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Time for Several Whiskies

Ian Jack: BBC Propaganda, 30 August 2018

Auntie’s War: The BBC during the Second World War 
by Edward Stourton.
Doubleday, 422 pp., £20, November 2017, 978 0 85752 332 7
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... victories, not defeats.’ In his autobiography, Paper Chase, the former Sunday Times editor Harold Evans recounts a formative event of his childhood. It was the summer of 1940. He was 12 and on holiday from Manchester in the North Wales seaside resort of Rhyl. One morning he and his father took a walk along the beach and discovered a scattering of ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Telly, 9 August 2001

... phrase – vaguely venomous, unsupported by evidence)’. On 6 November 1975 he ‘learned that Harold Pinter was incensed when I said on TV a few weeks ago that the English theatre was preoccupied with the minor emotional crises of the urban middle class, and never opened its eyes to analyse society as a whole or the world outside England’. Tynan had ...

Mistrial

Michael Davie, 6 June 1985

The Airman and the Carpenter: The Lindbergh Case and the Framing of Richard Hauptmann 
by Ludovic Kennedy.
Collins, 438 pp., £12.95, April 1985, 0 00 217060 4
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... loop. He was billed as ‘Daredevil Lindbergh’. A decade later, Lincoln Kirstein’s sister told Harold Nicolson, who was writing a life of Lindbergh’s father-in-law, that but for his pioneering solo flight to Paris Lindbergh would have been in charge of a gas station on the outskirts of St Louis. This sounds like snobbery. Lindbergh’s marriage to Anne ...

The Finchley Factor

Geoffrey Wheatcroft: Thatcher in Israel, 13 September 2018

Margaret Thatcher and the Middle East 
by Azriel Bermant.
Cambridge, 274 pp., £22.99, September 2017, 978 1 316 60630 8
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... the next war in 1973, and the oil crisis. This had a direct impact on British politics, leading to Harold Wilson’s return to Downing Street in 1974. He resigned two years later in a miasma of dark suspicion, not much brightened by his resignation honours list, with its bizarre collection of mountebanks and crooks. Even that wasn’t quite as strange as The ...

Diary

Mary Hawthorne: Remembering Joseph Mitchell, 1 August 1996

... Mitchell writes of it as hauntingly as John Lee Hooker sang of it. In 1938 Mitchell was hired by Harold Ross as a staff writer for the New Yorker, though his first contribution to the magazine had been published in 1933. He took up with writers like Philip Hamburger, S.J. Perelman and James Thurber, but his best friend at the magazine was A.J. Liebling, with ...
... directors of the Times were divided by Murdoch, and so failed miserably to intervene when Harold Evans was sacked as editor. Of the five independent directors in the case of the Observer, two are nominated by Lonrho, two by the Observer’s staff, and these four choose a fifth. The two nominated by Lonrho – on the advice of Lord Shawcross (of ...

Touch of Evil

Christopher Hitchens, 22 October 1992

Kissinger: A Biography 
by Walter Isaacson.
Faber, 893 pp., £25, September 1992, 0 571 16858 2
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... long decline of the Empire and the Cold War, but they haven’t had their memoirs ghost-written by Harold Evans, their consultancy retained by ABC News and their columns syndicated across the qualities. They haven’t been met, at every airport lounge, with an orgy of sycophancy and a chorus of toadying, complicit mirth at every callous, mendacious jest ...

Germans and the German Past

J.P. Stern, 21 December 1989

The Unmasterable Past: History, Holocaust and German National Identity 
by Charles Maier.
Harvard, 227 pp., £17.95, November 1988, 0 674 92975 6
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Historikerstreit 
Piper, 397 pp., DM 17.80, July 1987, 3 492 10816 4Show More
In Hitler’s Shadow: West German Historians and the Attempt to Escape from the Nazi Past 
by Richard Evans.
Tauris, 196 pp., £12.95, October 1989, 1 85043 146 9
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Why did the heavens not darken? 
by Arno Mayer.
Verso, 510 pp., £19.95, October 1989, 0 86091 267 1
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A German Identity, 1770-1990 
by Harold James.
Weidenfeld, 240 pp., £16.95, March 1989, 9780297795049
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Die Republikaner: Phantombild der neuen Rechten 
by Claus Leggewie.
Rotbuch, 155 pp., May 1989, 3 88022 011 5
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Ich war dabei 
by Franz Schönhuber.
Langen Müller, 356 pp., April 1989, 3 7844 2249 7
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... Austrian resistance; but he has done little else. Another account of the controversy – Richard Evans’s In Hitler’s Shadow – is better informed, and more perceptive. Professor Evans shows in abundantly documented detail how the arguments the embattled historians are advancing ‘are derived, consciously or ...

Frognal Days

Zachary Leader: Files on the Fifties, 4 June 1998

Previous Convictions: A Journey Through the Fifties 
by Nora Sayre.
Rutgers, 464 pp., £27.95, April 1997, 0 8135 2231 5
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... and the people she met in their living room in New York: Edmund Wilson, James Thurber, Walker Evans, James M. Cain, Nunnally Johnson, S.J. Perelman, Dawn Powell, Joseph Mitchell and John O’Hara. Many of these celebrated figures, artists and authors approaching fifty at the start of the decade or only lately past it, grew up in small provincial ...

The Best Stuff

Ian Jack: David Astor, 1 June 2016

David Astor: A Life in Print 
by Jeremy Lewis.
Cape, 400 pp., £25, March 2016, 978 0 224 09090 2
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... that verdict falls wide of the mark. ‘Oh my sweet​ , how glad I am that we are not rich,’ Harold Nicolson wrote to his wife, Vita Sackville-West, after a visit to Cliveden in 1936, complaining about the ‘ghastly unreality about it all … like living on the stage of the Scala theatre in Milan’. The Nicolsons were hardly impoverished – they’d ...

Nothing They Wouldn’t Do

Richard J. Evans: Krupp, 21 June 2012

Krupp: A History of the Legendary German Firm 
by Harold James.
Princeton, 360 pp., £24.95, March 2012, 978 0 691 15340 7
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... history have begun to appear, and now they have been joined by a chronological overview from Harold James, a British economic historian who teaches at Princeton. The sober style of his book could not be more different from Manchester’s, and its focus on the technological and economic history of the business is a world away from Manchester’s ...

Diary

Clancy Sigal: Among the Draft-Dodgers, 9 October 2008

... Visiting Forces Act, which mandated police forces to ‘detain and arrest’ absentees. Although Harold Wilson’s government winked at the law, the British police, who generally disliked the Labour Party, enjoyed the easy sport of plucking a deserter – recognisable by his buzzcut – off the street and turning him over to the US military police. In the ...

Neutered Valentines

David Bromwich: James Agee, 7 September 2006

‘Let Us Now Praise Famous Men’, ‘A Death in the Family’, Shorter Fiction 
by James Agee.
Library of America, 818 pp., $35, October 2005, 1 931082 81 2
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Film Writing and Selected Journalism 
by James Agee.
Library of America, 748 pp., $40, October 2005, 1 931082 82 0
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Brooklyn Is 
by James Agee.
Fordham, 64 pp., $16.95, October 2005, 0 8232 2492 9
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... to literate businessmen. Sent on assignment to Alabama in 1936, with the photographer Walker Evans, to do an article on tenant farmers, he returned with unorganised pages and sections of finished prose, prose-in-the-rough, poetry, extended captions and descriptions, none of them reducible to an article in Fortune. Agee’s manuscript kept soaking up new ...

Bloody Sunday Report

Murray Sayle: Back to Bloody Sunday, 11 July 2002

... but without the article it conveys little meaning. The intra-office memo from myself to Harry Evans, then editor of the Sunday Times, and other colleagues at the outstanding paper for which both Derek Humphry and I then worked, has never been published before. At a minimum, the two documents add to the historic record. On the night of 30 January ...

William Rodgers reads the papers

William Rodgers, 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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... the roller-coaster nature of its affections. During the sharp conflicts of twenty-five years ago, Harold Wilson was not a newspaper hero in his dealings with Hugh Gaitskell. But after Gaitskell’s death, a single speech on the white heat of the technological revolution transformed his reputation. As Prime Minister, from 1964, he enjoyed complete domination ...

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