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Floating Medicine Chests

Steven Shapin: The Dutch East India Company, 7 February 2008

Matters of Exchange: Commerce, Medicine and Science in the Dutch Golden Age 
by Harold Cook.
Yale, 562 pp., £25, April 2007, 978 0 300 11796 7
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... of the 17th century and the rise of philosophical rationality. It is one of the many virtues of Harold Cook’s Matters of Exchange that it treats these as different aspects of the same story. So start with the VOC want-list and ask two questions: What were the goods good for? What did you have to know to get them, get them back home, get them ...
... police with dogs. Men, women and kids are punched, kicked and arrested for picking coal to cook with and to keep warm. Many of them are left bleeding and bruised. This happened on 12 October (19 arrests). On Sunday 16 October it happened again: 120 riot-clad police against sixty or seventy people, mainly middle-aged men – most of them with bad chests ...

Benetton Ethics

Nick Cohen: Treachery at the FO, 2 July 1998

First Annual Report on Human Rights 
by Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
56 pp., April 1998
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The Great Deception 
by Mark Curtis.
Pluto, 272 pp., £14.99, June 1998, 0 7453 1234 9
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... Cohen. What about the landmines?’ What about the landmines? On 12 May Robin Cook announced the Government’s first leftward shift. Labour would abandon Tory foreign policy, whose futile cynicism had been dissected in the Arms-to-Iraq inquiry. Britain’s relations with the rest of the world would now have ‘an ethical ...

Long live Shevardnadze

Don Cook, 22 June 1989

Memoirs 
by Andrei Gromyko, translated by Harold Shukman.
Hutchinson, 365 pp., £16.95, May 1989, 0 09 173808 3
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Kennan and the Art of Foreign Policy 
by Anders Stephanson.
Harvard, 424 pp., $35, April 1989, 0 674 50265 5
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... One of the many welcome aspects of Gorbachev’s glasnost is that it has made possible a mutual East-West re-examination of the twists and turns in the record of Cold War conflict and confrontation. Last February, for example, there was a gathering in Moscow of top-level participants in the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, from both the White House and the Kremlin: they were meeting to discuss how those events unfolded in each capital, and how decisions were made on each side, almost minute by minute ...

Britain’s Thermonuclear Bluff

Norman Dombey and Eric Grove, 22 October 1992

... obituary, in the Biographical Memoirs of the Fellows of the Royal Society, of Sir William Cook, scientific director of the Grapple test series; some recent disclosures on the part of John Ward, who was employed at the British nuclear weapons laboratory at Aldermaston for six months during 1955; and a group of declassified US documents obtained by ...

Matters of Taste

Peter Graham, 4 December 1986

On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen 
by Harold McGee.
Allen and Unwin, 684 pp., £20, September 1986, 9780043060032
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The French Menu Cookbook 
by Richard Olney.
Dorling Kindersley, 294 pp., £12.95, September 1986, 0 86318 181 3
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Out to Lunch 
by Paul Levy.
Chatto, 240 pp., £10.95, November 1986, 0 7011 3091 1
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The Good Food Guide 1987 
edited by Drew Smith.
Consumers’ Association/Hodder, 725 pp., £9.95, November 1986, 0 340 39600 8
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... of speech which would appear to be corroborated by science. The publication in this country of Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, a best-seller in the US, is therefore particularly timely. McGee, one of those rare people who is as much at home wielding scientific terminology as he is discussing Carême’s ...

Diary

Tam Dalyell: The Belgrano Affair, 7 February 1985

... told me to read an article in the New Statesman, ‘The Death of Miss Murrell’ by Judith Cook. Some two days later, since I read the New Statesman and the London Review of Books on trains and aircraft between London and Scotland, I glanced at Mrs Cook’s piece, and was arrested by the following passage: ‘Yet the ...

‘Turbot, sir,’ said the waiter

E.S. Turner, 4 April 1991

After Hours with P.G. Wodehouse 
by Richard Usborne.
Hutchinson, 201 pp., £15.99, February 1991, 0 09 174712 0
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... like a geyser’. Here young Stiffy Byng pleads to him the cause of her beloved, the curate Harold ‘Stinker’ Pinker: ‘You know that vicarage you have in your gift, Uncle Watkyn! What Harold and I were thinking was that you might give him that and then we could get married at once. You see, apart from the ...

Badoompa-doompa-doompa-doom

Graham Coster, 10 January 1991

Stone Alone 
by Bill Wyman and Ray Coleman.
Viking, 594 pp., £15.99, October 1990, 0 670 82894 7
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Blown away: The Rolling Stones and the Death of the Sixties 
by A.E. Hotchner.
Simon and Schuster, 377 pp., £15.95, October 1990, 0 671 69316 6
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Are you experienced? The Inside Story of the Jimi Hendrix Experience 
by Noel Redding and Carol Appleby.
Fourth Estate, 256 pp., £14.99, September 1990, 1 872180 36 1
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I was a teenage Sex Pistol 
by Glen Matlock and Pete Silverton.
Omnibus, 192 pp., £12.95, September 1990, 0 7119 2491 0
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Bare 
by George Michael and Tony Parsons.
Joseph, 242 pp., £12.99, September 1990, 0 7181 3435 4
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... one is worth his weight in gold.’ And here is the Sex Pistols’ Glen Matlock on drummer Paul Cook: ‘that steady rhythm of his was the whole backbone of the Pistols’ sound.’ Then you have the singer, the showman – who probably does the lyrics too; and the lead guitarist, who probably comes up with the music; not forgetting the ...

The Common Touch

Paul Foot, 10 November 1994

Hanson: A Biography 
by Alex Brummer and Roger Cowe.
Fourth Estate, 336 pp., £20, September 1994, 1 85702 189 4
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... his gentle Yorkshire lilt fascinated her almost as much as his millions. She assumed, as Harold Wilson had several years previously, that Hanson was typical of the self-made man, the hard-working puritan who started at the bottom and worked twenty hours a day until he achieved fame and fortune. Like Wilson, Hanson came from ...

Tony, Ray and the Duchess

Alan Bell, 21 May 1981

A Lonely Business: A Self-Portrait of James Pope-Hennessy 
edited by Peter Quennell.
Weidenfeld, 278 pp., £12.50, April 1981, 0 297 77918 4
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... more precisely what they sounded like’), or an Etonian in Dominica who had married his black cook (‘a most depraved-looking middle-aged man, straight out of Maugham, with the glazed eyes of a drug addict and the aggressive manner of the socially ostracised’): these are the phrases which best encapsulate his foreign journeys. Travel for Pope-Hennessy ...

The Only Way

Sam Kinchin-Smith: Culinary Mansplaining, 4 January 2018

... of some of history’s ‘higher cribbers’: Borges, Montaigne, Stevenson, Eliot, Mann and Harold Bloom; Michel Tournier and Alain Robbe-Grillet; pretend pretenders to the throne, Perkin Warbeck and Lambert Simnel; Napoleon’s chef Dunand; and ‘the genitally preoccupied Roman epigrammatist Martial’. I found some of the recipes in The Plagiarist in ...

At the V&A

Jeremy Harding: 50 Years of ‘Private Eye’, 15 December 2011

... including the head of a 13th-century Buddha carved from sandstone, to a Scarfe cartoon of Harold Wilson with his lolling tongue in close proximity to Lyndon Johnson’s bottom (‘Vietnam: Wilson right behind Johnson’, 30 April 1965). ‘I’ve heard of a special relationship,’ the president muses, hitching up his trousers, ‘but this is ...

Gentlemen Travellers

Denis Donoghue, 18 December 1986

Between the Woods and the Water 
by Patrick Leigh Fermor et al.
Murray, 248 pp., £13.95, October 1986, 0 7195 4264 2
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Coasting 
by Jonathan Raban.
Collins, 301 pp., £10.95, September 1986, 0 00 272119 8
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The Grand Tour 
by Hunter Davies.
Hamish Hamilton, 224 pp., £14.95, September 1986, 0 241 11907 3
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... of maps, and hold yourself ready for adventure. The tourist class was invented by Thomas Cook when he assembled an excursion to the Paris Exposition in 1855. Tourists change their places in groups, live as comfortably as possible, take pleasure in gregariousness, obey injunctions, keep to the main roads, and fulfil plans made by tour-promoters in ...

Mr Straight and Mr Good

Paul Foot: Gordon Brown, 19 February 1998

Gordon Brown: The Biography 
by Paul Routledge.
Simon and Schuster, 358 pp., £17.99, February 1998, 0 684 81954 6
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... candidate for the safe seat of desperately impoverished Dunfermline East, he co-edited with Robin Cook another series of socialist essays, The Great Divide. In his Introduction, he grappled with the familiar argument that the shocking conditions of the poor could only be improved in times of economic growth. ‘The era of economic growth,’ he ...

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