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Smart Alec

Peter Clarke

17 October 1996
Alec Douglas-Home 
by D.R. Thorpe.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 540 pp., £25, October 1996, 1 85619 277 6
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... disclaim the title, the 14th Earl of Home would not have agreed to avail himself of the new procedure, even to become prime minister of the United Kingdom. There was too much at stake. The family’s old motto said it all: ‘A Home, a Home, a Home.’ Brought up to believe that there’s no place like it, no race like it, Alec would hardly have let the ...

Bad Timing

R.W. Johnson: All about Eden

22 May 2003
Eden: The Life and Times of Anthony Eden, First Earl of Avon 1897-1977 
by D.R. Thorpe.
Chatto, 758 pp., £25, March 2003, 0 7011 6744 0
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The Macmillan Diaries: The Cabinet Years 1950-57 
edited by Peter Catterall.
Macmillan, 676 pp., £25, April 2003, 9780333711675
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... Harold Macmillan’s judgment on Anthony Eden, that ‘he was trained to win the Derby in 1938; unfortunately, he was not let out of the starting stalls until 1955,’ was echoed by Anthony Nutting: ‘he had for too long been the Golden Boy of the Tory Party, the glamorous Crown Prince awaiting the summons to mount the throne in place of the ageing Emperor ...

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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... at the Battle of Loos and at the Somme. At Delville Wood he was hit in the thigh and pelvis and rolled down into a large shell-hole, where he lay for the next ten hours, alternately dosing himself with morphine and reading Aeschylus. He wrote home on 13 September 1916 that ‘the stench from the dead bodies which lie in ...

Hoylake

Peter Clarke

30 March 1989
Selwyn Lloyd 
by D.K. Thorpe.
Cape, 516 pp., £18, February 1989, 0 224 02828 6
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... of escape from the confines of Wesleyanism. But although he became known as Peter from undergraduate days onward – ‘Selwyn’ must have spelt social death at Magdalene – he never seriously purported to be other than he was. He exhumed his Christian name in post-war politics and made it into a distinctive trademark, whereas to remain Peter would ...

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