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The Best Stuff

Ian Jack: David Astor, 2 June 2016

David Astor: A Life in Print 
by Jeremy Lewis.
Cape, 400 pp., £25, March 2016, 978 0 224 09090 2
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... political somersault, embraced Unionism and became a confidant of imperial figures such as Jackie Fisher, the first sea lord, whose ambitious battleship-building programme Garvin publicised and encouraged. His greatest achievement was to transform the venerable (founded 1791) and loss-making Observer into the prototype of the modern ‘quality’ Sunday ...

Reasons for Liking Tolkien

Jenny Turner: The Hobbit Habit, 15 November 2001

... help with Harry Potter.3 But both Ursula le Guin (in her great Earthsea trilogy, 1968-73) and Philip Pullman (in his trilogy, His Dark Materials, 1995-2000) developed evocative and consistent naming systems for their imagined worlds without going on and on about it. Of course Iorek Byrnison, one of the armoured bears in Pullman, is linguistically ...

Moderation or Death

Christopher Hitchens: Isaiah Berlin, 26 November 1998

Isaiah Berlin: A Life 
by Michael Ignatieff.
Chatto, 386 pp., £20, October 1998, 0 7011 6325 9
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The Guest from the Future: Anna Akhmatova and Isaiah Berlin 
by György Dalos.
Murray, 250 pp., £17.95, September 2002, 0 7195 5476 4
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... are hostile is unlikely to be accidental. Berlin himself told Salmagundi:In 1933 Mr [H.A.L.] Fisher, the Warden of New College, asked me to write a book on Karl Marx for the Home University Library. I said: ‘What is the audience for the book?’ He said: ‘Squash professionals.’ I had never read a line of Marx ...One sees the famous charm at ...

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