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Widowers on the Prowl

Tom Shippey: Britain after Rome, 17 March 2011

Britain after Rome: The Fall and Rise, 400-1070 
by Robin Fleming.
Allen Lane, 458 pp., £25, August 2010, 978 0 7139 9064 5
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... the Anglo-Saxon from the fifth century on, the Norse in the ninth and tenth centuries, and the Norman Conquest of 1066. The last of these had surprisingly little immediate effect on the language, though it did set up the conditions for major borrowing from French later on. The Scandinavian takeover of several counties in the North and the Midlands caused ...

A Little Holiday

Geoffrey Wheatcroft: Ben Hecht’s Cause, 23 September 2021

A Child of the Century 
by Ben Hecht.
Yale, 654 pp., £16, April 2020, 978 0 300 25179 1
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Ben Hecht: Fighting Words, Moving Pictures 
by Adina Hoffman.
Yale, 245 pp., £10.99, April 2020, 978 0 300 25181 4
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... Shima’s House of All Nations. Reliable newspapermen had kept the score.’ Maybe so, although Norman Mailer said that Hecht was ‘never a writer to tell the truth when a concoction could put life in his prose’. In her new biography, Adina Hoffman claims he was ‘as voracious for words as he was for girls – which was saying a very great deal’. In ...

Stalker & Co

Damian Grant, 20 November 1986

... Taylor’s premises, on 28 May, the then Chairman of Manchester’s Police Authority, Councillor Norman Briggs, is informed by James Anderton that Stalker is under investigation, and that Colin Sampson, Chief Constable of West Yorkshire, is to take Stalker’s place on the RUC inquiry. Two days later, Briggs announces publicly that he has asked Sampson to ...

The Excursions

Andrew O’Hagan, 16 June 2011

... his youth among a generation of thrawn poets with their country expansiveness: I’m thinking of Norman MacCaig in his Assynt mode; Iain Crichton Smith of the Highlands; George Mackay Brown in his Orkney remoteness; and Hugh MacDiarmid, always in among the fields and dykes, metaphysical or real. None of these men gave much quarter, and, next to them, Morgan ...


R.W. Johnson, 4 June 1987

Traitors: The Labyrinths of Treason 
by Chapman Pincher.
Sidgwick, 346 pp., £13.95, May 1987, 0 283 99379 0
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The Secrets of the Service: British Intelligence and Communist Subversion 1939-51 
by Anthony Glees.
Cape, 447 pp., £18, May 1987, 0 224 02252 0
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Freedom of Information – Freedom of the Individual? 
by Clive Ponting, John Ranelagh, Michael Zander and Simon Lee, edited by Julia Neuberger.
Macmillan, 110 pp., £4.95, May 1987, 0 333 44771 9
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... that the cover for a Soviet mole today would be extreme Thatcherite views, an admiration for Norman Tebbit and Roger Scruton, and a subscription to the Salisbury Review. The moment of truth arrived in 1964 when Wilson became prime minister and attempted to impose his own appointee as head of MI5. The service resisted and Wilson backed off. Indeed, to ...

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