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Shoot them to be sure

Richard Gott: The Oxford History of the British Empire, 25 April 2002

The Oxford History of the British Empire. Vol. I: The Origins of Empire 
edited by William RogerLouis and Nicholas Canny.
Oxford, 533 pp., £14.99, July 2001, 0 19 924676 9
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The Oxford History of the British Empire. Vol. II: The 18th Century 
edited by William RogerLouis and P.J. Marshall.
Oxford, 639 pp., £14.99, July 2001, 0 19 924677 7
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The Oxford History of the British Empire. Vol. III: The 19th Century 
edited by William RogerLouis and Andrew Porter.
Oxford, 774 pp., £14.99, July 2001, 0 19 924678 5
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The Oxford History of the British Empire. Vol. IV: The 20th Century 
edited by William RogerLouis and Judith Brown.
Oxford, 773 pp., £14.99, July 2001, 0 19 924679 3
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The Oxford History of the British Empire. Vol. V: Historiography 
edited by William RogerLouis and Robin Winks.
Oxford, 731 pp., £14.99, July 2001, 0 19 924680 7
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... debates of the last twenty years. The editor-in-chief of this immense project is William RogerLouis, an American – though famously Anglophile – scholar. When he was appointed dismay was expressed in conservative newspapers at the thought that a quintessentially British historical experience was to ...

Baghdad’s Ruling Cliques

Keith Kyle, 15 August 1991

The Iraqi Revolution of 1958: The Old Social Classes Revisited 
edited by Robert Fernea and William RogerLouis.
Tauris, 232 pp., £35, May 1991, 1 85043 318 6
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Instant Empire: Saddam Hussein’s Ambition for Iraq 
by Simon Henderson.
Mercury House, 271 pp., £8.99, June 1991, 1 56279 007 2
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Saddam Hussein: A Political Biography 
by Efraim Karsh and Inari Rautsi.
Brassey, 307 pp., £17.95, April 1991, 0 08 041326 9
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The Gulf Between Us: The Gulf War and Beyond 
edited by Victoria Brittain.
Virago, 186 pp., £5.99, June 1991, 1 85381 386 9
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Under Siege in Kuwait: A Survivor’s Story 
by Jadranka Porter.
Gollancz, 250 pp., £4.99, July 1991, 9780575051850
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... to start off with a clear factual account of what, in fact, happened in Baghdad on 14 July 1958. Roger Owen says here that when Iraq was re-occupied by the British in 1941, after the Hashemite Regent had been deposed by four colonels and a pro-Axis politician, the structure of British influence was put on a new footing. From then on, the relationship between ...

From Sahib to Satan

Keith Kyle, 15 November 1984

The British Empire in the Middle East 1945-1951 
by William RogerLouis.
Oxford, 818 pp., £45, July 1984, 0 19 822489 3
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... to fill any vacuum left behind by the capsizing of British power and prestige – did not occur. Roger Louis is an American scholar who has specialised in British and Belgian colonial history in Africa and came by this route to the study of American wartime attitudes to the British colonial empire in Imperialism at Bay (1977). The present volume, which ...

Ironed Corpses Clattering in the Wind

Mark Kishlansky: The Restoration and the Glorious Revolution, 17 August 2006

Restoration: Charles II and His Kingdoms 
by Tim Harris.
Penguin, 506 pp., £12.99, January 2006, 0 14 026465 5
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Revolution: The Great Crisis of the British Monarchy 1685-1720 
by Tim Harris.
Allen Lane, 622 pp., £30, January 2006, 0 7139 9759 1
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... had an illegitimate child with Elizabeth Waller, the daughter of the Parliamentarian general, Sir William. The experiments of the 1650s were swept away as king, lords and bishops were thrust back into power with hardly a shot fired. The armies of the Commonwealth melted away, its tortured succession of governments abruptly ended and its chaotic Church ...

The Name of the Beast

Armand Marie Leroi, 11 December 1997

Buffon 
by Jacques Roger.
Cornell, 492 pp., £39.50, August 1997, 0 8014 2918 8
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The Platypus and the Mermaid and Other Figments of the Classifying Imagination 
by Harriet Ritvo.
Harvard, 274 pp., £19.95, November 1997, 0 674 67357 3
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... and animals laid before him; he was, after all, in search of the true order of Creation. Georges-Louis Leclerc, comte de Buffon, was a man who connected what Linnaeus sought to sunder: he saw animals as a totality. Between 1744 and his death in 1788, Buffon wrote his magnificent 44-volume Histoire naturelle générale et ...
The Name of the Rose 
by Umberto Eco, translated by William Weaver.
Secker, 502 pp., £8.95, October 1983, 0 436 14089 6
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... to describe these as they might have appeared to a forward-looking monk who had been a disciple of Roger Bacon, and therefore believed in machines and science, and a friend of William of Ockham, and was therefore opposed to the multiplication of beings (and signs), sceptical of universals, a sort of proto-semiotician but ...

At Tate Britain

Anne Wagner: ‘Salt and Silver’, 21 May 2015

... 1839 to 1865. The first date marks not the beginning of photographic experiments, but the year Louis Daguerre announced his ability to ‘seize the light’, a claim soon rephrased by William Henry Fox Talbot as the art of ‘fixing a shadow’. As for 1865, it’s the year that marks, along with much else, the ...

At the Queen’s Gallery

Inigo Thomas: David Hockney , 2 March 2017

... not just their reflection. Bernini had piecing dark eyes. A French official at the court of Louis XIV tells us so. ‘His temperament is all fire. His face resembles an eagle’s, particularly the eyes. He has thick eyebrows and a lofty forehead, slightly sunk in the middle and raised over the eyes. He is rather bald, but what hair he has is white and ...

Dictators on the Loose

Miles Taylor: Modelling Waterloo, 6 January 2005

Wellington’s Smallest Victory: The Duke, the Model Maker and the Secret of Waterloo 
by Peter Hofschröer.
Faber, 324 pp., £14.99, April 2004, 0 571 21768 0
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... Smallest Victory describes the model of the battlefield of Waterloo constructed by Captain William Siborne, first exhibited in London in 1838 and now on permanent display in the National Army Museum. The original model featured 75,000 metal soldiers, one centimetre high, in the positions they occupied at the vital moment of the conflict: Napoleon’s ...

Exact Walking

Christopher Hill, 19 June 1980

Calvin and English Calvinism to 1649 
by R.T. Kendall.
Oxford, 252 pp., £12.50, February 1980, 0 19 826716 9
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... 4. plants the seeds of voluntarism in the doctrine of faith’. In England, the great theologian William Perkins followed Beza (Chapter Four, passim). All predestinarian theologians have to face the problem of how one can be assured of salvation. For Calvin, faith comes only from without, as a divine gift; assurance and faith are in effect the same ...

Why Mr Fax got it wrong

Roy Porter: Population history, 5 March 1998

English Population History from Family Reconstitution 1580-1837 
by E.A. Wrigley and R.S. Davies.
Cambridge, 657 pp., £60, July 1997, 0 521 59015 9
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The Savage Wars of Peace: England, Japan and the Malthusian Trap 
by Alan Macfarlane.
Blackwell, 427 pp., £45, May 1997, 0 631 18117 2
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... of the mad perfectibilist schemes of the French Revolutionaries and their English confrères like William Godwin, and damned by others as hardheartedness incarnate. Marie Antoinette had just told the poor to go and eat cake: Malthus trumped her, apparently sentencing them to death by starvation – and all on the strength of the ‘facts’. No wonder Thomas ...

Absolute Modernity

Paul Driver, 26 September 1991

Gabriel Fauré: A Musical Life 
by Jean-Michel Nectoux, translated by Roger Nichols.
Cambridge, 646 pp., £45, April 1991, 0 521 23524 3
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Pierre Boulez 
by Dominique Jameux, translated by Susan Bradshaw.
Faber, 422 pp., £25, March 1991, 9780571137442
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Stocktakings from an Apprenticeship 
by Pierre Boulez, translated by Stephen Walsh.
Oxford, 316 pp., £40, August 1991, 0 19 311210 8
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... tonal usages. As Jean-Michel Nectoux recounts, Fauré was lucky enough to receive an education at Louis Niedermeyer’s enlightened school that not only insisted on the lasting importance of the ancient modes but interpreted conventional tonal procedures with a wide latitude deriving from an awareness of modal alternatives to them: hence ‘modulation’ was ...

At the Morgan Library

Hal Foster: Ubu Jarry, 19 March 2020

... Dave Thomas has kept his spirit alive with the band Père Ubu – punks owe a lot to Jarry – and William Kentridge used his creature to comment on the barbarisms of apartheid. A small but suggestive show at the Morgan Library in New York (until 10 May), smartly curated by Sheelagh Bevan with well-chosen publications, prints and photos mostly from the ...

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 ...

Venice-on-Thames

Amanda Vickery: Vauxhall Gardens, 7 February 2013

Vauxhall Gardens: A History 
by Alan Borg and David Coke.
Yale, 473 pp., £55, June 2011, 978 0 300 17382 6
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... well established by the early 18th century. Addison and Steele had their loveable curmudgeon Sir Roger de Coverley harrumph that he would be a better customer if Vauxhall offered more nightingales and fewer strumpets. A Virginian gentleman called William Byrd was matter of fact about the amenities in June 1718: We went to ...

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