, 19 February 1998

Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years 1963-65 
by Taylor Branch.
Simon and Schuster, 746 pp., $30, February 1998, 0 684 80819 6
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‘One Hell of a Gamble’: Khrushchev, Castro and Kennedy, 1958-64 
by Aleksandr Fursenko and Timothy Naftali.
Murray, 416 pp., September 1997, 0 7195 5518 3
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The Dark Side of Camelot 
by Seymour Hersh.
HarperCollins, 497 pp., £8.99, February 1998, 9780006530770
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Mutual Contempt: Lyndon Johnson , Bobby Kennedy and the Feud that Defined a Decade 
by Jeff Shesol.
Norton, 591 pp., £23.50, January 1998, 9780393040784
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The Year the Dream Died 
by Jules Witcover.
Warner, 512 pp., £25, June 1997, 0 446 51849 2
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Without Honor: The Impeachment of President Nixon and the Crimes of Camelot 
by Jerry Zeifman.
Thunder's Mouth, 262 pp., $24.95, November 1996, 9781560251286
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The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House during the Cuban Missile Crisis 
edited by Ernest May and Philip Zelikow.
Howard, 740 pp., £23.50, September 1997, 0 674 17926 9
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Lyndon B. Johnson’s Vietnam Papers: A Documentary Collection 
edited by David Barrett.
Texas A & M, 906 pp., $94, June 1997, 0 89096 741 5
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Taking Charge: The Johnson Whitehouse Tapes 1963-64 
edited by Michael Beschloss.
Simon and Schuster, 624 pp., £20, April 1998, 0 684 80407 7
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Abuse of Power: The New Nixon Tapes 
edited by Stanley Kutler.
Free Press, 675 pp., $30, November 1997, 0 684 84127 4
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The Other Missiles of October: Eisenhower, Kennedy and the Jupiters, 1957-63 
by Philip Nash.
North Carolina, 231 pp., £34.70, October 1997, 0 8078 4647 3
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... can one object, except aesthetically, to the silly term ‘Camelot’. Mrs Kennedy did indeed tell William Manchester, for a fawning profile that he wrote just after the assassination, that her late husband – who loathed the classical music soirées that she arranged at the White House for artists like Pablo Casals – had thoroughly enjoyed the ...

How to be a wife

Colm Tóibín: The Discretion of Jackie Kennedy, 6 June 2002

Janet & Jackie: The Story of a Mother and Her Daughter, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis 
by Jan Pottker.
St Martin’s, 381 pp., $24.95, October 2001, 0 312 26607 3
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Mrs Kennedy: The Missing History of the Kennedy Years 
by Barbara Leaming.
Weidenfeld, 389 pp., £20, October 2001, 0 297 64333 9
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... defining eloquence, as though they are trying to compete with the camera or the silkscreen print. William Manchester, whose book The Death of a President caused her such grief (she believed it had invaded her privacy and compromised her relationship with Johnson), remembered his first meeting with her as he researched the book: ‘My first impression ...

In a Box

Deborah Friedell, 3 January 2013

... on the rack, or burning at the stake’ – and all too common, according to the book’s authors, William Tebb and Edward Perry Vollum. A diabetic coma, a trance or catalepsy might make one’s breathing imperceptible; ‘it may even be impossible to see any cloud on a clear mirror.’ Stethoscopes – often made of wood, and hardly sensitive – could miss a ...

Spaced

Michael Neve, 3 September 1981

The Opium-Eater: A Life of Thomas de Quincey 
by Grevel Lindop.
Dent, 433 pp., £12, July 1981, 0 460 04358 7
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... most conventional kind of biographical description. De Quincey was born in 1785 at Greenhays, in Manchester, the fifth child of a successful merchant. The beginnings of his career are visible in his parental influences and their fate: his father died when Thomas was seven, leaving a gap in nature that de Quincey would spend many anxious years trying to ...

Forty-Eighters

Peter Pulzer, 4 September 1986

Little Germany: Exile and Asylum in Victorian England 
by Rosemary Ashton.
Oxford, 304 pp., £17.50, July 1986, 0 19 212239 8
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... not necessity. A few straddled the professional/exile divide, like Friedrich Engels who came to Manchester in the early 1840s on family business and was obliged to stay after his participation in the Baden rising of 1849. But for the business and professional category in general, political considerations came second. They had little difficulty in ...

Dykes, Drongs, Sarns, Snickets

David Craig: Walking England, 20 December 2012

The English Lakes: A History 
by Ian Thompson.
Bloomsbury, 343 pp., £16.99, March 2012, 978 1 4088 0958 7
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The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot 
by Robert Macfarlane.
Hamish Hamilton, 432 pp., £20, June 2012, 978 0 241 14381 0
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... and Wythburn Waters to form one lake, Thirlmere, so that water could be piped ninety miles to Manchester – in the teeth of fulminations from Canon Rawnsley, Ruskin and Carlyle – is told in detail but from a managerial or public-speaker viewpoint. There is little about the workers who developed a whole culture of school and chapel while they were ...

In praise of work

Dinah Birch, 24 October 1991

Ford Madox Brown and the Pre-Raphaelite Circle 
by Teresa Newman and Ray Watkinson.
Chatto, 226 pp., £50, July 1991, 0 7011 3186 1
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... he was impressed by Flemish painting. Later he studied at Ghent and in the Antwerp Academy. Unlike William Morris, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, or Edward Burne-Jones, Brown profited from a broad and thorough education in the business of painting. Later, his art became a passion and a vocation. But it never ceased to be a job from which a living had somehow to be ...

Trains in Space

James Meek: The Great Train Robbery, 5 May 2016

The Railways: Nation, Network and People 
by Simon Bradley.
Profile, 645 pp., £25, September 2015, 978 1 84668 209 4
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... into conflict is illustrated by the saga of the Ordsall Chord, a sliver of new line being built in Manchester. It’s only 370 yards long and will cost £260,000 a yard – there’s a new bridge involved – but will, for the first time, link Manchester’s two main stations, Victoria and Piccadilly. This tiny bit of ...

The Finchley Factor

Geoffrey Wheatcroft: Thatcher in Israel, 13 September 2018

Margaret Thatcher and the Middle East 
by Azriel Bermant.
Cambridge, 274 pp., £22.99, September 2017, 978 1 316 60630 8
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... deserted the Tories for the Liberals in 1904 he was obliged to find another parliamentary seat, in Manchester North West, which had a substantial Jewish electorate. In December 1905 Arthur Balfour resigned after his short, fraught spell as Tory prime minister, and the new Liberal government called an election which they would win by a landslide. Having already ...

Corncob Caesar

Murray Sayle, 6 February 1997

Old Soldiers Never Die: The Life of Douglas MacArthur 
by Geoffrey Perret.
Deutsch, 663 pp., £20, October 1996, 9780233990026
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... you may fight a hundred battles and not lose one. Sun Tzu, The Art of War, c.450 BC The historian William Manchester, who served with him in the Pacific, said he was the greatest soldier in American history. Never much regarded in Britain, he is still recalled with loathing in Australia. When Americans remember him, it is with something close to ...

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