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News of the World’s End

Peter Jenkins, 15 May 1980

The Seventies 
by Christopher Booker.
Allen Lane, 349 pp., £7.50, February 1980, 0 7139 1329 0
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The Seventies 
by Norman Shrapnel.
Constable, 267 pp., £7.50, March 1980, 0 09 463280 4
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... styles varying from the aggressively “butch” to the coyly sexy.’ So there you have it. Christopher Booker, to whom I shall come in a moment, goes further, and means it more seriously: ‘Two unfailing barometers of cultural optimism in our century have been the height of buildings and the height of girls’ hemlines.’ This is not only ...
The ‘Private Eye’ Story: The First 21 Years 
by Patrick Marnham.
Private Eye/Deutsch, 232 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 233 97509 8
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One for the Road: Further Letters of Denis Thatcher 
by Richard Ingrams and John Wells.
Private Eye/Deutsch, 80 pp., £2.50, October 1982, 9780233975115
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Sir James Goldsmith: The Man and the Myth 
by Geoffrey Wansell.
Fontana, 222 pp., £1.95, April 1982, 0 00 636503 5
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... Auberon Waugh in the Daily Mail; John Wells twice, once in Harper’s and once in the Times; Christopher Booker in the Spectator; Malcolm Muggeridge in the Daily Telegraph; Candida Lycett-Green (who was in love with Ingrams at Oxford, speaks adoringly of him in this book, and once worked for the Eye) in the Standard. Nor are the paper’s smallest ...

At the V&A

Jeremy Harding: 50 Years of ‘Private Eye’, 15 December 2011

... us much about the comings and goings at the magazine. The book is good on editorial tiffs. How Christopher Booker, the original editor, was fired while on holiday in 1963; how he went on, in 1976, to lay into the Eye just as Goldsmith, who had issued 63 writs against the magazine and its distributors and sought to bring a private suit for criminal ...

Diary

Christopher Hitchens: Keywords, 13 September 1990

... boundaries and the struggle for a legible and intelligible architecture. People tell me that Christopher Booker is the real intellectual and moral influence upon the Prince of Wales; if so, a version of the Spectator ethos may become semi-regnant in the thinkable future. Partly because of its historic attitude to Zionism, and partly because of the ...

The Other Half

Robert Melville, 4 July 1985

Kenneth Clark: A Biography 
by Meryle Secrest.
Weidenfeld, 310 pp., £12.95, September 1984, 9780297783985
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... not altogether surprising that it was Alan Clark who drew Ms Secrest’s attention to a review by Christopher Booker of his father’s thoroughly disappointing second volume of autobiography, The Other Half. Booker wrote: ‘As the picture of a man who to the end has never dared face up to “the other half” of ...

Bad Habits

Basil Davidson, 27 June 1991

The Repatriations from Austria: The Report of an Inquiry 
by Anthony Cowgill, Lord Brimelow and Christopher Booker.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 367 pp., £19.95, October 1990, 1 85619 029 3
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Cossacks in the German Army 1941-1945 
by Samuel Newland.
Cass, 218 pp., £30, March 1991, 0 7146 3351 8
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Eyewitnesses at Nuremberg 
by Hilary Gaskin.
Arms and Armour, 192 pp., £14.95, November 1990, 1 85409 058 5
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... Harold Macmillan, has deserved severe and even legal censure. The purpose of the Cowgill-Brimelow-Booker volume is to lay bare the real circumstances of the hand-over, and thereby to exonerate from taint of guilt those who made it. This is done with what seems to me a laudable prudence and convincing success, while the archival evidence they have produced ...

Boulevard Brogues

Rosemary Hill: Having your grouse and eating it, 13 May 1999

Girlitude: A Memoir of the Fifties and Sixties 
by Emma Tennant.
Cape, 224 pp., £15.99, April 1999, 0 224 05952 1
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... next attempt at marriage was foolhardy, for in Chapter 9 she reveals: ‘I Married a Satirist.’ Christopher Booker, her second husband, enables her to be part of the satire boom, and its ‘sudden, unblinking stare at reality’. Private Eye, Christine Keeler, That Was the Week that Was all duly happen, but Tennant is not, as she imagines, ‘by proxy ...

Diary

Alan Brien: Finding Lenin, 7 August 1986

... of those outstanding biographies which have the deeper and wider resonance of a novel’: Christopher Booker), A.N. Wilson tells a funny anecdote about Mussolini that was new to me, though I had just finished Denis Mack Smith’s Mussolini. It runs: ‘Mussolini had in fact modelled his style of dress on that of his favourite film stars, Laurel ...
... he and some of his colleagues have developed on the characteristics of books they haven’t read. Christopher Booker did a rather similar job, informing us that ‘I have never read The Road to Oxiana,’ and then telling us his opinion of it, in a recent review of Paul Fussell’s Abroad.By an amiable irony, the same issue of the Spectator which ...

Bernard Levin: Book Two

Clive James, 6 December 1979

Taking Sides 
by Bernard Levin.
Cape, 281 pp., £6.50, September 1979, 0 330 26203 3
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... the best that can be said is that they catch votes in the debating chamber. In the Spectator, Christopher Booker has been emitting, by instalments, a speculative pontification which echoes the same uplifting sentiments. Perhaps these philosophers should be thought of as forming a school, like the Vienna Circle. Perhaps sitting in London is, after ...

Half Bird, Half Fish, Half Unicorn

Paul Foot, 16 October 1997

Peter Cook: A Biography 
by Harry Thompson.
Hodder, 516 pp., £18.99, September 1997, 0 340 64968 2
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... London’. He had always wanted his own magazine and sought out the Eye’s founders – Christopher Booker, Richard Ingrams and Andrew Osmond – and bought the magazine from Osmond for £1500. This was a substantial, though not an enormous investment. Within a year or so, he moved the Eye offices into the Establishment Club and then next ...

Sinking Giggling into the Sea

Jonathan Coe: Giggling along with Boris, 18 July 2013

The Wit and Wisdom of Boris Johnson 
edited by Harry Mount.
Bloomsbury, 149 pp., £9.99, June 2013, 978 1 4081 8352 6
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... is a send-up. There’s an infuriating frivolity, cynicism and finally a vacuousness.’ Christopher Booker: ‘Peter Cook once said, back in the 1960s, “Britain is in danger of sinking giggling into the sea,” and I think we really are doing that now.’The key word here is ‘giggling’ (or in some versions of the ...

Woof, woof

Rosemary Hill: Auberon Waugh, 7 November 2019

A Scribbler in Soho: A Celebration of Auberon Waugh 
edited by Naim Attallah.
Quartet, 341 pp., £20, January 2019, 978 0 7043 7457 7
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... his set: This coterie has led the spirit of anti-Europeanism that pervades Tory Party and country. Christopher Booker, Richard Ingrams and the rest posit a brave little England of crusty country-living upper-class eccentrics versus the dread (another of their words) bureaucracy of Brussels … Don’t imagine that the breed is dying out. Boris ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Hatchet Jobs, 11 September 2003

... Amis doesn’t like journalists (if you didn’t know that already, you will now, having read Christopher Tayler’s review a few pages ago). This doesn’t stop journalists from loving Martin Amis. When the Man Booker Prize longlist was announced last month, reporters were delighted to see his name on it. Peel it ...

Too Obviously Cleverer

Ferdinand Mount: Harold Macmillan, 8 September 2011

Supermac: The Life of Harold Macmillan 
by D.R. Thorpe.
Pimlico, 887 pp., £16.99, September 2011, 978 1 84413 541 7
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The Macmillan Diaries Vol. II: Prime Minister and After 1957-66 
edited by Peter Catterall.
Macmillan, 758 pp., £40, May 2011, 978 1 4050 4721 0
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... largely paid for by Anthony Cowgill concluded unequivocally that, in the words of one of his team, Christopher Booker (who had originally believed that Macmillan was culpable), ‘Macmillan’s part in the story was (a) marginal at best, and (b) that he actually knew very little about the Cossacks in Austria, apart from what he was told at the briefing at ...

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