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Vote for the Beast!

Ian Gilmour: The Tory Leadership, 20 October 2005

... with its proprietor’s economic interests and opinions, and the Telegraph, owned then by Conrad Black, a Canadian by birth, reflected Black’s far right American views. Both Murdoch and Black were and are extreme Europhobes. Major resigned on the morning of his defeat in ...

Knights of the King and Keys

Ian Aitken, 7 March 1991

A Dubious Codicil: An Autobiography by 
by Michael Wharton.
Chatto, 261 pp., £15.99, December 1990, 0 7011 3064 4
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The House the Berrys built 
by Duff Hart-Davis.
Hodder, 299 pp., £16.95, April 1990, 3 405 92526 6
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Lords of Fleet Street: The Harmsworth Dynasty 
by Richard Bourne.
Unwin Hyman, 258 pp., £16.95, October 1990, 0 04 440450 6
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... Practitioners of the black arts of journalism will universally acknowledge that the most accurate as well as the funniest portrayal of their profession is Evelyn Waugh’s novel, Scoop. No one who has ever worked for a paper with a baronial proprietor could fail to recognise Lord Copper and his bevvy of fawning executives ...


Paul Foot: The Impotence of Alan Clark, 5 August 1993

... 1990 – Clark, the tycoon James Goldsmith and the zoo-keeper John Aspinall arranged a dinner with Conrad Black, owner of the Telegraph, to try to persuade him to order his (entirely independent) editor to stop backing Heseltine. Black refused, but we are left in no doubt that it is at dinner parties such as these that ...


Christopher Hitchens: On Peregrine Worsthorne, 4 November 1993

... cliché-laden element in that credo were the worst part of it. Here’s an editor, admittedly a Conrad Black editor but nonetheless a national editor, openly saying that nothing was wrong with the BCCI/Westland/Peter Wright/Guinness/Lloyds of London period that could not be corrected by attacks on trend-crazed clergymen. Populism isn’t gentlemanly ...

Nerds, Rabbits and a General Lack of Testosterone

R.W. Johnson: Major and Lamont, 9 December 1999

The Autobiography 
by John Major.
HarperCollins, 774 pp., £25, October 1999, 0 00 257004 1
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In Office 
by Norman Lamont.
Little, Brown, 567 pp., £20, October 1999, 0 316 64707 1
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... On 5 October 1990, Britain entered the ERM: on 16 September 1992, ‘Black Wednesday’, Britain left the ERM. These two events and the years between them were crucial in recent British politics. They are the source of the divisions in the contemporary Tory Party and all the leading participants are obliged to state and restate what they said and did then in much the same way that the members of an earlier Tory generation had to spell out the position they’d taken over Munich ...

Omnipresent Eye

Patrick Wright: The Nixon/Mao Show, 16 August 2007

Seize the Hour: When Nixon Met Mao 
by Margaret MacMillan.
Murray, 384 pp., £25, October 2006, 0 7195 6522 7
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... of Richard Nixon and his presidency – a project she appears to share with her acknowledgee, Conrad Black. She was surely never among the Western students who took to wearing Mao jackets in honour of the Cultural Revolution (and in imagined solidarity with the distant peoples who had long been projected as ‘blue ants’ in anti-Communist ...

Gosh, what am I like?

Rosemary Hill: The Revenge Memoir, 17 December 2020

Friends and Enemies: A Memoir 
by Barbara Amiel.
Constable, 592 pp., £25, October 2020, 978 1 4721 3421 9
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Diary of an MP’s Wife: Inside and Outside Power 
by Sasha Swire.
Little, Brown, 544 pp., £20, September 2020, 978 1 4087 1341 9
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... case this is anyhow not the intention. The hero is her husband, the former newspaper tycoon Conrad Black, once the owner of the Telegraph group, the Jerusalem Post and the Chicago Sun-Times. He was convicted of fraud in 2007 for siphoning off profits from his companies, although two of the three convictions were later quashed, and served more than ...
Joseph ConradA Biography 
by Jeffrey Meyers.
Murray, 320 pp., £20, July 1991, 0 7195 4910 8
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Joseph Conrad and the Modern Temper 
by Daphna Erdinast-Vulcan.
Oxford, 218 pp., £30, August 1991, 9780198117858
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... and now find a place in the story. The greasy trilby hat Ford Madox Ford put to dry in Jessie Conrad’s oven, provoking the only outburst of wrath ever seen on the part of that placid lady; the ‘good sandwiches’ which the soon-to-be-cast-off Hadley Hemingway promised to make for her husband’s outing to the races at Longchamps; ‘...

Room Theory

Adam Mars-Jones: Joseph O’Neill, 25 September 2014

The Dog 
by Joseph O’Neill.
Fourth Estate, 241 pp., £16.99, July 2014, 978 0 00 727574 8
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... inheritance, but it’s near his own core. On the book’s last page there is a passage about Conrad Black, for whom X. feels ‘a certain respect and sympathy – and, is it possible, envy’. Black is ideally disgraced, defined by his downfall and thereby somehow exonerated, exempt from the imperative to struggle ...

Conrad’s Complaint

Frank Kermode, 17 November 1983

The Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad. Vol. I: 1861-1897 
edited by Frederick Karl and Laurence Davies.
Cambridge, 446 pp., £19.50, September 1983, 0 521 24216 9
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... A great many Conrad letters have already been published, notably in Jean-Aubry’s Life and Letters, but also in smaller collections containing his correspondence with one or more persons – for example, Edward Garnett, William Blackwood and Cunninghame Graham. Early letters to Polish friends and relations have been translated, and a series of about a hundred to Marguerite Poradowska appeared in the original French ...

A Whale of a Time

Colm Tóibín, 2 October 1997

Roger Casement’s Diaries. 1910: The Black and the White 
edited by Roger Sawyer.
Pimlico, 288 pp., £10, October 1997, 9780712673754
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The Amazon Journal of Roger Casement 
edited by Angus Mitchell.
Anaconda, 534 pp., £40, October 1997, 9781901990010
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... Jessie Conrad remembered his visit: Sir Roger Casement, a fanatical Irish protestant, came to see us, remaining some two days our guest. He was a very handsome man with a thick, dark beard and piercing, restless eyes. His personality impressed me greatly. It was about the time when he was interested in bringing to light certain atrocities which were taking place in the Belgian Congo ...

When I’m 65

Robin Blackburn: A reply to Martin Daunton, 19 February 2004

... 17 January the front-page headline in the Financial Times was ‘share rises fail to fill pensions black hole’; the impact of low interest rates on liabilities is a major part of the problem). Mature pension funds are often worth as much as, or more than, the parent company: this is true of Rolls Royce and Boeing, Ford and Unilever, and there are many ...

1 x 30

Anne Carson, 5 March 2020

... that morning. He was alone. He flicked his eyes on me, off me. He had a furtive tinge and a swank black overcoat – I thought at once of Joseph Conrad, as he is in formal photographs, with the not-quite-Western eyes and virtuosic goatee.Once I attended a christening at a farmhouse in a country far away. I saw a stack of ...

Running on Empty

Christopher Hitchens: The Wrong Stuff, 7 January 1999

A Man in Full 
by Tom Wolfe.
Cape, 742 pp., £20, November 1998, 0 224 03036 1
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... wall. The Bonfire of the Vanities They were living in a duet, a form of cheap housing Conrad had never heard of before he and Jill moved in a year ago ... Duets were rows of small one-storey houses about twelve feet apart, with patchy little strips of yard between them. In each house a wall ran right down the middle, the long way, dividing it into ...

Time and the Sea

Fredric Jameson, 16 April 2020

... of a rarely seen film by Andrzej Wajda, Smuga cienia, from 1976. It is an adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s short, openly autobiographical novel The Shadow-Line (1916). Wajda conceived the film as a modest docudrama based on Conrad’s last mission at sea. The British government, in the thick of the First World War, had ...

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