Michael McMahon

Michael McMahon is a freelance writer who lives in Norfolk, England.

Latest by Michael McMahon in Chronicles

Results: 21 Articles found.
  • September 2012

    The End of Innocence

    Alas for the generation born to these infantilized adults! Alas for their children’s children, too! The sins of their absent fathers’ absent fathers have been visited on generation after generation now.

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  • August 2012

    Synchronized Grinning

    The Royal Mint has struck a series of coins to commemorate the 2012 London Olympics. Each depicts a sporting event and a Roman god. No, you have not misread that last sentence, nor have I mis­typed it.

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  • The Lord's Shepard
    February 2010

    The Lord's Shepard

    We had known it was a “white road” when we had found it on the map, but when my wife and I got to the start of it, we hesitated. There was a sign at the junction, and it made us stop and think: RD 103 EN LACUNE CIRCULATION DANGEREUSE ET DÉCONSEILLÉE.

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  • The Communion of Saints
    September 2005

    The Communion of Saints

    I wish I could say I remember laughing when I first read that story in The Children’s Book of Saints, published in 1940 and reprinted six times before the 1952 edition that I still have on my shelves.

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  • The Abolition of Learning
    March 2005

    The Abolition of Learning

    In 1997, the headmaster of the English secondary school in which I was teaching ordered a bibliocaust. The inspectors were coming, and he wanted our library to look up-to-date.

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  • Saints and Pilgrims
    February 2005

    Saints and Pilgrims

    Marie’s walk was an act of prayer for her brother, who had leukemia. Alessandro had recently endured a divorce and was walking to find peace. Klaus was taking time out to decide what to do with his life after losing his job.

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  • Education and Authority
    January 2005

    Education and Authority

    I had taught in private schools for years, but I hesitated before entering the classroom to teach my first lesson in the state sector. I stopped a colleague in the corridor and asked him for advice.

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  • From the Mountains Above Batumi
    January 2005

    From the Mountains Above Batumi

    The Black Sea city of Batumi used to be beautiful, and, under a foot of freshly fallen snow, Batumi is beautiful again. Stuccoed terraces of tired 19th-century buildings sit doorstep-deep in white.

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  • The Hunt Is Up
    November 2004

    The Hunt Is Up

    On September 15, 2004, Tony Blair cried havoc and let slip the dogs of war. They were particularly ugly dogs.

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  • There’s No Place Like Home
    September 2004

    There’s No Place Like Home

    Every school has a playground for its pupils; English schools provide a playground for politicians, too. Children seek security, regularity, and continuity: The games they play in the schoolyard observe rules that do not change.

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  • January 2004

    Another Untaught Generation

    When Dickens wrote about the “ragged schools” that so pitifully attempted to address the problem of London’s uneducated underclass, he was less moved by their pupils’ physical wretchedness, which was extreme, than by their spiritual poverty, which he saw as absolute.

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  • September 2003

    Children in the Hellmouth

    In the week before English schools closed for the summer, three educational news items grabbed the national headlines. This is not especially remarkable in itself: English education has been in a state of revolution for years, and unsettling stories that reflect the unsettled state of our universities, colleges, and schools are featured almost daily in our papers.

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  • January 2003

    Four Deaths and Three Funerals

    It was one in the morning, and my headlights were cutting a tunnel of light above the road through the woods by the Whissonsett turn, when an image suddenly dropped right in front of me like a slide before the lamp of an old-fashioned projector.

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  • July 2002

    Out With the New

    On March 12, I was kneeling at the back of the vast 11th-century abbey church of Fontgombault, France, where I formed exactly one third of the congregation at a mid-week, mid-Lent, mid-morning Mass.

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  • December 2001

    In the Footsteps of St. Francis

    I only believed myself close to death once on my Holy Year pilgrimage in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi.

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  • September 2001

    Credit Where Credit's Due

    Tony Blair's promised target before being elected to his first term in office was "Education, education, education"; some months into his second term, it is clear that his promise has been honored, and that his target has been hit—clean between the eyes.

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  • February 2000

    Talking of Ale

    In 1136, Bishop Henri de Blois, grandson of William the Conqueror, founded the hospice of St. Cross, in Hampshire, to provide for "thirteen poor men, feeble and so reduced in strength that they can hardly or with difficulty support themselves without another's aid."

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  • December 1999

    The New Millennium

    The new millennium is still a year away, but in London, as elsewhere, the moment appointed for its celebration is that marked by the first appearance of those three mystically consecutive zeros in the calendar.

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  • Brookfield Revisited
    September 1999

    Brookfield Revisited

    The Golden Year of the Golden Age of Hollywood was, perhaps, 1939. Amongst its many films that have since become classics, was the first (and best) version of James Hilton's novel Goodbye, Mr. Chips.

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  • September 1999

    State Education in England, or English Education in a State

    Those who read my "Letter From Banausia" in the June Chronicles will perhaps recall that it described the studied destruction of the tradition of learning in English schools and its replacement by politicized, centrist, authoritarian, line-managed training for employment.

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Results: 21 Articles found.



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