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Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: Hungarians and Falklanders, 17 February 1983

... I am just returning to normal life after some weeks in Hungary. Not that life in Hungary is abnormal. Indeed, when asked what conditions in Hungary are like I always reply: ‘Much as in England.’ I was told that there was less unemployment. On the other hand, prices have recently gone up more. But, in general, life in Hungary is much as in any West European country ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: The End of Solitary Existence, 17 March 1983

... Here is a story with a warning. For years past, as I drove from King’s Cross to the Angel, I have noticed St James’s Church, Pentonville, at the top of the hill and have promised myself that one day I would pay it a visit. I was in too much of a hurry or the traffic was too dense or it was beginning to rain – there was always some excuse for pushing by ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: Enough about Politics, 15 April 1982

... Most years I make occasional lecture tours for the Historical Association. This year I thought I had done wisely to plan a trip to the West Country in late March. Nothing could have been more mistaken. There was no benign spring: there was either driving rain or cold winds near to freezing. Apart from an inspection of Plymouth harbour, we never went near the sea, which I am told is the main purpose of such a visit ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: Death of a Historian , 30 December 1982

... E. H. Carr died on 3 November last. I am inclined to say that he was the greatest British historian of our age: certainly he was the one I most admired. Ted Carr had a long run, varied enough to provide half a dozen careers for any lesser man. He started with twenty years in the diplomatic service, including membership of the British peace delegation to Paris in 1919 ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: Problems for the Solitary Housekeeper , 3 March 1983

... These are troubled times. We have a strike of water workers. I have been worrying for weeks whether the water would continue to run out of the taps. I even laid in a stock of Perrier water. In London at any rate, the water still runs. As to the Perrier water, almost my favourite drink, I cannot allow myself to drink it until the situation becomes acute ...

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: Books are getting too long, 1 December 1983

... Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband, is doing well in his publicity at present, and well he deserves it. There is a fascinating exhibition devoted to him, a sort of glorified guide to the exhibition by Hermione Hobhouse, and a first-class biography by Robert Rhodes James.* Albert took a long time to receive his deserts. Indeed I doubt whether he was fully appreciated during his lifetime ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: The Mosleys and Other Affairs, 17 November 1983

... My dear friend Gerald, Lord Berners, died in 1950. I thought that not more than half a dozen people remembered him. But the centenary of his birth has brought him back into attention. There have been concerts of his music, performances of his ballets and an exhibition devoted to his life on the fifth floor of the Festival Hall. His two best books have been reprinted in paperback: First Childhood, the first part of his autobiography, and Far from the Madding War, the best novel written about the Second World War, at any rate in Oxford ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: Judgment Day, 16 June 1983

... As I write this paragraph the General Election is still almost four weeks away, and yet it seems already to have stolen the show. There is nothing else to read in the newspapers of any significance. My problem is that the General Election itself is of singularly little significance. No one in his senses imagines that the result will make the slightest difference ...

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: No doubt I am old-fashioned, 1 April 1982

... As I get older – and I have another birthday coming up – I reflect with detached curiosity on the changes I have seen. The most considerable change has only just occurred to me. When I was young we all believed in Progress and so did a couple of generations before us. We followed the guidance of Dr Coué and chanted in unison: ‘Every day in every way I am getting better and better ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: Personal and Public Affairs, 4 November 1982

... In the days of my youth I kept a diary – not occasional reflections set down at the instruction of an editor but systematic jottings recording the events of each day. The diary became a slavery. Not a day passed without my sitting down to write in it. I imposed events on myself so that I should have something to write about. Passages were inserted in order to please or sometimes to offend my friends and relations ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: From Nuclear Bombs to Samuel Johnson, 18 November 1982

... The public opinion polls telling us which political party will win the next general election are rarely right and I don’t much care whether they are right or wrong. The census every ten years of film critics naming the world’s ten best films is a different matter and stirs my zest for controversy. The most recent list has just been published and I am glad to report that it contains no film less than 19 years old ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: An Unexpected Experience, 6 December 1984

... The study of English political history has suffered a grievous loss with the death of Stephen Koss in New York on 25 October last. Though only 44, hardly more than half my age, Stephen had already established himself as an authority of the first rank on British political history in the 19th and 20th centuries. He wrote outstanding biographies of such Liberal leaders as Asquith, John Morley and Haldane, concluding with A ...
Democracy and Sectarianism: A Political and Social History of Liverpool 1868-1939 
by P.J. Waller.
Liverpool, 556 pp., £24.50, May 1981, 0 85223 074 5
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... Liverpool has always been a special case in British politics. At first glance the pattern may appear much the same as anywhere else: Whig and Tory, Liberal and Conservative, with Labour intruding towards the end. The names may be the same: their significance was widely different. For instance, Unitarians provided early 19th-century Liverpool with its intellectual aristocracy ...

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