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Into Apathy

Neil McKendrick, 21 August 1980

The Wedgwood Circle, 1730-1897 
by Barbara Wedgwood and Hensleigh Wedgwood.
Studio Vista, 386 pp., £9.95, May 1980, 0 289 70892 3
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... whom they marry, the type continues and has been much the same for three hundred years.’ The Wedgwood Circle might be expected to provide equal cause for genetic self-satisfaction on the Wedgwoods’ part. For the Wedgwood story is inevitably the story of the Darwin family, so often did they marry and ...

Scoutmaster General

Peter Clarke, 24 September 1992

Tony Benn 
by Jad Adams.
Macmillan, 576 pp., £20, July 1992, 0 333 52558 2
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The End of an Era: Diaries, 1980-1990 
by Tony Benn, edited by Ruth Winstone.
Hutchinson, 704 pp., £25, September 1992, 0 09 174857 7
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... Good-looking and good-natured, eloquent and earnest, well-educated and well-connected, Anthony Wedgwood Benn had the best of both worlds. Father was a radical Liberal MP who switched to Labour in the Twenties and ended up representing the Party in the House of Lords as the first Viscount Stansgate. The family lived at 40 Grosvenor Road, Westminster, next ...

Mount Amery

Paul Addison, 20 November 1980

The Leo Amery Diaries 
edited by John Barnes and David Nicholson, introduced by Julian Amery.
Hutchinson, 653 pp., £27.50, October 1980, 0 09 131910 2
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... as sublime social columnists who happened to sit in the House of Commons. Richard Crossman and Barbara Castle were heavyweights and professionals, and the eternal grind of committee life is reflected in their accounts. Yet both were writing with the special excitement of socialist voyeurs. Determined to expose the secrets of Whitehall while the story was ...

The Stansgate Tapes

John Turner, 8 December 1994

Years of Hope: Diaries, Papers and Letters, 1940-62 
by Tony Benn, edited by Ruth Winstone.
Hutchinson, 442 pp., £25, September 1994, 0 09 178534 0
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... often in lockable, leather-bound volumes. He generated even more words than Dick Cross-man and Barbara Castle, so many that the work of selection and editorship has been too much for him to attempt alone. He has therefore always relied on an academic editor. Unlike Addison, he has not apparently exercised editorial control over the selection, nor have we ...

Associated Prigs

R.W. Johnson: Eleanor Rathbone, 8 July 2004

Eleanor Rathbone and the Politics of Conscience 
by Susan Pedersen.
Yale, 469 pp., £25, March 2004, 0 300 10245 3
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... Yet she was a far greater figure than Ellen Wilkinson, Nancy Astor, Margaret Bondfield or Barbara Castle. Her neglect shows how important it is to have members of your party or faction evoking your name as part of their tradition. Perhaps the greatest recent example of what this can do for popular memory is Aneurin Bevan, whose myth reflected mainly ...

Off with her head

John Lloyd, 24 November 1988

Office without Power: Diaries 1968-72 
by Tony Benn.
Hutchinson, 562 pp., £16.95, October 1988, 0 09 173647 1
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... to a Shadow Cabinet meeting on 31 July 1971, ‘the address on which my father’ – William Wedgwood Benn, a Liberal, then Labour MP, created Viscount Stansgate in 1941 – ‘fought the election in 1906: cheap food, reform and prosperity for the Port of London, freedom for the trade unions and justice for Ireland – and it doesn’t seem as if we’ve ...

Strenuously Modern

Rosemary Hill: At Home with the Stracheys, 3 March 2005

Bombay to Bloomsbury: A Biography of the Strachey Family 
by Barbara Caine.
Oxford, 488 pp., £25, February 2005, 0 19 925034 0
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... tremendous flowering left its legacy in books and institutions rather than in living heirs. Barbara Caine is considering a completed episode, a story that ended in the last century. It is possible to see in it something of what both the Woolfs meant, but from this distance perhaps the most striking of the Strachey family characteristics is their ...

Departure and Arrival Times

Sheldon Rothblatt, 18 August 1983

The History Men: The Historical Profession in England since the Renaissance 
by John Kenyon.
Weidenfeld, 322 pp., £16.50, March 1983, 0 297 78081 6
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... popular history and historical biography since the death of Trevelyan’ (he means Churchill, C.V. Wedgwood, the Pakenhams and Barbara Tuchman). And in this mood he goes on to identify the leading issue facing the historical profession today as ‘the real divide’ which ‘is still between the popular and the academic ...

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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... Ministry of Technology! The tantrums of George Brown! Later that same day, Crossman dined with ‘Wedgwood Benn’ to discuss the menace of Radio Caroline. There is a decomposing madeleine wedged between every leaf of these diaries, which I have just reread.) In his lenient and chivalrous biography of Crossman, Mr Howard gallantly does not mention the Sunday ...

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