ISSUE 18, July 2006
Editorial
Archbishop Fisher: A Godly man and a Brother
Travel: The train takes the strain
Quarterly Communication: Annual Investiture speech by the Grand Master and Speech of the Pro Grand Master and Report of the Board of General Purposes
Supreme Grand Chapter: Speech by the First Grand Principal and Report of the Committee of General Purposes Grand Lodge of New York: Speech by the Pro Grand Master
   Specialist Lodges: Keeping their eyes on the ball
Education: Planning ahead for the Chair and Events and New premises for Masonic research
Royal Opera House: A right Royal occasion
Royal opening: Beamish Museum
Digital records: Saving our past for the future
Library & Museum: The hall in the garden
Queen's Birthday: Masons played a prominent part
International: A Mason and the Foreign Legion
Masonic Charities: Grand Charity and NMSF and RMBI and RMTGB
Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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A Long Long Way by Sebastian Barry, Faber & Faber, £12.99. ISBN 0571218008.
    A Long Long Way tells the story of Willie Dunne, an Irish builder’s apprentice and volunteer in Kitchener’s Army, who enrols in the Dublin Fusiliers at the beginning of the First World War.
    The battlefields of Belgium and France are a well-worn theme for novelists, but what makes Sebastian Barry’s book so fascinating is that it brilliantly explores, through the experiences of this young Irishman, the divided loyalties that many Irish soldiers endured.
    While thousands of Irishmen were fighting in Flanders, partly in the erroneous belief that their actions would lead to Home Rule, many of their countrymen were taking part in the Easter Rising.
    Indeed, 30,000 were to lose their lives fighting for the King of England on foreign fields. For these brave Irishmen who believed that they were fighting a just war against the Germans, events back home led to bitter resentment and incomprehension. Willie himself, an uneducated 17 yearold, has little knowledge of politics, but finds himself embroiled in a world of uncertainty and self-doubt. This book is a haunting reminder of those thousands of Irishmen whose bravery and sacrifice in the Great War has too often been consigned to the footnotes of an overwhelmingly nationalist narrative of Irish history.
    The author brilliantly captures the sheer destruction and indiscriminate slaughter that takes place over the muddy and barbed wired landscapes of Flanders, the Somme and Ypres. Barry, who is also a poet and well-known playwright, has clearly done his research.
    Yet his greatest achievement is his ability to develop his characters from Willie Dunne to the battalion’s priest, Father Buckley. He evokes the camaraderie and humour of the regiment, while poignantly detailing Willie Dunne’s lost family life back in Dublin, through his memories and brief home leaves. It charts this young man’s coming of age, his leaving behind of his sweetheart Gretta, and the effect the war has on his relationship with his stern but loving father, a policeman and implacable loyalist. This cannot be recommended as a feel-good book, but it is beautifully and emotively written with human value and true pathos.



Farewell but not Goodbye by Bobby Robson, Hodder & Stoughton, £18.99. ISBN 0340823461.
    Sporting autobiographies can often disappoint, but Bobby Robson’s reminiscences of his extraordinary career as a player and manager make excellent reading. Few managers have inspired such popularity. Renowned for his passion, hard work and sense of fair play, along with a unique ability to get the best out of some of the world’s most illustrious players, Robson has been English football’s most successful living manager.
    Brought up in the mining towns of the North East, he began his professional life as an apprentice electrician in the mines of Langley Park at the age of 15. Not long after, his prodigious football talent was recognised with a move to Fulham in 1950, followed later by West Bromwich Albion in 1956.
    It is a true rags-to-riches story and Robson never forgets his roots – a fact that becomes all too evident by his excitement at taking the job of manager of Newcastle United. Clearly his subsequent sacking from St James’ Park still rankles.
    Bobby Robson’s ability as a player was recognised with 20 caps for England, but it was in the field of football management that he really shone. He was given his opportunity at Ipswich, where he carved out remarkable success over 13 years.
    The unusual and eccentric nature of the club and its chairman provide some highly amusing anecdotes, but it is his memories of his time as England manager that the majority of readers will find most interesting. He relives leading England through two World Cups, which were to witness such epic incidents as the ‘Hand of God’ and the agony of coming within a penalty kick of the 1990 World Cup final. Written with Paul Hayward, chief sports writer of The Daily Telegraph, this autobiography reads very well and is a must for all sports fans.



Kipling by Jad Adams, Haus Books, £16. ISBN 1904950191.
    Rudyard Kipling was the greatest writer in a Britain that ruled the largest empire the world has known. Yet despite his astonishing body of work, he was a figure who courted controversy, as deeply hated as he was loved.
    In 1907 he won the Nobel Prize for Literature, but by the time of his death 30 years later, he had widely fallen out of public favour. It is testament to Kipling’s great talent that much of his work has retained its appeal in modern times, although perhaps not to the extent it had at the turn of the last century, when his stories commanded huge prices from American magazines.
    Books such as The Jungle Book and poems like If are still widely admired – indeed the latter is regularly voted the nation’s favourite poem. Arguably, though, his greatest works were his short stories, which include the remarkably moving They and such epic yarns as The Man who would be King.
    This sympathetic but honest biography explores Kipling’s private life, including his frustrated early loves, his family quarrels and the mental illness of his sister and wife which was to curse his middle years. Much of his work was richly biographical.
    As a child, he was cruelly abandoned and abused, and this experience led him to create some of the most enduring children’s characters ever written in Mowgli and Kim.
    He had a deep affinity with children and never fully recovered from the loss of two of his three children at tragically young ages.
    In particular, his encouragement of his son John to join the army at the outbreak of the Great War, where he was killed in action, played a major role in his increasing cynicism and in the decline of his literary output in later years.
    Jad Adams is particularly interesting in highlighting the complexities of Kipling’s character. Indeed, despite being labelled as a misogynist, few writers have written more warmly about middle-aged women, and although many of Kipling’s detractors accuse him of racism, no other artist of the time wrote with such intimacy of native life.
    At the end of this short but illuminating work, readers will no doubt be divided as to their thoughts about the man, but united in their admiration of his remarkable literary prowess.


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