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Britain is Your Friend

Rosemary Hill: British WW2 Propaganda

15 December 2016
Persuading the People: British Propaganda in World War Two 
by David Welch.
British Library, 224 pp., £25, September 2016, 978 0 7123 5654 1
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... in Britain and the empire with posters, leaflets and films throughout the war. By turns advisory, exhortatory or simply informative they were generally more stoical than bellicose and often humorous. DavidWelch’s account is based on the Central Office of Information archive in the British Library, with occasional excursions beyond it, and he considers a wide range of material. It was in the summer ...

Drowning out the Newsreel

Katie Trumpener: Nazi Cinema

12 March 2009
Nazis and the Cinema 
by Susan Tegel.
Continuum, 324 pp., £30, April 2008, 978 1 84725 211 1
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Cinema and the Swastika: The International Expansion of Third Reich Cinema 
edited by Roel Vande Winkel and David Welch.
Palgrave, 342 pp., £62, February 2007, 978 1 4039 9491 2
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Prague in Danger: The Years of German Occupation 1939-45 
by Peter Demetz.
Farrar, Straus, 274 pp., $25, April 2009, 978 0 374 28126 7
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... ostensibly apolitical ‘entertainment’. Susan Tegel, in Nazis and the Cinema, shows that these measures provided a framework for the making and showing of propaganda films. Roel vande Winkel and DavidWelch’s essay collection, Cinema and the Swastika, widens the picture much further. In the mid-1930s, the Nazis began covertly acquiring cinemas and cinema chains around the world, while at the ...

Short Cuts

Jeremy Harding: David​ Jones’s War

19 March 2015
... Last year​ – year one of the Great War centenary – David Jones’s In Parenthesis, a long prose-and-verse evocation of his first months as a soldier, got a decent outing. The poet Owen Sheers drew on the text for his play Mametz at National Theatre Wales ...

Cuba Down at Heel

Laurence Whitehead

8 June 1995
The Secret Cuban Missile Crisis Documents 
Brassey (US), 376 pp., £15.95, March 1994, 9780028810836Show More
The Cuban Revolution: Origin, Course and Legacy 
by Marifeli Pérez-Stable.
Oxford, 252 pp., £16.95, April 1994, 0 19 508406 3
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Cuba on the Brink: Castro, the Missile Crisis and the Soviet Collapse 
by James Blight, Bruce Allyn and David Welch.
Pantheon, 509 pp., $27.50, November 1993, 0 679 42149 1
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Castro’s Final Hour: The Secret Story Behind the Coming Downfall of Communist Cuba 
by Andrés Oppenheimer.
Simon and Schuster, 474 pp., $25, July 1992, 0 671 72873 3
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Revolution in the Balance: Law and Society in Contemporary Cuba 
by Debra Evenson.
Westview, 235 pp., £48.50, June 1994, 0 8133 8466 4
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The Problem of Democracy in Cuba: Between Vision and Reality 
by Carollee Bengelsdorf.
Oxford, 238 pp., £32.50, July 1994, 0 19 505826 7
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Back from the Future: Cuba under Castro 
by Susan Eva Eckstein.
Princeton, 286 pp., £25, October 1994, 0 691 03445 1
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Fidel Castro 
by Robert Quirk.
Norton, 898 pp., £25, March 1994, 0 393 03485 2
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Healing the Masses: Cuban Health Politics at Home and Abroad 
by Julie Feinsilver.
California, 307 pp., £35, November 1993, 0 520 08218 4
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Contesting Castro: The United States and the Triumph of the Cuban Revolution 
by Thomas Paterson.
Oxford, 364 pp., £22.50, July 1994, 0 19 508630 9
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... Even after 35 years, the simplest questions about Cuban politics remain almost beyond the reach of objective analysis. Is the Castro regime a tyranny which can only perpetuate itself by resort to repression, as the Cuban-American community in Miami and elsewhere insists? Or does it persist, despite the disintegration of the Soviet bloc and the deepening economic crisis, essentially because it incarnates ...

Fraud Squad

Ferdinand Mount: Imposters

2 August 2007
The Tichborne Claimant: A Victorian Sensation 
by Rohan McWilliam.
Continuum, 363 pp., £25, March 2007, 978 1 85285 478 2
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A Romanov Fantasy: Life at the Court of Anna Anderson 
by Frances Welch.
Short Books, 327 pp., £14.99, February 2007, 978 1 904977 71 1
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The Lost Prince: The Survival of Richard of York 
by David​ Baldwin.
Sutton, 220 pp., £20, July 2007, 978 0 7509 4335 2
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... qualities are required, only a mulish determination to keep it up and a certain opacity and bad temper to keep doubters at bay. The willing suspension of disbelief by others does the rest. Frances Welch takes as the epigraph to her entrancing account of Anna’s story the maxim from Ship of Fools: ‘The World wants to be deceived.’ Welch has no thesis to grind out beyond the demonstration of this ...

Diary

Keith Thomas: Two Years a Squaddie

5 February 2015
... the towers and spires of the university city flash past, so near and yet so remote. Until the publication of Richard Vinen’s superb history, the best accounts of National Service were fictional: David Lodge’s Ginger, You’re Barmy is a particularly successful evocation of the miseries and absurdities of the conscript’s life.* But Vinen, who was born in 1963, when the last national serviceman ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Silly mistakes and blood for Bush

4 December 2003
... The servants, meanwhile, are left to their own devices, conducting power struggles and love affairs among themselves, and anxious about an imminent German invasion or an attack by the IRA. Mrs Welch, the cook, forbids her girls from speaking to tradesmen on prevention of terrorism grounds, though it turns out that her real motive is safeguarding the secret of her illicit gin supply. Charley ...

Closing Time

Thomas Laqueur

18 August 1994
How We Die 
by Sherwin Nuland.
Chatto, 278 pp., £15.99, May 1994, 0 7011 6169 8
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... He had never had a moment when death was not terrible to him,’ reports Boswell on the occasion of needling his famous friend with the news that the atheist philosopher David Hume had died well and without repentance. ‘The horror of death, which I had always observed in Dr Johnson, appeared strong tonight.’ Sherwin Nuland a surgeon from Yale, speaks to the Johnson in ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Flashman

9 May 2002
...  we don’t glimpse much of the men behind them, or indeed of the women beside them. Fraser has written a number of screenplays, including Octopussy, The Three Musketeers (the one with Raquel Welch and Charlton Heston) and its sequel, The Four Musketeers. But it’s in the other matters that Fraser’s brilliance as a pasticheur really shines. Ten satirical ‘Angry Old Man’ rants punctuate ...

Adjusting the Mechanism

Colin Burrow: Robert Graves

11 October 2018
Robert Graves: From a Great War Poet to ‘Goodbye to All That’, 1895-1929 
by Jean Moorcroft Wilson.
Bloomsbury, 461 pp., £25, August 2018, 978 1 4729 2914 3
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The Reader over Your Shoulder: A Handbook for Writers of English Prose 
by Robert Graves and Alan Hodge.
Seven Stories, 613 pp., £30, September 2017, 978 1 60980 733 7
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... 34, that by the end of his time at Charterhouse ‘poetry and Dick were now the only two things that really mattered.’ He then survived the First World War, in which, as an officer in the Royal Welch Fusiliers, he had been so badly wounded in the Battle of the Somme that his commanding officer wrote a letter of condolence to his parents and his death was announced in the Times (the paper was ...

So long as you drub the foe

Geoffrey Best: Army-Society Relations

11 May 2006
Military Identities: The Regimental System, The British Army and The British People c.1870-2000 
by David​ French.
Oxford, 404 pp., £45, July 2005, 0 19 925803 1
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... Protestant regions, And to take vengeance for Waterloo day! It is with this soldierly ferment in the mid-century decades of the Crimean War, the Indian Mutiny and the wars of Prussian expansion that David French picks up the story. It was evident to the more thoughtful that army and society were not well related to one another, and that the British army, which remained, to an alarming degree, a body ...

At The Thirteenth Hour

William Wootten: David​ Jones

25 September 2003
Wedding Poems 
by David​ Jones, edited by Thomas Dilworth.
Enitharmon, 88 pp., £12, April 2002, 1 900564 87 4
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David​ Jones: Writer and Artist 
by Keith Alldritt.
Constable, 208 pp., £18.99, April 2003, 1 84119 379 8
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... David Jones was staying in the Chelsea flat of the BBC’s Assistant Director of Programme Planning, Harman Grisewood, as the bombs fell on London in the autumn of 1940. During one raid, a near miss blew a ...
27 May 1993
Dorothy L. Sayers: Her Life and Soul 
by Barbara Reynolds.
Hodder, 398 pp., £25, March 1993, 0 340 58151 4
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... It is not a book which contains any surprises for those of us who have read the previous biographies. Indeed, Dr Reynolds gives us rather less, in the way of personal detail, than the recent study by David Coombes. There is far less about Sayers’s marriage, for example; but we do not feel – at any rate, I did not feel – that this is a case of suppressio veri. More an exercise in getting things in ...

Nothing in a Really Big Way

James Wood: Adam Mars-Jones

24 April 2008
Pilcrow 
by Adam Mars-Jones.
Faber, 525 pp., £18.99, April 2008, 978 0 571 21703 8
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... wheelchair, Rochester’s blindness). It is also, I think, a long joke at the expense of a punitive tradition that has linked homosexuality with illness or deformity of one kind or another; Denton Welch, the patiently analytical English miniaturist, devoted to slow descriptions of his surroundings, physically impaired by a cycling accident and frankly homosexual, breathes his close, liberating air ...

My son has been poisoned!

David​ Bromwich: Cold War movies

26 January 2012
An Army of Phantoms: American Movies and the Making of the Cold War 
by J. Hoberman.
New Press, 383 pp., £21.99, March 2011, 978 1 59558 005 4
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... So began the 1954 Senate hearings on subversive influence in the army. But those hearings turned out to be McCarthy’s last crusade; in a formal and spectacular sense, his career ended when Joseph Welch, a Boston lawyer and counsel for the army, replied to the ascription of Communist connections to a young lawyer on his staff: ‘Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty ...

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