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Too Proud to Fight

David Reynolds: The ‘Lusitania’ Effect, 28 November 2002

Wilful Murder: The Sinking of the ‘Lusitania’ 
by Diana Preston.
Doubleday, 543 pp., £18.99, May 2002, 0 385 60173 5
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Lusitania: Saga and Myth 
by David Ramsay.
Chatham, 319 pp., £20, September 2001, 1 86176 170 8
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Woodrow Wilson 
by John Thompson.
Longman, 288 pp., £15.99, August 2002, 0 582 24737 3
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... sacrificed the Lusitania to draw the United States into the war. Both Diana Preston and David Ramsay deal briskly and effectively with this. Churchill and Jackie Fisher, the First Sea Lord, were preoccupied with the escalating political crisis over Gallipoli. The absence of British naval escorts for the Lusitania in the war zone reflected the ...

Did Harold really get it in the eye?

Patrick Wormald: The Normans, 3 June 2004

The Battle of Hastings, 1066 
by M.K. Lawson.
Tempus, 288 pp., £16.99, October 2003, 0 7524 1998 6
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The Normans: The History of a Dynasty 
by David Crouch.
Hambledon, 345 pp., £25, July 2002, 1 85285 387 5
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Domesday Book: A Complete Translation 
edited by Ann Williams and G.H. Martin.
Penguin, 1436 pp., £18.99, October 2003, 0 14 143994 7
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... not the central figure, whether or not he has been hit by ” an arrow. This view was dismissed by David Wilson in his superb colour facsimile of 1985. It turns out, however, that the scene as we know it is the result of a restoration in the earlier 19th century. The areas in which work was done included, crucially, the flights on the end of the missile ...

Wilsonia

Paul Foot, 2 March 1989

The Wilson Plot: The Intelligence Services and the Discrediting of a Prime Minister 
by David Leigh.
Heinemann, 271 pp., £12.95, November 1988, 0 434 41340 2
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A Price too High 
by Peter Rawlinson.
Weidenfeld, 284 pp., £16, March 1989, 0 297 79431 0
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... with arguably the greatest political scoop of our time: he or she would finally reveal why Harold Wilson, to the astonishment of the entire political and journalistic world, suddenly took himself off to obscurity. Harold Wilson had dominated the political scene for 13 years before his resignation in March 1976. He had ...
Sleaze: Politicians, Private Interests and Public Reaction 
edited by F.F. Ridley and Alan Doig.
Oxford, 222 pp., £10.99, April 1996, 0 19 922273 8
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Changing Trains: The Autobiography of Steven Norris 
Hutchinson, 273 pp., £16.99, October 1996, 0 09 180212 1Show More
The Quango Debate 
edited by F.F. Ridley and David Wilson.
Oxford, 188 pp., £10.99, September 1995, 9780199222384
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... to jack up share prices was to sack people. To pluck an example from my own experience, when Mr David Montgomery was appointed chief executive of the Daily Mirror in 1992, he was immediately showered with share options. The price of the shares was relatively low at the time because the Mirror was doing rather well. It had no proprietor. A year ...

Degrade and Destroy

David Bromwich, 25 September 2014

... the causes in arrogance and ideology go a long way back. Among the culprits are Woodrow Wilson, Harry Truman, Ronald Reagan, and the triumvirate of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Tony Blair (an honorary American in this context). Wilson promoted the idea of the United States as the country whose mission was to ...

The Great War Revisited

Michael Howard, 23 April 1987

The Myriad Faces of War: Britain and the Great War 1914-1918 
by Trevor Wilson.
Polity, 864 pp., £35, September 1986, 9780745600932
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British Strategy and War Aims 1914-1916 
by David French.
Allen and Unwin, 274 pp., £25, September 1986, 0 04 942197 2
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The Old Lie: The Great War and the Public School Ethos 
by Peter Parker.
Constable, 319 pp., £15, March 1987, 0 09 466980 5
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... and social change. Recently a number of younger historians – Kathleen Birk, Keith Neilson, and David French in his first book British Economic and Strategic Planning 1905-1915 – have begun to consider some of the key questions of finance and economics. But until now nobody has tried to put all this specialist work together. The last oeuvre de synthèse ...

To the Benefit of No One

Niamh Gallagher: Henry Wilson’s Assassination, 4 August 2022

Great Hatred: The Assassination of Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson MP 
by Ronan McGreevy.
Faber, 442 pp., £20, May, 978 0 571 37280 5
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... Company who had died in the First World War. The guest of honour was Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson, who unveiled a memorial in the station’s booking hall. It was marble, seven metres high and eight metres wide, and recorded the names of the 1220 men who had sacrificed their lives ‘in response to the call of their King and Country’. At six foot ...

Hopeless Warriors

Michael Gorra: Sherman Alexie’s novels, 5 March 1998

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven 
by Sherman Alexie.
Vintage, 223 pp., £6.99, September 1997, 9780749386696
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Reservation Blues 
by Sherman Alexie.
Minerva, 306 pp., £6.99, September 1996, 0 7493 9513 3
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Indian Killer 
by Sherman Alexie.
Secker, 420 pp., £9.99, September 1997, 0 436 20433 9
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... it carries over into Alexie’s handling of other characters. Take the white mystery-writer, Jack Wilson: ‘Wilson thought about the Indian Killer. A white man scalped. A white man disappeared, a white boy kidnapped. It was Biblical, David v. Goliath. But ...

It’s Mummie

Jenny Diski, 16 December 1993

The Little Princesses 
by Marion Crawford, introduced by A.N. Wilson.
Duckworth, 128 pp., £14.99, November 1993, 0 7156 2497 0
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... It was not ever thus in England,’ says A.N. Wilson, stilting his prose in deference to the text he’s introducing. He’s speaking of the deluge of intimacies we can expect these days in the press about the Royal Family. The ‘mystique of kingship’, Wilson explains, was restored in the late Thirties by George VI and Elizabeth, who, even before they moved into Buckingham Palace, erected a wall of silence around the House of Windsor, as soundproof as the walls of all those castles they processed around ...

That Old Thing

A.N. Wilson, 30 January 1992

God’s Politician: John Paul at the Vatican 
by David Willey.
Faber, 249 pp., £14.99, January 1992, 0 571 16180 4
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... big man. Once one recognises what he is up to, all the paradoxes of his character fall into place. David Willey has written a fascinating book, and has done so from the point of view of an agonised catholic liberal. ‘My faith in God is intact,’ he tells his readers by way of preface, ‘but my allegiance to the Roman Church has been suspended while I ...

Dingy Quadrilaterals

Ian Gilmour: The Profumo Case, 19 October 2006

Bringing the House Down: A Family Memoir 
by David Profumo.
Murray, 291 pp., £20, September 2006, 0 7195 6608 8
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... years after the event. And perhaps she was right, though that cannot be the reason for their son, David Profumo, once more resurrecting it. Presumably he needed to get it out of his system. Whatever his reasons, he tries to discover in this well-crafted memoir, which is effectively a joint biography of his parents and himself – a difficult undertaking ...

Lessons for Civil Servants

David Marquand, 21 August 1980

The Secret Constitution 
by Brian Sedgemore.
Hodder, 256 pp., £7.95, July 1980, 0 340 24649 9
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The Civil Servants 
by Peter Kellner and Lord Crowther-Hunt.
Macdonald/Jane’s, 352 pp., £9.95, July 1980, 0 354 04487 7
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... telling passage, describing two ‘images of patronage’: The first is of Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, walking through the voting lobbies in the House of Commons surrounded by a seething mass of sycophants so that the Prime Minister himself could not be distinguished from the blob which seemed to be moving down the lobby. The second is of Harold ...

In Cardiff

John Barrell: Richard Wilson, 25 September 2014

... currently staging a large loan exhibition of the Welsh ‘father of English landscape’, Richard Wilson, curated by Martin Postle and Robin Simon. It is a magnificent show, the first on this scale for more than thirty years. It will be at Cardiff until 26 October, and it is accompanied by a sumptuous catalogue, the fullest, most faithfully reproduced ...
The Socialist Agenda 
edited by David Lipsey.
Cape, 242 pp., £7.95, January 1981, 0 224 01886 8
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The Future of Socialism 
by Anthony Crosland.
Cape, 368 pp., £8.95, January 1981, 0 224 01888 4
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Politics is for people 
by Shirley Williams.
Allen Lane/Penguin, 230 pp., £8.50, April 1981, 0 7139 1423 8
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... course, as it is now, but as it used to be in the good old days, before it was corrupted by Harold Wilson and infiltrated by the Militant Tendency. That Labour Party, after all, was the party most of us joined and went into politics to fight for: if it had survived, we would be in it still. It is tempting to assume that what is true of us must also be true of ...

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