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Keep your eye on the tide, Jock

Tom Shippey: Naval history, 4 June 1998

The Safeguard of the Sea: A Naval History of Britain, Vol. I, 660-1649 
by N.A.M. Rodger.
HarperCollins, 691 pp., £25, September 1997, 0 00 255128 4
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Weapons and Warfare in Renaissance Europe 
by Bert Hall.
Johns Hopkins, 300 pp., £25, June 1997, 0 8018 5531 4
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... perhaps because these are much more familiar to the modern academic than ‘guns and sails’. Bert Hall by contrast plunges straight into the unfamiliar world of Early Modern technology, the ‘black box’ as he calls it, whose inputs and outputs are commonly known to historians but whose inner functions are felt to be of no interest. Historians of ...

You know who

Jasper Rees, 4 August 1994

Jim Henson – The Works: The Art, the Magic, the Imagination 
by Christopher Finch.
Aurum, 251 pp., £20, April 1994, 1 85410 296 6
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... Under Henson’s supervision, a series of ostensibly ridiculous puppets – Big Bird, Ernie, Bert, the Count von Count, Sherlock Hemlock, the Cookie Monster – were created to star in a show that used the snappy grammar of television advertising to sell learning. In a brilliant parody of the absurdity of sponsorship, each show was sponsored by letters ...

Mother Country

Catherine Hall: The Hostile Environment, 23 January 2020

The Windrush Betrayal: Exposing the Hostile Environment 
by Amelia Gentleman.
Guardian Faber, 336 pp., £18.99, September 2019, 978 1 78335 184 8
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Homecoming: Voices of the Windrush Generation 
by Colin Grant.
Cape, 320 pp., £18.99, October 2019, 978 1 78733 105 1
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Hostile Environment: How Immigrants Become Scapegoats 
by Maya Goodfellow.
Verso, 272 pp., £12.99, November 2019, 978 1 78873 336 6
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... of a better life, hopes that in many cases were bitterly disappointed. As the reparations activist Bert Samuels puts it, ‘it is widely accepted in Jamaica that Britain has used us and refused ...

Bad Timing

R.W. Johnson: All about Eden, 22 May 2003

Eden: The Life and Times of Anthony Eden, First Earl of Avon 1897-1977 
by D.R. Thorpe.
Chatto, 758 pp., £25, March 2003, 0 7011 6744 0
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The Macmillan Diaries: The Cabinet Years 1950-57 
edited by Peter Catterall.
Macmillan, 676 pp., £25, April 2003, 9780333711675
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... premier. He won the Military Cross in 1916 for risking his life by carrying his wounded sergeant, Bert Harrop, over fifty yards of no man’s land. They remained friends for life – the gold penknife Harrop gave him stayed on Eden’s desk until he died. In 1935, Eden and Hitler discovered at a dinner that they had served in trenches opposite ...

How to play the piano

Nicholas Spice, 26 March 1992

Music Sounded Out 
by Alfred Brendel.
Robson, 258 pp., £16.95, September 1990, 0 86051 666 0
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Glenn Gould: A Life and Variations 
by Otto Friedrich.
Lime Tree, 441 pp., £12.99, October 1990, 9780413452313
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... stroke in 1982 at the age of 50.Glenn Gould was born in 1932 in Toronto, the only child of Bert Gould, a furrier, and Florence Greig (who liked to claim that Edvard Grieg was a distant relation). His musical education was neither high-powered nor high pressured: his mother taught him until he was ten, when he started lessons with Alberto Guerrero at ...

Charlot v. Hulot

David Trotter: Tativille, 2 July 2020

Play Time: Jacques Tati and Comedic Modernism 
by Malcolm Turvey.
Columbia, 304 pp., £25, December 2019, 978 0 231 19303 0
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The Definitive Jacques Tati 
edited by Alison Castle.
Taschen, 1136 pp., £185, June, 978 3 8365 7711 3
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... had by then broken sufficiently with family tradition to establish himself on the European music hall circuit, where he specialised in sporting impressions. Colette, who saw him perform in 1936, wrote admiringly of his centaur-like ability to play the parts at once of cyclist and cycle, tennis player and racket. But Tati understood, as he approached ...

Degree of Famousness etc

Peter Howarth: Don Paterson, 21 March 2013

Selected Poems 
by Don Paterson.
Faber, 169 pp., £14.99, May 2012, 978 0 571 28178 7
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... writes:                                             Bert             Kwakkel,     my Dutch                 luthier,     emptied       so much wood out of the wood   it takes no more than a dropped shoe   or a cleared throat on the ...

Making It Up

Raphael Samuel, 4 July 1996

Raymond Williams 
by Fred Inglis.
Routledge, 333 pp., £19.99, October 1995, 0 415 08960 3
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... on which Inglis’s gods and heroes disport themselves. Thus at the memorial meeting in Conway Hall there is Nick Garnham, ‘elegant, intelligent, disdainful Wykehamist’. Earlier, at the Garden House Hotel riot – a Cambridge protest against the rule of the Greek colonels – there is Bob Rowthorn, ‘then as now the best-looking economist in a not ...

The Unrewarded End

V.G. Kiernan: Memories of the CP, 17 September 1998

The Death of Uncle Joe 
by Alison Macleod.
Merlin, 269 pp., £9.95, May 1997, 0 85036 467 1
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Enemy Within: The Rise and Fall of the British Communist Party 
by Francis Beckett.
Merlin, 253 pp., £9.95, August 1998, 0 85036 477 9
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... a way into Parliament; Palme Dutt the Swedish-Indian, more theologian than political thinker; and Bert Ramelson, a Ukrainian-Canadian, who became a very able and effective organiser of British industrial labour. The Party was never lacking in the internationalism that nearly all other English political movements conspicuously lacked. Beckett adds a gallery of ...

Dreams of the Decades

Liz Jobey: Bill Brandt, 8 July 2004

Bill Brandt: A Life 
by Paul Delany.
Cape, 336 pp., £35, March 2004, 0 224 05280 2
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Bill Brandt: A Centenary Retrospective 
Victoria & Albert MuseumShow More
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... protect his daughter, or revenge her death. Delany draws the conclusion that ‘somewhere in this hall of mirrors was a sexual fantasy that Brandt was satisfying by calling his nude "The Policeman’s Daughter".’ Bert Hardy, a Picture Post photographer, told David Mellor that Brandt hired prostitutes to pose for some of ...

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