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Knife, Stone, Paper

Stephen Sedley: Law Lords, 1 July 2021

English Law under Two Elizabeths: The Late Tudor Legal World and the Present 
by John Baker.
Cambridge, 222 pp., £22.99, January, 978 1 108 94732 9
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The Constitutional Balance 
by John Laws.
Hart, 144 pp., £30, January, 978 1 5099 3545 1
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... Parliament for no recognised reason.In his recent Hamlyn lectures, now amplified and annotated, John Baker, the doyen of historians of English law, set out to compare the laws and legal systems of two reigns separated by four centuries and linked ostensibly by nothing more than the name of the incumbent monarch. But the comparison is more than a ...

Mr Baker should think again

Mark Bonham-Carter, 24 October 1991

... would conclude that legislation in this area was a mistake, a view expressed on television by Sir John Wheeler, Conservative chairman of the Select Committee on Home Affairs – if so, those hopes were disappointed. Why were the terms of reference so narrow in any case? Discussion about the effectiveness of anti-discrimination legislation, as the report ...

The Wildest, Highest Places

David Craig, 17 July 1997

John Muir: His Life and Letters and Other Writings 
edited by Terry Gifford.
Baton Wicks, 912 pp., £20, November 1996, 1 898573 07 7
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... When John Muir, the son of an emigrant from East Lothian to southern Wisconsin, was 16, in 1855, his father lowered him daily down a well shaft on their new farm at Hickory Hill. John cut with chisel and hammer through fine-grained sandstone until he struck ‘a fine, hearty gush of water ...

Teacher

John Passmore, 4 September 1986

Australian Realism: The Systematic Philosophy of John Anderson 
by A.J. Baker.
Cambridge, 150 pp., £20, April 1986, 0 521 32051 8
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... Opposite the title-page of Mr Baker’s skeletonised but substantially accurate account of John Anderson’s philosophy there stand two epigraphs. They are both from Heraclitus or, more precisely, from Burnet’s translation of that enigmatic philosopher. The first of them is ontological: ‘The world, which is the same for all, no one of gods or men has made; but it was ever, is now, and ever shall be an ever-living Fire, with measures kindling and measures going out ...

The Real Johnny Hall

Penelope Fitzgerald, 3 October 1985

Our Three Selves: A Life of Radclyffe Hall 
by Michael Baker.
Hamish Hamilton, 386 pp., £13.95, June 1985, 0 241 11539 6
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... was summoned to Bow Street to show cause why it should not be destroyed in the public interest. John Hall (to give her the name she preferred) was not called upon to give evidence, and was silenced, when she tried to interrupt, by the magistrate. In this way the Beaverbrook press started The Well on its career as the best-known lesbian novel in the English ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Miles Ahead’, 19 May 2016

Miles Ahead 
directed by Don Cheadle.
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... The places​ were Philadelphia and New York, the names were John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Bill Evans and a few others, heirs to Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, spoken of with awe in every version of the story. Something called West Coast jazz, thought by many to be an oxymoron, was making itself heard in the persons of Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker, Shelly Manne and Dave Brubeck ...

How to get on in the new Iraq

Carol Brightman: James Baker’s drop-the-debt tour, 4 March 2004

... There are two ways to look at the installation of James Baker, his father’s former secretary of state, in George W. Bush’s White House. Either the president has finally found a temporary assignment attractive enough to persuade his old retainer to come and rescue him from his Middle East hot seat. Or, as the new special envoy in charge of reducing Iraq’s $120 million debt, Baker has found a job that meets his need for a White House cap while he continues private conversations over oil and gas deals in Eurasia ...

Keep talking

Julian Loose, 26 March 1992

Vox 
by Nicholson Baker.
Granta, 172 pp., £14.99, March 1992, 0 14 014232 0
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... and Death among the Disembodied’. And as the gold-embossed cover helpfully explains, Nicholson Baker’s new novel Vox is also ‘about Telephone Sex’, about getting turned on by tuning in. Jim and Abby meet on the phone-sex party line ‘2VOX’. By the time the book starts, they have punched in their private code numbers and transferred to the ...

Larceny

Adam Mars-Jones, 24 March 1994

The Fermata 
by Nicholson Baker.
Chatto, 305 pp., £14.99, January 1994, 0 7011 5999 5
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... for stopping time, which he exploits entirely for purposes of sexual satisfaction, but Nicholson Baker’s trademark as a novelist has always been a fetishising descriptiveness that retards the speed of events almost to the point of non-existence and has in the past generated much literary joy. The ‘action’ of his first novel, The Mezzanine, consisted of ...

Hooray Hen-Wees

John Christensen: Pinochet’s Millions, 6 October 2005

Capitalism’s Achilles Heel: Dirty Money and How to Renew the Free-Market System 
by Raymond Baker.
Wiley, 438 pp., £16.99, September 2005, 0 471 64488 9
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... include the problems of capital flight and tax evasion. In Capitalism’s Achilles Heel, Raymond Baker probably errs on the conservative side in his estimate that the flows of dirty money from poorer countries into offshore accounts managed by Western banks are currently $500 billion annually. Corruption, which attracted so much media attention in the run-up ...

Pissing in the Snow

Steven Rose: Dissidents and Scientists, 18 July 2019

Freedom’s Laboratory: The Cold War Struggle for the Soul of Science 
by Audra J. Wolfe.
Johns Hopkins, 302 pp., £22, January 2019, 978 1 4214 2673 0
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... had argued for state planning in The Social Function of Science. In response the Oxford geneticist John Baker set up a Society for Freedom in Science, with a passionate attack on any attempt to tell scientists what they should work on or the methods they should use. The conflict between Bernalian and Bakerian views of science runs throughout Freedom’s ...

Porndecahedron

Christopher Tayler: Nicholson Baker, 3 November 2011

House of Holes 
by Nicholson Baker.
Simon and Schuster, 262 pp., £14.99, August 2011, 978 0 85720 659 6
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... Sometimes,’ a woman says during phone sex in Vox, Nicholson Baker’s first foray into smut, ‘I think with the telephone that if I concentrate enough I could pour myself into it and I’d be turned into a mist and I would rematerialise in the room of the person I’m talking to.’ That’s more or less how people get to the House of Holes – a sexual spa resort, offering expensive bespoke treatments, located in a parallel dimension ...

Umpteens

Christopher Ricks, 22 November 1990

Bloomsbury Dictionary of Dedications 
edited by Adrian Room.
Bloomsbury, 354 pp., £17.99, September 1990, 0 7475 0521 7
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Unauthorised Versions: Poems and their Parodies 
edited by Kenneth Baker.
Faber, 446 pp., £14.99, September 1990, 0 571 14122 6
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The Faber Book of Vernacular Verse 
edited by Tom Paulin.
Faber, 407 pp., £14.99, November 1990, 0 571 14470 5
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... simple identification of the praiser of Shakespeare, upon whose words the whole dedication turns: John Webster, in the note ‘To the Reader’ before The White Devil. Browning’s Elizabethanised play has its affinities with Webster: moreover, it was canny of him to emend Webster’s prefatory words so as to reduce them to a single-minded praise of ...

Diary

Patrick Wright: The Cult of Tyneham, 24 November 1988

... dying at Trafalgar on the cover and set off in search of a place where I might try again. Mr Baker’s anthology was on the best-seller list by the summer, when I took it down to Dorset and found the place where it would really come to life. Driving up from West Lulworth, I left behind the yellow fields of EEC oil seed rape and travelled up onto the ...

Paul and Penny

Julian Symons, 25 October 1990

Paul Scott: A Life 
by Hilary Spurling.
Hutchinson, 429 pp., £16.99, October 1990, 0 09 173984 5
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Paul Scott’s Raj 
by Robin Moore.
Heinemann, 246 pp., £18.50, October 1990, 0 434 47588 2
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... Mall, to call on the Falcon Press in pursuit of money they owed me. The managing director Peter Baker had left letters unanswered and telephone calls unreturned, and sure enough he was out. I saw instead a harassed long-nosed man in a blue suit who said his name was Paul Scott, and that he was the company secretary. Things were in a bit of a muddle, but he ...

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