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Do what you wish, du Maurier

E.S. Turner, 31 March 1988

Maxwell 
by Joe Haines.
Macdonald, 525 pp., £12.95, March 1988, 0 356 17172 8
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Maxwell: The Outsider 
by Tom Bower.
Aurum, 374 pp., £12.95, March 1988, 0 948149 88 4
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Maxwell: A Portrait of Power 
by Peter Thompson and Anthony Delano.
Bantam, 256 pp., £12.95, February 1988, 0 593 01499 5
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Goodbye Fleet Street 
by Robert Edwards.
Cape, 260 pp., £12.95, March 1988, 0 224 02457 4
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... A reviewer faced with 1,155 pages about Robert Maxwell is entitled to look at the pictures first. Joe Haines’s biography contains over eighty photographs of his hero, many in colour. Mostly they show him hobnobbing with crowned heads, presidents or prime ministers, with a pop star or a footballer thrown in. One picture, more puzzling than some, is captioned ‘Maxwell and team, about to leave Ulan Bator in the Mirror jet ...

Accidents

Paul Foot, 4 August 1988

Britain’s Nuclear Nightmare 
by James Cutler and Rob Edwards.
Sphere, 200 pp., £3.99, April 1988, 0 7221 2759 6
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... Or Debbie Ladley. She was 18, a nanny, and she had given some help to LAND. James Cutler and Robert Edwards record: ‘On 29 September 1986, she was hanging out her washing in her garden at Stragglethorpe near Fulbeck. A man grabbed her from behind by the throat and banged her head against the wall. She suffered a fractured wrist, a cracked rib and ...

Memoriousness

E.S. Turner, 15 September 1988

Memories of Times Past 
by Louis Heren.
Hamish Hamilton, 313 pp., £15.95, July 1988, 0 241 12427 1
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Chances: An Autobiography 
by Mervyn Jones.
Verso, 311 pp., £14.95, September 1987, 0 86091 167 5
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... who might be a mole’. Failing to land a job on the Daily Worker he went to Tribune, where Robert Edwards was leaving to join Beaverbrook and Michael Foot, recently a Beaverbrook man, was acting editor. (Will Mervyn Jones also end up in the Beaverbrook stable? the reader anxiously wonders.) Tribune paid him £16 a week to spread himself over the ...

Quod erat Hepburn

John Bayley, 3 April 1986

Katharine Hepburn: A Biography 
by Anne Edwards.
Hodder, 395 pp., £12.95, March 1986, 0 340 33719 2
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... until it becomes their proper nature. It is the same with writers and artists. Byron or David or Robert Lowell cannot slink off and become their ordinary selves in the intervals of being poets and painters and men of the age. Greta Garbo is always Greta Garbo, once she has found the part. But there is quite a different category of actor, as of ...

Burke and Smith

Karl Miller, 16 October 1980

Sydney Smith 
by Alan Bell.
Oxford, 250 pp., £9.95, October 1980, 0 19 812050 8
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Burke and Hare 
by Owen Dudley Edwards.
Polygon, 300 pp., £7.95, August 1980, 0 904919 27 7
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... landed on top of his victim in a terminal embrace, after which the body was sold to the anatomist Robert Knox. Hare turned King’s evidence, and after a trial which ended early on Christmas morning 1828, his confederate was hanged. The woman Burke lived with, Helen MacDougal, received a verdict of not proven: she had been ably defended by Henry Cockburn. A ...

Wild about Misia

Clive James, 4 September 1980

Misia 
by Arthur Gold and Robert Fizdale.
Macmillan, 337 pp., £10, June 1980, 0 333 28165 9
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... and privilege meet. This book has several faults but at least one great merit: Arthur Gold and Robert Fizdale have seen that Misia’s personality, even if it can never quite be captured, remains highly interesting for the light it casts on how talent can cohabit with gracious living and yet still keep its distance. Misia features a good deal of ...

Silent Pleasures

A.W.F. Edwards, 15 July 1982

... on Gliding and Soaring, which was a translation of the reminiscences of the German pioneer Robert Kronfeld, but although it provides an interesting account of the early development of gliding, it stops at the threshold of the really outstanding progress of the next twenty years. On Being a Bird is largely a descriptive book, with some charming attempts ...

Tea-Leafing

Duncan Campbell, 19 October 1995

The Autobiography of a Thief 
by Bruce Reynolds.
Bantam, 320 pp., £15.99, April 1995, 0 593 03779 0
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... Farm on 8 August 1963, with Tony Bennett singing ‘The Good Life’ on the radio. When Buster Edwards hanged himself last year and I rang Bruce Reynolds for a comment (an explanation, if there can ever be such a thing) he referred me to Alvarez and The Savage God. Reynolds was always the most interesting of the train robbers and in a way it’s a pity ...

The Vision Thing

Eyal Press: Paul Krugman, 19 June 2008

The Conscience of a Liberal: Reclaiming America from the Right 
by Paul Krugman.
Allen Lane, 296 pp., £20, March 2008, 978 1 84614 107 2
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... Prosperity Krugman dismissed Tyson and other Clinton advisors, including the labour secretary Robert Reich, as mere ‘policy entrepreneurs’, not real economists. His writing from this period betrays the prickly tone of one who has been spurned. But, when compared with Bush, Clinton didn’t seem so bad. The title of Krugman’s new book is a play on ...

The Great Mary

Dinah Birch, 13 September 1990

Mrs Humphry Ward: Eminent Victorian, Pre-Eminent Edwardian 
by John Sutherland.
Oxford, 432 pp., £16.99, August 1990, 0 19 818587 1
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... her own exertions, Mary Ward made herself one of the most famous and highly paid women of her day. Robert Elsmere was a publishing prodigy (Sutherland has called it ‘probably the most popular novel of the century’), and it was followed by books that earned an apparently interminable flow of adulation and royalties. She used her literary status to make ...

Climbing

David Craig, 5 September 1985

... intense awareness and a habit of self-expression have been common in the history of the sport. Robert Graves climbed difficult routes in Snowdonia with Mallory just before the Great War and was told by Geoffrey Winthrop Young that he had ‘the finest natural balance’ he had ever seen in a climber. At the height of his enthusiasm he wrote that climbing ...

Short Cuts

Christian Lorentzen: Paul Krugman, 19 July 2012

... to Congress about income inequality, then was excluded from the Clinton administration by Robert Reich, the leader of the economic transition team whom Krugman had attacked in a paper nine years earlier. ‘Luckily for my sanity and future productivity,’ he also wrote in 1995, ‘I did not break through into a role as TV personality.’ Now that ...

Some Names for Robert Lowell

Karl Miller, 19 May 1983

Robert Lowell: A Biography 
by Ian Hamilton.
Faber, 527 pp., £12.50, May 1983, 0 571 13045 3
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... Robert Lowell is not difficult to represent as the mad poet and justified sinner of the Romantic heritage. He is the dual personality who breaks the rules, kicks over the traces: he did this in the course of a series of manic highs which came and went from maturity, if not before, until the end of his life in 1977 at the age of 60 ...

Round the (Next) Bend

Simon Adams: Sir Walter Ralegh, 6 July 2000

The Letters of Sir Walter Raleigh 
edited by Agnes Latham and Joyce Youings.
Exeter, 403 pp., £45, July 1999, 0 85989 527 0
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... Country than anyone else alive. Elsewhere her touch is not as sure as it might be. Describing Sir Robert Kerr (anglicised to Carr), James I’s favourite, who obtained Ralegh’s estate, as ‘a penniless Scotsman from Roxburghshire’ does not tell us a great deal and it misses the irony that Kerr was no more and no less than the Scottish equivalent of an ...

Eros and Hogarth

Robert Melville, 20 August 1981

Hogarth 
by David Bindman.
Thames and Hudson, 216 pp., £5.95, April 1981, 9780500201824
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... in Hogarth’s career’, with the possible exception of his stately portrait of wealthy Mary Edwards, who was his most generous patron and a courageous fighter for one woman’s lib – her own. In a screed beside her in the portrait she implores all Englishmen to remember the laws and rights and defend the liberties secured for them by their ...

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