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The Patient’s Story

Thomas McKeown, 15 May 1980

Health, Medicine and Mortality in the 16th Century 
edited by Charles Webster.
Cambridge, 417 pp., £18.50, December 1979, 0 521 22643 0
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... of normal life, with patients, and with systems of health care’. The first volume, edited by Charles Webster, is of particular interest as an indication of the aims and methods of the series. Health, Medicine and Mortality in the 16th Century is said (on the dust-cover) to be the first volume to deal with such a wide spectrum of issues related to ...

One Nation

Jose Harris, 23 June 1988

The Health Services since the War. Vol. I: Problems of Health Care: The National Health Service before 1957 
by Charles Webster.
HMSO, 479 pp., £27.50, April 1988, 0 11 630942 3
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... advancing any more metaphysical conception. For the past thirty years foreign observers cited in Charles Webster’s study have perceived the NHS as an ‘integral part of the total pattern of the British state’, as an ‘altogether natural feature of the British landscape’, and ‘almost a part of the Constitution’. In contemporary British ...

A Revision of Expectations

Richard Horton: Notes on the NHS, 2 July 1998

The National Health Service: A Political History 
by Charles Webster.
Oxford, 233 pp., £9.99, April 1998, 0 19 289296 7
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... NHS since its inception in 1948. In a gratifyingly compressed, although at times grey, account, Charles Webster concludes that the Ely episode brought ‘a fresh spirit of determination’ to the care of long-stay patients. It did more than that: it released additional money, spurred improvements in hospital facilities and raised standards of ...

At the Easel

Naomi Grant, 2 December 2021

... are licked – start another. Be alive, stop when your interest is lost.’ This was the advice of Charles Webster Hawthorne, the founder of the Cape Cod School of Art. In Hawthorne on Painting (1938), a collection of his teachings put together by his students after his death, there is no shortage of good advice. ‘Do the obvious thing before you do the ...


A.J.P. Taylor: Death of a Historian , 30 December 1982

... from official in character. Roskill fought the censors of the Cabinet Office as resolutely as Sir Charles Webster did when writing his History of the Strategic Air Offensive. Roskill went on to write more personal books: three volumes on Hankey and as a final production a hilarious life of Admiral of the Fleet Earl Beatty. He also launched a sharp attack ...

Full-Employment Utopias

Christopher Hill, 16 July 1981

Utopia and the Ideal Society: A Study of English Utopian Writing, 1516-1700 
by J.C. Davis.
Cambridge, 427 pp., £25, March 1981, 0 521 23396 8
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Science and Society in Restoration England 
by Michael Hunter.
Cambridge, 232 pp., £18.50, March 1981, 0 521 22866 2
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... via media is now being hammered out. In the history of science, there are still giants abroad. Charles Webster, J.R. and M.C. Jacob have produced new and exciting syntheses in the grand manner. The object of Dr Hunter’s book is to reconsider the ‘academic dimension’ of the new science, and its institutions. He avoids ‘uncritical counting of ...

In place of fairies

Simon Schaffer, 2 December 1982

Stolen Lightning: The Social Theory of Magic 
by Daniel O’Keefe.
Martin Robertson, 581 pp., £17.50, September 1982, 0 85520 486 9
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Scienze, Credenze Occulti, Livelli di Cultura 
edited by Paola Zambelli.
Leo Olschki, 562 pp., April 1982, 88 222 3069 8
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... ends Witch-crazes and printing, Reformation and civil war, all benefit from this reinterpretation. Charles Webster analyses the work of the occult master Paracelsus, who drew on his own knowledge of the folklore of German miners to picture gnomes and mountain sprites as offering ‘a code of conduct for the preservation of good order in the expanding ...

Opportunity Costs

Edward Luttwak: ‘The Bombing War’, 21 November 2013

The Bombing War: Europe 1939-45 
by Richard Overy.
Allen Lane, 852 pp., £30, September 2013, 978 0 7139 9561 9
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... longer passage printed in Appendix 30 of the official British history of the bombing of Germany by Charles Webster and Noble Frankland, and demonstrates their relentless objectivity (all the more remarkable in a book published in 1961, only 16 years after the end of hostilities). My extract from the extract is enough to make plain the sheer horror of the ...

Watch the waste paper

Mark Elvin, 19 August 1993

The Fate of Hong Kong 
by Gerald Segal.
Simon and Schuster, 256 pp., £16.99, September 1993, 0 671 71169 5
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The End of Hong Kong: The Secret Diplomacy of Imperial Retreat 
by Robert Cottrell.
Murray, 244 pp., £19.99, April 1993, 0 7195 4992 2
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... been given an account of the Congress of Vienna, approximately a century earlier, written by Sir Charles Webster. From this they had learned that Talleyrand’s success in the negotiations, from a position of weakness, had been partly due to his having had agents collect the contents of the waste-paper baskets of other delegations, which contained the ...

Sorcerer’s Apprentice

E.S. Turner, 19 December 1991

Alistair MacLean 
by Jack Webster.
Chapmans, 326 pp., £18, November 1991, 1 85592 519 2
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Alistair MacLean’s Time of the Assassins 
by Alastair MacNeill.
HarperCollins, 288 pp., £14.99, December 1991, 0 00 223816 0
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... have helped to further the adventures of James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, Jeeves, Billy Bunter and Charles Pooter; not forgetting, from an earlier age, Flashman and Rochester’s mad wife. In a class of their own come the surrogate writers who are authorised to enrich the leftovers of a dead storyteller. The late, prolific Alistair MacLean (‘Ach, any idiot ...

Plays for Puritans

Anne Barton, 18 December 1980

Puritanism and Theatre 
by Margot Heinemann.
Cambridge, 300 pp., £12.50, March 1980, 0 521 22602 3
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John WebsterCitizen and Dramatist 
by M.C. Bradbrook.
Weidenfeld, 205 pp., £10, October 1980, 0 297 77813 7
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... Women Beware Women (?1623) seem to her to possess a kind of social realism absent from the work of Webster, Ford, Massinger, or Beaumont and Fletcher. In their treatment of social mobility and ambition, women and marriage, and in their ethical and religious overtones, they reflect the values of the City and Country as opposed to the Court party. Puritanism and ...

Into the Underworld

Iain Sinclair: The Hackney Underworld, 22 January 2015

... of ‘historical London figures’ and ‘modern day heroes’. Ada (Lovelace), who worked with Charles Babbage on his ‘analytical engine’, is paired with Phyllis (Pearsall), the artist who claimed to have tramped three thousand miles in mapping streets for the A-Z. The most recent partnership, Jessica (Ennis) and Ellie (Simmonds), were christened, as ...

At least they paid their taxes

Linda Colley, 25 July 1991

Nancy Reagan: The Unauthorised Biography 
by Kitty Kelley.
Bantam, 532 pp., £16.99, April 1991, 0 593 02450 8
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... not, as might have been expected, use Smith as a gateway to a nice fresh-faced Yalie called, say, Charles (‘Chip’) Staunton Webster III, with a law opening in Daddy’s firm in Boston and a summer place in New Hampshire. Instead, she took up acting, still very much a déclassé occupation, and decided to go to ...

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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... Sir Alan Cobham, whose private air force introduced millions to flying, or Sir Donald Wolfit. Tom Webster, the sports cartoonist, gains his niche, but not ‘Beachcomber’. Enough of that; the game is too easy to play. The entries are skilfully ‘potted’, judicious in the DNB manner, but the more one browses the more it is apparent that a double standard ...

Descent into Oddness

Dinah Birch: Peter Rushforth’s long-awaited second novel, 6 January 2005

Pinkerton’s Sister 
by Peter Rushforth.
Scribner, 729 pp., £18.99, September 2004, 0 7432 5235 7
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... doesn’t remember. Oscar Wilde, the Brontës, Robert Louis Stevenson, Tennyson, George MacDonald, Charles Reade, Jane Austen, George Eliot, Louisa May Alcott, Wilkie Collins, Mary Braddon, Conan Doyle, Du Maurier, and plenty more. Her literary memory is a compendium of every syllabus in Victorian literature that could be contrived. Alice is the woman in ...

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