Geoffrey Best

Geoffrey Best’s Churchill and War was published in 2005. He taught history at Sussex for many years.

For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ ‘Chuck him out, the brute!’, But it’s ‘Saviour of ’is country’ when the guns begin to shoot.

Rudyard Kipling wrote ‘Tommy’ in order to call attention to a couple of questions that were not new then and are with us still: what sort of an army do we need, and how do we regard and use the...

Hooked Trout: Appeasement please

Geoffrey Best, 2 June 2005

Charles Stewart Henry Vane-Tempest-Stewart, the seventh Marquess of Londonderry, who died in 1949, will not be moved up the scale of historical significance even by so accomplished a book as this. Its author is unlikely to be disappointed. Ian Kershaw’s purpose has not been to write a full biography, or to rehabilitate a politician he considers to have been unjustly neglected. Instead,...

They made the oddest of couples, Lindemann and Churchill. A German-born bourgeois bachelor, scientist, airman, pianist, social climber, near teetotaller, non-smoker, vegetarian, buttoned-up loner and through forty years the most disliked don in Oxford. A rogue English aristocrat, family man, soldier, historian, journalist, MP and PM, drinking, smoking, eating and tirelessly talking his way...

Britain’s policy towards Hitler in the later 1930s is one of those historical topics that are dead but won’t lie down. The supply of relevant facts has virtually dried up. But what to make of them – including as facts, the mentalities, opinions and purposes of those involved – and how to interpret the various words and deeds, remains a minefield of protected positions...

Educating the Blimps: military history

Geoffrey Best, 10 June 1999

Basil Liddell Hart was ‘the captain who taught generals’. His active participation in fighting was limited to three brief bursts during the First World War, the last and by far the worst ending with a nightmarish experience of panic and gas in Mametz Wood, on the Somme, which left him unfit for further front-line service. In proportion as the Army’s hold on him weakened, his critical interest in its mentality and methods increased. He began to write about training and tactics and at once was noted for the clarity and confidence of his prose and the originality of his ideas. His appointment as military correspondent of the Morning Post in 1924 gave him non-professional readers for the first time. He moved to the Daily Telegraph in 1925, where he stayed until climbing to what was then the top of the newspaper tree, the Times, in 1934.‘

Over Several Tops: Winston Churchill

Bernard Porter, 14 January 2002

Why two more Churchill biographies? Geoffrey Best reckons there are fifty or a hundred out there already. Two good reasons to want to add to them would be the unearthing of new evidence or a...

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Humanitarian Juggernaut

Alex de Waal, 22 June 1995

The ‘law of war’ is a paradox, an exercise by turns noble and futile. ‘A remedy must be found,’ Grotius wrote, ‘for those who believe that in war nothing is lawful,...

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The Revolution is over

R.W. Johnson, 16 February 1989

Eugen Weber, who contributes one of the essays to this interesting collection, writes of the way the Revolution became a national obsession in 19th-century France. The reason was, at least in...

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Conrad Russell, 7 November 1985

This could be called a review of the three Regiuses. G.R. Elton is at present Regius Professor at Cambridge. Owen Chadwick, to whom tribute is paid in a festschrift, is his predecessor in the...

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Eric Hobsbawm, 3 June 1982

Is it a good thing that a country, after almost forty years of accelerating decline, has nothing more satisfactory to look back upon than a victorious world war with relatively modest casualties?...

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War and Peace

A.J.P. Taylor, 2 October 1980

War has been throughout history the curse and inspiration of mankind. The sufferings and destruction that accompany it rival those caused by famine, plague and natural catastrophes. Yet in nearly...

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