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10 May 1990
... Dear Kingsley, Many thanks for your letter. Far from resenting it, I appreciate very deeply the friendship that it implies. Of course the problem of writing for the Sunday Pic has exercised my mind. But I ask myself: ought I to be content with teaching ten or fifteen undergraduates in Magdalen, or even with writing for the fairly limited readers of the New Statesman and the Manchester Guardian? If Phil gives me the chance of addressing five million people, ought I to take fright at the shade of Joad and turn it down? It is a difficult job that takes me a long time to learn; and I daresay I shall make lots of mistakes before I get better ...

Heat-Seeking

Susan Pedersen: A.J.P. Taylor

10 May 2007
A.J.P. TaylorRadical Historian of Europe 
by Chris Wrigley.
Tauris, 439 pp., £25, August 2006, 1 86064 286 1
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... This is the third full biography of A.J.P. Taylor to appear since his death in 1990. I find this fact almost more interesting than anything in the biographies themselves. For more than two decades after the war Taylor was, very nearly, the public face of the historical profession in Britain, delivering his pugnacious, often revisionist, views on television and radio, in more than two dozen books and hundreds of newspaper columns, and in countless lectures to Oxford undergraduates and the history-minded public ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: A New Carl

5 September 1985
... I can claim to have made some remote contribution. And this is a new grandson. There he is: Carl Taylor, as flourishing as can be. I have other grandsons, a whole host of them. But none of them is called after one of the statesmen of modern times. I must confess that I have got nearly to overlooking Karl Marx as worthy of admiration. But of course he is. In ...

Up to Islip

Rosalind Mitchison

2 August 1984
An Old Man’s Diary 
by A.J.P. Taylor.
Hamish Hamilton, 155 pp., £8.95, April 1984, 0 241 11247 8
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... hotel I can settle to a collection of diary pieces from our most distinguished modern historian, A.J.P. Taylor. Of course these are not real diary entries. A real diary entry is full of personal items which the law of libel or the proscription of the totally trivial contrive to rule out. Journalism diaries have to be compiled on principles of their ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: One of Two Versions

2 August 1984
... It is some time since I wrote a diary here. It will be seen I have had plenty to write about. I should explain that there are two versions of a period of my life. One is the version of other people, a version which others try to impose upon me. The other is my own version, a version equally genuine and much more unusual. According to others such as my doctors and the members of my family, I had a mental breakdown, was the victim of fantasies and never moved from the hospital bedroom except to have a bath and did not read even the newspaper ...
18 February 1982
Britain and the Cold War 1941-1947 
by Victor Rothwell.
Cape, 551 pp., £16, January 1982, 0 224 01478 1
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... Maybe there was once a time when the British Foreign Secretary, occasionally assisted by the staff of the Foreign Office, conducted British foreign policy single-handed. This was by no means the case during the Second World War or even after it. Winston Churchill, when Prime Minister, ran foreign policy with only expostulations here and there from the Foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden, and Eden certainly did not take much notice of the Foreign Office when making his interventions ...
5 November 1981
History and Imagination: Essays in honour of H.R. Trevor-Roper 
edited by Hugh Lloyd-Jones, Valerie Pearl and Blair Worden.
Duckworth, 386 pp., £25, October 1981, 9780715615706
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... The festschrift, a collection of essays in honour of a senior professor, used to be dismissed as a rather tiresome German habit. Now, I think, it has become embedded in English academic procedure. A festschrift is a gratifying compilation to receive and sets an interesting task for the contributor. But it is the most difficult type of book to review ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: Save the Round Reading-Room!

20 February 1986
... The late Professor Tate of Manchester University, I have been told, made his last ascent of Scafell pike at the age of 93. I made my last ascent of Pillar at the age of little more than seventy. I used to go abroad at least once a year and often twice. Now I have put all that behind me and have been content for a long time with Yarmouth mill in the Isle of Wight ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: Standing Up

23 May 1985
... One of my many accomplishments is to lecture without notes and standing up. I began this practice when I was an Assistant Lecturer at Manchester University some half a century ago. I reflected that both I and my audience would find my lectures unendurably tedious if I had read them half a dozen times already. I also felt that it was more courteous to stand up when giving a lecture, rather than to sit at a table reading a text written out beforehand ...

Taylorism

Norman Stone

22 January 1981
Politicians, Socialism and Historians 
by A.J.P. Taylor.
Hamish Hamilton, 259 pp., £12.50, October 1980, 0 241 10486 6
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A.J.P. TaylorA Complete Annotated Bibliography 
by Chris Wrigley.
Harvester, 607 pp., £35, August 1980, 0 85527 981 8
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...  ...

Misbehavin’

Susannah Clapp

23 July 1987
A Life with Alan: The Diary of A.J.P. Taylor’s Wife, Eva, from 1978 to 1985 
by Eva Haraszti Taylor.
Hamish Hamilton, 250 pp., £14.95, June 1987, 0 241 12118 3
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The Painted Banquet: My Life and Loves 
by Jocelyn Rickards.
Weidenfeld, 172 pp., £14.95, May 1987, 0 297 79119 2
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The Beaverbrook Girl 
by Janet Aitken Kidd.
Collins, 240 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 00 217602 5
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... When the London Review of Books began to run a Diary in 1982, A.J.P. Taylor was one of its authors. He always delivered to an exact length, well before the deadline, and often in person. A new editorial assistant, handed copy by the small seventy-five-year-old in a deerstalker who had scaled the steep stairs to our earlier offices, decided he must be a Mercury messenger ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: Magdalen College Portraits

3 May 1984
... I am beginning to recover from the effects of being knocked down in Old Compton Street by a motor-car. Now I can walk to the end of the road. The other day I made an excursion as far as Camden Town to have my hair cut. This left me a little tired but otherwise unharmed. I resolved on a more ambitious venture: nothing less than a journey to Oxford when I drove part of the way myself ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: Habits

1 March 1984
... I buy coffee about once a month. This involves an elaborate pilgrimage. First I take a bus almost to Piccadilly Circus, a pilgrimage in itself. Then I find my way by back streets to the head of Old Compton Street, pausing at an excellent fishmonger who has the best kippers in London. My objective is I. Camisa, the best Italian grocer in the area. The history of this goes back a long way ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: Preposterous Arrangements

18 August 1983
... I spent almost forty years of my life in Oxford. Seven years ago on my retirement I left Oxford and have hardly ever been there since. Much has changed. Dinner at Magdalen College now has only three courses, an economy which we resisted even during the Second World War. And of course there are girls everywhere. Last time I dined in Magdalen I sat next to a young lady who presented herself to me as a Fellow of the College ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: A historian writes for fun

19 May 1983
... I have recently read The History Men by John Kenyon. I remember reading a different book, The History Man by Malcolm Bradbury, some years ago. I did not find Bradbury’s book at all funny, which I am told it is intended to be. After a careful reading I had not the slightest inkling of what the book was supposed to be about. Indeed I thought my mind was going ...

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