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22 November 1990
Leonard Bernstein 
by Joan Peyser.
Bantam, 430 pp., £14.95, October 1987, 0 593 01454 5
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Leonard Bernstein 
by Michael Freedland.
Harrap, 273 pp., £12.95, October 1987, 0 245 54499 2
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Leonard Bernstein 
by Peter Gradenwitz.
Berg, 310 pp., £15, October 1987, 0 85496 510 6
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Make the music: The Life and Work of Marc Blitzstein 
by Eric Gordon.
St Martin’s, 605 pp., $29.95, March 1989, 0 312 02607 2
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... then to expect to become the music director of a major symphony orchestra reveals an important aspect of Bernstein’s personality.’ Among the names in Peyser’s list of acknowledgments is that of EricGordon, the author of a substantial critical biography of Blitzstein which was published last year, under the Shakespearean title Mark the music. Not surprisingly, Gordon’s view of Bernstein’s ...

Michael Gove recommends …

Robert Hanks: Dennis Wheatley

20 January 2011
The Devil Is a Gentleman: The Life and Times of Dennis Wheatley 
by Phil Baker.
Dedalus, 699 pp., £25, October 2009, 978 1 903517 75 8
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... but Wheatley was inspired to write a romantic novel, Julie’s Lovers, which was rejected by Cassell. More important so far as his literary development is concerned was his meeting in 1917 with EricGordon Tombe, of whom he wrote: ‘In mental development I owe more to him than to any other person who has entered my life.’ Tombe was only four years older, a clergyman’s son who had worked as a motor ...

Bosh

E.S. Turner: Kiss me, Eric

17 April 2003
Dean Farrar and ‘Eric’: A Study of ‘Eric, or Little by Little’, together with the Complete Text of the Book 
by Ian Anstruther.
Haggerston, 237 pp., £19.95, January 2003, 1 869812 19 0
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... From the 11th century to the 19th not a single Eric was to be found in England, according to the Harrap Book of Boys’ and Girls’ Names. Then in 1858 the schoolmaster Frederic Farrar, not yet a dean, published that passionately morbid tale Eric, or ...

I want to love it

Susan Pedersen: What on earth was he doing?

18 April 2019
Eric​ Hobsbawm: A Life in History 
by Richard J. Evans.
Little, Brown, 800 pp., £35, February, 978 1 4087 0741 8
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... Was​ Eric Hobsbawm interested in himself? Not, I think, so very much. He had a more than healthy ego and enough self-knowledge to admit it, but all his curiosity was turned outward – towards problems ...

Diary

W.G. Runciman: Dining Out

4 June 1998
... her, when one’s baby-sitter is a cabinet minister one realises one is really old! 21 May 1997. Howard Davies is appointed chairman-designate of ‘SuperSIB’ (or, as it is later christened by Gordon Brown, the Financial Services Authority), as much to his surprise as everyone else’s. He had been on his way to South America in his capacity as deputy governor of the Bank of England, having just ...

Caruthers & Co

Simon Raven

19 July 1984
... Gem are smoking, drinking and gambling, whereas The Loom of Youth refers, overtly, to homo-erotic dalliance. As to the plot and the narrative of the tale in the Gem both owe much to Dean Farrar’s Eric, or Little by Little, in which Eric embezzles the cricket fund to subsidise his boozing, breaks the best bat while hitting a winning sixer, and then has to confess that there is no money to replace ...
8 June 2006
Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq 
by Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor.
Atlantic, 603 pp., £25, March 2006, 1 84354 352 4
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... by any means run its course, we are now in a position to begin evaluating the results of their handiwork. To that effort, this very fine book makes an important contribution. A decade ago, Michael Gordon, a reporter with the New York Times, and Bernard Trainor, a retired US Marine Corps lieutenant general, collaborated on The Generals’ War, still perhaps the best narrative history of the Persian ...

Short Cuts

Tariq Ali: So much for England

13 January 2020
... lose it.I never thought this one would be such a crushing defeat, but while Labour’s losses should not be underplayed, it’s worth remembering that the party’s share of the vote was lower under Gordon Brown in 2010 and Ed Miliband in 2015. In terms of seats and numbers, the Conservatives did worse in both 1997 and 2001. The liberal commentariat that was hoping that the Lib Dems would replace ...

Jingoes

R.W. Johnson: Britain and South Africa since the Boer War

6 May 2004
The Lion and the Springbok: Britain and South Africa since the Boer War 
by Ronald Hyam and Peter Henshaw.
Cambridge, 379 pp., £45, May 2003, 0 521 82453 2
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... European it seems to owe more to the 17th century than the 20th century – though there is an ominous Hitlerian smell about it.’ Maud particularly loathed South Africa’s foreign minister, Eric Louw: ‘an unprepossessing and neurotic figure, so disturbingly reminiscent of Dr Goebbels’. He advised Macmillan that Verwoerdism was bound to fail ‘for the simple reason that it is not only ...

Heiling Hitler

Geoffrey Best: Churchill, Hitler and the ‘Times’

21 June 2001
The ‘Times’ and Appeasement: The Journals of A.L. Kennedy 1932-39 
Cambridge, 312 pp., £40, March 2001, 0 521 79354 8Show More
Churchill and Appeasement 
by R.A.C. Parker.
Papermac, 290 pp., £12.99, May 2001, 0 333 67584 3
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... socialites, lobbyists and secret agents forever circulating in the antechambers and corridors of power and in the clubs, country houses and grand hotels where the influential were to be found. Gordon Martel’s selection from his journals (90 per cent of the original material for the period) begins with Kennedy going in 1932 to Geneva to report on the League of Nations World Disarmament ...
18 May 2000
Stylistic Cold Wars: Betjeman v. Pevsner 
by Timothy Mowl.
Murray, 182 pp., £14.99, March 2000, 9780719559099
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... Marginalia and plenty of good humour. Alongside the crisp black and white photographs of pristine new buildings were colour pages, showing Shell posters or School Prints, work by Graham Sutherland, Eric Ravilious and Paul Nash. As early as May 1930, another editor, Betjeman’s mentor Philip Morton Shand, part of whose enviable brief was to travel Europe in search of articles to translate and ...

Spookery, Skulduggery

David Runciman: Chris Mullin

4 April 2019
The Friends of Harry Perkins 
by Chris Mullin.
Scribner, 185 pp., £12, March, 978 1 4711 8248 8
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... tycoons and Labour turncoats. Its characters were recognisable as an amalgam of the passing generation of Labour heavyweights, from Benn himself to Barbara Castle and bruisers like Denis Healey and Eric Heffer. Its atmosphere derived from the lurid tales of spookery and skulduggery that emerged in the dying days of Harold Wilson’s premiership, when the longstanding suspicion that Wilson was a KGB ...

Tremendous in His Wrath

Eric​ Foner: George Washington, Slave Owner

9 December 2019
‘The Only Unavoidable Subject of Regret’: George Washington, Slavery and the Enslaved Community at Mount Vernon 
by Mary Thompson.
Virginia, 502 pp., £32.50, January 2019, 978 0 8139 4184 4
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... he wished similar information would come to light about Washington, since Jefferson’s plantation, Monticello, had experienced a substantial increase in visitor numbers after the historian Annette Gordon-Reed established beyond doubt the Hemings connection. In the apparent belief that visitors’ imaginations need to be stirred even further, a room at Monticello next to Jefferson’s bedroom is now ...

John McEnroe plus Anyone

Edward Said: Tennis

1 July 1999
The Right Set: The Faber Book of Tennis 
edited by Caryl Phillips.
Faber, 327 pp., £12.99, June 1999, 0 571 19540 7
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... and retriever. Professional players of my son’s generation (he’s now 27) won’t have any of this, partly because they never saw even the great postwar champions like Ted Schroeder, Frank Parker, Eric Sturgess, and there are no videos of what Wadie quaintly refers to as ‘vintage’ players, partly because today’s champions are focused so exclusively on tennis, with endless exercise and hitting ...

Farewell to the Log Cabin

Colin Kidd: America’s Royalist Revolution

18 December 2014
The Royalist Revolution 
by Eric​ Nelson.
Harvard, 390 pp., £22.95, October 2014, 978 0 674 73534 7
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... and, ultimately, via Machiavelli, from antiquity. The hitherto unrecognised ideology of republicanism excavated by a distinguished group of historians, including Caroline Robbins, Bernard Bailyn, Gordon Wood and J.G.A. Pocock, offered a compelling account of the reasons British Americans broke with monarchy and then embarked on such a distinctive constitutional experiment, hedged with an ...

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