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Prodigious Powers

Hugh Lloyd-Jones

21 January 1982
The Greeks and their Heritages 
by Arnold Toynbee.
Oxford, 334 pp., £12.50, October 1981, 0 19 215256 4
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... the help of the obituary notice contributed to the Proceedings of the British Academy for 1977 by William McNeill, an American scholar who has a close affinity with his subject. Toynbee was born in 1889 into a family with Evangelical associations; like the celebrated uncle he was named after, his father was a social worker. At Winchester he was trained ...

World History

Maxine Berg

22 January 1981
The Human Condition 
by William McNeill.
Princeton, 81 pp., £4.75, October 1980, 0 691 05317 0
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... Professor McNeill’s little book, The Human Condition, is in the genre of most of his other works – an attempt to grasp the grand sweep of history. Originally delivered as the Brand-Lee Lectures at Clark University, the book is an abstract of ideas developed in his earlier works, in particular Plagues and People (1977 ...
17 August 1989
Arnold Toynbee: A Life 
by William McNeill.
Oxford, 346 pp., £16.95, July 1989, 0 19 505863 1
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... which marginalised his major project in the eyes of his own profession. As his new biographer, William McNeill, candidly declares, ‘a principal purpose of this book is to try to establish a better balance between the popular adulation on the one hand and the professional hostility on the other that closed in on Toynbee after the ...

The Old Question

W.G. Runciman

19 February 1987
The Sources of Social Power. Vol I: A History of Power from the Beginning to AD 1760 
by Michael Mann.
Cambridge, 549 pp., £37.50, July 1986, 0 521 30851 8
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... of states but also in national and imperial economies both ancient and modern. Like Professor William McNeill of Chicago, whose influence he acknowledges, he is good both on the logistic and fiscal details and on the broader relationships between the aims of rulers and the geopolitical context in which they are pursued. Nor is any of this simply an ...

Education and Exclusion

Sheldon Rothblatt

13 February 1992
Hutchins’ University: A Memoir of the University of Chicago 1929-1950 
by William McNeill.
Chicago, 194 pp., $24.95, October 1991, 0 226 56170 4
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Robert M. Hutchins: Portrait of an Educator 
by Mary Ann Dzuback.
Chicago, 387 pp., $24.95, November 1991, 0 226 17710 6
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Jews in the American Academy 1900-1940: The Dynamics of Intellectual Assimilation 
by Susanne Klingenstein.
Yale, 248 pp., £22.50, November 1991, 0 300 04941 2
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... ghettos surrounding the University, a development long in the making, but not easily averted, as McNeill carefully explains. But there is a positive Hutchins legacy. He had always shown a flair for attracting public attention. His advocacy of Adler’s ‘great books’ education kept alive the idea of an educational canon based on the significant texts of ...

The Enabling Boundary

Tom Nairn: We’re All Petit Bourgeois Now

18 October 2007
What Should the Left Propose? 
by Roberto Mangabeira Unger.
Verso, 179 pp., £15, January 2006, 1 84467 048 1
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The Self Awakened: Pragmatism Unbound 
by Roberto Mangabeira Unger.
Harvard, 277 pp., £19.95, February 2007, 978 0 674 02354 3
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Une brève histoire de l’avenir 
by Jacques Attali.
Fayard, 432 pp., €20, October 2006, 2 213 63130 1
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... is preserved, the great ‘breaking wave’ of cumulative globalisation need not be disastrous, as William McNeill and J.R. McNeill show in The Human Web (2003). Surfers of the wave will, however, have to hold to ‘face-to-face, primary communities for long-range survival: communities, like those our predecessors ...
24 November 1994
The Gentle Art of Making Enemies 
by James McNeill Whistler.
Heinemann, 338 pp., £20, October 1994, 0 434 20166 9
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James McNeill Whistler: Beyond the Myth 
by Ronald Anderson and Anne Koval.
Murray, 544 pp., £25, October 1994, 0 7195 5027 0
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... about the painter Whistler which catches at one’s imagination. It concerns his draughtsmanship. William Rothenstein recalls Whistler talking to him contemptuously of Oscar Wilde’s house in Tite Street and doing him a little drawing of it, to illustrate the monotony of such a terrace house. ‘I noticed then,’ says Rothenstein, ‘how childishly Whistler ...

One’s Self-Washed Drawers

Rosemary Hill: Ida John

28 June 2017
The Good Bohemian: The Letters of Ida John 
edited by Rebecca John and Michael Holroyd.
Bloomsbury, 352 pp., £25, May 2017, 978 1 4088 7362 5
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... ways. Edna Waugh had been spotted at the age of 14 by a friend of her father, a barrister called William Clarke Hall, who urged him to send her to art school. By the time she was 16 Hall was ‘determined’ to marry her and she and Ida were in fraught correspondence about what to do. Ida sensibly argued with both parties that Edna was simply too young to ...

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