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Tesco and a Motorway

Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite: In the Coalfields, 9 September 2021

Anne & Betty: United by the Struggle 
by Anne Scargill and Betty Cook.
Route, 256 pp., £20, November 2020, 978 1 901927 81 8
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Women of the Durham Coalfield in the 20th Century: Hannah’s Daughter 
by Margaret Hedley.
History Press, 159 pp., £14.99, March, 978 0 7509 9504 7
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Coal Country: The Meaning and Memory of Deindustrialisation in Postwar Scotland 
by Ewan Gibbs.
University of London, 306 pp., £25, February, 978 1 912702 55 8
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Scottish Coal Miners in the 20th Century 
by Jim Phillips.
Edinburgh, 336 pp., £24.99, February, 978 1 4744 5232 8
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The Shadow of the Mine: Coal and the End of Industrial Britain 
by Huw Beynon and Ray Hudson.
Verso, 402 pp., £20, June, 978 1 83976 155 3
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... should begin much earlier, and we shouldn’t think of it as a single process. Ewan Gibbs and Jim Phillips, in their studies of Scottish miners and the decline of coal, and Huw Beynon and Ray Hudson, in their comparative account of the coalfields of South Wales and County Durham, describe the particular fate of the coal industry, which was not ...

Answering back

James Campbell, 11 July 1991

The Intended 
by David Dabydeen.
Secker, 246 pp., £13.99, February 1991, 0 436 20007 4
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by Caryl Phillips.
Bloomsbury, 185 pp., £13.99, March 1991, 0 7475 0886 0
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by Jamaica Kincaid.
Cape, 176 pp., £11.99, April 1991, 0 224 03055 8
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... steamship.’ He could have added that American literature is too, from Uncle Tom to Nigger Jim to Porgy and Bess and Dilsey in The Sound and the Fury. The Americans, under the guidance first of the great W.E.B DuBois, then of the poets Langston Hughes and Sterling Brown, and next a line of novelists headed by Richard Wright, began the task of ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: The 1970s, 18 November 2010

... on certain days, walking between the rubbish bags that were waiting in the puddles for action from Jim Callaghan, one could feel like the world had gone awol, like Miss Trinidad and Tobago. There were ‘decades’ during the 19th century. The 1830s: the period of reform. The 1890s: the age of Decadence. But only in the 20th century did we start forcing a ...


Adam Phillips: ‘Paranoid Modernism’, 22 May 2003

The Short Sharp Life of T.E. Hulme 
by Robert Ferguson.
Allen Lane, 314 pp., £20, November 2002, 0 7139 9490 8
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Paranoid Modernism: Literary Experiment, Psychosis and the Professionalisation of English Society 
by David Trotter.
Oxford, 358 pp., £35, September 2001, 0 19 818755 6
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... or lawyers or psychiatrists don’t have? In what sense is writing a profession? Birkin, Lord Jim, Lewis’s Tarr are all men of uncertain worldly status. (One of the characters asks of Tarr: ‘What sort of prizes could he expect to win by his professional talents? Would this notable arriviste be satisfied?’) They are the kind of people, one might ...

Am I a spaceman?

Adam Phillips: Wilhelm Reich, 20 October 2011

Adventures in the Orgasmatron: Wilhelm Reich and the Invention of Sex 
by Christopher Turner.
Fourth Estate, 532 pp., £25, August 2011, 978 0 00 718157 5
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... wife, wrote after his death that Reich was as ‘ruthless and self-serving as the cult leader Jim Jones. He viewed himself as an absolute ruler – and perfect in every respect.’ By 1968, the year of Anna Freud’s elegiac lecture, student revolutionaries were writing ‘Reichian slogans on the walls of the Sorbonne, and in Berlin they hurled copies of ...

The Retreat from Monetarism

J.R. Shackleton, 6 February 1986

... lower levels of unemployment – a belief, popular in the Sixties, which was to be disavowed by Jim Callaghan at the 1976 Labour Party Conference. The unemployment-inflation ‘trade-off’ was embodied in the famous Phillips curve. As early as 1967, in a Presidential Address to the American Economic Association, Friedman ...

Did Lady Brewster faint?

Eric Korn, 24 April 1997

Huxley: Evolution’s High Priest 
by Adrian Desmond.
Joseph, 372 pp., £20, March 1997, 0 7181 3882 1
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... In 1883, a Mr Wendell Phillips Garrison of New York published a travel narrative called What Mr Darwin Saw on his Voyage around the World, a narrative that follows pretty closely Darwin’s own line and Darwin’s own words, or at least the less intellectually taxing of Darwin’s own words. In a remarkable preface Garrison suggests that the text contains all a child needs at every stage of its education: a well-conducted parent could match the level of difficulty with the child’s evolving ability, telling the story in simple numbers for the babe in arms or on the knee, in greater detail for the toddler and schoolchild, until the grown student gets the undiluted works ...

How far shall I take this character?

Richard Poirier: The Corruption of Literary Biography, 2 November 2000

Bellow: A Biography 
by James Atlas.
Faber, 686 pp., £25, November 2000, 0 571 14356 3
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... Huck Honey’. Quite erroneously, he then asserts that according to Fiedler, Huck Finn and Nigger Jim ‘were homosexual lovers’. Unfortunately for Atlas, this isn’t what Fiedler says, or what anyone who has read his essay with care would suppose that he says or even insinuates. The essay, in which, by the way, triangulation plays no part, unless the ...

Why name a ship after a defeated race?

Thomas Laqueur: New Lives of the ‘Titanic’, 24 January 2013

The Wreck of the ‘Titan’ 
by Morgan Robertson.
Hesperus, 85 pp., £8, March 2012, 978 1 84391 359 7
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Shadow of the ‘Titanic’ 
by Andrew Wilson.
Simon and Schuster, 392 pp., £8.99, March 2012, 978 1 84739 882 6
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‘Titanic’ 100th Anniversary Edition: A Night Remembered 
by Stephanie Barczewski.
Continuum, 350 pp., £15.99, December 2011, 978 1 4411 6169 7
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The Story of the Unsinkable ‘Titanic’: Day by Day Facsimile Reports 
by Michael Wilkinson and Robert Hamilton.
Transatlantic, 127 pp., £16.99, November 2011, 978 1 907176 83 8
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‘Titanic’ Lives: Migrants and Millionaires, Conmen and Crew 
by Richard Davenport-Hines.
Harper, 404 pp., £9.99, September 2012, 978 0 00 732166 7
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Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage 
by Hugh Brewster.
Robson, 338 pp., £20, March 2012, 978 1 84954 179 4
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‘Titanic’ Calling 
edited by Michael Hughes and Katherine Bosworth.
Bodleian, 163 pp., £14.99, April 2012, 978 1 85124 377 8
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... back in New York with her mother.) Quigg Baxter, son of the Canadian millionaire and rogue Diamond Jim, was with his girlfriend, Berthe, ‘well known in Brussels in circles of pleasure’, a Belgian paper later reported. His mother, also on board, didn’t know that her son had booked a suite for her. All these men were partying at 11.30 and all of them were ...

My Missus

John Sutherland, 13 May 1993

Popular Reading and Publishing in Britain, 1914-1950 
by Joseph McAleer.
Oxford, 284 pp., £35, December 1992, 0 19 820329 2
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American Star: A Love Story 
by Jackie Collins.
Heinemann, 568 pp., £14.99, March 1993, 0 434 14093 7
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... wounded Tommies and discovered that their favourite authors were Nat Gould, Charles Garvice and E. Phillips Oppenheim. She defended their lowbrow preferences stoutly: ‘Our wounded warriors have surely earned the right to amuse themselves with the books that please them most, and to be free from the kind of officious pedantry that would seek to thrust upon ...

How to Survive Your Own Stupidity

Andrew O’Hagan: Homage to Laurel and Hardy, 22 August 2002

Stan and Ollie: The Roots of Comedy 
by Simon Louvish.
Faber, 518 pp., £8.99, September 2002, 0 571 21590 4
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... their appeal from what we might call their apparent ordinariness, and only occasionally, as with Jim Carrey or Robin Williams, does an actor come along who seems to have the superhuman plasticity of a cartoon. These movie actors, whatever else they happen to be, are works of animation: they can make their faces, and their emotions, do anything, and they live ...


August Kleinzahler: My Last Big Road Trip, 2 December 2010

... task was to find something that came without ‘special sauce’. The Maestro would have a shot of Jim Beam straight up. I’d have a double Maker’s, rocks. We would return to the Super 8, check the map, and retire to our respective rooms. The Maestro would follow the fortunes of the San Francisco Giants on his computer. I would read about rocks until I ...

Dummy and Biffy

Noël Annan, 17 October 1985

Secret Service: The Making of the British Intelligence Community 
by Christopher Andrew.
Heinemann, 616 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 434 02110 5
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The Secret Generation 
by John Gardner.
Heinemann, 453 pp., £9.95, August 1985, 0 434 28250 2
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Two Thyrds 
by Bertie Denham.
Ross Anderson Publications, 292 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 86360 006 9
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The Ultimate Enemy: British Intelligence and Nazi Germany 1933-1939 
by Wesley Wark.
Tauris, 304 pp., £19.50, October 1985, 1 85043 014 4
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... Even in fiction, the secret services are no longer heroic. Gone are the days when Sapper’s Jim Maitland would sun-bathe himself to a frazzle in order to pass in a burnous as an Arab in Tripoli or thwart the machinations of Baron Stockmar in the Sudan (‘It’s the game, Dick: The Great Game. The only game in the world worth playing’). The rot set in ...

Very like St Paul

Ian Sansom: Johnny Cash, 9 March 2006

The Man Called Cash: The Life, Love and Faith of an American Legend 
by Steve Turner.
Bloomsbury, 363 pp., £8.99, February 2006, 0 7475 8079 0
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Walk the Line 
directed by James Mangold.
November 2005
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... makes the connections between rock and myth absolutely plain (partly by using capital letters): JIM MORRISON FOUND DEAD IN BATH IN PARIS? Wife Clytemnestra and lover murder Troy veteran husband in bath. MARVIN GAYE SHOT BY DAD IN BEDROOM? Oedipus kills father at crossroads. HENDRIX CHOKES TO DEATH IN HOTEL? Ajax stabs himself on beach. MANAGER ROMANCES BABY ...

Racist Litter

Randall Kennedy: The Lessons of Reconstruction, 30 July 2020

The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution 
by Eric Foner.
Norton, 288 pp., £18.99, October 2019, 978 0 393 65257 4
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... opinion.’ Outraged by its failure to guarantee black male suffrage, the abolitionist Wendell Phillips denounced it as ‘a fatal and total surrender’, and urged states to withhold ratification. When it was voted on by the Massachusetts legislature, its two black members rejected ratification.The Fifteenth Amendment bars states and the federal ...

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