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Who needs a welfare state?

Deborah Friedell: The Little House Books, 22 November 2012

The Little House Books 
by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Library of America, 1490 pp., £56.50, August 2012, 978 1 59853 162 6
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The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of ‘Little House on the Prairie’ 
by Wendy McClure.
Riverhead, 336 pp., £10, April 2012, 978 1 59448 568 8
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... there is not a single bathroom under one of those damp thatched roofs.’ Lane’s biographer, William Holtz, suggests that Lane rewrote her mother’s books out of duty, but also to show off. Her agent remembered Wilder’s drafts as the narration of a ‘fine old lady … sitting in a rocking chair and telling a story chronologically but with no benefit ...

The Lie that Empire Tells Itself

Eric Foner: America’s bad wars, 19 May 2005

The Dominion of War: Empire and conflict in North America 1500-2000 
by Fred Anderson and Andrew Cayton.
Atlantic, 520 pp., £19.99, July 2005, 1 903809 73 8
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... stepped onto the world stage as an imperial power in the Spanish-American War of 1898, President William McKinley insisted that ours was a ‘benevolent’ imperialism, that the conquest of Puerto Rico and the Philippines ought not to be compared to the despotic actions of European powers. Woodrow Wilson insisted that only the US possessed the combination of ...

Power Systems

John Bayley, 15 March 1984

Dante and English Poetry: Shelley to T.S. Eliot 
by Steve Ellis.
Cambridge, 280 pp., £20, October 1983, 0 521 25126 5
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Dante the Maker 
by William Anderson.
Hutchinson, 497 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 09 153201 9
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Dante: Purgatory 
translated with notes and commentary by Mark Musa.
Indiana, 373 pp., £19.25, September 1981, 0 253 17926 2
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Dante: Paradiso and Purgatorio 
with translation and commentary by Charles Singleton .
Princeton, 610 pp., £11.80, May 1982, 0 691 01844 8
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Virgil: The Aeneid 
translated by Robert Fitzgerald.
Harvill, 403 pp., £12.50, March 1984, 0 00 271008 0
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... rewarding study, one giving its own specialised contribution to Dante studies as represented by William Anderson’s masterly Dante the Maker, now reissued in paperback. Professor Mark Musa’s new version of the Purgatorio is also a notable contribution not only to Dante studies but to the poet’s accessibility to English readers. Musa’s excellent ...

Too Glorious for Words

Bernard Porter: Lawrence in Arabia, 2 April 2014

Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East 
by Scott Anderson.
Atlantic, 592 pp., £25, March 2014, 978 1 78239 199 9
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... deliberately against the interests and wishes of his British imperial superiors, even – Scott Anderson suggests – to the point of treason. (When George V tried to decorate him after the war, he handed all the medals back on the spot.) He was also very much against European cultural imperialism, genuinely – so far as we can tell – preferring ...

So it must be for ever

Thomas Meaney: American Foreign Policy, 13 July 2016

American Foreign Policy and Its Thinkers 
by Perry Anderson.
Verso, 244 pp., £14.99, March 2014, 978 1 78168 667 6
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A Sense of Power: The Roots of America’s Global Role 
by John A. Thompson.
Cornell, 343 pp., £19.95, October 2015, 978 0 8014 4789 1
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A Superpower Transformed: The Remaking of American Foreign Relations in the 1970s 
by Daniel J. Sargent.
Oxford, 369 pp., £23.49, January 2015, 978 0 19 539547 1
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... its weaponry. ‘Do we want to see Hitler in Independence Hall making fun of the Liberty Bell?’ William Bullitt, Roosevelt’s ambassador to France, asked a year before Pearl Harbor. US war planners were already envisioning the utopia to come. Its premise was the defeat of Germany and Japan, but also the break-up of European empires into a world of discrete ...

Teacher

John Passmore, 4 September 1986

Australian Realism: The Systematic Philosophy of John Anderson 
by A.J. Baker.
Cambridge, 150 pp., £20, April 1986, 0 521 32051 8
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... Opposite the title-page of Mr Baker’s skeletonised but substantially accurate account of John Anderson’s philosophy there stand two epigraphs. They are both from Heraclitus or, more precisely, from Burnet’s translation of that enigmatic philosopher. The first of them is ontological: ‘The world, which is the same for all, no one of gods or men has made; but it was ever, is now, and ever shall be an ever-living Fire, with measures kindling and measures going out ...

‘If I Could Only Draw Like That’

P.N. Furbank, 24 November 1994

The Gentle Art of Making Enemies 
by James McNeill Whistler.
Heinemann, 338 pp., £20, October 1994, 0 434 20166 9
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James McNeill Whistler: Beyond the Myth 
by Ronald Anderson and Anne Koval.
Murray, 544 pp., £25, October 1994, 0 7195 5027 0
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... about the painter Whistler which catches at one’s imagination. It concerns his draughtsmanship. William Rothenstein recalls Whistler talking to him contemptuously of Oscar Wilde’s house in Tite Street and doing him a little drawing of it, to illustrate the monotony of such a terrace house. ‘I noticed then,’ says Rothenstein, ‘how childishly Whistler ...

Men in Aprons

Colin Kidd: Freemasonry, 7 May 1998

Who’s Afraid of Freemasons? The Phenomenon of Freemasonry 
by Alexander Piatigorsky.
Harvill, 398 pp., £25, August 1997, 1 86046 029 1
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... Illuminati?’ A further scare followed the disappearance in 1826 of the anti-Masonic campaigner William Morgan. Soon, America had its own Anti-Masonic political party, which held the very first Presidential nominating convention, when, in November 1831, it selected William Wirt of Maryland. Wirt won only one state as a ...

Memories of Lindsay Anderson

Alan Bennett, 20 July 2000

... deputed this to an underling.’ So I was happy to read in Gavin Lambert’s Mainly about Lindsay Anderson* that Lindsay harboured similar thoughts about such self-imposed menialities. On the eve of filming O Lucky Man Lindsay has his ailing mother to stay in his flat in Swiss Cottage. Before she arrives he cleans up the kitchen and bathroom and is just ...

Diary

Christian Lorentzen: Homo Trumpiens, 3 November 2016

... one woman, who had paid to see Trump, wanted her $500 back. The loudest of the hecklers was Paul Anderson, a red-headed young man in sunglasses, shorts and a MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN baseball cap. He was holding a TRUMP/PENCE sign with HILLARY IS A CRIMINAL written on the reverse. He was surrounded by television reporters, and over the weekend he would ...

What Henry didn’t do

Michael Wood: ‘The Master’, 18 March 2004

The Master 
by Colm Tóibín.
Picador, 360 pp., £15.99, March 2004, 0 330 48565 2
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... by the memory of frightened desire. A few years later James meets the young sculptor Henrik Anderson, and briefly imagines they may have some sort of life together; Tóibín’s sympathy for James is at his most delicate here. James remembers the night on the pavement in Paris as a ‘vigil ending in defeat’, and sees that his disappointment in ...

Reaganism

Anthony Holden, 6 November 1980

The United States in the 1980s 
edited by Peter Duignan and Alvin Rabushka.
Croom Helm, 868 pp., £14.95, August 1980, 0 8179 7281 1
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... elections of the last twenty years. Carter has refused to debate Edward Kennedy, and now John Anderson, and thus Reagan. Reagan in turn has been bound and gagged by his advisers, their hostage rather than their boss, in the apparent belief that he cannot live up to the media pitches devised by them on his behalf. There has hardly, therefore, been what you ...

Fire and Ice

Patrick O’Brian, 20 April 1989

Fire Down Below 
by William Golding.
Faber, 313 pp., £11.95, March 1989, 0 571 15203 1
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... William Golding’s new novel, Fire Down Below is the third volume of a trilogy, the other parts being Rites of Passage and Close Quarters. The trilogy is about a voyage to Sydney in 1813, and a bald, merely literal account might run like this ... On the first page the hero appears, Edmund FitzHenry Talbot, an unformed young man of good family who is going out to help govern New South Wales in an aged line-of-battle ship, Captain Anderson commander, and who has been given a book in which to record his journey by his godfather, an influential peer ...

Wallpaper and Barricades

Terry Eagleton, 23 February 1995

William Morris: A Life for Our Time 
by Fiona MacCarthy.
Faber, 780 pp., £25, November 1994, 0 571 14250 8
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... Pound, Lawrence, Wyndham Lewis) though not, as it happens, to a Bloomsbury woman. The advent of William Morris was the point where this ambiguous lineage finally joined the modern world. Morris was of course quite as much a neo-medievalist as Carlyle or Ruskin; but his achievement was to take the Romantic critique of industrial capitalism and harness it for ...

Soldier, Sailor, Poacher

E.S. Turner, 3 October 1985

Great Britons: 20th-Century Lives 
by Harold Oxbury.
Oxford, 371 pp., £14.95, September 1985, 0 19 211599 5
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The Oxford Book of Military Anecdotes 
edited by Max Hastings.
Oxford, 514 pp., £9.50, October 1985, 0 19 214107 4
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The Long Affray: The Poaching Wars in Britain 
by Harry Hopkins.
Secker, 344 pp., £12.95, August 1985, 9780436201028
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... The subtitle ‘20th-century Lives’ does not disqualify a Great Victorian like Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, who was born in 1836 and in 1873 became the first woman member of the British Medical Association (she died in 1917). Harold Oxbury is principal editor of the Concise Dictionary of National Biography 1901-1970 and it is from the parent volumes that most ...

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