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Sinking Giggling into the Sea

Jonathan Coe, 18 July 2013

The Wit and Wisdom of Boris Johnson 
edited by Harry Mount.
Bloomsbury, 149 pp., £9.99, June 2013, 978 1 4081 8352 6
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... least a foothold in the establishment they were criticising: in the words of Cook’s biographer, Harry Thompson, these were not rebellious outsiders but ‘young men questioning a system they had been trained to lead’ and laughing at ‘the society that had reared them’.The four cast members of Beyond the Fringe soon decamped to New York, where the revue ...

How Dirty Harry beat the Ringo Kid

Michael Rogin, 9 May 1996

John Wayne: American 
by Randy Roberts and James Olson.
Free Press, 738 pp., £17.99, March 1996, 0 02 923837 4
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... of Iwo Jima – waves two rifles aloft at a gun show before the Arizona Presidential Primary. ‘Mount up everybody, and ride to the sound of the guns,’ says the candidate. Wearing a black cowboy hat (‘I’m the bad guy’), Buchanan is defending American borders against the ‘foreign invasion ... that’s ... taking place when one, two, three million ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2013, 9 January 2014

... July. A book review in the LRB by Jonathan Coe of The Wit and Wisdom of Boris Johnson edited by Harry Mount kicks off with some remarks about the so-called satire boom of the early 1960s. It recalls John Bird’s The Last Laugh, the Cambridge Footlights revue of 1959 (which I saw) and while recognising that it was too radical to be very funny, claims ...

Rabbit Resartus

Edward Pearce, 8 November 1990

Rabbit at Rest 
by John Updike.
Deutsch, 505 pp., £14.99, October 1990, 0 233 98622 7
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... it with his own delicate understanding. The tenderness of Updike allows complexities to bloom. Harry is supposed to be a conservative, and indeed he will vote for Reagan. But he has little of the hardness, indifference or aggression of many conservatives. He is curious and without contempt, capable of learning new things and people, oddly tolerant of ...

Warty-Fingered Klutzburger

Blake Morrison: ‘Be Mine’, 13 July 2023

Be Mine 
by Richard Ford.
Bloomsbury, 342 pp., £18.99, June, 978 1 5266 6176 0
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... as a certain sort of guy and not, as he fears, a mysterious blank. In Updike’s Rabbit quartet, Harry Angstrom comes screaming unmistakeably off the page, whereas Bascombe, however engaging, doesn’t add up.It’s in the hope that he might ‘come away with a reflected and clearer sense of “what kind of person I was” as my narrative neared its finish ...

Lucky Lad

Geoffrey Wheatcroft: Harold Evans, 17 December 2009

My Paper Chase: True Stories of Vanished Times – An Autobiography 
by Harold Evans.
Little, Brown, 515 pp., £25, September 2009, 978 1 4087 0203 1
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... at weekends, the Evanses opened a small corner shop and eased into modest prosperity. Although Harry didn’t make it to grammar school, he won a priceless second chance by taking the Joint Matriculation Board exams. Then it was Loreburn Business College to learn shorthand and typing, his first job on the Ashton-under-Lyne Reporter, and the exultant moment ...


Christopher Prendergast: Piss where you like, 17 March 2005

... months later in Dublin, where I took his ashes to be buried in a plot of unconsecrated ground in Mount Pleasant cemetery belonging to the Gannon family. Bill Gannon, many years my father’s senior, had been weaned by my father from his allegiances as an IRA gunman to the cause of revolutionary Marxism. When Bill died, the Gannon sons invited Jim to be the ...

Fraud Squad

Ferdinand Mount: Imposters, 2 August 2007

The Tichborne Claimant: A Victorian Sensation 
by Rohan McWilliam.
Continuum, 363 pp., £25, March 2007, 978 1 85285 478 2
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A Romanov Fantasy: Life at the Court of Anna Anderson 
by Frances Welch.
Short Books, 327 pp., £14.99, February 2007, 978 1 904977 71 1
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The Lost Prince: The Survival of Richard of York 
by David Baldwin.
Sutton, 220 pp., £20, July 2007, 978 0 7509 4335 2
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... had given them a raw deal. He was the toast of the racecourse and the music halls. The diminutive Harry Relph began his career in blackface, as ‘Young Tichborne, the Claimant’s Bootlace’, soon to be abbreviated and immortalised as Little Tich, whence ‘tich’ and ‘tichy’ – a delicious way to remember the gargantuan Claimant. Those who took a ...

Were we bullied?

Jamie Martin: Bretton Woods, 21 November 2013

The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White and the Making of a New World Order 
by Benn Steil.
Princeton, 449 pp., £19.95, February 2013, 978 0 691 14909 7
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... the summer of 1942, Keynes and his American counterpart, the economist and US Treasury official Harry Dexter White, traded blows over how to rewrite the monetary rules of the international economy. They made curious sparring partners: Keynes, the world-famous economist and public intellectual, pitted against White, an obscure technocrat and late-blooming ...

The Doctrine of Unripe Time

Ferdinand Mount: The Fifties, 16 November 2006

Having It So Good: Britain in the Fifties 
by Peter Hennessy.
Allen Lane, 740 pp., £30, October 2006, 0 7139 9571 8
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... was in intermittent pain from the shrapnel the Germans had left in his thigh forty years earlier; Harry Crookshank, Churchill’s first minister of health, had had his balls shot off on the Western Front. No man alive has lunched more politicians and permanent secretaries or scoured more Cabinet minutes and ministerial diaries than Peter Hennessy. He combines ...

Always the Same Dream

Ferdinand Mount: Princess Margaret, 4 January 2018

Ma’am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret 
by Craig Brown.
Fourth Estate, 423 pp., £16.99, September 2017, 978 0 00 820361 0
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... mercy that she did not live to hear the bells ringing to celebrate the engagement of Prince Harry to a divorced American actor of mixed race. Wallis Simpson, too, must be turning in her unquiet ...

Martinique in Burbank

David Thomson: Bogart and Bacall, 19 October 2023

Bogie and Bacall: The Surprising True Story of Hollywood’s Greatest Love Affair 
by William J. Mann.
HarperCollins, 634 pp., £35, August, 978 0 06 302639 1
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... To Have and Have Not, which had been poorly reviewed on publication in 1937. Its central figure, Harry Morgan, is a brave failure who loses an arm and gets screwed by the rich. No, that’s not the movie, but Warners persuaded Hawks that it could be another Casablanca, with a café, vague conflict with the fascists, a resourceful lone operator, and some kind ...

Double-Barrelled Dolts

Ferdinand Mount: Mosley’s Lost Deposit, 6 July 2006

Blackshirt: Sir Oswald Mosley and British Fascism 
by Stephen Dorril.
Viking, 717 pp., £30, April 2006, 0 670 86999 6
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Hurrah for the Blackshirts! Fascists and Fascism between the Wars 
by Martin Pugh.
Pimlico, 387 pp., £8.99, March 2006, 1 84413 087 8
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... scored only a few hundred votes. The Fascist candidate at Hythe in 1939, Kim Philby’s father Harry St John Philby, received only 578 votes. After the war, the Union Movement suffered much the same fate, campaigning largely against immigration. In his last contest, at Shoreditch in the 1966 general election, Mosley himself secured only 1127 votes (4.6 per ...

At Home in the Huntington

John Sutherland: The Isherwood Archive, 10 June 1999

... Secret negotiations had apparently been going on for two years between five institutions: the Harry Ransom Research Center at Austin, Texas, the University of Southern California, UCLA, New York Public Library and the Huntington. Three of the (alleged) competitors were within a thirty-mile radius of Isherwood’s home in Santa Monica. The Ransom Center ...

So sue me

Michael Wood, 12 May 1994

A Frolic of His Own 
by William Gaddis.
Viking, 529 pp., £16, June 1994, 0 670 85553 7
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... calls for his impeachment. The plot also involves Oscar’s stepsister Christina and her husband Harry, a lawyer; a socialite friend of Christina’s and her dog; a supposed lawyer who turns out to have forged his credentials; another lawyer with unbearable British manners and mannerisms. Oscar’s father anonymously helps him out with his case, writing a ...

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