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Everyone has a voice

James Meek: Biotechnology, 11 July 2002

A Grain of Truth: the Media, the Public and Biotechnology 
by Susanna Hornig Priest.
Rowman and Littlefield, 160 pp., £14.95, January 2001, 0 7425 0948 6
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Travels in the Genetically Modified Zone 
by Mark Winston.
Harvard, 288 pp., £19.50, June 2002, 0 674 00867 7
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Seeds of Contention: World Hunger and the Global Controversy over GM Crops 
by Per Pinstrup-Andersen.
Johns Hopkins, 176 pp., £9, September 2001, 0 8018 6826 2
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... His crowning moment came when Khrushchev travelled to Coon Rapids to meet him and buy his seed. (Mark Winston points out that both the US and the Soviet agricultural systems, which required huge amounts of fertiliser, collapsed at about the same time in the 1980s, the Soviet system because it ran out of money, the US system because maize became so ...

Churchill’s Faces

Rosemary Hill, 30 March 2017

... Josef Goebbels’. Apart from the impracticality, Clark had his doubts, as Jonathan Black notes in Winston Churchill in British Art (Bloomsbury, £25), as to whether Churchill was going to be an asset or a liability in the war effort. Townsend’s ‘Winston Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty’ (1915) It is one ...

Going on the air

Philip French, 2 May 1985

Orwell: The War Broadcasts 
edited by W.J. West.
Duckworth/BBC, 304 pp., £12.95, March 1985, 0 7156 1916 0
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... Michael Foot at the Evening Standard, the great publishers of the day, have all of them left their mark on the cultural history of the time. Their opposite numbers on radio remain to this day largely unknown, or, like Orwell, famous for other reasons. This ignorance has no doubt contributed to the extraordinary neglect by scholars of this important period of ...


Thomas Healy, 11 February 1993

Living Dangerously: Young Offenders in their Own Words 
by Roger Graef.
HarperCollins, 262 pp., £14.99, January 1993, 0 00 215967 8
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... have worked but as a book the idea flops. There is a sameness about Johnnie and Stan, Sunny and Winston and the other five boys on the programme Graef writes about. Six of the boys are white and three are black; their ages vary from 17 to 20. Johnnie, the first of the boys to be interviewed, is a slim, sallow Irish lad who has no known father and an ...

Why the richest woman in Britain changed her will 26 times

Mark Kishlansky: The Duchess of Marlborough, 14 November 2002

The Favourite: Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough 
by Ophelia Field.
Hodder, 575 pp., £20, June 2002, 9780340768075
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... among them, rely too heavily on Sarah’s own interpretation of her life. If it was said of Winston Churchill that you spent the first hour becoming acquainted with his vices and the rest of your life discovering his virtues, you could only say the converse of his famous ancestor. Even allowing for party rancour, Swift was not far off the ...

Ooh the rubble

Rosemary Hill: Churchill’s Cook, 16 July 2020

Victory in the Kitchen: The Life of Churchill’s Cook 
by Annie Gray.
Profile, 390 pp., £16.99, February, 978 1 78816 044 5
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... There​ are more than a thousand books about Winston Churchill, but this is the first about his cook, Georgina Landemare. Since it may well also be the last, it’s fortunate that she has fallen into the sympathetic hands of Annie Gray. Gray is a food historian and she sets Landemare’s long life in the context of changes in diet and eating habits over nearly a century ...

I say, damn it, where are the beds?

David Trotter: Orwell’s Nose and Prose, 16 February 2017

Orwell’s Nose: A Pathological Biography 
by John Sutherland.
Reaktion, 256 pp., £15, August 2016, 978 1 78023 648 3
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Or Orwell: Writing and Democratic Socialism 
by Alex Woloch.
Harvard, 378 pp., £35.95, January 2016, 978 0 674 28248 3
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... embellished with wild peppermint is George Bowling’s dream in Coming Up for Air; and Winston Smith’s, too, in Nineteen Eighty-Four. I’ve sometimes thought that Orwell’s famous distinction between good, bad and good-bad books could be applied to the odours that pervade the ones he himself wrote. To my mind, it’s the good-bad smells that ...

Short Cuts

Tom Crewe: Ed Balls, 22 September 2016

... First World War and was still in the cabinet in 1929, 55 years after he first entered Parliament. Winston Churchill was elected in 1900 as a Tory, became a Liberal, lost his seat, got another one, became a Tory again, won the premiership, lost it, and won it back again, retiring from Parliament in 1964. Even Alec Douglas-Home had a second act after losing the ...

Wallacette the Rain Queen

Mark Lambert, 19 February 1987

The Beet Queen 
by Louise Erdrich.
Hamish Hamilton, 338 pp., £10.95, February 1987, 0 241 12044 6
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Marya: A Life 
by Joyce Carol Oates.
Cape, 310 pp., £10.95, January 1987, 0 224 02420 5
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The Lost Language of Cranes 
by David Leavitt.
Viking, 319 pp., £10.95, February 1987, 0 670 81290 0
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... not found only among Mr Leavitt’s homosexuals. The last major character we meet in the book is Winston Penn, thought to be gay, but not: pleasant, in any case – fun, very decent, enlightened. Even Rose, who is bitter, and cannot meet the disclosures of her son and husband with great generosity of spirit, is not nearly so harsh as such a character might ...

You’ll Love the Way It Makes You Feel

Mark Greif: ‘Mad Men’, 23 October 2008

Mad Men: Season One 
Lionsgate Home Entertainment, £29.99, October 2008Show More
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... into the meeting with his client, Draper asks the company president, who’s come all the way from Winston-Salem, to describe how tobacco is made. ‘We plant it in the South Carolina sunshine,’ the old man drawls, ‘cut it, cure it, toast it – ’ ‘There you go!’ Draper says, and writes: LUCKY STRIKE: IT’S TOASTED. All cigarette tobacco is toasted ...

What can happen when you make contact in a MOO

John Sutherland: Crime and passion in a virtual world, 29 July 1999

My Tiny Life: Crime and Punishment in a Virtual World 
by Donald Dibbell.
Fourth Estate, 336 pp., £16.99, January 1999, 1 84115 058 4
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... the dictatorial state planned to erase individuality – even an individuality as insignificant as Winston Smith’s. In the Orwellian dystopia the state’s apparatus was primarily bureaucratic: new technology – in the form of the ubiquitous telescreen (TV that watched you) – was instrumental but not central. Earlier forms of thoughtcrime are familiar ...

A Slight Dash of the Tiresome

Brian Harrison, 9 November 1989

The Blind Victorian: Henry Fawcett and British Liberalism 
edited by Lawrence Goldman.
Cambridge, 199 pp., £25, August 1989, 0 521 35032 8
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... H.A.L. Fisher threatened to resign from the British Academy in 1938 if it refused to recommend Winston Churchill for election: such a decision, he said, would ‘mark the triumph of a tendency towards minute specialisation ... which I have long watched with concern, as likely to rob the Academy of its national ...

Floating Islands

J.I.M. Stewart, 21 October 1982

Of This and Other Worlds 
by C.S. Lewis, edited by Walter Hooper.
Collins, 192 pp., £7.95, September 1982, 0 00 215608 3
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George Orwell: A Personal Memoir 
by T.R. Fyvel.
Weidenfeld, 221 pp., £9.95, September 1982, 0 297 78012 3
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... a world of its own outside the Party’s control is dangerous and ought to be destroyed. And that Winston Smith and his Julia are inevitably in large part the manikins Big Brother has made of them is an obvious postulate of the novel. Winston, for that matter, is not all that different from Lewis’s ...

Churchill by moonlight

Paul Addison, 7 November 1985

The Fringes of Power: Downing Street Diaries 1939-1955 
by John Colville.
Hodder, 796 pp., £14.95, September 1985, 0 340 38296 1
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... he was transferred to Number Ten as Assistant Private Secretary to Neville Chamberlain. It was a mark of high favour that at the tender age of 23 he should be entrusted with prime ministerial secrets of which high-ranking members of the Government were in ignorance. Loyalty was Colville’s forte. During the phoney war he belonged to the up-and-coming circle ...

Sweetie Pies

Jenny Diski, 23 May 1996

Below the Parapet: The Biography of Denis Thatcher 
by Carol Thatcher.
HarperCollins, 303 pp., £16.99, April 1996, 0 00 255605 7
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... fortune rather than following his father and grandfather into farming near Swindon. He made his mark, and initiated the Thatcher family business by producing an arsenic-based sheep dip for the Wanganui farmers which turned out to be a very useful wood and leather preservative as well. More interesting, according to his great-granddaughter, Thomas ...

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