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Misbehavin’

Susannah Clapp, 23 July 1987

A Life with Alan: The Diary of A.J.P. Taylor’s Wife, Eva, from 1978 to 1985 
by Eva Haraszti Taylor.
Hamish Hamilton, 250 pp., £14.95, June 1987, 0 241 12118 3
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The Painted Banquet: My Life and Loves 
by Jocelyn Rickards.
Weidenfeld, 172 pp., £14.95, May 1987, 0 297 79119 2
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The Beaverbrook Girl 
by Janet Aitken Kidd.
Collins, 240 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 00 217602 5
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... most of their evenings at the Gargoyle Club, dancing to ‘Oh, you beautiful doll’ while Donald Maclean got drunk. They had, she says, some ‘idyllic years’ together, though the man Cyril Connolly called ‘the London Freddyair’ had his glum moments, waking his partner as he sang in his sleep ‘I’m always on the outside, on the outside looking ...

Carnival Time

Peter Craven, 18 February 1988

The Remake 
by Clive James.
Cape, 223 pp., £10.95, October 1987, 0 224 02515 5
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In the Land of Oz 
by Howard Jacobson.
Hamish Hamilton, 380 pp., £12.95, September 1987, 0 241 12110 8
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... which I happen to co-edit), has an interest in the writers he mentions, if only because Ian Hamilton said so in the pages of the London Review. He forgets (he is not very careful about these matters) that it was in the letters pages of this journal that The Night-markets was described as having nothing ‘remotely Poundian or Objectivist’ about ...

Meringue-utan

Rosemary Hill: Rosamund Lehmann’s Disappointments, 8 August 2002

Rosamond Lehmann 
by Selina Hastings.
Chatto, 476 pp., £25, June 2002, 0 7011 6542 1
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... cycles, and having passed from tragedy to romantic comedy they whirled on into farce. A fling with Ian Fleming ended badly when he accidentally double-booked her in his house in Jamaica with his wife, Ann. ‘She was unbelievably rude to me,’ Lehmann noted, hurt. Fleming’s attempt to amuse her by throwing a live squid into the bedroom misfired badly and in ...

Heimat

David Craig, 6 July 1989

A Search for Scotland 
by R.F. Mackenzie.
Collins, 280 pp., £16.95, May 1989, 0 00 215185 5
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A Claim of Right for Scotland 
edited by Owen Dudley Edwards.
Polygon, 202 pp., £14.95, May 1989, 0 7486 6022 4
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The Eclipse of Scottish Culture 
by Craig Beveridge and Ronald Turnbull.
Polygon, 121 pp., £6.95, May 1989, 0 7486 6000 3
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The Bird Path: Collected Longer Poems 
by Kenneth White.
Mainstream, 239 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 1 85158 245 2
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Travels in the Drifting Dawn 
by Kenneth White.
Mainstream, 160 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 1 85158 240 1
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... economy, politics and culture by social historians as intelligent as John McEwen, John Foster and Ian Carter, writers as good as John McGrath and Tom Nairn, politicians as energetic as Robin Cook and Jim Sillars. To write for it felt like good militant fun (I contributed the piece on ‘The Radical Literary Tradition’) – a fling at the Establishment which ...

The Great Scots Education Hoax

Rosalind Mitchison, 18 October 1984

The Companion to Gaelic Scotland 
edited by Derick Thomson.
Blackwell, 363 pp., £25, December 1983, 0 631 12502 7
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Experience and Enlightenment: Socialisation for Cultural Changes in 18th-Century Scotland 
by Charles Camic.
Edinburgh, 301 pp., £20, January 1984, 0 85224 483 5
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Knee Deep in Claret: A Celebration of Wine and Scotland 
by Billy Kay and Cailean Maclean.
Mainstream, 232 pp., £9.95, November 1983, 0 906391 45 8
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Education and Opportunity in Victorian Scotland: Schools and Universities 
by R.D. Anderson.
Oxford, 384 pp., £25, July 1983, 0 19 822696 9
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Scotland: The Real Divide 
edited by Gordon Brown and Robin Cook.
Mainstream, 251 pp., £9.95, November 1983, 0 906391 18 0
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Wealth and Virtue: The Shaping of Political Economy in the Scottish Enlightenment 
edited by Istvan Hont and Michael Ignatieff.
Cambridge, 371 pp., £35, November 1983, 0 521 23397 6
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... bring out a comparison or illustrate a point but set out in such a way that the point is missed. Ian Levitt claims that ‘lagging health indicators show poverty,’ but the only figures he advances, the number of hospital in-patients per year, expanding from 1890 to 1960, are mainly a sign of the increase in hospital provision. There is a failure to ...

V.G. Kiernan on treason

V.G. Kiernan, 25 June 1987

... the information could do no harm to Britain. If it is the case, as alleged early in 1982, that Maclean was trying at the end to influence Britain away from support of the American intervention in Korea, he was doing something very praiseworthy. It seems that Norman, by that time head of the Canadian mission at Tokyo, fell foul of General MacArthur, whom he ...

What did they do in the war?

Angus Calder, 20 June 1985

Firing Line 
by Richard Holmes.
Cape, 436 pp., £12.95, March 1985, 0 224 02043 9
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The Right of the Line: The Royal Air Force in the European War 1939-1945 
by John Terraine.
Hodder, 841 pp., £14.95, March 1985, 0 340 26644 9
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The Bomber Command War Diaries: An Operational Reference Book 
by Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt.
Viking, 804 pp., £25, May 1985, 0 670 80137 2
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’45: The Final Drive from the Rhine to the Baltic 
by Charles Whiting.
Century, 192 pp., £7.95, March 1985, 0 7126 0812 5
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In the Ruins of the Reich 
by Douglas Botting.
Allen and Unwin, 248 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 9780049430365
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1945: The World We Fought For 
by Robert Kee.
Hamish Hamilton, 371 pp., £12.95, May 1985, 0 241 11531 0
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VE Day: Victory in Europe 1945 
by Robin Cross.
Sidgwick, 223 pp., £12.95, May 1985, 0 283 99220 4
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One Family’s War 
edited by Patrick Mayhew.
Hutchinson, 237 pp., £10.95, May 1985, 0 7126 0812 5
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Poems of the Second World War: The Oasis Selection 
edited by Victor Selwyn.
Dent, 386 pp., £12, May 1985, 0 460 10432 2
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My Life 
by Bert Hardy.
Gordon Fraser, 192 pp., £14.95, March 1985, 0 86092 083 6
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Victory in Europe: D Day to VE Day 
by Max Hastings and George Stevens.
Weidenfeld, 192 pp., £10.95, April 1985, 0 297 78650 4
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... Ewart and Henry Reed, Norman Cameron and Robert Garioch, Roy Fuller, Hamish Henderson and Sorley Maclean – and many others wholly unknown to fame. It’s true that sensitive annotation of individual experience was the hallmark of their generation of writers. Owen and Rosenberg had, in a sense, already ‘said it all’ about modern mechanized warfare, and ...

On the Salieri Express

John Sutherland, 24 September 1992

Doctor Criminale 
by Malcolm Bradbury.
Secker, 343 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 436 20115 1
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The Promise of Light 
by Paul Watkins.
Faber, 217 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 571 16715 2
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The Absolution Game 
by Paul Sayer.
Constable, 204 pp., £13.99, June 1992, 0 09 471460 6
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The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman 
by Louis de Bernières.
Secker, 388 pp., £14.99, August 1992, 0 436 20114 3
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Written on the Body 
by Jeanette Winterson.
Cape, 190 pp., £13.99, September 1992, 0 224 03587 8
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... remarkable. Ask who the leading young British novelists are and you may well be told Martin Amis, Ian McEwan, William Boyd, Julian Barnes. Given that writers typically have long careers and get better with age, ‘young’ is not entirely a misnomer applied here. Like politicians, novelists can be youthful long after the point at which the careers of athletes ...

Vermin Correspondence

Iain Sinclair, 20 October 1994

Frank Zappa: The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play 
by Ben Watson.
Quartet, 597 pp., £25, May 1994, 0 7043 7066 2
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Her Weasels Wild Returning 
by J.H. Prynne.
Equipage, 12 pp., £2, May 1994
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... resonance?) of double lives, whispers, betrayal, running back from the Gang of Four (Burgess, Maclean, Philby, Blunt) to the Apostles; a tradition that is impossible to honour now that there are no secrets left, no one to listen. The spy and his spook-master pay homage to familiar tutorial arrangements: civilised interrogations on park benches, brisk ...

Who will stop them?

Owen Hatherley: The Neo-Elite, 23 October 2014

The Establishment and How They Get Away with It 
by Owen Jones.
Allen Lane, 335 pp., £16.99, September 2014, 978 1 84614 719 7
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... modern sense by Henry Fairlie in the 1950s to denote the aristos who covered for Burgess and Maclean), this time to talk about the way the British ruling class has gone about disempowering the working class, to its own spectacular enrichment. In both cases, Jones quickly and rightly dismisses the stereotype before moving on, but the stereotype has a ...

Suspicious

Tariq Ali: Richard Sorge’s Fate, 21 November 2019

An Impeccable Spy: Richard Sorge, Stalin’s Master Agent 
by Owen Matthews.
Bloomsbury, 448 pp., £25, March 2019, 978 1 4088 5778 6
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... known as Ludwik) – remain unmatched. Sorge has always attracted particular attention. Ian Fleming called him the ‘most formidable spy in history’; other admirers included John le Carré, Tom Clancy and General MacArthur. Owen Matthews – whose new biography of Sorge is the fifth to appear in English – is well qualified to write this ...

The Excursions

Andrew O’Hagan, 16 June 2011

... We had a conversation about what constituted good company. ‘There was a thing about Sorley MacLean,’ Seamus said. ‘He would get very tired in drink after a certain hour of the night. One time he said to Norman MacCaig: “After a certain point at night, after a certain amount of drink taken, I would fall asleep at the dinner table, even if I had ...

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