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Tabitha Lasley: The Children of God, 23 September 2021

Rebel: The Extraordinary Story of a Childhood in the ‘Children of God’ Cult 
by Faith Morgan.
Hodder, 368 pp., £16.99, June, 978 1 5293 4759 3
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... Faith Morgan​ ’s memoir opens in her attic, where her teenage son has stumbled on a cache of newspaper cuttings about the Children of God, forcing her to confront memories she’s spent most of her adult life trying to evade. The Children of God was founded in America in 1968 by a man called David Berg. Former members include River and Joaquim Phoenix, Rose McGowan and the writer Lauren Hough, who described Berg as a ‘failed Pentecostal preacher and wildly successful alcoholic ...

800 Napkins, 47 Finger Bowls

Zachary Leader, 16 March 2000

MorganAmerican Financier 
by Jean Strouse.
Harvill, 816 pp., £25, June 1999, 9781860463556
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... or religious terms. Economic progress meant ‘discipline’, ‘sound’ money, ‘inviolate’ faith, as opposed to ‘waste’, ‘wild’ inflation, a ‘corrupt’ currency, ‘blind and dishonest frenzy’, ‘reckless booming anarchy’. For all that, the concentration of wealth and power was alarming. In 1912, officials from five New York banks ...

When Neil Kinnock was in his pram

Paul Addison, 5 April 1984

Labour in Power 1945-1951 
by Kenneth Morgan.
Oxford, 546 pp., £15, March 1984, 0 19 215865 1
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... times can still convey a true appreciation of Labour’s finest hour, it is surely Kenneth Morgan. He writes for the wide spectrum of readers who still talk the language of common-sense democratic debate. Of course this is rather a deceptive language. It is actually the old Whig ideology, broad and flexible, on which the British have got by for so ...

Leadership

T.H. Breen, 10 May 1990

The First Salute 
by Barbara Tuchman.
Joseph, 347 pp., £15.95, March 1989, 0 7181 3142 8
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Sister Republics: The Origins of French and American Republicanism 
by Patrice Higonnet.
Harvard, 317 pp., £19.95, December 1988, 0 674 80982 3
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Inventing the People: The Rise of Popular Sovereignty in England and America 
by Edmund Morgan.
Norton, 318 pp., £12.95, September 1988, 0 393 02505 5
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... endless error” the mould of the species is permanent. That is the earth’s burden.’ Edmund Morgan and Patrice Higonnet are less pessimistic. They see the great ideological transformations of the 18th century as a continuing challenge. To be sure, those who dreamed of creating a genuine liberal democracy may have failed to achieve their immediate ...

Churchill’s Jackal

Kenneth O. Morgan, 24 January 1980

Brendan Bracken 
by Charles Edward Lysaght.
Allen Lane, 372 pp., £10, September 1980, 0 7139 0969 2
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... and human kindness rare in public life, Bracken, like other rootless men, developed a passionate faith – a deep attachment to the values and institutions of the alien English world which he had broken into. ‘A romantic posing as a cynic’ was one contemporary’s shrewd judgment. In this sense, his devotion to Churchill, and his fresh appeal to many ...

Buggering on

Paul Addison, 21 July 1983

Winston Churchill: Companion Vol. V, Part III, The Coming of War 1936-1939 
by Martin Gilbert.
Heinemann, 1684 pp., £75, October 1982, 0 434 29188 9
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Finest Hour: Winston Churchill, 1939-1941 
by Martin Gilbert.
Heinemann, 1308 pp., £15.95, June 1983, 0 434 29187 0
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Churchill 1874-1915 
by Ted Morgan.
Cape, 571 pp., £12.50, April 1983, 0 224 02044 7
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The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Visions of Glory, 1874-1932 
by William Manchester.
Michael Joseph, 973 pp., £14.95, June 1983, 0 7181 2275 5
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... this message: KBO. If the official biography is definitive, why should two American authors, Ted Morgan and William Manchester, have embarked on their own lives of Churchill? Many authors explain in a preface how and why they came to begin a book, but neither Morgan nor Manchester offers a clue. From the tone of ...

Born Again

Phillip Whitehead, 19 February 1981

Face the future 
by David Owen.
Cape, 552 pp., £12.50, January 1981, 0 224 01956 2
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... book. It is written by a socialist, and for socialists. This is its first fascination. The sage of Morgan Grenfell will wince over its strictures on public expenditure and the role of government intervention. Shirley Williams, who has brought to the cause of Europe the passion which her mother gave to pacifism, will find Dr Owen’s advocacy of a tough line ...

The Tories’ Death-Wish

Kenneth O. Morgan, 15 May 1980

Tariff Reform in British Politics 
by Alan Sykes.
Oxford, 352 pp., £16, December 1979, 0 19 822483 4
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... extent to which Lloyd George and other secular-minded Liberals deviated from the Cobdenite true faith is worth inquiry, too. Secondly, a much fuller reconstruction is needed of the economic and financial debates of pre-1914 Britain. Indeed, the discussion here of the economic difficulties of Edwardian Britain is unduly brief. In the face of the free ...

Endgame

John Bayley, 17 March 1988

End of a Journey: An Autobiographical Journal 1979-1981 
by Philip Toynbee.
Bloomsbury, 422 pp., £25, February 1988, 0 7475 0132 7
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... deep reasons for admiring The Fountain. I quickly suppressed my almost Pavlovian sneer at Charles Morgan, and realised that what she found in the book is the thing that matters. (Not that this alters my opinion about Charles Morgan, but it made me dubious about the whole business of literary criticism. I remember my own ...

Not in My House

Mark Ford: Flannery O’Connor, 23 July 2009

Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor 
by Brad Gooch.
Little, Brown, 448 pp., £20, May 2009, 978 0 316 00066 6
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... summer. In the course of this visit Asbury spends several days working with the black farmhands Morgan and Randall, in the hope of establishing a rapport with some representatives of the race whom he aims to dignify. First he persuades them to smoke with him in the cow barn, though this is against his mother’s orders. The next day, two cans of milk are ...

Another Mother

Frank Kermode, 13 May 1993

MorganA Biography of E.M. Forster 
by Nicola Beauman.
Hodder, 404 pp., £20, May 1993, 0 340 52530 4
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... As a young man Furbank was quite a close friend of Forster’s, and undoubtedly called him ‘Morgan’; his book of course benefits greatly from his personal knowledge, but he was quite right to regard the familiarity implied by regular use of the first name as out of place in a biography written for those who had no claim to it. Of course he doesn’t ...

Something Fine and Powerful

Thomas Laqueur: Pearl Harbor Redux, 25 August 2011

Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor/Hiroshima/9-11/Iraq 
by John Dower.
Norton/The New Press, 596 pp., £22, October 2010, 978 0 393 06150 5
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... meltdown, and argues that ‘psychological, behavioural and institutional pathologies unite the faith-based delusionary thinking in economics with that of war.’ Dower puts no particular pressure on the term ‘cultures’ in his title. He doesn’t mean the timeless anthropological characteristics that define his subject, some version of Clausewitz’s ...

Simply too exhausted

Christopher Hitchens, 25 July 1991

Edwina Mountbatten: A Life of Her Own 
by Janet Morgan.
HarperCollins, 509 pp., £20, July 1991, 0 00 217597 5
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... drive. Edwina’s dog, Snippet, ran out to greet her mistress. That was the worst of all. Janet Morgan, A Life of Her Own From the very first page of this book (‘Sir Ernest was larger than life’) to the very last (‘Truth is stranger than fiction’) the cliché is entirely sovereign. It is a sentimental cliché, compared to which Evangeline ...

Keeping out and coming close

Michael Church, 3 October 1985

Here lies: An Autobiography 
by Eric Ambler.
Weidenfeld, 234 pp., £10.95, June 1985, 0 297 78588 5
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The Levanter 
by Eric Ambler.
Weidenfeld, 216 pp., £8.95, June 1985, 0 297 99521 9
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Doctor Frigo 
by Eric Ambler.
Weidenfeld, 250 pp., £8.95, June 1985, 0 297 76848 4
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The Other Side of the Moon: The Life of David Niven 
by Sheridan Morley.
Weidenfeld, 300 pp., £10.95, September 1985, 9780297787082
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Secrets: Boyhood in a Jewish Hotel 1932-1954 
by Ronald Hayman.
Peter Owen, 224 pp., £12, July 1985, 9780720606423
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A Woman in Custody 
by Audrey Peckham.
Fontana, 253 pp., £3.95, June 1985, 0 00 636952 9
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No Gangster More Bold 
by John Morgan.
Hodder, 179 pp., £9.95, July 1985, 0 340 26387 3
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... atmosphere, but the dips below the surface – over his sexual frustrations, his loss of religious faith, the deaths of father and grandmother – never go very deep. The resolution of his frustrations was at least unconventional – he was deflowered by a glamorous aunt. The ‘hotel’ in which Audrey Peckham spent six excruciating months, before her trial ...

The general tone is purple

Alison Light: Where the Poor Lived, 2 July 2020

Charles Booth’s London Poverty Maps 
edited by Mary S. Morgan.
Thames and Hudson, 288 pp., £49.95, October 2019, 978 0 500 02229 0
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... written up and organised by Booth, came with 12 maps. These maps are the ‘hero’, as Mary Morgan puts it, of a new, beautifully designed gazetteer of Booth’s work. They represented in their day ‘an entirely original attempt at a visualisation of social class’. A detail from the map of the northern district, from Holloway to De Beauvoir ...

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