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Gobblebook

Rosemary Hill: Unhappy Ever After, 21 June 2018

In Byron’s Wake: The Turbulent Lives of Lord Byron’s Wife and Daughter 
by Miranda Seymour.
Simon and Schuster, 560 pp., £25, March 2018, 978 1 4711 3857 7
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Ada Lovelace: The Making of a Computer Scientist 
by Christopher Hollings, Ursula Martin and Adrian Rice.
Bodleian, 128 pp., £20, April 2018, 978 1 85124 488 1
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... In their brief, well-illustrated and lucid account of her career, Hollings, Martin and Rice all firmly distance themselves from any aspirations to ‘relevance’ as might be implied by the book’s presentation, while Seymour, who gives a less detailed account of the mathematics, offers an illuminating view of the context. Hindsight,​ which ...

The Cruel Hoax of Development

Basil Davidson, 6 March 1997

Fighting for the Rainforest: War, Youth and Resources in Sierra Leone 
by Paul Richards.
James Currey/Heinemann, 182 pp., £35, November 1996, 0 85255 397 8
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A Claim to Land by the River: A Household in Senegal 1720-1994 
by Adrian Adams and Jaabe So.
Oxford, 300 pp., £50, October 1996, 0 19 820191 5
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... we would like. This points to the lesson to be learnt from the very unusual book by Jaabe So and Adrian Adams, not by any means an easy work to digest but powerful in its conclusions. Jaabe. So is the veteran leader of well-settled farming families and communities living along the south bank of the great river which divides Senegal from the neighbouring and ...

Short Cuts

Joanna Biggs: At the Food Bank, 5 December 2013

... day it opened at the back of St Luke’s Church, Redcliffe Gardens in November 2012, the vicar, Adrian Beavis, wondered if anyone would show up. The congregation at St Luke’s had been collecting tins for the food bank nearest them, in the neighbouring borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, for about six months when they heard that a number of people from ...

The Whole Orang

Paul Smith, 12 March 1992

Darwin 
by Adrian Desmond and James Moore.
Joseph, 808 pp., £20, October 1991, 0 7181 3430 3
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... epoch in which any individual could singlehandedly precipitate a major shift in human thought. Adrian Desmond and James Moore place Darwin above Marx and Freud. It is hard to think of successors to that trinity of lone rangers in an age when research is financed by foundations and carried on by teams and generally mounted on the kind of scale where ...

Holy Terrors

Penelope Fitzgerald, 4 December 1986

‘Elizabeth’: The Author of ‘Elizabeth and her German Garden’ 
by Karen Usborne.
Bodley Head, 341 pp., £15, October 1986, 0 370 30887 5
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Alison Uttley: The Life of a Country Child 
by Denis Judd.
Joseph, 264 pp., £15.95, October 1986, 0 7181 2449 9
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Richmal Crompton: The Woman behind William 
by Mary Cadogan.
Allen and Unwin, 169 pp., £12.95, October 1986, 0 04 928054 6
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... Lawless. William himself first appeared in the Home Magazine (which became the Happy Mag) in ‘Rice Mould’, a story for adults, but he appealed, it seems, from the first to a wide age-range. He connects, I think, with the whole great wheeze and jape element in Edwardian literature (W.W. Jacobs, Saki, Kipling). It is interesting that his descendant, ...

Monuments to Famine

Alex de Waal, 7 March 2019

... of genocide by starvation. In response to an uprising against imperial rule in 1904, General Adrian von Trotha, the German military commander in Deutsch-Südwestafrika, ordered that the Herero people in their entirety be driven into the desert, where around 40,000 died of hunger and thirst. The proclamation issued by his successor a year later, offering ...

‘My God was bigger than his’

Colin Kidd: The Republicans, 4 November 2004

The Right Nation: Why America Is Different 
by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge.
Allen Lane, 450 pp., £14.99, August 2004, 0 7139 9738 9
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Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet 
by James Mann.
Penguin, 448 pp., $16, September 2004, 0 14 303489 8
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Nixon’s Shadow: The History of an Image 
by David Greenberg.
Norton, 496 pp., £9.99, November 2004, 0 393 32616 0
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America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism 
by Anatol Lieven.
HarperCollins, 274 pp., £18.99, October 2004, 0 00 716456 4
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... puzzlement, as much on the right as on the left. In The Right Nation, John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, two centre-right journalists who work on the Economist, ask why only 54 per cent of voters earning over $100,000 a year voted for Bush in 2000. Why does the party of big business, deregulation and tax-cutting engender less confidence among the ...

Coup de Guinness

Robert Morley, 5 December 1985

Blessings in Disguise 
by Alec Guinness.
Hamish Hamilton, 238 pp., £9.95, October 1985, 0 241 11681 3
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... social world. There was no cobwebbed wedding-cake but under her bed she did have a partially-eaten rice pudding, which she presently asked for. On a subsequent occasion she danced for him, in a flowered dressing-gown and fluffy slippers.    ‘You will have to imagine the music. We are in a big theatre, Drury Lane ... Do you hear the ...

French Air

John Sutherland, 12 November 1987

The Foul and the Fragrant: Odour and the French Social Imagination 
by Alain Corbin, translated by Miriam Kochan.
Berg, 307 pp., £18, November 1986, 0 907582 47 8
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Perfume: The Story of a Murderer 
by Patrick Süskind, translated by John Woods.
Penguin, 263 pp., £3.95, September 1987, 0 14 009244 7
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The Double Bass 
by Patrick Süskind, translated by Michael Hofmann.
Hamish Hamilton, 57 pp., £8.95, September 1987, 9780241120392
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... strong smell as a bad smell. In one of the few investigations of the subject before Corbin’s, Adrian Stokes noted that unlike the other four senses, that of scent had not inspired any art, or aesthetic cultivation. (I think Stokes may have overlooked the use of the nose in wine-bibbing.) There is no educational encouragement to improve one’s keenness of ...

Reality Check

Jeremy Waldron: The One Per Cent Doctrine, 10 April 2008

Worst-Case Scenarios 
by Cass Sunstein.
Harvard, 340 pp., £16.95, November 2007, 978 0 674 02510 3
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... and long-term consequences may attend its use, as happened with thalidomide. Or varieties of rice have been modified genetically to produce crops more resistant to pests; but there are frightening scenarios involving the impoverishment of the natural genetic stock and unexpected ecological implications. In these cases, we rely on regulatory regimes to ...

Sabotage

Gavin Millar, 13 September 1990

Citizen Welles: A Biography of Orson Welles 
by Frank Brady.
Hodder, 655 pp., £18.95, January 1990, 0 340 51389 6
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If this was happiness: A Biography of Rita Hayworth 
by Barbara Leaming.
Weidenfeld, 312 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 297 79630 5
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Norma Shearer 
by Gavin Lambert.
Hodder, 381 pp., £17.95, August 1990, 0 340 52947 4
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Ava’s Men: The Private Life of Ava Gardner 
by Jane Ellen Wayne.
Robson, 268 pp., £14.95, November 1989, 0 86051 636 9
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Goldwyn: A Biography 
by Scott Berg.
Hamish Hamilton, 579 pp., £16.95, September 1989, 0 241 12832 3
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The Genius of the System: Hollywood Film-Making in the Studio Era 
by Thomas Schatz.
Simon and Schuster, 514 pp., £16.95, September 1989, 0 671 69708 0
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... and when it worked it was supported by the best team available: Clark Gable, Cedric Gibbons sets, Adrian gowns, William Daniels lighting, accommodating directors. (Who wouldn’t be accommodating? As Crawford pointed out, the star was sleeping with the boss.) It seems appropriate that little Eva Duarte left home for the bright lights of Buenos Aires after ...

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