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Bravo, old sport

Christopher Hitchens, 4 April 1991

Critical Crossings: The New York Intellectuals in Post-War America 
by Neil Jumonville.
California, 291 pp., £24.95, January 1991, 0 520 06858 0
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... Israeli officials, for a man detained as a suspect in the killings of two Palestinians. The man, David Axelrod, is not related to Leon Trotsky. A man with the same name, who is a descendant of Trotsky, was questioned briefly by the police in a case of mistaken identity. The arcane character of this item, which was at the top of that day’s menu, might make ...

A Plumless Pudding

John Sutherland: The Great John Murray Archive Disaster, 18 March 2004

... has already pledged £6.5m towards the purchase. A campaign to be headed, it’s hoped, by Sir David Attenborough and Scottish worthies is planned to drum up the missing millions. The publicity push, and a barrage of press handouts, are already inspiring such blandly favourable pieces as that of the Guardian arts correspondent and John Murray himself on ...

Leaving it alone

R.G. Opie, 21 April 1983

Britain can work 
by Ian Gilmour.
Martin Robertson, 272 pp., £8.95, March 1983, 0 85520 571 7
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The Use of Public Power 
by Andrew Shonfield, edited by Zuzanna Shonfield.
Oxford, 140 pp., £9.95, January 1983, 0 19 215357 9
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... ancient ‘quantity theory of money’ which, two centuries after it was so elegantly spelt out by David Hume and a century after it was translated into snappy but empty symbols – MV = PT – by Irving Fisher, is still the basis of so much analysis of inflation. As Sir Ian says, ‘old doctrines never die: in ...

When Pigs Ruled the Earth

James Secord: A prehistoric apocalypse, 1 April 2004

When Life Nearly Died: The Greatest Mass Extinction of All Time 
by Michael Benton.
Thames and Hudson, 336 pp., £16.95, March 2003, 9780500051160
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... and Lyell were conducting their researches, vast congregations were coming to hear Edward Irving, John Cumming and others preach on the signs of the last days. The rise of infidel philosophy (including the doctrines of geology) was said to signal the nearness of the end. Cumming thought David Hume was the arch-frog ...

Urban Messthetics

John Mullan: Black and Asian writers in London, 18 November 2004

London Calling: How Black and Asian Writers Imagined a City 
by Sukhdev Sandhu.
Harper Perennial, 498 pp., £9.99, November 2004, 0 00 653214 4
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... in the Haymarket, he went to evening classes to learn arithmetic, he worked for Dr Charles Irving in Pall Mall, ‘so celebrated for his successful experiments in making sea water fresh’. But he found metropolitan life expensive and soon went back to sea (later, he accompanied Dr Irving on a voyage of exploration ...


Ian Hamilton: It's a size thing, 19 September 1985

... is a half-hearted attempt to elevate the proceedings by including testimony from the likes of Irving Howe and Alfred Kazin, but even they tend to get dragged down into the mire. (Who else but a really professional ‘professional interviewer’ could have persuaded Diana Trilling to reveal that she has ‘often wondered what Norman was like in ...


Ian Hamilton, 25 January 1996

Not Playing for Celtic: Another Paradise Lost 
by David Bennie.
Mainstream, 221 pp., £12.99, October 1995, 1 85158 757 8
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Achieving the Goal 
by David Platt.
Richard Cohen, 244 pp., £12.99, October 1995, 1 86066 017 7
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Captain’s Log: The Gary McAllister Story 
by Gary McAllister and Graham Clark.
Mainstream, 192 pp., £14.99, October 1995, 9781851587902
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Blue Grit: The John Brown Story 
by John Brown and Derek Watson.
Mainstream, 176 pp., £14.99, November 1995, 1 85158 822 1
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Kicking and Screaming: An Oral History of Football in England 
by Rogan Taylor and Andrew Ward.
Robson, 370 pp., £16.95, October 1995, 0 86051 912 0
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A Passion for the Game: Real Lives in Football 
by Tom Watt.
Mainstream, 316 pp., £14.99, October 1995, 1 85158 714 4
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... of pace’ might seem to be the problem with this dual strike-force, but happily the author – David Bennie – does not say so. Nick Hornby cannot be blamed for writing of this kind, although Fever Pitch has helped to set the tone. In some ways, Hornby has links with the old school. He knows and cares that there is something ‘moronic’ about his ...

Architect as Hero

David Cannadine, 21 January 1982

Lutyens: The Work of the English Architect Sir Edwin Lutyens 
Hayward Gallery, 200 pp., £15, November 1981, 0 7287 0304 1Show More
Edwin Lutyens: Architect Laureate 
by Roderick Gradidge.
Allen and Unwin, 167 pp., £13.95, November 1981, 0 04 720023 5
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Indian Summer: Lutyens, Baker and Imperial Delhi 
by Robert Grant Irving.
Yale, 406 pp., £20, November 1981, 0 300 02422 3
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Lutyens: Country Houses 
by Daniel O’Neill.
Lund Humphries, 167 pp., £8.95, May 1980, 0 85331 428 4
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Lutyens and the Sea Captain 
by Margaret Richardson.
Scolar, 40 pp., £5.95, November 1981, 0 85967 646 3
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Houses and Gardens by E.L. Lutyens 
by Lawrence Weaver.
Antique Collectors’ Club, 344 pp., £19.50, January 1982, 0 902028 98 7
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... along at exactly the moment when he had fully mastered the ‘High Game’. But, as Robert Grant Irving’s fascinating study in the architecture of politics and the politics of architecture makes abundantly clear, there was far more to the making of New Delhi than the design of the buildings. His narrative is dominated by political events rather than ...

How Utterly Depraved!

Deborah Friedell: What did Ethel know?, 1 July 2021

Ethel Rosenberg: A Cold War Tragedy 
by Anne Sebba.
Weidenfeld, 288 pp., £20, June, 978 0 297 87100 2
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... sounded good to her. She was envious of her clever only daughter and favoured her youngest child, David. One of Ethel’s childhood friends remembered that Tessie was ‘more bigoted than religious … If God had meant for Ethel to have music lessons, he would have provided them. As he hadn’t there was something sinful about music lessons.’ Much of the ...

Facts Schmacts

John Sutherland, 16 February 1989

The Facts: A Novelist’s Autobiography 
by Philip Roth.
Cape, 328 pp., £12.95, February 1989, 0 224 02593 7
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... her.’ After this excess the author was evidently surfeited. ‘Did literature do this to me?’ David Kapesh asks when he wakes to find himself in a gigantic breast. It did and it has done awesome things to Roth. Hungover, he yearns for the equivalent of decaffeinated coffee, literature purged of everything literary. Stylistic nakedness is one ...

Hysterical Vigour

Frank Kermode, 23 October 2008

by Philip Roth.
Cape, 233 pp., £16.99, September 2008, 978 0 224 08513 7
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... and Exit Ghost. The Dying Animal is ‘a Kepesh book’: that is, the ‘I’ of the novel is David Kepesh, remembered from The Breast and The Professor of Desire. Now the lecherous Kepesh is old enough to suffer impotence, to fall victim to jealousy, and to witness the assault of cancer on the breast of a youthful lover’s body. The story is set at the ...

Oud, Saz and Kaman

Adam Mars-Jones: Mathias Enard, 24 January 2019

Tell Them of Battles, Kings and Elephants 
by Mathias Enard, translated by Charlotte Mandell.
Fitzcarraldo, 144 pp., £10.99, November 2018, 978 1 910695 69 2
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... he might be tempted to make such a barely thinkable journey, it was now. He was 31, famous for the David and the Pietà, but his dealings with the pope were deadlocked. If Europe’s ultimate patron was being difficult, perhaps a more obliging one could be found elsewhere. In his author’s note, Enard cannily stops short of asserting the factuality of the ...

The Retreat from Monetarism

J.R. Shackleton, 6 February 1986

... of a very old idea: the Quantity Theory of Money. This theory, clearly present in the work of David Hume and David Ricardo, was formalised in the work of Alfred Marshall, A.C. Pigou and Irving Fisher at the beginning of this century. With the rise of Keynesianism, however, the primary ...

I’m hip. I live in New York

Theo Tait: Leonard Michaels, 3 March 2016

by Leonard Michaels.
Daunt Books, 131 pp., £9.99, June 2015, 978 1 907970 55 9
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... Sontag hailing him as ‘the most exciting new American writer to appear in years’, there was an Irving Howe slapping him down: ‘Reading this collection prompts one to wish that Leonard Michaels had never heard of alienation, sentiment of being, nihilism.’ Formally daring, with flashes of aphoristic brilliance, his stories are never boring. Some of the ...

Olivier Rex

Ronald Bryden, 1 September 1988

by Anthony Holden.
Weidenfeld, 504 pp., £16, May 1988, 0 297 79089 7
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... The early chapters of Olivier’s Confessions are written in Dickensian pastiche, even borrowing David Copperfield’s opening speculation whether he would turn out the hero of his own life story. The object of this is to characterise the young Olivier as a Dickens child, a version of David, and his father, the widowed ...

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