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Dame Cissie

Penelope Fitzgerald, 12 November 1987

Rebecca West: A Life 
by Victoria Glendinning.
Weidenfeld, 288 pp., £14.95, April 1987, 0 297 79084 6
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Family Memories 
by Rebecca West and Faith Evans.
Virago, 255 pp., £14.95, November 1987, 0 86068 741 4
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... all in the Australian scenes, even though she is describing a country where she had never been. As Faith Evans says in her introduction, ‘the book is more like a sequence of novellas than a verifiable history,’ and its relationship to fiction is so delicate that the publishers have decided not to give it an index. The notes, however, show when a name ...

V.G. Kiernan writes about the Marx sisters

V.G. Kiernan, 16 September 1982

The Daughters of Karl Marx: Family Correspondence 1866-98 
edited by Olga Meier, translated by Faith Evans.
Deutsch, 342 pp., £14.95, June 1982, 0 233 97337 0
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... self, playing a part that he has to make an increasing effort to live up to. While strength and faith hold out it keeps him going, but at the peril of an ultimate collapse. ‘There’s really no time,’ Eleanor wrote in 1895, ‘to consider whether life is worth living or is a most unmitigated nuisance.’ Her health was giving way, and sometimes she ...

Cairo Essays

Edmund Leach, 4 December 1980

Evans-Pritchard 
by Mary Douglas.
Fontana, 140 pp., £1.50, March 1980, 0 00 634006 7
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... to finding a biographer to bestow it. Why else should Malinowski still be left off the list but Evans-Pritchard (E-P to all who knew him but not in this book), Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Oxford from 1946-1970, gain the crown? But if E-P be held to deserve apotheosis then Mary Douglas seems, on the face of it, a very ...

Cross Words

Neal Ascherson, 17 November 1983

The Story of the ‘Times’ 
by Oliver Woods and James Bishop.
Joseph, 392 pp., £14.95, October 1983, 0 7181 1462 0
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Good Times, Bad Times 
by Harold Evans.
Weidenfeld, 430 pp., £11.95, October 1983, 0 297 78295 9
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... every reason to know what he was doing ... The costly changes introduced by the Editor [Harold Evans] had been accompanied by a substantial number of new senior editorial appointments. Not all of these were welcomed by the existing editorial staff, whose responsibilities sometimes seemed to be in conflict with those of the new appointments. The result was ...

Laid Down by Ranke

Peter Ghosh: Defending history, 15 October 1998

In Defence of History 
by Richard J. Evans.
Granta, 320 pp., £8.99, October 1998, 1 86207 068 7
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... Richard Evans hopes that this book will take the place of E.H. Carr’s What is History? and G.R. Elton’s The Practice of History as the ‘basic introduction’ to history as taught in the universities. Evans is a self-declared ‘Rankean’ empiricist, committed to Ranke’s view that facts and documents ‘speak for themselves ...

Christian v. Cannibal

Michael Rogin: Norman Mailer and American history, 1 April 1999

The American Century 
by Harold Evans.
Cape, 710 pp., £40, November 1998, 0 224 05217 9
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The Time of Our Time 
by Norman Mailer.
Little, Brown, 1286 pp., £25, September 1998, 0 316 64571 0
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... The 20th century belongs to the United States because of the triumph of its faith in its founding idea of political and economic freedom.’ Not only did the American people ‘grow rich and expand their domestic freedoms. They sustained Western civilisation by acts of courage, generosity and vision unparalleled in the history of man ...

Baudelairean

Mary Hawthorne: The Luck of Walker Evans, 5 February 2004

Walker Evans 
by James Mellow.
Perseus, 654 pp., £15.99, February 2002, 1 903985 13 7
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... The early photographs of Walker Evans are now so familiar that it is easy to forget how radically different they seemed at the time, and to take their subtle influence for granted, or, now that the collective longing appears to be for nothing so much as to be relieved of the burden of thinking or remembering at all, to fail to discern it altogether ...

Breathtaking Co-ordination

Jonathan Wright: Hitler’s Wartime Economy, 19 July 2007

The Third Reich in Power 
by Richard J. Evans.
Penguin, 941 pp., £12.99, May 2006, 0 14 100976 4
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The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy 
by Adam Tooze.
Penguin, 800 pp., £12.99, August 2007, 978 0 14 100348 1
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... Richard Evans’s history of the Third Reich – it will be completed by a third volume covering the war – is an invaluable work of synthesis. The mass of specialist studies we now have makes a general history all the more useful, and not only, as Evans suggests, for those who know little about the subject ...

Grisly Creed

Patrick Collinson: John Wyclif, 22 February 2007

John Wyclif: Myth and Reality 
by G.R. Evans.
Lion, 320 pp., £20, October 2005, 0 7459 5154 6
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... historian of the Middle Ages to be published in his lifetime. But it is strange that G.R. Evans, in what is blurbed as ‘the first major biography of Wyclif to be published for almost a century’ (the reference is to the two volumes published by H.B. Workman in 1926), makes no reference to it. Evans’s title ...

I want to love it

Susan Pedersen: What on earth was he doing?, 18 April 2019

Eric Hobsbawm: A Life in History 
by Richard J. Evans.
Little, Brown, 800 pp., £35, February 2019, 978 1 4087 0741 8
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... and autobiographical questions and then hares off to tackle the former. This means that Richard Evans had an untilled field before him. Based on unrestricted access to Hobsbawm’s personal archive, this is one of those doorstopper biographies that can get published in Britain even when the subject is a historian. It clocks in at 662 pages of text and ...

Why me?

I.M. Lewis, 18 June 1981

Deadly Words: Witchcraft in the Bocage 
by Jeanne Favret-Saada, translated by C. Cullen.
Cambridge, 271 pp., £17.50, December 1980, 0 521 22317 2
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... theories based on environmental determinism. But since the publication, over forty years ago, of Evans-Pritchard’s Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic among the Azande, they have been in the fortunate position of possessing a key to the understanding of these beliefs which makes such reductionist theories redundant. Indeed, since this book was published, the ...

Close Cozenage

David Wootton, 23 May 1996

Astrology and the 17th-Century Mind: William Lilly and the Language of the Stars 
by Ann Geneva.
Manchester, 298 pp., £40, June 1995, 0 7190 4154 6
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... suffered for its Civil War success. Charles II continued to seek guidance in the stars, but faith among the political and intellectual élite waned. The scientists did not pause to refute it, presumably because its dependence on a geocentric system appeared to render it irrelevant in an age of triumphant Copernicanism (although two of the three founders ...

With Gods on Their Side

Basil Davidson, 7 September 1995

The Church in Africa, 1450-1950 
by Adrian Hastings.
Oxford, 706 pp., £65, January 1995, 0 19 826921 8
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A History of Christianity in Africa from Antiquity to the Present 
by Elizabeth Isichei.
SPCK, 420 pp., £25, February 1995, 0 281 04764 2
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Religion in Africa: Experience and Expression 
edited by Thomas Blakely, Walter van Beek and Dennis Thomson.
Currey, 512 pp., £45, November 1994, 0 85255 206 8
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... from the thorns and thickets of ‘function’ and ‘structure’ only to find – here in Evans-Pritchard of 1959 – that for ‘the leading anthropologists of my own generation, religious faith is total illusion, a curious phenomenon soon to become extinct’, or a handy psychological gimmick which encouraged ...

Germans and the German Past

J.P. Stern, 21 December 1989

The Unmasterable Past: History, Holocaust and German National Identity 
by Charles Maier.
Harvard, 227 pp., £17.95, November 1988, 0 674 92975 6
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Historikerstreit 
Piper, 397 pp., DM 17.80, July 1987, 3 492 10816 4Show More
In Hitler’s Shadow: West German Historians and the Attempt to Escape from the Nazi Past 
by Richard Evans.
Tauris, 196 pp., £12.95, October 1989, 1 85043 146 9
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Why did the heavens not darken? 
by Arno Mayer.
Verso, 510 pp., £19.95, October 1989, 0 86091 267 1
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A German Identity, 1770-1990 
by Harold James.
Weidenfeld, 240 pp., £16.95, March 1989, 9780297795049
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Die Republikaner: Phantombild der neuen Rechten 
by Claus Leggewie.
Rotbuch, 155 pp., May 1989, 3 88022 011 5
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Ich war dabei 
by Franz Schönhuber.
Langen Müller, 356 pp., April 1989, 3 7844 2249 7
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... a kind of national amnesia. With Hitler’s disappearance, his and his movement’s tenets, its ‘faith’ and goals, seemed forgotten, its actions beyond recall. It wasn’t merely that individual men and women were unwilling to speak of their own immediate political past: the ideology, indeed the very substance of that past, had become unavailable. Reinhart ...

On my way to the Couch

E.S. Turner, 30 March 1989

On my way to the Club 
by Ludovic Kennedy.
Collins, 429 pp., £15, January 1989, 0 00 217617 3
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... a communicator he has met or interviewed everybody and travelled everywhere; and he has sufficient faith in television as a universal educator to say that, in this respect, ‘I believe my career has been well spent.’ He is not without enemies, of a sort; they have caused him to be blackballed in three clubs, two of them golf clubs – the sort of setback ...

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