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Thomas Jones: Silly mistakes and blood for Bush, 4 December 2003

... Chief, David Nasaw’s Life of William Randolph Hearst (Gibson Square, £9.99), including one from Conrad Black in the Scotsman. That would be the same Conrad Black who wrote the book’s foreword. A helpful yellow post-it note reads: ‘FYI Conrad Black in the ...

Heart of Darkness

Christopher Hitchens, 28 June 1990

Not Many Dead: Journal of a Year in Fleet Street 
by Nicholas Garland.
Hutchinson, 299 pp., £16.95, April 1990, 0 09 174449 0
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A Slight Case of Libel: Meacher v. Trelford and Others 
by Alan Watkins.
Duckworth, 241 pp., £14.95, June 1990, 0 7156 2334 6
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... Alexander reminded me that Black once said that he was prepared to let his editors have a completely free hand except on one subject. He forbade attacks on American Presidents in general and President Reagan in particular. Entry for 18 April 1986, Not Many Dead The success of Michael Moore’s film about Roger Smith and General Motors has aroused an envious spirit of emulation in my breast ...

Other People’s Capital

John Lanchester: Conrad and Barbara Black, 14 December 2006

Conrad and Lady BlackDancing on the Edge 
by Tom Bower.
Harper, 436 pp., £20, November 2006, 0 00 723234 9
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... Conrad Black is not the only tycoon to have dreamed of global domination while buying and selling newspapers, and he is not the only tycoon to have had people fawning over him on the way up and shunning him on the way down; he is not the only tycoon to have lived large, issued writs and faced criminal charges; but he is the only tycoon with a wholly distinctive prose style ...

Europe or America?

Ian Gilmour, 7 November 2019

... by what Michael Heseltine calls ‘our North American press’ – that is to say, the Murdoch and Black empires – against Britain forging closer ties in Europe. It is Conrad Black who, in his lecture, Britain’s Final Choice: Europe or America?, has produced the most coherent case for Britain opting for the United ...


Julian Critchley, 11 December 1997

Dear Bill: Bill Deedes Reports 
by W.F. Deedes.
Macmillan, 396 pp., £20, October 1997, 0 333 71386 9
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... as an editor thought of him as a politician who had wandered into newspaper management. At the pre-Conrad Black Telegraph, responsibility was divided in three ways: Deedes edited the opinion pages; the appalling Peter Eastwood, the news pages; while Lord Hartwell played the grand old Duke of York. The Deedes/Eastwood duo was essentially a ‘Mr Nice and ...


Ian Gilmour: Britain and Europe, 10 December 1998

This Blessed Plot: Britain and Europe from Churchill to Blair 
by Hugo Young.
Macmillan, 558 pp., £20, November 1998, 0 333 57992 5
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... by what Michael Heseltine calls ‘our North American press’ – that is to say, the Murdoch and Black empires – against Britain forging closer ties in Europe. As Conrad Black has lived here for a dozen years, obviously cares about the country and does not own a British tabloid, it is a little unfair to bracket him ...

How would Richelieu and Mazarin have coped?

R.W. Johnson: Henry Kissinger, 20 September 2001

The Trial of Henry Kissinger 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Verso, 159 pp., £15, May 2001, 1 85984 631 9
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... help of documentation provided by the US Government, detailing its own secret service activities. Conrad Black takes the view that there is no proof here, merely a circumstantial tissue of fabrication and half-truth, intended to defame a great statesman. Above all, what enrages Black is that Hitchens, in making these ...

Pissing on Pedestrians

Owen Bennett-Jones: A Great Unravelling, 1 April 2021

Fall: The Mystery of Robert Maxwell 
by John Preston.
Viking, 322 pp., £18.99, February, 978 0 241 38867 9
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... had the great advantage of not wanting to be part of it. While Maxwell – like Beaverbrook and Conrad Black – craved a seat in the House of Lords, Murdoch had grander ambitions. He wanted power while Maxwell wanted the glory. By the time Maxwell bought the Mirror, Murdoch was already a major influence on British life. And when Maxwell matched ...

In Pyjamas

R.W. Johnson: Bill Deedes’s Decency, 17 November 2005

Dear Bill: A Memoir 
by W.F. Deedes.
Macmillan, 451 pp., £14.99, July 2005, 9781405052665
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... about Andrew Knight, the former Economist editor brought in as chief executive of the Telegraph by Conrad Black. Part of the deal was that Hastings should replace Deedes as editor, a changing of the guard that led Thatcher to throw a party for him at Number Ten. Knight phoned to let him know and to say he should choose who he wanted to invite: It was ...

A Different Sort of Tory

Ronald Stevens: Max Hastings, 12 December 2002

Editor: An Inside Story of Newspapers 
by Max Hastings.
Macmillan, 398 pp., £20, October 2002, 0 333 90837 6
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... the Times to his empire in 1966, and was similarly rewarded with a seat in the House of Lords. Conrad Black came on the scene in the spring of 1985, paid £10 million for a minority stake in the Telegraph Group, and later the same year became its controlling shareholder for the modest expenditure of another £20 million. He, too, has acquired a ...

Conrad and Prejudice

Craig Raine, 22 June 1989

Hopes and Impediments: Selected Essays 1967-87 
by Chinua Achebe.
Heinemann, 130 pp., £10.95, January 1988, 0 435 91000 0
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... Joseph Conrad was a thoroughgoing racist.’ This quotation is taken from ‘An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness’, a lecture delivered by the Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe as long ago as 1974 and now collected in Hopes and Impediments. In City Without Walls, W ...

Short Cuts

James Meek: Anglospheroids, 21 March 2013

... to Britain’s as in tribute to it – in opposition, specifically, to Britain’s class system. Conrad Black might wish it otherwise, but the former colonies have not been amenable to the importation of Old World class values. Similarly the British right lacks a British Tony Abbott, capable of fronting up as an average, middling sort of fellow who ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: Jeffrey Epstein’s Little Black Book, 15 August 2019

... Trump’s ex-friend Steve Bannon snuggles up in the address book next to Debonnaire von Bismarck. Conrad Black (with more than a dozen numbers) is next to Tony Blair (home number only) and the former mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg (who also lived on Tom Wolfe’s street). There are lots of British socialites (brought to him by his friend Ghislaine ...

Had he not run

David Reynolds: America’s longest-serving president, 2 June 2005

Franklin Delano Roosevelt 
by Roy Jenkins.
Pan, 208 pp., £7.99, May 2005, 0 330 43206 0
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Franklin D. Roosevelt 
by Patrick Renshaw.
Longman, 223 pp., $16.95, December 2003, 0 582 43803 9
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Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom 
by Conrad Black.
Weidenfeld, 1280 pp., £17.99, October 2004, 0 7538 1848 5
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... and deftly interweaves the public and the private. In contrast with these two short biographies, Conrad Black has produced a magnum opus. The detail is often revealing, yet the book would surely have gained from tighter editing and, in contrast to Renshaw’s volume, the wood sometimes gets lost in the trees. Like all students of Roosevelt, ...


Sylvia Lawson: In Sydney, 8 April 1993

... pragmatism. They colluded in the transference of the whole mainstream press to foreign control – Conrad Black has Fairfax and Murdoch the rest. The ABC’s vulnerable Radio National remains our only alternative press, but there are no safeguards; media policy is shambolic. The re-elected prime minister is a Catholic husband and father of immaculate ...

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