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... the Telegraph). Here again, though, nature totally outstripped art. Could any mere novelist – Anthony Trollope, Hugh Walpole, even Ernest Raymond – conceivably have come up with a plot in which a highly-regarded, if disappointed, Oxford don first mixes an explosive cocktail to be drunk by his own Church, on being taxed with it denies all responsibility ...

Monopoly Mule

Anthony Howard, 25 January 1996

Plant Here the ‘Standard’ 
by Dennis Griffiths.
Macmillan, 417 pp., £35, November 1995, 0 333 55565 1
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... Evening newspapers are an endangered species. When I started out as a journalist in 1958, there were not only three in London but three in New York as well. Today each of these cities can boast just one, with Washington, since the death of the Washington Star in 1981, possessing none at all. It is, therefore, a bold and defiant moment to produce an elaborate house history of one of the few survivors of a declining newspaper art-form – at least in the English-speaking world ...

The Unsolved Mystery of the Money Tree

Anthony Howard: Jeremy Thorpe, 19 August 1999

In My Own Time: Reminiscences of a Liberal Leader 
by Jeremy Thorpe.
Politico’s, 234 pp., £18, April 1999, 1 902301 21 8
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... Jeremy Thorpe has long been the non-person of modern British politics. Never mind that 25 years ago he attained for the then stand-alone Liberal Party more votes (over six million) than Paddy Ashdown achieved for the by now merged Liberal Democrats (five and a quarter million) at the last general election. Discretion, if not sheer political cowardice, decreed that his faintly saturnine presence should be air-brushed out of any contemporary history of Britain’s third party ...

Tea or Eucharist?

Anthony Howard, 3 December 1992

The Faber Book of Church and Clergy 
edited by A.N. Wilson.
Faber, 304 pp., £17.50, November 1992, 0 571 16204 5
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High and Mitred: A Study of Prime Ministers as Bishop-Makers 1837-1977 
by Bernard Palmer.
SPCK, 350 pp., £20, October 1992, 0 281 04594 1
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... We asked for bread, and you gave us a stone’: the cry that rang out from the gallery of Church House, Westminster, after one of the earliest debates over women’s ordination nearly twenty years ago demonstrates that even in Church politics you should never despair. The mills of God may grind slowly but they grind exceeding sure, or so those who fought for so long for the introduction of women priests into the poor old battered ecclesia anglicana may now feel entitled to claim ...

Journos de nos jours

Anthony Howard, 8 March 1990

Alan Moorehead 
by Tom Pocock.
Bodley Head, 311 pp., £16.95, February 1990, 0 370 31261 9
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Loyalties: A Son’s Memoir 
by Carl Bernstein.
Macmillan, 254 pp., £15.95, January 1990, 0 333 52135 8
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by Brian Inglis.
Chatto, 298 pp., £15.95, January 1990, 0 7011 3390 2
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... The late James Cameron always liked to claim that the only male company in which he felt at home was that of his fellow journalists. They offered him, he wrote in his autobiography, ‘the conversational shorthand of completely common understanding’. Nor was his in any way an exceptional reaction. The existence across the world of various favoured journalistic watering-holes – sometimes grandly known as Press Clubs, more usually simply hotel bars with squatters’ rights established – is one proof of that ...

Murder in the Cathedral

Anthony Howard, 7 December 1989

The Crockford’s File: Gareth Bennett and the Death of the Anglican Mind 
by William Oddie.
Hamish Hamilton, 232 pp., £14.95, November 1989, 0 241 12613 4
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Absent Friends 
by Geoffrey Wheatcroft.
Hamish Hamilton, 291 pp., £15.95, November 1989, 0 241 12874 9
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... The most revealing moment at the recent meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod occurred during an impromptu speech by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Dr Robert Runcie was speaking against an amendment urging the Church to delay re-submitting its Clergy (Ordination) Measure to Parliament until ‘after the next Parliamentary General Election ...

The Sultan and I

Anthony Howard, 1 June 1989

By God’s Will: A Portrait of the Sultan of Brunei 
by Lord Chalfont.
Weidenfeld, 200 pp., £14.95, May 1989, 0 297 79628 3
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The Richest Man in the World: The Sultan of Brunei 
by James Bartholomew.
Viking, 199 pp., £12.95, April 1989, 0 670 82152 7
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... The first time I became anything more than routinely conscious of the existence of that faintly ludicrous figure, the Sultan of Brunei, was in December 1985. Until around then – as Lord Chalfont obligingly mentions in the course of a work that can otherwise only be compared with The Lives of the Saints – the general view (endorsed not only by a public opinion poll but by me as well) was that the Sultan’s kingdom was ‘somewhere in the Middle East’, possibly even ‘one of the Gulf Emirates ...

Christopher Hitchens states a prosecution case

Christopher Hitchens, 25 October 1990

Crossman: The Pursuit of Power 
by Anthony Howard.
Cape, 361 pp., £15.95, October 1990, 0 224 02592 9
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... the following in his Diaries of a Cabinet Minister: Then Harold Wilson raised the issue of Anthony Howard. He has just been appointed by the Sunday Times to be the first Whitehall correspondent in history, looking into the secrets of the Civil Service rather than leaking the secrets of the politicians. His first article had been an analysis of the ...

Alternative Tories

José Harris, 23 April 1987

by Roy Jenkins.
Collins, 204 pp., £12.95, March 1987, 9780002175869
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Rab: The Life of R.A. Butler 
by Anthony Howard.
Cape, 422 pp., £15, March 1987, 0 224 01862 0
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The Political Culture of Modern Britain: Studies in Memory of Stephen Koss 
edited by J.M.W. Bean.
Hamish Hamilton, 306 pp., £15, January 1987, 0 241 12026 8
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... transition from the passive to the active mood in British politics and government mentioned above. Anthony Howard’s Rab is the first fully-documented life of the man who on three separate occasions just missed becoming Conservative prime minister, and for that reason alone would be of peculiar interest. But even without the premiership R.A. Butler’s ...

Goodness me

Mary-Kay Wilmers, 26 October 1989

Margaret, Daughter of Beatrice: A Politician’s Psycho-Biography of Margaret Thatcher 
by Leo Abse.
Cape, 288 pp., £13.95, September 1989, 0 224 02726 3
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... a ‘regressive schizoid phenomenon’. The book undoubtedly scored a few (underhand) hits and Anthony Howard called it a ‘revolutionary’ work. In fact, Private Member was pretty modest by comparison with what we have here. ‘Live dangerously,’ an inauspicious epigraph from Nietzsche insists: ‘Send your ships into uncharted seas! Be robbers ...


Christopher Ricks: Thoughts of Beckett at News of His Death, 25 January 1990

... till January 1953. I had heard of Beckett, though not much. He had been sighted and cited by Anthony Hartley – in the Spectator, I suppose; Hartley had a great nose and a fine ear for things French, and he let the British in on his finds – I can’t think that there is anyone around today who does this work so well. Waiting for Godot, as the world ...

There is only one Harrods

Paul Foot, 23 September 1993

Tiny Rowland: A Rebel Tycoon 
by Tom Bower.
Heinemann, 659 pp., £16.99, May 1993, 0 434 07339 3
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... unionist for the shocking crime of opposing the Government of Malawi, the prosecution was led by Anthony Beveridge QC and masterminded by the solicitor Anthony Nich-Smith, both time-honoured and faithful lawyers for Lonrho. As soon as a Scotland Yard detective finished his report after an inquiry into Lonrho, Rowland ...


Jon Halliday, 2 June 1983

In the Service of the Peacock Throne: The Diaries of the Shah’s Last Ambassador to London 
by Parviz Radji.
Hamish Hamilton, 343 pp., £12.50, April 1983, 0 241 10960 4
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... is just the sort of thing he needed to know. An interesting case of the discriminating guest is Anthony Howard, then editor of the New Statesman, who accepted an invitation to dinner, but said he would have turned down the Chilean, Argentinian or South African (but not Israeli) Embassies. Nor does Radji get much help from the other luminaries, many of ...

Smart Alec

Peter Clarke, 17 October 1996

Alec Douglas-Home 
by D.R. Thorpe.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 540 pp., £25, October 1996, 1 85619 277 6
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... at the Hirsel provides an interesting clue to the mystery of his rise to power. In December 1962 Anthony Howard wrote a piece for the New Statesman under the provocative heading ‘Mr Home and Mr Hogg?’ It was already apparent that legislative change was in the offing, opening the way for the second Viscount Stansgate to begin the spectacular exercise ...


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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... 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 Alistair Horne. 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) to ...

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