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November 28 , 2007

Twelve Cities

A Personal Memoir


Roy Jenkins follows up Churchill with a book of a very different shape; short and semi-autobiographical, but also full of the wit and erudition which make that book such a success. Each of the twelve cities are described with a mixture of architectural interest, topographical insight, and personal anecdote.

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Saartjie se verjaardag (#19)

’n Dogtertjie met polio, Clara, kuier op Lynnekom. Sy het soveel karakter en gees dat sy almal betower en gou kruip sy diep in Saartjie-hulle se harte. Clara se suster, Carolina, is Clara se held en sal enigiets doen om haar te help – selfs al beteken dit dat sy ’n belowende musiekloopbaan moet prysgee sodat hulle ouers Clara se mediese onkostes…

Jenkins has three British cities: Cardiff, which was the metropolis of his Monmouthshire childhood, Birmingham which he represented in Parliament for 27 years, and Glasgow, which aroused in him an enthusiasm far transcending politics. Further afield there is Paris, Brussels, where he lived for four years as President of the European Commission; Bonn, and Berlin, surveyed from its pre-war splendour, through to its architectural resurgence of the 1990s, Naples and Barcelona. From Lord Jenkins's over a hundred visits to North America there emerge highly personal recollections of New York and a more objective view of the of Chicago. Dublin, so near to home and yet so distant, makes up the dozen.

Twelve Cities is a fascinating and sparkling collection from one of our very finest writers

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