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Napoleonology

Douglas Johnson

7 February 1980
Napoleon: Master of Europe 1805-1807 
by Alistair Horne.
Weidenfeld, 232 pp., £6.95, September 1980, 0 297 77678 9
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Napoleon’s Diplomatic Service 
by Edward Whitcomb.
Duke, 218 pp., June 1981, 9780822304210
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Dictionary of the Napoleonic Wars 
by David Chandler.
Arms and Armour, 576 pp., £12.95, November 1980, 0 85368 353 0
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Napoleon, the Jews and the Sanhedrin 
by Simon Schwarzfuchs.
Routledge, 200 pp., £5.50, March 1979, 0 7100 8955 4
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Auguste de Colbert: Aristocratic Survival in an Era of Upheaval, 1793-1809 
by Jeanne Ojala.
Utah, $15, February 1979, 9780685953709
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... It would appear to be difficult to write a book about Napoleon without apologising for it. AlistairHorne talks about the three hundred thousand which have already been devoted to this one man, but Edward Whitcomb brings about a substantial (and welcome) reduction by referring only to some two hundred ...
24 November 1988
Macmillan 1894-1956 
by Alistair Horne.
Macmillan, 537 pp., £16.95, October 1988, 0 333 27691 4
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... he was all his life opposed it has for some time been in decline – a process which the appearance of his official biography would normally be expected to halt, if not reverse. In a graceful preface AlistairHorne says that he at first refused the invitation to be Macmillan’s biographer. Having never before attempted a biography, he was uneasy about his qualifications, though as an outstanding military ...
27 July 1989
Macmillan. Vol. II: 1957-1986 
by Alistair Horne.
Macmillan, 741 pp., £18.95, June 1989, 0 333 49621 3
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... for the resignation that resulted from a faulty prognosis – largely his own – concerning his health, it would probably have returned to its previous peak with the winning of the 1964 Election. AlistairHorne quotes some recent press comment to the effect that Harold Macmillan was the father of British inflation. We all know about ‘lags’ in economics, but the degree of lag needed to justify that ...

Hoylake

Peter Clarke

30 March 1989
Selwyn Lloyd 
by D.K. Thorpe.
Cape, 516 pp., £18, February 1989, 0 224 02828 6
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... of the principals. The fact is that none of them comes out particularly well and the best course is surely to acknowledge this, as in the life of Butler by Anthony Howard and that of Macmillan by AlistairHorne. The alternative strategy is that adopted by Rhodes James on Eden: to defend his hero on every conceivable count, from geopolitical insight (Eden alone discerned the scale of the Soviet menace ...
27 July 1989
The Lives of Enoch Powell 
by Patrick Cosgrave.
Bodley Head, 518 pp., £16, April 1989, 0 370 30871 9
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... any commensurate achievement. It took ten years from entry into the House for him to reach his ceiling – Minister of Health in the Macmillan Government (Macmillan, according to his biographer AlistairHorne, had the Cabinet chairs moved so that he would not have to look at Powell’s staring eyes) – and he never held office again. There was a shock of incredulity when he appeared as one of three ...

The Greatest

R.W. Johnson

4 August 1994
Charles de Gaulle, Futurist of the Nation 
by Régis Debray, translated by John Howe.
Verso, 111 pp., £29.95, April 1994, 0 86091 622 7
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De Gaulle and 20th-Century France 
edited by Hugh Gough and John Horne.
Edward Arnold, 158 pp., £12.99, March 1994, 0 340 58826 8
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François Mitterrand: A Study in Political Leadership 
by Alistair​ Cole.
Routledge, 216 pp., £19.99, March 1994, 0 415 07159 3
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... a special medal to be presented only to FDR, Churchill, Stalin and de Gaulle, de Gaulle immediately scotched the idea: ‘I could not accept such an award. The state does not decorate itself.’ Alistair Cole’s study of Mitterrand suffers from the huge distance it takes from its subject. This is certainly not due to lack of diligence: Cole has very thoroughly and usefully set down the details of ...

Too Obviously Cleverer

Ferdinand Mount: Harold Macmillan

8 September 2011
Supermac: The Life of Harold Macmillan 
by D.R. Thorpe.
Pimlico, 887 pp., £16.99, September 2011, 978 1 84413 541 7
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The Macmillan Diaries Vol. II: Prime Minister and After 1957-66 
edited by Peter Catterall.
Macmillan, 758 pp., £40, May 2011, 978 1 4050 4721 0
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... tears running down his face. This is how D.R. Thorpe tells the story, eloquently and elegantly, as he does everything in this exemplary biography, which complements if it does not entirely supplant AlistairHorne’s two-volume official Life; Horne is better on the military, Thorpe on the political and personal. At every juncture Thorpe presents the evidence in a scrupulous and equable style. He is ...

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