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Sour Apple

José Harris

5 July 1984
H.G. Wells: Aspects of a Life 
by Anthony West.
Hutchinson, 405 pp., £12.95, June 1984, 0 09 134540 5
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Heritage 
by Anthony West.
Secker, 305 pp., £8.95, April 1984, 0 436 56592 7
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... to bear children: which may be a reason why he embarked on fatherhood so energetically, with a variety of women in addition to his wife. One of Wells’s most famous liaisons was with Rebecca West, mother of the author of the latest Wells biography. They met in 1912 when she was 19, he 45. He was an established novelist and social critic, she an ambitious young feminist author, who was ...

Picshuas

P.N. Furbank

18 October 1984
Experiment in Autobiography: Discoveries and Conclusion of a Very Ordinary Brain (since 1866) 
by H.G. Wells.
Faber, 838 pp., £8.95, September 1984, 0 571 13330 4
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H.G. Wells in Love: Postscript to an Experiment in Autobiography 
edited by G.P. Wells.
Faber, 253 pp., £8.95, September 1984, 0 571 13329 0
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The Man with a Nose, and the Other Uncollected Short Stories of H.G. Wells 
edited by J.R. Hammond.
Athlone, 212 pp., £9.95, September 1984, 0 485 11247 7
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... I do not think he was just romancing in depicting Jane as a serene, amused and loyal partner, genuinely free from sexual jealousy: this is the picture given also by others, including Wells’s son AnthonyWest. It is just that there is so much more that one would like to know about her, and would need to be told if the autobiography were to be really satisfying. As for H.G. Wells in Love, it consists ...

Just a Way of Having Fun

Eleanor Birne: John Piper

29 March 2017
The Art of John Piper 
by David Fraser Jenkins and Hugh Fowler-Wright.
Unicorn, 472 pp., £45, June 2016, 978 1 910787 05 2
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...  was struggling to get by. His pictures weren’t really selling, and he was living on the £3 10s a week he still got from his mother. He was 35. Eager for extra income, he took over from Anthony Blunt as the art critic at the Spectator. And he also took on work for the Ministry of Information. His first commission was to paint pictures of the control rooms for the ARP, the air raid ...

Dame Cissie

Penelope Fitzgerald

12 November 1987
Rebecca WestA Life 
by Victoria Glendinning.
Weidenfeld, 288 pp., £14.95, April 1987, 0 297 79084 6
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Family Memories 
by Rebecca West and Faith Evans.
Virago, 255 pp., £14.95, November 1987, 0 86068 741 4
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... There were giant-killers in those days. Storm Jameson, rallying English writers in defence of peace and collective security, had to toss up to decide between Rebecca West and Rose Macaulay for the place of honour. Between these three women enough power should have been generated even for an impossible cause. They were tireless collectors of facts – Rose used to take ...

Cheeky

J.I.M. Stewart

23 October 1986
H.G. Wells: Desperately Mortal 
by David Smith.
Yale, 634 pp., £18.50, September 1986, 0 300 03672 8
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... may ultimately lead only to torpidity and decay; and it can be maintained that something of this sombre persuasion is present as a perceptible shadow over almost all Wells’s fiction. His son AnthonyWest has asserted his father’s belief, or at least suspicion, ‘that in the long run all human effort was futile.’ Yet Wells was as clear as was the poet of ‘The Battle of Maldon’ about what ...

Going Straight

Neal Ascherson

17 March 1983
After Long Silence 
by Michael Straight.
Collins, 351 pp., £11.95, March 1983, 0 00 217001 9
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A Matter of Trust: MI5 1945-72 
by Nigel West.
Weidenfeld, 196 pp., £8.95, December 1982, 0 297 78253 3
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... strangely to be called ‘the Cambridge spies’, revelations malevolent, piteous or merely inaccurate, ought to be wound up after the publication of Michael Straight’s contribution. Very possibly, Anthony Blunt will one day write such a book himself. But the names have almost all been named, the questions of motive worn smooth, the titles and pensions (some of them) stripped like epaulettes, the spell ...
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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... Miss Keeler was surely the most trivial. Yet it had massive repercussions and did considerable damage to Harold Macmillan. In July 1963, in a brilliant article in the Spectator (which I then owned), AnthonyWest, after depicting Senator McCarthy’s activities in America and exposing the potentialities for nonsense (still with us) in the concept of security risks, showed that it was ‘this game’ that ...

Dingy Quadrilaterals

Ian Gilmour: The Profumo Case

19 October 2006
Bringing the House Down: A Family Memoir 
by David Profumo.
Murray, 291 pp., £20, September 2006, 0 7195 6608 8
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... and arranged her own first audition, impressing the well-known impresario C.B. Cochran. Having got into RADA at the age of ten, she made her own way as an actress. She played a leading role in the West End aged 15, and before long went to Hollywood. Back in England she fell ‘instantly’ in love with the 33-year-old film producer Anthony Havelock-Allan, marrying him three years later. They had ...
13 October 1988
A History of West​ Indies Cricket 
by Michael Manley.
Deutsch, 575 pp., £17.95, May 1988, 0 233 98259 0
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Sobers: Twenty Years at the Top 
by Garfield Sobers and Brian Scovell.
Macmillan, 204 pp., £11.95, June 1988, 0 333 37267 0
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... We sometimes have reason to be grateful for the periods politicians spend in opposition. Roy Jenkins’s Asquith, Anthony Crosland’s reflections on socialism, Richard Crossman’s Bagehot, would hardly have come out of Whitehall, and Michael Manley would not have found time to write a history of West Indian cricket ...
6 February 1986
The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci 
by Jonathan Spence.
Faber, 350 pp., £15, April 1985, 0 571 13239 1
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Chine et Christianisme: Action et Réaction 
by Jacques Gernet.
Gallimard, 342 pp., frs 154, May 1982, 2 07 026366 5
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... the subject of thorough research by two learned Jesuits, Henri Bernard and Pasquale D’Elia, and it has also been retold by many other writers, among them Vincent Cronin in his Wise Man from the West (with a companion piece, A Pearl to India, on the career of De’Nobili). Ricci’s introduction into China of Western clocks, Western astronomy and Western mathematics has also attracted much ...

Flying the Coop

John Sutherland: Mama Trollope

19 February 1998
Fanny Trollope: The Life and Adventures of a Clever Woman 
by Pamela Neville-Sington.
Viking, 416 pp., £20, November 1997, 0 670 85905 2
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... main lines of Fanny Trollope’s life are laid down in the second chapter of An Autobiography – ‘My Mother’. There is no corresponding chapter on ‘My Father’. The sprightly daughter of a West Country clergyman, Frances Milton waited until she was 30 before making a good match with a London barrister. Thomas Anthony Trollope had professional prospects and ‘expectations’ of a rich ...
25 October 1990
No Other Choice 
by George Blake.
Cape, 288 pp., £12.99, September 1990, 0 224 03067 1
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Inside Intelligence 
by Anthony​ Cavendish.
Collins, 181 pp., £12.95, October 1990, 9780002157421
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... Here are two more spy books from authors who worked long ago for British Intelligence. George Blake was very left-wing, and is now slightly less so. Anthony Cavendish has always been very right-wing. Both authors write of their profound respect for one of their former bosses, George K. Young. Young, who died recently, was deputy head of MI6 until he ...
2 February 1989
Philby: The Life and Views of the KGB Masterspy 
by Phillip Knightley.
Deutsch, 291 pp., £14.95, October 1988, 0 233 98360 0
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Mask of Treachery: The First Documented Dossier on Blunt, MI5 and Soviet Subversion 
by John Costello.
Collins, 761 pp., £18, November 1988, 0 00 217536 3
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A Divided Life: A Biography of Donald Maclean 
by Robert Cecil.
Bodley Head, 212 pp., £15, October 1988, 0 370 31129 9
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The Storm Birds: Soviet Post-War Defectors 
by Gordon Brook-Shepherd.
Weidenfeld, 303 pp., £14.95, November 1988, 0 297 79464 7
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... path cross that of the Cambridge spies. It was on a warm, sunny afternoon last May at Kuntsevo Cemetery on the western outskirts of Moscow, when they buried Kim Philby. Guy Burgess had died in 1963, Anthony Blunt and Donald Maclean in 1983. Philby, however, was still alive when I started work in Moscow as the Independent’s correspondent there in early 1987, and his presence was a source of recurrent ...
17 December 1992
Korea Old and New: A History 
by Carter Eckert, Ki-baik Lee, Young Ick Lew, Michael Robinson and Edward Wagner.
Harvard, 454 pp., £11.95, September 1991, 0 9627713 0 9
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The Wilder Shores of Marx: Journeys in a Vanishing World 
by Anthony​ Daniels.
Hutchinson, 202 pp., £16.99, April 1991, 9780091741532
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... of for this is that North Korea is about to disappear. Even so, because reunification is probably close, it is important to know about the 22 million people who live there in hermetic isolation. Anthony Daniels’s The Wilder Shores of Marx describes journeys to North Korea, Albania, Romania, Vietnam and Cuba around the time of the collapse of Communism in 1989. Daniels chose his redoubts well: two ...

Diary

Anthony​ Parsons: Lessons from the Gulf

21 March 1991
... embargo, Operation Staunch, was applied to Iran throughout the conflict at America’s insistence, the saturation of Iraq with modern weaponry and the transfer of military technology from East and West continued unabated. After the cease-fire in 1988, no serious attempt was made by the Great Powers to coerce Iraq into reinstating the 1975 Agreement with Iran on the land frontier and the division of ...

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