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Schools of History

Walter Laqueur

26 September 1991
Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives 
by Alan Bullock.
HarperCollins, 1187 pp., £20, June 1991, 0 00 215494 3
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Stalin: Breaker of Nations 
by Robert Conquest.
Weidenfeld, 346 pp., £18.99, September 1991, 0 297 81194 0
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... But a great deal has been said about him ever since and no one has been better at saying it than Alan Bullock. His Hitler: A Study in Tyranny, published in 1952, is still the best biography, and one of the best books on the Nazi phenomenon in general. Only a very few other works come to mind which are in the same league: Konrad Heiden’s history of the ...

Capability Bevin

George Walden

2 February 1984
Ernest Bevin: Foreign Secretary 1945-1951 
by Alan Bullock.
Heinemann, 896 pp., £30, November 1983, 0 434 09452 8
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... both idealistic and pragmatic terms, to have given the Russians the means of creating a nuclear balance. That is more than can be said for the notion of sacrificing our own bomb today and thereby upsetting a working balance. Within a week, Bevin’s shrewdness got the better of him. The Russians, he decided, were likely to ...

The Greatest Warlord

David Blackbourn: Hitler

22 March 2001
Hitler, 1936-45: Nemesis 
by Ian Kershaw.
Allen Lane, 1115 pp., £25, October 2000, 0 7139 9229 8
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... five years ago counted 120,000 pieces of work on Hitler. We have had serious biographers, like Alan Bullock and Joachim Fest, and we have had psycho-historians who put the Führer on the couch or seemed to think that there was some point in counting his testicles (the evidence suggests two). There have, in fact, been as many Hitlers as there are ways ...

Going on the air

Philip French

2 May 1985
Orwell: The War Broadcasts 
edited by W.J. West.
Duckworth/BBC, 304 pp., £12.95, March 1985, 0 7156 1916 0
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... range of people than he might have met elsewhere. His colleagues and BBC contemporaries included Alan Bullock (recipient of a self-righteous Orwell memo), William Empson and John Morris (both of whom wrote elegant memoirs of Orwell at the BBC); he employed Nye Bevan, Richard Acland, J.B.S. Haldane, T.S. Eliot, Quintin Hogg, Bernard Shaw; he led a BBC ...

Casino Politics

David Stevenson: Writing European history

6 October 2005
The Lights that Failed: European International History 1919-33 
by Zara Steiner.
Oxford, 938 pp., £35, April 2005, 0 19 822114 2
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... 1848-1918, appeared in 1954. Half a century later its two founding fathers, William Deakin and Alan Bullock, are dead, and their project remains incomplete. Individual volumes cover Germany, France from 1848 to 1945, Spain, the Low Countries, Romania and the European Jews. As yet they include only tsarist (not Soviet) Russia, and there is nothing on ...

Hopping in His Matchbox

Neal Ascherson: Hitler as a Human

1 June 2016
Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939 
by Volker Ullrich, translated by Jefferson Chase.
Bodley Head, 758 pp., £25, March 2016, 978 1 84792 285 4
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... start with Konrad Heiden’s, written in Hitler’s lifetime, and go on through the works of Alan Bullock, Eberhard Jäckel and Joachim Fest to reach Ian Kershaw and now Ullrich’s large, steady book – again, the first of two projected volumes. So is it really Hitler’s personality and private life that we still need to know about? Who he ...


Michael Hofmann: The Charm of Hugo Williams

22 May 2003
Collected Poems 
by Hugo Williams.
Faber, 288 pp., £20, September 2002, 0 571 21233 6
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... Two, the son of the English actor Hugh Williams, schooled by Life and Eton, a youthful toiler for Alan Ross’s London Magazine, an erstwhile globetrotter and a lifelong London resident, seems as English as they come. (So English, in fact, that he will object that his mother is Australian.) He simply makes it a more interesting condition than others succeed ...

Huff and Puff

John Sutherland

3 October 1996
We Should Know Better 
by George Walden.
Fourth Estate, 231 pp., £9.99, September 1996, 1 85702 520 2
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All Must Have Prizes 
by Melanie Phillips.
Little, Brown, 384 pp., £17.50, September 1996, 0 316 88180 5
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... George Walden, who for the last year or two has talked about nothing else. This ‘apartheid’ unbalances the quality of education which our children receive and hypostatises malign aspects of the British class structure. Walden estimates (the source of his information is uncited in the interest of keeping his book ‘jargon-free’) that 7 per cent of the ...


R.W. Johnson

9 March 1995
The State We’re In 
by Will Hutton.
Cape, 352 pp., £16.99, January 1995, 0 224 03688 2
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... the pound to float to new heights and creating the conditions for the credit boom created the imbalance between production and consumption that still plagues the British economy today.’ This is, rightly, one of Hutton’s great themes: that we consume too much, invest too little here, invest too much abroad, demand ridiculously high returns, are prone to ...

The Medium is the Market

Hal Foster: Business Art

9 October 2008
... the Hirst auction). At £10.3 million, the top seller at Sotheby’s was The Golden Calf, a white bullock in formaldehyde, with crown, horns and hoofs made of 18-carat gold: dance on, idolaters! Yet how singular is the Hirst phenomenon, by which I mean not only the recent auction, but an entire career strung together by shock and scandal and a body of work ...

All Together Now

John Lloyd: The British Trade Union

19 October 2000
British Trade Unions and Industrial Politics. Vol. I: The Postwar Compromise, 1945-64 
edited by John McIlroy and Nina Fishman et al.
Ashgate, 335 pp., £35, January 2000, 0 7546 0018 1
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British Trade Unions and Industrial Politics. Vol. II: The High Tide of Trade Unionism, 1964-79 
edited by John McIlroy and Nina Fishman et al.
Ashgate, 389 pp., £35, January 2000, 0 7546 0018 1
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The TUC: From the General Strike to New Unionism 
by Robert Taylor.
Palgrave, 299 pp., £45, September 2000, 0 333 93066 5
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... to be stateless; and to the possibility of Europe’s tighter immigration restrictions being balanced by an influx of professionals and technicians. ‘Global citizenship’ would thus be extended from the upper to the middle classes – a lifestyle equivalent to the extension of the suffrage. For some years, commentators have pointed out that ...

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