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Poor Stephen

James Fox, 23 July 1987

An Affair of State: The Profumo Case and the Framing of Stephen Ward 
by Phillip Knightley and Caroline Kennedy.
Cape, 268 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 224 02347 0
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Honeytrap: The Secret Worlds of Stephen Ward 
by Anthony Summers and Stephen Dorril.
Weidenfeld, 264 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 297 79122 2
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... reporters who had attended the trial, and members of the judiciary, knew the extent of it. Ludovic Kennedy’s book The Trial of Stephen Ward came out the following year and expressed their indignation. But there was a lot that Kennedy and others didn’t know. Phillip Knightley, who wrote an excellent book about war ...

Friendly Relations

Edward Luttwak: Abe’s Japan, 4 April 2019

Japan in the American Century 
by Kenneth B. Pyle.
Harvard, 457 pp., £25.95, October 2018, 978 0 674 98364 9
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... of dogma that for most of Abe’s premiership, even before the arrival of Obama’s ambassador, Caroline Kennedy, the US embassy has remained a source of misinformation, misdirection and misunderstanding about both Abe himself and his government. Fixated on his undoubtedly right-wing political affiliations, and nostalgic for the old Japan, which ...


Christian Lorentzen: At the Conventions, 27 September 2012

... the skies were protected by helicopters. ‘Here comes a mob,’ somebody said. At the corner of Kennedy Boulevard and Tampa Street, policemen in riot gear formed a line to meet the Poor People’s March of socialists and anarchists. The cops far outnumbered the protesters. A man with a megaphone and a black plastic boot on his head addressed the ...

Tony and Caroline

Ben Pimlott, 26 November 1987

Out of the Wilderness: Diaries 1963-67 
by Tony Benn.
Hutchinson, 592 pp., £14.95, October 1987, 0 09 170660 2
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... Labour was not only electorally successful but also, in middle-class terms, fashionable. Tony and Caroline Benn were in the vanguard of that too. There can be few prominent and literate members of any political party in the late Eighties who do not fill the odd moment between division bells or Cabinets (if not, like Barbara Castle, actually at them) writing ...

I adore your moustache

James Wolcott: Styron’s Letters, 24 January 2013

Selected Letters of William Styron 
edited by Rose Styron and R. Blakeslee Gilpin.
Random House, 643 pp., £24.99, December 2012, 978 1 4000 6806 7
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... way, but would never think of saying a word, asking a word, about anyone else’s work … Caroline Kennedy (Schlossberg) was there. The Pete Gurneys, daughter a graduate of the Yale English school, now a financial officer at the ad agency whose long name still ends in Benton and Bowles. That little rat, Jerzy R. Kosinski, thought Conrad was a ...

No Crying in This House

Jackson Lears: The Kennedy Myth, 7 November 2013

The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy 
by David Nasaw.
Allen Lane, 896 pp., £12.35, September 2013, 978 0 14 312407 8
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Rose KennedyThe Life and Times of a Political Matriarch 
by Barbara Perry.
Norton, 404 pp., £20, September 2013, 978 0 393 06895 5
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... and as rambunctious as any crowd of kids in a Frank Capra film. They are presided over by Joseph Kennedy, a fabulously successful self-made father with connections in Hollywood, Wall Street, Washington and London, and by Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, a devout but fashionable Catholic mum, as at home on the golf links or the ski ...

Living Doll and Lilac Fairy

Penelope Fitzgerald, 31 August 1989

Carrington: A Life of Dora Carrington 1893-1932 
by Gretchen Gerzina.
Murray, 342 pp., £18.95, June 1989, 0 7195 4688 5
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Lydia and Maynard: Letters between Lydia Lopokova and John Maynard Keynes 
edited by Polly Hill and Richard Keynes.
Deutsch, 367 pp., £17.95, September 1989, 0 233 98283 3
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Mazo de la Roche: The Hidden Life 
by Joan Givner.
Oxford, 273 pp., £18, July 1989, 0 19 540705 9
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Vera Brittain and Winifred Holtby: A Working Partnership 
by Jean Kennard.
University Press of New England, 224 pp., £24, July 1989, 0 87451 474 6
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Dangerous by Degrees: Women at Oxford and the Somerville College Novelists 
by Susan Leonardi.
Rutgers, 254 pp., $33, May 1989, 0 8135 1366 9
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The Selected Letters of Somerville and Ross 
edited by Gifford Lewis.
Faber, 308 pp., £14.99, July 1989, 0 571 15348 8
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... Mazo de la Roche was Maisie Roche, with an Irish father, not a good provider, while the sister, Caroline, was an adopted cousin. Caroline, ‘tiny, fragile, receptive as a crystal goblet held beneath a tap’, joined the family very young, so that the love between the two women began in childhood. (When Mazo became a ...

Farewell to the Log Cabin

Colin Kidd: America’s Royalist Revolution, 18 December 2014

The Royalist Revolution 
by Eric Nelson.
Harvard, 390 pp., £22.95, October 2014, 978 0 674 73534 7
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... on royalism – threatens the efficacy of this opiate. The tragedies that befell the house of Kennedy in the 1960s served to fend off – indeed to render distasteful – any suggestion that the unobtrusive political entitlement of the glamorous First Family might constitute an offence against the ethos of the republic. Although only John F. ...

No Accident

Zachary Leader: Gore Vidal’s Golden Age, 21 June 2001

The Golden Age: A Novel 
by Gore Vidal.
Little, Brown, 467 pp., £17.99, October 2000, 0 316 85409 3
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... In the rewritten version, ‘it was, suddenly, as if he were once again with Blaise’s sister, Caroline, thirty years earlier, the two of them in that rare collusion, a mutual passion that had produced a highly unlovable love child, who had become a nun.’ Neither Caroline nor the unlovable love child appears in ...

Paulie lops it off

Elisa Segrave, 2 December 1993

The Wives of Bath 
by Susan Swan.
Granta, 237 pp., £8.99, October 1993, 0 14 014081 6
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... letters to another father-figure, who appears more accessible. ‘You always look brand-new, Mr Kennedy. Whether you are clapping at Caroline doing a handstand in your office or smiling down at her in her nice white party dress at Hyannis Port.’ The novel is set in Bath Ladies’ College, a boarding-school in Canada, in ...


Andrew O’Hagan: Julian Assange, 6 March 2014

... He’d been to see Assange in Norfolk and was going again the next day. He said he and the agent Caroline Michel had suggested me for the job and that Assange wanted to meet me. I knew they’d been talking to other writers, and I was at first sceptical. It’s not unusual for published writers to get requests to write things anonymously. How much did Alex ...

Laundering Britain’s Past

Marilyn Butler, 12 September 1991

The Birth of the Modern: World Society 1815-1830 
by Paul Johnson.
Weidenfeld, 1095 pp., £25, September 1991, 0 297 81207 6
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... in order to address the American reader. At a thousand pages Johnson’s book is longer than Paul Kennedy’s The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, 1988 (subtitle, ‘Economic Change and Military Conflict, 1500-2000’), or Simon Schama’s Citizens, 1989. At first glance it looks as if the reader gets a smaller return, a mere 15 years of history at a point ...

The Stamp of One Defect

David Edgar: Jeremy Thorpe, 30 July 2015

Jeremy Thorpe 
by Michael Bloch.
Little, Brown, 606 pp., £25, December 2014, 978 0 316 85685 0
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Closet Queens: Some 20th-Century British Politicians 
by Michael Bloch.
Little, Brown, 320 pp., £25, May 2015, 978 1 4087 0412 7
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... of the Times) for the Union presidency. Like one of his successors as Liberal leader, Charles Kennedy, he became an MP at a young age and came to public notice through his entertaining performances on radio (particularly in Any Questions?) and television. By the time of his election to the Liberal Party leadership in 1967, succeeding Jo Grimond, Thorpe ...

Comet Mania

Simon Schaffer, 19 February 1981

The comet is coming! 
by Nigel Calder.
BBC, 160 pp., £8.75, November 1980, 0 563 17859 0
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... its producers. The screams of rage emanating from a medical profession recently assailed by Ian Kennedy in the Reith Lectures bear eloquent testimony to this. Similarly, an obvious user of comets like Immanuel Velikovsky came under fire precisely because of his appeal to the wrong – that is, the popular – audience. We can now see where comets fit ...

Weathering the storm

Robert Blake, 18 October 1984

Lord Liverpool: The Life and Political Career of Robert Banks Jenkinson, Second Earl of Liverpool 1770-1828 
by Norman Gash.
Weidenfeld, 265 pp., £16.95, August 1984, 0 297 78453 6
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... the vigilance and passion for success displayed by the first Sir Robert Peel or the father of the Kennedy brothers. His letters to Robert sound like a homily by Polonius. Pitt made him Lord Hawkesbury in 1786 and Earl of Liverpool ten years later. ‘Jenky’ thus had assets which Canning never possessed. His only difference with his father was over his ...

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