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Enjoying every moment

David Reynolds: Ole Man Churchill, 7 August 2003

Churchill 
by John Keegan.
Weidenfeld, 181 pp., £14.99, November 2002, 0 297 60776 6
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Man of the Century: Winston Churchill and His Legend since 1945 
by John Ramsden.
HarperCollins, 652 pp., £9.99, September 2003, 0 00 653099 0
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Clementine Churchill: The Revised and Updated Biography 
by Mary Soames.
Doubleday, 621 pp., £25, September 2002, 0 385 60446 7
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Churchill at War 1940-45 
by Lord Moran.
Constable, 383 pp., £9.99, October 2002, 1 84119 608 8
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Churchill’s Cold War: The Politics of Personal Diplomacy 
by Klaus Larres.
Yale, 583 pp., £25, June 2002, 0 300 09438 8
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... wilderness – sometimes presciently, as on Germany, sometimes ludicrously, as in support of the King over abdication – without getting back into office. From young man in a hurry to old codger going nowhere: his hour on the stage of history seemed to be over. If anything, Ramsden goes further than Rhodes James. In itself 1940 was not a lasting ...

Stalking Out

David Edgar: After John Osborne, 20 July 2006

John Osborne: A Patriot for Us 
by John Heilpern.
Chatto, 528 pp., £25, May 2006, 0 7011 6780 7
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... that ‘he’s never been ashamed of me’ has to be the greatest parental misjudgment since King Lear banished Cordelia). After a short career in provincial rep (in an era when rep ads stipulated ‘no fancy salaries and no queer folk’), Osborne drew on his equally short first marriage in writing Look Back in Anger; when she saw the set, Pamela ...

Time for Several Whiskies

Ian Jack: BBC Propaganda, 30 August 2018

Auntie’s War: The BBC during the Second World War 
by Edward Stourton.
Doubleday, 422 pp., £20, November 2017, 978 0 85752 332 7
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... old character – patriarchal & in that sense democratic: the lowest of the tribe may speak to the king.’ It had dawned on the government by this time that credible news broadcasting – to the world as well as the domestic audience – was a hugely important weapon. Plans were made for the Overseas Services to triple its programming output to 150 hours a ...

I sizzle to see you

John Lahr: Cole Porter’s secret songs, 21 November 2019

The Letters of Cole Porter 
edited by Cliff Eisen and Dominic McHugh.
Yale, 672 pp., £25, October 2019, 978 0 300 21927 2
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... sadistic conjugal tastes, Linda ‘had had enough of the sexual side of marriage’, according to Brendan Gill. In their white marriage, Porter and Linda slept in separate rooms, though always nearby, with separate buildings on their estate in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and separate apartments on the 41st floor of the Waldorf Towers when they made it their ...

Gaelic Gloom

Colm Tóibín: Brian Moore, 10 August 2000

Brian Moore: The Chameleon Novelist 
by Denis Sampson.
Marino, 344 pp., IR£20, October 1998, 1 86023 078 4
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... for anyone who would write them up.’ This world gave him the background for his protagonist Brendan Tierney in An Answer from Limbo, but the novel is damaged by Moore’s raw disapproval, and is wooden and unconvincing. Brian and Jacqueline Moore met Frank and Jean Russell in New York in 1963, and the two couples, all of them interested in journalism ...

Rat-a-tat-a-tat-a-tat-a-tat

David Runciman: Thatcher’s Rise, 6 June 2013

Margaret Thatcher: The Authorised Biography. Vol. I: Not for Turning 
by Charles Moore.
Allen Lane, 859 pp., £30, April 2013, 978 0 7139 9282 3
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... sent a letter to the Times condemning her economic policies (the signatories included Mervyn King, the future governor of the Bank of England). They wrote: ‘There is no basis in economic theory or supporting evidence for the government’s belief that by deflating demand they will bring inflation permanently under control and thereby introduce an ...

Somerdale to Skarbimierz

James Meek, 20 April 2017

... the full story makes the EU look even worse than Radford knew.On​ 10 April 1741, the 29-year-old King Frederick II of Prussia fought his first battle, in deep snow, on a low plateau to the west of the Oder, in Silesia. It was a chastening experience; he took his senior commander’s advice to run away, only for the Prussian army to beat his opponents, the ...

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