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Murder in the Cathedral

Anthony Howard, 7 December 1989

The Crockford’s File: Gareth Bennett and the Death of the Anglican Mind 
by William Oddie.
Hamish Hamilton, 232 pp., £14.95, November 1989, 0 241 12613 4
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Absent Friends 
by Geoffrey Wheatcroft.
Hamish Hamilton, 291 pp., £15.95, November 1989, 0 241 12874 9
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... A vivid reminder of the cost of that whole struggle to the Anglican Church is contained in Dr William Oddie’s unhelpfully-timed evocation of the Crockford’s Preface affair of two years ago. It is a curious work, in which the first half appears to have no other objective but the placing of Canon Gareth Bennett – the anonymous author of the 1987 ...

A Preference for Torquemada

Michael Wood: G.K. Chesterton, 9 April 2009

Chesterton and the Romance of Orthodoxy: The Making of GKC 1874-1908 
by William Oddie.
Oxford, 401 pp., £25, November 2008, 978 0 19 955165 1
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The Man Who Was Thursday 
by G.K. Chesterton.
Atlantic, 187 pp., £7.99, December 2008, 978 1 84354 905 5
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... is stranger than fiction, he says in Heretics, ‘for we have made fiction to suit ourselves’. William Oddie’s book is a painstaking and intelligent study of the man who was not yet quite the Chesterton we have been looking at. This early life is a neglected area in Chesterton studies, Oddie tells us, and he found ...

Upriver

Iain Sinclair: The Thames, 25 June 2009

Thames: Sacred River 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Vintage, 608 pp., £14.99, August 2008, 978 0 09 942255 6
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... source. My bias, which I will attempt to overcome, tends towards the more cynical view ascribed to William Burroughs by Jack Kerouac. ‘When you start separating the people from their rivers what have you got? Bureaucracy!’ Having triumphantly ghosted London’s autobiography, Ackroyd’s obvious follow-up was the Thames: generator of life, origin of ...

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