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11 October 1990
... The past, we’ve been told, is a different country and they do things differently there, but not for me, not where AlanTaylor is concerned. He had a most wonderfully consistent personality. That look of amused, quizzical discernment which is even in the photographs his third wife Eva took of him in the sunshine on the last ...

Wizard of Ox

Paul Addison

8 November 1990
... Many tributes have been paid to AlanTaylor, including some by old and close friends who knew him very much better than I did. My excuse for adding one more piece is that I would like to explain something of what he meant to younger historians ...
5 October 2016
American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804 
by Alan Taylor.
Norton, 704 pp., £30, November 2016, 978 0 393 08281 4
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... the 20th century, Southern blacks who wanted to exercise the right to vote faced violent retribution from the Ku Klux Klan and kindred groups. Where does all this originate? In American Revolutions, AlanTaylor offers a surprising answer: the struggle for independence itself. Racism, violence, scurrilous attacks on opponents: all, he argues, were part of American political culture from the outset ...

Misbehavin’

Susannah Clapp

23 July 1987
A Life with AlanThe 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 ...
4 September 1997
... it is now) I chose scampi, which I’d never eaten. Bruce sniffed: ‘Commercial traveller’s food.’ McFarlane has figured in accounts of the period chiefly as the colleague and opponent of A.J.P. Taylor with whom he shared the history teaching at Magdalen. Taylor achieved the kind of fame Bruce wanted none of, but, unlike Taylor, Bruce managed without effort to acquire a body of pupils who were both ...
20 February 1997
Europe: A History 
by Norman Davies.
Oxford, 1365 pp., £25, October 1996, 0 19 820171 0
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... to understand this distortion. One of his models, Hugh Seton-Watson, spent a lifetime attacking the provincialism of conventional Western history writing. (Another model and tutor, the late A.J.P. Taylor, took a different line, treating the smaller nations of Eastern Europe with impatient contempt.) But he is the first to offer the general public a convincing alternative. It was high time. The old ...

Diary

R.W. Johnson: Alan Taylor, Oxford Don

8 May 1986
... When I became a fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, the fact that my vote at college meetings counted the same as that of A.J.P. Taylor seemed to me, as it still does, a glorious democratic quirk of the Oxford collegiate system. I was just 26 and the youngest fellow; he was probably the most famous historian in the world. I was not ...

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 ...

Hit and Muss

John Campbell

23 January 1986
David Low 
by Colin Seymour-Ure and Jim Schoff.
Secker, 180 pp., £9.95, October 1985, 9780436447556
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... files. There also were to hand not only Hansard but Beaverbrook’s copies of the biographies and memoirs of practically every political figure of the 20th century, generously supplemented by A.J.P. Taylor’s accumulated review copies. From time to time there would emerge from his tiny office in the thin end of the wedge-shaped building, behind the Sickert portrait of Beaverbrook and the cases of ...

Going Flat Out, National Front and All

Ian Hamilton: Watch your mouth!

14 December 2000
Diaries: Into Politics 
by Alan​ Clark.
Weidenfeld, 389 pp., £20, October 2000, 0 297 64402 5
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The Assassin’s Cloak: An Anthology of the World’s Greatest Diarists 
edited by Irene Taylor and Alan Taylor.
Canongate, 684 pp., £25, November 2000, 0 86241 920 4
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The Journals of Woodrow Wyatt. Vol. III: From Major to Blair 
edited by Sarah Curtis.
Macmillan, 823 pp., £25, November 2000, 9780333774069
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... has lain with her as a husband ‘more times since this falling-out than in I believe twelve months before – and with more pleasure to her then I think in all the time of our marriage before’.) Alan Clark’s Diaries 1983-91, published a few years ago, were applauded for their beastly candour but Clark was nowhere near as winningly ingenuous as Pepys. Mrs Clark was generally pitied at the time ...
27 January 1994
A.J.P. TaylorA Biography 
by Adam Sisman.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 468 pp., £18.99, January 1994, 1 85619 210 5
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A.J.P. TaylorThe Traitor within the Gates 
by Robert Cole.
Macmillan, 285 pp., £40, November 1993, 0 333 59273 5
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From Napoleon to the Second International: International Essays on the 19th Century 
by A.J.P. Taylor, edited by Chris Wrigley.
Hamish Hamilton, 426 pp., £25, November 1993, 0 241 13444 7
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... market through the columns of the popular press; the author of controversial works which made news as well as money. No one asked A.J.P. Who? Such tensions are worth exploring; and the more A.J.P. Taylor’s life is explored, the more tensions are disclosed. When he wrote his autobiography, he proposed to call it ‘An Uninteresting Story’, doubtless suspecting that his publishers would veto this ...

Nobody wants it

José Harris

5 December 1991
Letters to Eva, 1969-1983 
by A.J.P. Taylor, edited by Eva Haraszti Taylor.
Century, 486 pp., £20, June 1991, 0 7126 4634 5
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... A cynic? How can I not be when I have spent my life writing history?’ AlanTaylor’s love letters to his Hungarian third wife created a predictably prurient, though transient, stir when they were published earlier this year. Their more lasting interest may lie in the light that ...

Diary

John Bayley: Serious Novels

10 November 1994
... happened to Trevor’s characters, or to Mantel’s. Colliding with unavoidable actualities was what seemed to inspire some of the best novels, notably James Kelman’s How late it was, how late, Alan Hollinghurst’s The Folding Star, Anita Brookner’s A Private View, Candia McWilliam’s Debatable Land. A heterogeneous assortment, but in each case the subject and its world had found the author ...
10 May 1990
... Pic or end my contract with Phil. All the same, thanks for the warning.                            Yours ever,                               Alan Dear Kingsley, You are quite right about Aberdeen, and I was careless about him. I ought to have made his view clearer, and so incidentally ought Temperley at the end of his book on the Crimea. I ...

Snob Cuts

Rosemary Hill: Modern Snobbery

3 November 2016
... good-natured assumption that everyone is a snob about something and to that extent we are all ridiculous. The bookseller was a snob about snobbery and thought it was vulgar to talk about class. D.J. Taylor is perhaps a literary snob for Cooper gets no mention in his much less enjoyable The New Book of Snobs: A Definitive Guide to Modern Snobbery (Little, Brown, £16.99). His first mistake is to attempt ...

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