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Old Member Publications

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Blood Over Water

David Livingston (2001, Biology)

The Boat Race is one of the most divisive events in amateur sport. For me personally, every year it causes a rupture within my family as my older brother James dons his light blue (Cambridge) jacket and I put on my dark blue (Oxford) jacket to support our respective teams. We once again become part of warring factions.

James and I have just released a co-authored book about our Boat Race experiences, called Blood Over Water which was published by Bloomsbury publishing. On an overcast day back in April 2003 James and I raced each other in the 149th Oxford Cambridge Boat Race. It was the first time brothers had battled each other in this gladiatorial and quintessentially British tradition for over 100 years. Sitting on the start line back then we knew that only one of us could be victorious.

Told in alternative narratives we have given a locker-room insight into one of the least understood national sporting occasions, normally on view for only one day a year. It is an emotional and searching joint self-portrait of our relationship which was tested to breaking point and explores the darker side of sibling rivalry. The race itself was the closest in history; it was decided by just one foot after four and a quarter miles. Video of the race

Blood Over Water is available to purchase from and has already received excellent reviews.

Archibald Wavell

Adrian Fort (Law, 1966)

Archibald Wavell was born a few years before Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, at the zenith of the British Empire, and died shortly after the end of the Second World War. During that time Great Britain changed beyond recognition, undergoing fundamental revision in the attitudes, expectations, prejudices and hopes of the British people. Consequently, Wavell’s life epitomises that of a generation of famous men whose education and upbringing equipped them for a future that was to prove an illusion.

At seventeen, Wavell joined the army and as a young officer saw action in the Boer War and on the North West Frontier. In the Great War he fought in the trenches, was decorated for bravery and lost an eye. Between the wars his meteoric career included command of the British forces in Palestine as revolt swept the country. His victorious campaigns early in the Second World War were emblazoned around the world; but he also tasted bitter defeat and rejection, both in North Africa and as commander-in-chief of the Allied forces in the Far East, as the furious Japanese onslaught engulfed Malaya, Singapore and Burma. In 1943 he was appointed Viceroy of India, where he held the ring between Muslims, Hindus and the British Government, guiding India’s destiny as it slipped from the heart of Empire into the turmoil of independence.

In this authoritative biography Adrian Fort chronicles the remarkable life of a talented and complex man – a famous imperial servant whose life was often beset by controversy. For more information about the book click here.

The Kit-Cat Club

Ophelia Field (English, 1990)

The Kit-Cat Club was founded in the late 1690s when Jacob Tonson, publisher and bookseller, forged a partnership with the pie-maker Christopher (Kit) Cat. What began as an eccentric publishing rights deal developed into a unique gathering of intellects and interests, including John Vanbrugh, William Congreve, Joseph Addison, Richard Steele and Robert Walpole.

Field describes the Whig-Tory ‘paper wars’, the London theatres’ battles over sexual morality, the making of Union with Scotland, Dublin society as governed by Kit-Cats, and the hurly-burly of Westminster politics. The book unravels the deceit, rivalry, friendships, and fortunes lost and found through the Club, alongside descriptions of how its alcohol-fuelled, all-male meetings were conducted.

Tracing the Club’s far-reaching influence, as an unofficial centre of Whig power and patronage throughout the reigns of William & Mary, Anne and George I, this group biography illuminates a period when Englishmen were searching for a new national identity.

If you would like to find out more or order a copy of the book please click here.

The Progressive Century

Edited by Neil Sherlock (PPE, 1981)

Can Labour and the Liberal Democrats redefine politics to make the 21st Century a progressive century? Can the centre-left find a common cause to tackle the alienation from politics, the globalisation of power, the need to modernise public services and the will to face up to the environmental challenges? Will the centre-left unite to change the voting system and win the case for Britain entering the single currency? Will the centre-left give real priority to family life and the tackling of discrimination against women?These are some of the questions that are tackled in this topical and controversial book, which brings together leading politicians, journalists, academics and thinkers.

Contributors include Robin Cook, Menzies Campbell, Lord Ashdown, Harriet Harman, Ruth Kelly, Peter Mandelson, Don MacIntyre, Steve Richards, Anna Coote, Polly Toynbee, Matthew Taylor, Kirsty Milne, Don Foster and Chris Huhne.

For more information please click here.

Wicked Practise & Sorcerye

Michael Honeybone (Modern History, 1959)

‘Done to death by wicked practise & sorcerye’ claims the inscription on the splendid tomb of the Sixth Earl of Rutland in Bottesford church, Leicestershire, describing the death of his two sons. Michael Honeybone’s book investigates this witchcraft accusation against the Flower family in the Vale of Belvoir in 1619, resulting in the sisters’ execution at Lincoln Castle.

His research puts this Jacobean story into the context of modern witchcraft studies. The bookinvestigates local arguments which caused resentment against the Flowers, political marriages which endangered the Earl’s aim to pass on his inheritance and attempts to cure the children by calling in the most famous physicians. He contrasts popular superstitions with contemporary clergy’s denunciations of witchcraft and considers the influence of King James I, a frequent visitor to hunt with the Earl at Belvoir Castle. The account of the trial draws on a pamphlet and ballad from1619, both reprinted in this fully illustrated book.

Special price for past and present members of Christ Church: £12.50 hardback, including postage and packing, direct from the author: Michael Honeybone, 36 The Close, Norwich NR1 4EG telephone: 01603 621 431 Cheques payable to: Dr Michael Honeybone.

I was a Potato Oligarch

John Mole (Modern Languages, 1964)

Hopeful oligarchs, hopeless biznismyen, scientists, muggers, conmen, mafia and (extra) ordinary Russians in a world turned inside out. And John Mole setting up a baked potato take-away...

He also corners the market in business names and pizza cheese. He is taken for a Red Square demonstrator, a vampire's victim and unwillingly invents the new sport of pig-surfing. While he is trying to sell British fast food to Russians, Russians try to sell things to him. Fireworks, seashells, tungsten, the scrapings of baby reindeer horn. And advanced biotechnology, using bacteria to purify the air in submarines…

A journey under the (potato) skin of the New Russia by a traveller who gets his hands as well as his boots dirty.

funny and perceptive, a vivid and sympathetic picture of what Russians are really like Rodric Braithwaite – British ambassador to Moscow 1988-1992

£9.99 Paperback Original from all good bookshops

For more see

China Calling

Barnaby Powell (Law, 1962)

China has broadcast its message. Calling on Africa, Australia and South America for resources, on the West for support, and on the world for understanding, its role in the global hierarchy is established yet pivotal. But that communist blink in the Imperial eye should not deceive you. China has a well shod foot in the global door of capitalism.

Western politicians, financiers and consumers have allowed opportunistic strategies to dominate global trade for the ultimate benefit of China. Yet the driving forces behind China’s border and expansionary controls are often misunderstood and not fully appreciated.

Mackinnon and Powell show how China is adapting its traditional values and practices to target strategic investments worldwide. Understanding China’s very different approaches to problem solving permits an effective engagement with modern China as it seeks competitive advantage globally. The authors contend that both China and the West must acknowledge reciprocal and mutually beneficial obligations – if confrontation is to be averted. To order a copy of China Calling click the link below.

The Anti-Intellectual Presidency

Elvin Lim (PPE, 1997)

How is it that contemporary presidents talk so much and yet say so little, as H. L. Mencken once described, like "dogs barking idiotically through endless nights?" In The Anti-Intellectual Presidency, Elvin Lim tackles this puzzle and argues forcefully that it is because we have been too preoccupied in our search for a "Great Communicator," and have failed to take presidents to task for what they communicate to us.

Lim argues that the ever-increasing tendency for presidents to crowd out argument in presidential rhetoric with applause-rendering platitudes and partisan punch-lines was concertedly implemented by the modern White House. Through a series of interviews with former presidential speechwriters, he shows that the anti-intellectual stance was a deliberate choice rather than a reflection of presidents' intellectual limitations. Only the smart, he suggests, know how to "dumb down."

Because anti-intellectual rhetoric impedes, rather than facilitates communication and deliberation, Lim warns that Americans must do something to recondition a political culture so easily seduced by smooth-operating anti-intellectual presidents. Sharply written and incisively argued, The Anti-Intellectual Presidency sheds new light on the murky depths of presidential utterances and its consequences for American democracy.

If you would like to buy Elvin Lim's book you can do so on the OUP website.

Rebuilding Native Nations

Miriam Jorgensen (Human Sciences, 1987)

A revolution is underway among the Indigenous nations of North America. It is a quiet revolution, largely unnoticed in society at large. But it is profoundly important. From high plains states and prairie provinces to southwestern deserts, from Mississippi and Oklahoma to the northwest coast the continent, Native peoples are reclaiming their rights to govern themselves and to shape their futures in their own ways.

This book traces the contours of revolution as Native nations turn the dream of self-determination into practical reality. Part report, part analysis, part how-to-manual for Native leaders, it discusses strategies for governance and community and economic development that are being employed today by American Indian nations and First Nations in Canada as they move to assert greater control over their own affairs. For nations that wish to join that revolution for those who simply want to understand the transformation now underway across Indigenous North America, this book is a critical resource.

Miriam Jorgensen is Associate Director for Research in the Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy at the University of Arizona and Research Director of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development. For more information about this book click here.

Snakes and Ladders

Brian C. Bennett (Modern History, 1951)

'Snakes and Ladders' is a collection of short stories and 'bits and pieces' which hopefully can be enjoyed by all ages whilst relaxing anywhere - in a plane or train, a garden chair, a warm bath, or by a cosy fire. It has a wide mixture of characters, many of the stories have a twist in the tail, and there is a variety of humorous, dramatic, saddish and feel-good situations.

Brian Bennett was born way back in 1931 and has lived in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, since 1988. He scraped into Christ Church, Oxford, from where a weak degree led him into his own snakes and ladders career with seven U.K. and American financial institutions and a mostly enjoyable life in Portugal, Brasil, Guyana, the U.S.A., Luxembourg and the U.K. In the course of this he has met and worked with many delightful people, and had many memorable experiences, the flavour of which has been reflected in some of the stories.

If you would like to purchase a copy of Brian C. Bennett's book please visit the publishers website here: Author House

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