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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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... if any) leg to show, a midi and maxi mix-up relieved by desperate forays into hot pants and other extreme styles varying from the aggressively “butch” to the coyly sexy.’ So there you have it. ChristopherBooker, 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 ...
2 December 1982
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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... a history of the Eye, written by a long-term staffer of the Eye and co-published by the Eye. Reviewers? Auberon Waugh in the Daily Mail; John Wells twice, once in Harper’s and once in the Times; ChristopherBooker 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 ...

At the V&A

Jeremy Harding: 50 Years of ‘Private Eye’

15 December 2011
... Private Eye, £25). The in-house author Adam Macqueen recycles many of the good old stories and tells us much about the comings and goings at the magazine. The book is good on editorial tiffs. How ChristopherBooker, 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 ...

Diary

Christopher​ Hitchens: Keywords

13 September 1990
... were to be found in that odd cluster made up by the Union, the Church of England, the traditional county boundaries and the struggle for a legible and intelligible architecture. People tell me that ChristopherBooker 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 ...

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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... prisoners, whether made by commanders in the field or by the senior British political figure there, 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 ...

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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... and eat it’ and she is hurt, which is understandable. But given this vulnerability to ridicule her next attempt at marriage was foolhardy, for in Chapter 9 she reveals: ‘I Married a Satirist.’ ChristopherBooker, 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 ...

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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... he was very unhappy there, they would have thought it very unmanly of him to complain, so it’s not altogether surprising that it was Alan Clark who drew Ms Secrest’s attention to a review by ChristopherBooker 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 ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Hatchet Jobs

11 September 2003
... Martin 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 ...
7 May 1981
... review displays to advantage and to his obvious satisfaction that rather strong line which he and some of his colleagues have developed on the characteristics of books they haven’t read. ChristopherBooker 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 ...
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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... Establishment Club in Soho, which he hoped would become a centre for the artists and jokesmiths of ‘swinging London’. He had always wanted his own magazine and sought out the Eye’s founders – ChristopherBooker, 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 ...
6 December 1979
Taking Sides 
by Bernard Levin.
Cape, 281 pp., £6.50, September 1979, 0 330 26203 3
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... Weltanschauung has noticeable affinities with the political theories of Arianna Stassinopoulos, of which the best that can be said is that they catch votes in the debating chamber. In the Spectator, ChristopherBooker 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 ...

Diary

Alan Brien: Finding Lenin

7 August 1986
... licence to caricature beyond its legitimate limits, in non-fiction. In his Hilaire Belloc (‘One of those outstanding biographies which have the deeper and wider resonance of a novel’: ChristopherBooker), 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 ...

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 subversive. And I find that very tiresome.’ Barry Humphries: ‘Everyone is being satirical, everything is a send-up. There’s an infuriating frivolity, cynicism and finally a vacuousness.’ ChristopherBooker: ‘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 ...

Young and Old

John Sutherland

15 October 1981
Life Stories 
by A.L. Barker.
Hogarth, 319 pp., £6.95, September 1981, 0 7012 0538 5
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Many Men and Talking Wives 
by Helen Muir.
Duckworth, 156 pp., £7.95, September 1981, 0 7156 1613 7
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Good Behaviour 
by Molly Keane.
Deutsch, 245 pp., £6.50, September 1981, 9780233973326
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A Separate Development 
by Christopher​ Hope.
Routledge, 199 pp., £6.95, October 1981, 0 7100 0954 2
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From Little Acorns 
by Howard Buten.
Harvester, 156 pp., £6.95, October 1981, 0 7108 0390 7
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Fortnight’s Anger 
by Roger Scruton.
Carcanet, 224 pp., £6.95, October 1981, 0 85635 376 0
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... mien’ could be Verity’s hysterical malapropism, or a Freudian parapraxis for ‘you men’ and ‘your meanness’, or possibly the author doesn’t know what ‘mien’ means. By way of reply, Christopher picks up a brick. When he breaks through the window, Verity sprays him with insecticide. The affair ends. Rebounding from emptiness, Verity takes a job with the Drew Foundation, a body devoted to the ...

Draw me a what’s-it cube

Adam Mars-Jones: Ian McEwan

13 September 2012
Sweet Tooth 
by Ian McEwan.
Cape, 323 pp., £18.99, August 2012, 978 0 224 09737 6
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... in individual books, from the rather portentous Atonement, straining for Masterpiece status (this is admittedly very much a minority verdict), to the throwaway Amsterdam, his how-did-that-happen 1998 Booker Prize winner. Sweet Tooth occupies a comfortable middle ground in these terms. His level of craft can be inconsistent, too, with the most ramshackle production to date, Solar, following the most ...

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