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Not My Fault

John Lanchester: New Labour’s Terrible Memoirs, 17 July 2008

Speaking for Myself: The Autobiography 
by Cherie Blair.
Little, Brown, 421 pp., £18.99, May 2008, 978 1 4087 0098 3
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Prezza, My Story: Pulling No Punches 
by John Prescott, with Hunter Davies.
Headline, 405 pp., £18.99, May 2008, 978 0 7553 1775 2
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A Question of Honour: Inside New Labour and the True Story of the Cash for Peerages Scandal 
by Michael Levy.
Simon and Schuster, 310 pp., £18.99, May 2008, 978 1 84737 315 1
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... she seems not to have had a ghost, unlike John Prescott, who was ventriloquised by Hunter Davies; Michael Levy credits a journalist friend, Ned Temko, for his ‘invaluable help, talent and patience’. You certainly don’t hear the Cherie described by Michael Levy, ‘every bit the get-ahead barrister’, who on ...

Short Cuts

Chase Madar: Human Rights Window Dressing, 2 July 2015

... on human rights in the reworked US Army and Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual. Or Michael Posner, the founder of Human Rights First, now a business professor at NYU, who, as assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labour in Obama’s first term, helped bury the Goldstone Report, commissioned by the United Nations to ...

Short Cuts

Daniel Soar: The vexed issue of Labour Party funding, 19 October 2006

... were told they could expect in return, is now the subject of a police investigation. Besides Lord Levy, Labour’s chief fundraiser, two people have been arrested during the inquiry so far; 14 are said to have been interviewed under caution, and there is still a chance that Blair will be too. When it was revealed that Sir Christopher Evans, the venture ...

Ah, la vie!

Ruth Bernard Yeazell: Lytton Strachey’s letters, 1 December 2005

The Letters of Lytton Strachey 
edited by Paul Levy.
Viking, 698 pp., £30, March 2005, 0 670 89112 6
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... Florence Nightingale. Yet Strachey himself seems less our contemporary now than he did when Michael Holroyd’s biography appeared in the late 1960s. Greeting the publication of G.E. Moore’s Principia Ethica in 1903, the young Strachey imagined that ‘the truth’ was ‘really now upon the march’ and that ‘the Age of Reason’ had dawned at ...

Nanny knows best

Michael Stewart, 4 June 1987

Kinnock 
by Michael Leapman.
Unwin Hyman, 217 pp., £11.95, May 1987, 0 04 440006 3
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The Thatcher Years: A Decade of Revolution in British Politics 
by John Cole.
BBC, 216 pp., £12.95, April 1987, 0 563 20572 5
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Thatcherism and British Politics: The End of Consensus? 
by Dennis Kavanagh.
Oxford, 334 pp., £22.50, March 1987, 0 19 827522 6
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The New Right: The Counter-Revolution in Political, Social and Economic Thought 
by David Green.
Wheatsheaf, 238 pp., £22.50, March 1987, 0 7450 0127 0
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... man in a position made impossible by historical developments, one will not find much in either Michael Leapman’s sympathetic and readable portrait, or John Cole’s lively and good-humoured canter over the events of the last decade, to change one’s mind. The nature of the Labour Party’s – and Kinnock’s – problem was vividly illustrated ...

The Schoolmen ride again

Richard Mayne, 15 May 1980

Cinema: A Critical Dictionary: The Major Film-Makers 
edited by Richard Roud.
Secker, 1120 pp., £25, February 1980, 9780436428302
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The Dream that Kicks: The Prehistory and Early Years of Cinema in Britain 
by Michael Chanan.
Routledge, 356 pp., £12.50, January 1980, 0 7100 0319 6
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... Juan Antonio Bardem, Berthold Bartosch, Laszlo Benedek, Jean Benoit-Lévy, Luis Garcia Berlanga, Michael Cacoyannis, Renato Castellani, André Cayatte, Costi Costa-Gavras, Vittorio De Seta (director of Banditi a Orgosolo), Thorold Dickinson, Julien Duvivier, Pietro Germi, Anatole Litvak, Jean Painlevé, Gillo Pontecorvo, Nicholas Roeg, George Rouquier, John ...

Grendel gongan

Richard North, 10 October 1991

The Cambridge Companion to Old English Literature 
by Malcolm Godden and Michael Lapidge.
Cambridge, 298 pp., £30, June 1991, 0 521 37438 3
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... to the day that the Battle of Maldon was fought against the Danes. On 10 August 991, an English levy, somewhat hastily assembled and placed behind a smaller unit of professional soldiers, faced an army of Viking thugs across a causeway in Essex. That afternoon the English general, Earl Byrhtnoth, made a miscalculation that led to his death and the defeat of ...

Diary

Robert Walshe: Bumping into Beckett, 7 November 1985

... as quickly as I managed to get a foot inside the door, I was sent a copy of Byzantium endures – Michael Moorcock. That one, icons iconing, balalaikas balalaikaing, kept me up nights marking pages, memorising passages, and dreaming dreams of a vividness and thrust that I hadn’t experienced since I was in the Army. My well-intentioned friends in Poland ...

Heathrow to Canary Wharf

Nick Richardson: Crossrail, 11 October 2012

... start turning a profit. The money invested by City businesses will turn to profit more quickly. As Michael Snyder, the Corporation’s head of policy, noted, Crossrail will stop the City from losing the £1 million a day it currently loses as a result of transport delays: one hundred and fifty days and the banks will be laughing all the way ...
The Shorter Strachey 
selected and introduced by Michael Holroyd and Paul Levy.
Oxford, 288 pp., £6.95, April 1980, 0 19 212211 8
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Lytton Strachey 
by Michael Holroyd.
Penguin, 1143 pp., £4.95, December 1979, 0 14 003198 7
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... 15 years earlier, had been more pithy: ‘There is much interest in it, but tiresomely told.’ Michael Holroyd’s admirable biography allows us to peep behind the bland phrases of public seemliness here. It suggests, conversely, that Trevelyan’s fulsome congratulations to Strachey upon his books masked his real views with a more calculated ...

Nothing to do with the economy

Ross McKibbin: The Cuts, 18 November 2010

... of interest payments is as Osborne has described it, the government could introduce a capital levy, a kind of one-off wealth tax designed to be gathered in non-recurrent fiscal crises from the banks and those with the ‘broadest shoulders’ more generally. (Lloyd George’s coalition government thought of doing something similar after the First World ...

Unmistakable

Michael Rogin, 20 August 1998

Celebrity Caricature in America 
by Wendy Wick Reaves.
Yale, 320 pp., £29.95, April 1998, 0 300 07463 8
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... caricature’, individuated inner depth was no more his concern than that of William Auerback-Levy (born in Brest-Litovsk), whose slightly turned away ‘timeless, impersonal’ heads, as Reaves observes, use media-generated emblems of fame (Heywood Broun’s unkempt hair, Franklin P. Adams’s cigar, H.L. Mencken’s sneer) to bar access to their ...

Bed-Hopping and Coup-Plotting

Michael Kulikowski: Attila and the Princess, 12 February 2009

Attila the Hun: Barbarian Terror and the Fall of the Roman Empire 
by Christopher Kelly.
Bodley Head, 290 pp., £17.99, September 2008, 978 0 224 07676 0
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... magister militum, or high commander, which brought with it a handsome salary and the right to levy supplies for his followers. He was thus elevated to the select order of power players, barbarian and provincial, who secured formal recognition from one half of the empire while engaging in hostilities against the other half. Not content to be an imperial ...

Writer’s Writer and Writer’s Writer’s Writer

Julian Barnes: ‘Madame Bovary’, 18 November 2010

Madame Bovary: Provincial Ways 
by Gustave Flaubert and Lydia Davis.
Penguin, 342 pp., £20, November 2010, 978 1 84614 104 1
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... the notion that some themes are ‘higher’ than others. There is a linguistic context too: thus Michael Hofmann, introducing his translation of Metamorphosis, quotes Klaus Wagenbach to the effect that ‘the characteristic purity of Kafka, the sober construction of his sentences and the paucity of his vocabulary are not understandable without his background ...

Under the Ustasha

Mark Mazower: Sarajevo, 1941-45, 6 October 2011

Sarajevo, 1941-45: Muslims, Christians and Jews in Hitler’s Europe 
by Emily Greble.
Cornell, 276 pp., £21.50, February 2011, 978 0 8014 4921 5
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... a friend sneaked me into the Unprofor headquarters in a villa in the centre of town. General Michael Rose was away in Pale, we were told, negotiating with the Serbs. We were shown into a bedroom, now used as Rose’s private office. A Royal Marine sat back in the general’s chair, feet on the desk, his head hidden behind a thick book. The book was ...

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