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Eels in Their Pockets

Nick Richardson: Poaching, 17 December 2015

The Last English Poachers 
by Bob Tovey and Brian Tovey, with John McDonald.
Simon & Schuster, 288 pp., £16.99, May 2015, 978 1 4711 3567 5
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... of The Last English Poachers, written by Bob, his son Brian (also a poacher) and a ghost called John McDonald, is more punk than its predecessors’. The Robin Hood aspect is to the fore. The Toveys see themselves as the rural frontline in the class war, and their book is full of contempt for rural toffs, or ‘ya-yas’, also called ...

National Myths

Rosalind Mitchison, 20 November 1986

Domesday Economy: A New Approach to Anglo-Norman History 
by John McDonald and G.D. Snooks.
Oxford, 240 pp., £27.50, July 1986, 0 19 828524 8
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Scottish Literacy and the Scottish Identity: Illiteracy and Society in Scotland 
by R.A. Houston.
Cambridge, 352 pp., £27.50, December 1985, 0 521 26598 3
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A History of the Highland Clearances. Vol. II: Emigration, Protest, Reasons 
by Eric Richards.
Croom Helm, 543 pp., £25, October 1985, 0 7099 2259 0
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... of history for several generations against trying to use Domesday Book for economic analysis. McDonald and Snooks have set out to apply modern technology and well-established statistical techniques to decide whether it can be so used. Working on two counties only, and assuming that the practical purpose of the extensive enterprise of its compilation was ...

Bankocracy

John Lanchester: Lehman Brothers, 5 November 2009

The Murder of Lehman Brothers: An Insider’s Look at the Global Meltdown 
by Joseph Tibman.
Brick Tower, 243 pp., £16.95, September 2009, 978 1 883283 71 1
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A Colossal Failure of Common Sense: The Incredible Inside Story of the Collapse of Lehman Brothers 
by Larry McDonald, in collaboration with Patrick Robinson.
Ebury, 351 pp., £7.99, September 2009, 978 0 09 193615 0
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... people realising just how deep a hole they were in. A Colossal Failure of Common Sense is by Larry McDonald, a trader at the bank, and his view of its culture is much darker than Tibman’s. McDonald’s background was in convertible bonds. These are a form of debt which under certain circumstances can switch to equity: in ...

Diary

Paul Henley: The EU, 14 January 2002

... ongoing projects elsewhere: Jean-Marie Le Pen and Umberto Bossi, for example, or Ian Paisley and John Hume, who are merely adding a third Parliamentary seat to those they already hold at Westminster and in the Northern Ireland Assembly. A number of MEPs first achieved celebrity in other fields: Dana, the Irish Eurovision popstar, Michael Cashman, one-time ...

The Ticking Fear

John Kerrigan: Louis MacNeice, 7 February 2008

Louis MacNeice: Collected Poems 
edited by Peter McDonald.
Faber, 836 pp., £30, January 2007, 978 0 571 21574 4
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Louis MacNeice: Selected Poems 
edited by Michael Longley.
Faber, 160 pp., £12.99, April 2007, 978 0 571 23381 6
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I Crossed the Minch 
by Louis MacNeice.
Polygon, 253 pp., £9.99, September 2007, 978 1 84697 014 6
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The Strings Are False: An Unfinished Autobiography 
by Louis MacNeice, edited by E.R. Dodds.
Faber, 288 pp., £9.99, September 2007, 978 0 571 23942 9
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... book of unrevised lectures called Varieties of Parable and a Collected Poems. Even now, with Peter McDonald’s intelligently re-edited Collected, we do not have all the MacNeice we could ask for. As McDonald points out, a Complete Poems would be considerably larger than the 600-odd pages of verse plus seven appendices of ...

Diary

Andrew O’Hagan: Hating Football, 27 June 2002

... was football-daft, and he’d sooner you packed in Communion than afternoon football. But Mark McDonald – my fellow cissy – and I broke his spirit after he gave us new yellow strips to try on. We absconded from the training session and stretched the shirts over our knees, all the better to roll down Toad Hill in one round movement before dousing the ...

We Do Ron Ron Ron, We Do Ron Ron

James Meek: Welcome to McDonald’s, 24 May 2001

Fast-Food Nation 
by Eric Schlosser.
Allen Lane, 356 pp., £9.99, April 2001, 0 7139 9602 1
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... One of them was Walt Disney. The other, only 15 years old, was Ray Kroc, the man who later made McDonald’s an empire. When Kroc and his comrades went off to the nearest town on furlough to look for girls, Disney stayed in camp, drawing. Disney served in France and Germany, but the First World War ended before Kroc was sent to Europe. Had he gone, it might ...

Horsey, Horsey

John Sturrock, 16 November 1995

The Search for the Perfect Language 
by Umberto Eco, translated by James Fentress.
Blackwell, 385 pp., £24.95, September 1995, 0 631 17465 6
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Mimologics 
by Gérard Genette, translated by Thaïs Morgan.
Nebraska, 446 pp., £23.95, September 1995, 0 8032 2129 0
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... an attempt to recapitulate on the cheap the slow linguistic evolution of the species, as Trevor McDonald and his fellow therapists educate the grunters out of the animal and into the human state. Except, of course, that the grunts complained of are not natural phenomena but already signs, an admittedly crude but still authentic element of culture. All ...

We Are Many

Tom Crewe: In the Corbyn Camp, 11 August 2016

... as both shadow leader of the house and shadow Welsh secretary. Corbyn and his shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, have also been abandoned by several of the high-profile economists they signed up as advisers in 2015, including Thomas Piketty and David Blanchflower (who tweeted ‘he has no economic policies’). Corbyn’s former policy chief, Neale ...

As seen on TV

Keith Kyle, 26 September 1991

From the House of War 
by John Simpson.
Hutchinson, 390 pp., £13.99, August 1991, 0 09 175034 2
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In the Eye of the Storm 
by Roger Cohen and Claudio Gatti.
Bloomsbury, 342 pp., £16.99, August 1991, 0 7475 1050 4
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... For many people the BBC Foreign Affairs Editor John Simpson, who stayed behind in Baghdad when Armageddon was scheduled to begin, was the civilian hero of the Gulf War. The only thing that may have puzzled them was his title. How could a man edit reports coming from all quarters of the globe if he deliberately isolated himself under conditions of siege? On this matter From the House of War provides little help, except for a passing reference to the author’s ‘rather empty title’, which apparently carries important psychological impact when dealing with Iraqi (and other) civil servants, perhaps pandering, in the case of the Iraqis, to their notion that the whole world ought to be edited from Baghdad ...

Diary

Nick Laird: Ulster Revisited, 28 July 2011

... where the bus would be stopped the next day) and shot the three brothers who lived there: John, Brian and Anthony Reavey. (John and Brian died immediately; Anthony died a month later.) Twenty minutes later gunmen entered a house in Ballydougan and shot and killed Joseph O’Dowd and his nephews Barry and Declan, all ...

Plummeting Deep into Cold Pop

Zachary Leader: Colson Whitehead, 13 December 2001

John Henry Days 
by Colson Whitehead.
Fourth Estate, 389 pp., £12, June 2001, 1 84115 569 1
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... Whitehead is black and comparisons were made to Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison and Ishmael Reed. John Updike has called him ‘blithely gifted’, ‘the young African-American writer to watch’. Whitehead’s new novel, John Henry Days, is longer and more ambitious than The Intuitionist, and the suggestion in its title ...

Accidents of Priority

John Redmond, 22 August 1996

Can You Hear, Bird 
by John Ashbery.
Carcanet, 128 pp., £9.95, February 1996, 9781857542240
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The Dream of the Unified Field: Selected Poems 
by Jorie Graham.
Carcanet, 220 pp., £12.95, March 1996, 1 85754 225 8
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Selected Poems 
by Barbara Guest.
Carcanet, 220 pp., £12.95, May 1996, 1 85754 158 8
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Selected Poems 1976-1996 
by George Szirtes.
Oxford, 126 pp., £9.99, March 1996, 0 19 283223 9
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Adam’s Dream 
by Peter McDonald.
Bloodaxe, 64 pp., £6.95, March 1996, 1 85224 333 3
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... Parmigianino on a half-globe of wood is the first impression which many people take away from John Ashbery’s poetry. The poem in which it appears, ‘Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror’, a meditation on Parmigianino’s strange Mannerist painting, suddenly made Ashbery’s name much less obscure than his work. The collection to which it lent its name ...

Play Again?

Matthew Reynolds: Douglas Coupland’s ‘JPod’, 3 August 2006

JPod 
by Douglas Coupland.
Bloomsbury, 448 pp., £12.99, June 2006, 9780747582229
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... fizzy drink. Disgusted, the geeks try to subvert the new version by inserting a sociopathic Ronald McDonald character; but this attempt at sabotage is happily absorbed and marketed by the corporation. The usual Coupland escape route into Nature is now closed. Roads are ‘treeless’; a rainforest has been ‘bulldozed to make way for jumbo houses’. In ...

Cry Treedom

Jonathan Bate, 4 November 1993

Forests: The shadow of Civilisation 
by Robert Pogue Harrison.
Chicago, 288 pp., £19.95, May 1992, 0 226 31806 0
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... paying a price for it in the form of global warming, acid rain and so forth. Over a century ago, John Ruskin was arguing that Cartesian (‘modern’) thought had destroyed man’s reverence and wonder in the face of the external world, and that the death of God-in-nature would eventually bring the end of nature. Gore’s book is squarely in this ...

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