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Empire of the Doctors

C.A. Bayly, 8 December 1994

Colonising the Body: State Medicine and Epidemic Disease in 19th-Century India 
by David Arnold.
California, 354 pp., £40, September 1993, 0 520 08124 2
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Public Health in British India: Anglo-Indian Preventive Medicine 1815-1914 
by Mark Harrison.
Cambridge, 324 pp., £19.95, March 1994, 0 521 44127 7
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... physicians were hoarding medical lore more advanced than the West’s. In the 1780s, Sir William Jones, the great Sanskrit scholar, had included medical remedies among some of the very earliest translations he made from the ancient Indian classics. Over the following decades, large numbers of Indian pharmacopoeia were collected and published. In the ...
Who Framed Colin Wallace? 
by Paul Foot.
Macmillan, 306 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 0 333 47008 7
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... Wilson met with IRA leaders in Dublin, and the next year the Northern Ireland Minister, Willie Whitelaw, made similar contacts. This utterly shocked opinion in every officers’ mess in Ulster – and in MI5, who took over intelligence operations there from MI6 in 1973. Exactly like the French Army before it in Algeria, these key circles within the British ...

Draining the Think Tank

Martin Pugh, 24 November 1988

British Social Trends since 1900: A Guide to the Changing Social Structure of Britain 
edited by A.H. Halsey.
Macmillan, 650 pp., £45, October 1988, 0 333 34521 5
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Inside the Think Tank: Advising the Cabinet 1971-1983 
by Tessa Blackstone and William Plowden.
Heinemann, 258 pp., £14.95, September 1988, 9780434074907
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Lobbying: An Insider’s Guide to the Parliamentary Process 
by Alf Dubs.
Pluto, 228 pp., £12.50, October 1988, 0 7453 0137 1
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... In the early Seventies the only minister who had any responsibility for this area was Lord Whitelaw, who, in his capacity as Lord Privy Seal, was supposed to have the time to muse upon future policies in his bath. Hence the early warning system became known as ‘Mr Whitelaw’s bath’. Alas, the Treasury took the ...

Flub-Dub

Thomas Powers: Stephen Crane, 17 July 2014

Stephen Crane: A Life of Fire 
by Paul Sorrentino.
Harvard, 476 pp., £25, June 2014, 978 0 674 04953 6
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... admirer of Zola and a writer for New York’s Evening Sun. They were in the studio of the painter William Dallgren, who was painting a portrait of Davies (maybe). Out with Davies! Out with Dallgren! Out with the bit of tooth Crane lost in a fistfight at 17 after he described a Tennyson poem as swill! Banishing Beer brings some sad losses but Sorrentino sticks ...

How bad can it get?

LRB Contributors, 15 August 2019

... Neal Ascherson, Mary Beard, Jonathan Coe, Tom Crewe, William Davies, Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, Lorna Finlayson, Daniel Finn, Katrina Forrester, Jeremy Harding, Daisy Hildyard, Colin Kidd, James Meek, Ferdinand Mount, Jan-Werner Müller, Jonathan Parry, David RuncimanNeal Ascherson‘On​ 17 June poor France fell. That day, as we trudged past Greenwich … a tug skipper yelled gaily across the water: “Now we know where we are! No more bloody allies!”’ The writer A ...

Tale from a Silver Age

Peter Clarke, 22 July 1993

Edward Heath: A Biography 
by John Campbell.
Cape, 876 pp., £20, July 1993, 0 224 02482 5
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... in the book, is virtually a history of the Heath Government of 1970-4, with chapters like ‘Whitelaw in Ulster’ which are hardly biographical in the strict sense. Part Five on Heath’s fall, is virtually an epilogue, Part Six a codicil, showing how he denied any political legacy to his appointed successor. All told – and it is – this is surely ...

I only want to keep my hand in

Owen Bennett-Jones: Gerry Adams, 16 November 2017

Gerry Adams: An Unauthorised Life 
by Malachi O’Doherty.
Faber, 356 pp., £14.99, September 2017, 978 0 571 31595 6
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... released so that the RAF could fly him to London for talks at a house in Cheyne Walk with Willie Whitelaw, the then home secretary. In 1988 Mrs Thatcher banned his voice from being broadcast but a decade later Tony Blair negotiated with him as a key participant in the peace process. Today he has easy access to the top British leadership. But Adams has not ...

My Darlings

Colm Tóibín: Drinking with Samuel Beckett, 5 April 2007

... locked eyes stopped to talk, and they arranged to meet four days later outside the house where Sir William Wilde, eye surgeon to the queen in Ireland, if she should have ever needed an eye surgeon (which she did not), and his mad wife, Speranza, had lived, where they had raised their son Oscar, who was four years dead by this time. There’s now a funny ...

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