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In Praise of Barley Brew

E.S. Turner: Combustible Belloc, 20 February 2003

Old Thunder: A Life of Hilaire Belloc 
by Joseph Pearce.
HarperCollins, 306 pp., £20, July 2002, 0 00 274095 8
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... tired of Love: I’m still more tired of Rhyme/But Money gives me pleasure all the time.’) As Joseph Pearce tells in Old Thunder, he was already fretting over his increasingly lightweight reputation for comic verse and was pursuing ‘meatier material’. He had under his belt The Modern Traveller, that splendid satire on African exploration ...

Gargoyles have their place

A.N. Wilson, 12 December 1996

Wisdom and Innocence: A Life of G.K. Chesterton 
by Joseph Pearce.
Hodder, 522 pp., £25, November 1996, 0 340 67132 7
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... among the more obviously tangential literary observers of this century. Kafka, for example – as Pearce reminds us – read The Man Who Was Thursday, and another admirer was Borges. I remember having a conversation with the great Argentinian about The Man Who Was Thursday during the Falklands War and it seemed appropriate to be discussing a book in which two ...

Hooting

Edward Pearce, 22 October 1992

Beaverbrook 
by Anne Chisholm and Michael Davie.
Hutchinson, 589 pp., £20, October 1992, 0 09 173549 1
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... if they could scratch a living where they were. The defining ancestor seems to have been Joseph Noble, an aggressive Scotch-Irishman and Max’s maternal grandfather: unlike Max a fierce drinker, but one whose flair bought up most of Maple, Ontario. Before his 32nd birthday in 1911, Max Aitken’s flair had brought him a knighthood to add to ...

Reasons for Liking Tolkien

Jenny Turner: The Hobbit Habit, 15 November 2001

... of the easily available material comes from Tolkien’s own publisher. Shippey’s books, like Joseph Pearce’s Tolkien: Man and Myth (1998), are published by Rupert Murdoch’s HarperCollins, which has published the Tolkien oeuvre since taking over Allen and Unwin in 1990. Humphrey Carpenter’s 1977 authorised biography and his 1981 edition of the ...

Phew!

E.S. Turner, 11 June 1992

Sunny Intervals and Showers: Our Changing Weather 
by David Benedictus.
Weidenfeld, 162 pp., £14.99, April 1992, 0 297 81154 1
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... bird. There are stories, also, which seem to emanate from ‘Beachcomber’, like that of Joseph Furtenbach, a mathematician of Ulm (and obvious ancestor of Dr Strabismus of Utrecht) who, in order to prove that the ‘Earth rotates, fired a cannon vertically and then sat on the mouth of the weapon (what this has to do with the weather is not ...

The Reptile Oculist

John Barrell, 1 April 2004

... and architect George Dance, who drew him in profile in 1794 in what another friend, the painter Joseph Farington, described as ‘a very strong likeness’. Taylor is shown in profile, wearing his own hair arranged in a long pigtail and a curious frizzy headphone which covers his ear. He has a short concave forehead, a long straight nose, a round, prominent ...

The Sound of Thunder

Tom Nairn: The Miners’ Strike, 8 October 2009

Marching to the Fault Line: The 1984 Miners’ Strike and the Death of Industrial Britain 
by Francis Beckett and David Hencke.
Constable, 303 pp., £18.99, February 2009, 978 1 84901 025 2
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Shafted: The Media, the Miners’ Strike and the Aftermath 
edited by Granville Williams.
Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom, 176 pp., £9.99, March 2009, 978 1 898240 05 1
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... and a significant minority is extremely sceptical. Probably the best overview was given by Fred Pearce in New Scientist last year: ‘We are unlikely to give up burning coal any time soon, and CCS’ – carbon capture and storage – ‘could eventually have an important part to play by allowing coal to be used without doing unacceptable damage to the ...

What difference did she make?

Eric Hobsbawm, 23 May 1991

A Question of Leadership: Gladstone to Thatcher 
by Peter Clarke.
Hamish Hamilton, 334 pp., £17.99, April 1991, 0 241 13005 0
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The Quiet Rise of John Major 
by Edward Pearce.
Weidenfeld, 177 pp., £14.99, April 1991, 0 297 81208 4
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... not necessarily prime ministers, from Gladstone to Thatcher. The Grand Old Man himself, Salisbury, Joseph Chamberlain, Asquith and Lloyd George, Neville Chamberlain and Churchill have chapters to themselves, followed by one on Keynes, and a third section which deals essentially with the historical background to the two principal parties of the present ...

Anti-Anti-Racism

Ann Dummett, 9 July 1987

Anti-Racism: An Assault on Education and Value 
edited by Frank Palmer.
Sherwood, 210 pp., £9.95, November 1986, 0 907671 26 8
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The Making of the Black Working Class in Britain 
by Ron Ramdin.
Gower, 626 pp., £35, January 1987, 0 566 00943 9
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... Swann Committee of Inquiry into the education of ethnic minority groups is attacked by Simon Pearce for reflecting ‘the anti-racist doctrine that disparate levels of educational achievement between ethnic groups are proof positive of discrimination,’ and for being ‘basically illiberal’; its ‘moral base’, he says, ‘throbs with all the ugly ...

The Unrewarded End

V.G. Kiernan: Memories of the CP, 17 September 1998

The Death of Uncle Joe 
by Alison Macleod.
Merlin, 269 pp., £9.95, May 1997, 0 85036 467 1
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Enemy Within: The Rise and Fall of the British Communist Party 
by Francis Beckett.
Merlin, 253 pp., £9.95, August 1998, 0 85036 477 9
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... that recurs, along with the philosopher Hyman (Hymie) Levy, Peter Fryer the journalist, and Brian Pearce, well known today as a translator of historical works from French and Russian. Levy she remembers as a very persuasive public speaker, whose Edinburgh accent ‘made everything sound reasonable’. Her observation post at the office did not reveal much of ...

The Road to West Egg

Thomas Powers, 4 July 2013

Careless People: Murder, Mayhem and the Invention of ‘The Great Gatsby’ 
by Sarah Churchwell.
Virago, 306 pp., £16.99, June 2013, 978 1 84408 766 2
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The Great Gatsby 
directed by Baz Luhrmann.
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... he died. Only one thing rescued Fitzgerald’s name from a dismal place between Floyd Dell and Joseph Hergesheimer on the list of forgotten novelists of the 1920s – the novel Perkins called ‘a wonder’. In Careless People, her new book on the writing of The Great Gatsby, Sarah Churchwell proceeds with a sturdy working theory: that it helps to ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: Bennett’s Dissection, 1 January 2009

... on the books he wishes he’d written. The first section is on the Cambridge scholar and scientist Joseph Needham, microbiologist and expert on China, a man who fascinates Steiner and whom he wanted to write about in Frank Kermode’s Modern Masters series, published in the 1970s. Steiner had first seen Needham at a protest meeting against Anglo-American ...

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