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20 November 1986
Bend’Or, Duke of Westminster: A Personal Memoir 
by George Ridley.
Robin Clark, 213 pp., £9.95, November 1985, 0 86072 096 9
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Getty: The Richest Man in the World 
by Robert Lenzner.
Hutchinson, 283 pp., £9.95, November 1985, 0 09 162840 7
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... open-handedness continued to lead them into debt), and in 1874 Gladstone made Hugh Lupus – Bend’Or’s grandfather, a serious Liberal politician – the first Duke of Westminster. According to GeorgeRidley, Bend’Or’s long-time employee and friend and eventually his estate agent and the executor of his will, Hugh Lupus was a major philanthropist, model landlord and altogether perfect duke ...
27 September 2012
Bertie: A Life of Edward VII 
by Jane Ridley.
Chatto, 608 pp., £30, August 2012, 978 0 7011 7614 3
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... cigar-smoking, tiger-shooting adulterer – was a perfectly respectable king. All he had to do was be himself and his people adored him. In the end, like his mother, he gave his name to an age. Jane Ridley’s absorbing new biography shows that Victoria was horrified by her eldest son almost from the moment he was born. As a baby, he looked ‘too frightful’ and was ‘sadly backward’. The queen ...


Gillian Darley: Lutyens

17 April 2003
The Architect and His Wife: A Life of Edwin Lutyens 
by Jane Ridley.
Chatto, 524 pp., £25, June 2002, 0 7011 7201 0
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Edwin Lutyens, Country Houses: From the Archives of ‘Country Life’ 
by Gavin Stamp.
Aurum, 192 pp., £35, May 2001, 1 85410 763 1
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Lutyens Abroad 
edited by Andrew Hopkins and Gavin Stamp.
British School at Rome, 260 pp., £34.95, March 2002, 0 904152 37 5
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... false trail and the misleading, if jocular, aside. Born and educated in London, he preferred to dwell on his formative years in rural Surrey. Although trained in the architectural office of Ernest George and Harold Peto, the older of whom was an able vernacular revivalist and the younger a skilled landscape architect, he portrayed himself as a self-taught artist who learned what he needed by haunting ...

Small Special Points

Rosemary Hill: Darwin and the Europeans

23 May 2019
Correspondence of Charles Darwin: Vol. 26, 1878 
edited by Frederick Burkhardt, James Secord and the editors of the Darwin Correspondence Project.
Cambridge, 814 pp., £94.99, October 2018, 978 1 108 47540 2
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... him, repeatedly refusing to elect him to the Académie des sciences. In August 1878 they finally caved in, by which time it was too late for Darwin to be flattered, or even much interested. As George Bentham, a former president of the Linnean Society, wrote to him, it was the French, not Darwin, who should be congratulated for finally coming to their senses. Bentham also suggested that the ...


Christopher Hitchens: Keywords

13 September 1990
... Until the last few weeks I may have been the only person who, if given a word-association test for ‘Hitler’, might well have exclaimed: ‘Iraq!’ So naturally I bristled like a retriever when George Bush began to compare Saddam Hussein with the leader of the Third Reich. Of course, since ‘appeasement’ is the standard metaphor whenever a test of American resolve is in prospect, the figure of ...
21 March 1991
Ever Closer Union: Britain’s Destiny in Europe 
by Hugh Thomas.
Hutchinson, 96 pp., £7.99, January 1991, 0 09 174908 5
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The Challenge of Europe: Can Britain win? 
by Michael Heseltine.
Pan, 226 pp., £5.99, February 1991, 9780330314367
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... even if not its principal cause. It was also the cause of her two most damaging Cabinet crises, the Westland affair and the resignation of Nigel Lawson; of her most ridiculous embarrassment, the Ridley affair; and of her one national electoral defeat, in the European elections of 1989. Perhaps if she had not insisted on inventing the poll tax, she might still be in Number Ten. But if so, she would ...

The Iceman Cometh

Ross McKibbin: Tony Adams

6 January 2000
by Tony Adams and Ian Ridley.
HarperCollins, 384 pp., £6.99, August 1999, 0 00 218795 7
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... very attached) or just signed the contracts the club prepared for him. Adams would be justly remembered and admired for his pertinacity and skill, if for nothing else. But he has written with Ian Ridley an exceptionally interesting autobiography. Sporting autobiography is a difficult genre. Many are written but few survive. They are too often catalogues of games lost and won, or merely self ...


John Bayley

23 May 1991
The Oxford Book of Friendship 
edited by D.J. Enright and David Rawlinson.
Oxford, 360 pp., £15, April 1991, 0 19 214190 2
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... sort of friendship, much more than in love, the old cynic with the full-bottomed wig tends to be present, pronouncing that there is one who kisses and one who turns the cheek. Serious in all she did, George Eliot was serious about her friends. Passages from Middle-march, from her own letters and those addressed to her and from Edith Simcox’s Autobiography reveal a cult of friendship foretelling that ...


Tim Gardam: New Conservatism

13 June 1991
... looking beyond her, or is it just that they haven’t got the stuffing to endure the bracing truths of her uncompromising vision? John Major talks of a nation at ease with itself, and Nicholas Ridley told Newsnight: ‘The British want a rest. They don’t want to have everything turned upside down, they want a quiet time. I’m not saying this is an admirable quality of the British, because that ...
17 August 1989
The Little Platoon: Diplomacy and the Falklands Dispute 
by Michael Charlton.
Blackwell, 230 pp., £14.95, June 1989, 0 631 16564 9
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... and not merely the officials’ agenda. Many figures from the past turn out to have immersed themselves in this apparently insignificant end of empire, to varied and sometimes unexpected effect. George Brown, briefly Foreign Secretary in the 1966 Labour Government, thought British sovereignty should be tidily ceded to the eager Argentinians. Michael Stewart, his successor, was more cagey. But he ...

Per Ardua

Paul Foot

8 February 1996
In the Public Interest 
by Gerald James.
Little, Brown, 339 pp., £18.99, December 1995, 0 316 87719 0
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... Tipping, Mark’s ambitious and thrusting partner in the defence business. No establishment door was shut to him. Naturally, James was very right-wing. He’d been a disciple, he still boasts, of George Kennedy Young, an MI6 agent who became deputy chairman of Kleinwort Benson. James describes Young as ‘a brave man’ who ‘knew the difference between good and evil’. In fact, Young was a racist ...

Drugs, anyone?

Seamus Perry: George​ Meredith

17 June 2015
Modern Love and Poems of the English Roadside, with Poems and Ballads 
by George​ Meredith, edited by Criscillia Benford and Rebecca Mitchell.
Yale, 390 pp., £40, April 2015, 978 0 300 17317 8
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... of self-contradictoriness can probably be found in any thinker with big enough ambitions. Whether they are incoherent enough to constitute a problem is always going to be the nice question. Take George Meredith. No one can regard him as a significant thinker now – almost all of his work is long out of print – but for a few decades at the end of the 19th century and the start of the 20th he was ...

All Together Now

Richard Jenkyns

11 December 1997
Abide with Me: The World of Victorian Hymns 
by Ian Bradley.
SCM, 299 pp., £30, June 1997, 9780334026921
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The English Hymn: A Critical and Historical Study 
by J.R. Watson.
Oxford, 552 pp., £65, July 1997, 0 19 826762 2
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... strained or far-fetched. What is especially refreshing is Watson’s willingness to take seriously not only those few hymnodists who have been accepted or half-accepted into the literary canon – George Herbert, Thomas Ken, Watts, Charles Wesley – but many less celebrated names, such as Sir Robert Grant, William Walsham How, William Chatterton Dix: Grant (‘O worship the King, all glorious above ...
6 February 1986
Holy Smoke 
by G. Cabrera Infante.
Faber, 329 pp., £9.95, October 1985, 0 571 13518 8
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Tobacco on the Periphery. A Case Study in Cuban Labour History: 1860-1958 
by Jean Stubbs.
Cambridge, 203 pp., £25, April 1985, 9780521254236
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... vivid and well-known phrase that Garibaldi ordered men to be shot ‘without taking the cigar out of his mouth’ is unfortunately an incorrect translation of Hoffstetter’s original German. Jasper Ridley, Garibaldi Some twenty years ago the idea (come from England, no doubt) that cigars, like Loos’s blondes, were for gentlemen only, was dispelled by the scraggly mien of Fidel Castro and Che ...
26 November 1987
Ruling Performance: British Governments from Attlee to Thatcher 
edited by Peter Hennessy and Anthony Seldon.
Blackwell, 344 pp., £25, October 1987, 0 631 15645 3
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The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Political Institutions 
edited by Vernon Bogdanor.
Blackwell, 667 pp., £45, September 1987, 0 631 13841 2
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by David Pannick.
Oxford, 255 pp., £12.95, October 1987, 0 19 215956 9
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... by the reflection that so long as this decorative but mindless stuff goes down so well with local Labour parties and trade-union activists, we shall continue to be governed by Mrs Thatcher, Nicholas Ridley and John Major. David Marquand insists on a few truisms, but is decently cautious about what they imply. He fears the effects of selfishness and moral anarchy. As he says, a society which degenerates ...

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