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Hooting

Edward Pearce

22 October 1992
Beaverbrook 
by Anne Chisholm and Michael Davie.
Hutchinson, 589 pp., £20, October 1992, 0 09 173549 1
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... of accountancy constituting the present. All the successors, the amiable if cack-handed Victor Matthews, his feverish mayor of the palace, Jocelyn Stevens, and subsequent persons deepening the descent, still aspired to Beaverbrook’s peremptory ways, his habit of punting enthusiasms and nominating heroes. All that was missing was the flair. One can’t ...

Into the Net

Neal Ascherson: Records of the Spanish Civil War

15 December 2016
Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-39 
by Adam Hochschild.
Macmillan, 438 pp., £25, April 2016, 978 1 5098 1054 3
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¡No Pasarán! Writings from the Spanish Civil War 
edited by Pete Ayrton.
Serpent’s Tail, 393 pp., £20, April 2016, 978 1 84668 997 0
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The Last Days of the Spanish Republic 
by Paul Preston.
William Collins, 390 pp., £25, February 2016, 978 0 00 816340 2
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A Distant Heartbeat: A War, a Disappearance and a Family’s Secrets 
by Eunice Lipton.
New Mexico, 165 pp., £18.50, April 2016, 978 0 8263 5658 1
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... out of the Hotel Florida in Madrid during the siege. Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn and Herbert Matthews of the New York Times and Virginia Cowles were among that crew, most of them hotly committed to the anti-fascist cause. Gellhorn, with mounting desperation, used her friendship with Eleanor Roosevelt to warn of the consequences of non-intervention and ...

Paralysed by the Absence of Danger

Jeremy Harding: Spain, 1937

24 September 2009
Letters from Barcelona: An American Woman in Revolution and Civil War 
edited by Gerd-Rainer Horn.
Palgrave, 209 pp., £50, February 2009, 978 0 230 52739 3
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War Is Beautiful: An American Ambulance Driver in the Spanish Civil War 
by James Neugass.
New Press, 314 pp., £16.99, November 2008, 978 1 59558 427 4
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We Saw Spain Die: Foreign Correspondents in the Spanish Civil War 
by Paul Preston.
Constable, 525 pp., £9.99, June 2009, 978 1 84529 946 0
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... forestall their [defection] or to cover their trail.’ Perhaps. Yet it was the British Communist David Crook who did most of the spying on the Orwells – and, according to Gordon Bowker in his biography of Orwell, Crook went on to suggest that Eileen was having an affair with Kopp. The snakepit from which the Orrs scrambled when they left for France was ...

Gangs

D.A.N. Jones

8 January 1987
The Old School: A Study 
by Simon Raven.
Hamish Hamilton, 139 pp., £12, September 1986, 0 241 11929 4
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The Best Years of their Lives: The National Service Experience 1945-63 
by Trevor Royle.
Joseph, 288 pp., £12.95, September 1986, 0 7181 2459 6
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Murder without Conviction: Inside the World of the Krays 
by John Dickson.
Sidgwick, 164 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 9780283994074
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Inside ‘Private Eye’ 
by Peter McKay.
Fourth Estate, 192 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 947795 80 4
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Malice in Wonderland: Robert Maxwell v. ‘Private Eye’ 
by Robert Maxwell, John Jackson, Peter Donnelly and Joe Haines.
Macdonald, 191 pp., £10.95, December 1986, 0 356 14616 2
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... prints interviews with them, as if they were as respectable as the Shah of Iran. Dickson mentions David Bailey, who published a handsome photograph of the Twins, with an eloquent caption by Francis Wyndham, comparing them with Humphrey Bogart. It was the little public-school gang of Private Eye that broke through the hype: larger journals seemed awed by the ...

Go and get killed, comrade

Gideon Lewis-Kraus: Spanish Civil War

21 February 2013
Unlikely Warriors: The British in the Spanish Civil War and the Struggle against Fascism 
by Richard Baxell.
Aurum, 516 pp., £25, September 2012, 978 1 84513 697 0
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I Am Spain: The Spanish Civil War and the Men and Women Who Went to Fight Fascism 
by David Boyd Haycock.
Old Street, 363 pp., £25, October 2012, 978 1 908699 10 7
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... miniatures of the uncontroversial heroism of doomed men. It’s beyond history; it’s myth. David Boyd Haycock’s I Am Spain: The Spanish Civil War and the Men and Women Who Went to Fight Fascism is a good example of where this Civil War mythology tends to wind up. He replaces Baxell’s careful scholarship with broad-brush sentimentality. They tell ...

The Old, Bad Civilisation

Arnold Rattenbury: Second World War poetry

4 October 2001
Selected Poems 
by Randall Swingler, edited by Andy Croft.
Trent, 113 pp., £7.99, October 2000, 1 84233 014 4
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British Writing of the Second World War 
by Mark Rawlinson.
Oxford, 256 pp., £35, June 2000, 0 19 818456 5
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... Brigaders, Trotskyites, Communists, pacifists failed by their tribunals. The playwright David Hare declared recently that working-class conscripts now met ‘the officer class’ for the first time and rebelled; but plenty had met the people issuing orders, at least since Peterloo. Moreover, an Army largely unemployed except in training or retreat ...
4 November 1982
Powers of the Press: The World’s Great Newspapers 
by Martin Walker.
Quartet, 401 pp., £15, July 1982, 0 7043 2271 4
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Goodbye Gutenberg: The Newspaper Revolution of the 1980s 
by Anthony Smith.
Oxford, 367 pp., £3.95, January 1982, 9780198272434
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New Technology and Industrial Relations in Fleet Street 
by Roderick Martin.
Oxford, 367 pp., £17.50, October 1981, 9780198272434
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News Ltd: Why you can’t read all about it 
by Brian Whitaker.
Minority Press Group, 176 pp., £3.25, June 1981, 0 906890 04 7
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... that the Fleet Street crisis of the mid-Seventies and the advent of entrepreneurs such as Lord Matthews (whose property company now controls the Express), Rupert Murdoch and ‘Tiny’ Rowland of Lonrho would have been sufficient cause for the public and Parliament to take a more serious interest in the state of the press than the lame-duck exercise ...

No Intention of Retreating

Lorna Scott Fox: Martha Gellhorn’s Wars

2 September 2004
Martha Gellhorn: A Life 
by Caroline Moorehead.
Vintage, 550 pp., £8.99, June 2004, 0 09 928401 4
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... Hemingway marathon, to the fling with James Gavin (hero of the 82nd Airborne), to the affair with David Gurewitsch in Cuernavaca, even the marriage to Tom Matthews in 1954 that made her so ‘plain silly happy’ at first: You see, I have chalked it up too well, and see where and how I am caught – and how ...

When the Costume Comes Off

Adam Mars-Jones: Philip Hensher

14 April 2011
King of the Badgers 
by Philip Hensher.
Fourth Estate, 436 pp., £18.99, March 2011, 978 0 00 730133 1
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... are likely to stir tabloid echoes in the reader’s mind, and before too long the name of Shannon Matthews will pop up – but Hensher is too wily to follow that case very closely, and enjoys laying a trail that combines real clues and pieces of misdirection. The trick of incorporating genre features into a literary novel, to judge by such successes as The ...

An Unreliable Friend

R.W. Johnson: Nelson Mandela

19 August 1999
Mandela: The Authorised Biography 
by Anthony Sampson.
HarperCollins, 500 pp., £24.99, May 1999, 0 00 255829 7
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... together on that basis. Initially, Sampson suggests that its author was the black academic, Z.K. Matthews, but he goes on to admit that it was drafted by the white Communist, Lionel Bernstein. The Congress itself was stage-managed: on the first day the Charter was simply recited to the delegates, who accepted it ‘by acclaim’, which meant that the front ...
21 February 1991
About Turn. The Communist Party and the Outbreak of the Second World War: The Verbatim Record of the Central Committee Meetings 1939 
edited by Francis King and George Matthews.
Lawrence and Wishart, 318 pp., £34.95, November 1990, 9780853157267
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... controls these proceedings with a Catoesque monomania and a forensically inflexible vocabulary. As David Edgar has pointed out, Dutt is the one person in the whole drama who takes exactly the same line at the beginning, the middle and the end. He is determined, not just that the Central Committee should bow to Big Brother but that they should love him ...
19 February 1987
The Market for Glory: Fleet Street Ownership in the 20th Century 
by Simon Jenkins.
Faber, 247 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 571 14627 9
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The End of the Street 
by Linda Melvern.
Methuen, 276 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 413 14640 5
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... benign among proprietors, has come and gone, picking up a peerage in the process. So has Victor Matthews, moving from building-site to Fleet Street and out again in less than ten years. The free or cut-price offers of dictionaries and flower-pots in the 1930s have given way to bingo and cash prizes. As for content, most of the popular papers are as cheap ...

Heat in a Mild Climate

James Wood: Baron Britain of Aldeburgh

19 December 2013
Benjamin Britten: A Life in the 20th Century 
by Paul Kildea.
Allen Lane, 635 pp., £30, January 2013, 978 1 84614 232 1
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Benjamin Britten: A Life for Music 
by Neil Powell.
Hutchinson, 512 pp., £25, January 2013, 978 0 09 193123 0
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... subcultures made him uneasy; he did not like socialising with gay couples. His assistant, Colin Matthews, ‘thought the repression extended to all brands of sexuality, not merely his own’. He was most himself, it seems, when permitted to enter into avuncular relations with handsome teenage boys, sex kept at bay – but the scene also charged – by ...
19 July 1984
... and that the offender would be sacked. That’s the language of the new Fleet Street tycoons. David Astor, the former editor of the Observer, wrote in a letter to the Times: ‘To allow a newspaper catering to political sector X of our community to be taken over by a proprietor who is a militant member of political sector Y is, plainly, not in the ...

Good History

Christopher Hill

5 March 1981
After the Reformation: Essays in Honour of J.H. Hexter 
edited by Barbara Malament.
Manchester, 363 pp., £17.95, December 1980, 0 7190 0805 0
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Puritans and Adventurers 
by T.H. Breen.
Oxford, 270 pp., £10, October 1980, 0 19 502728 0
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On History 
by Fernand Braudel, translated by Sarah Matthews.
Weidenfeld, 226 pp., £10.95, January 1981, 0 297 77880 3
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Sociology and History 
by Peter Burke.
Allen and Unwin, 116 pp., £6.95, August 1980, 0 19 502728 0
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... before men had a word for it. How indeed could they have a word for it until it had happened? David Underdown, one of the five big names contributing to this festschrift, has a characteristically wise survey of ‘Community and Class’ in the English Revolution. Disregarding Hexter’s prohibitions, he concludes: ‘The Marxist model of local political ...

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