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Peter Campbell, 5 January 1989

The Letter of Marque 
by Patrick O’Brian.
Collins, 284 pp., £10.95, August 1988, 9780241125434
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by Hugh Thomas.
Hamish Hamilton, 347 pp., £12.95, October 1988, 0 241 12527 8
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From Rockaway 
by Jill Eisenstadt.
Penguin, 214 pp., £3.99, September 1988, 0 14 010347 3
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The High Road 
by Edna O’Brien.
Weidenfeld, 180 pp., £10.95, October 1988, 0 297 79493 0
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Loving and Giving 
by Molly Keane.
Deutsch, 226 pp., £10.95, September 1988, 0 223 98346 2
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by Louise Erdrich.
Hamish Hamilton, 226 pp., £11.95, October 1988, 9780241125434
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... place she grew up in. Patrick O’Brian’s stories of Napoleonic sea war have a vivacity which Hugh Thomas’s more fitfully imaginative book lacks, but both have virtues which come directly from the fact that the substantial historical scaffolds which they have erected give their players room to move. The Letter of Marque opens with Jack Aubrey ...

A Funny Feeling

David Runciman: Larkin and My Father, 4 February 2021

... foreboding. In November 1982 he wrote to Motion about a dinner held for Thatcher by the historian Hugh Thomas and attended by writers he thought she might admire (Larkin, Isaiah Berlin, V.S. Pritchett, Mario Vargas Llosa and Anthony Powell, among others), which Larkin had found tough going. ‘The Thatcher dinner was pretty grisly. Even now I shudder and ...

Ponting bites back

Tam Dalyell, 4 April 1985

The Right to Know: The Inside Story of the ‘Belgrano’ Affair 
by Clive Ponting.
Sphere, 214 pp., £2.50, March 1985, 0 7221 6944 2
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... European Parliament, John Prescott and I were ‘educated in the ways of Upper Whitehall’ by Sir Thomas Brimelow, the former PUS at the Foreign Office, who became a Labour Peer and a British representative at Strasbourg. But it is no surprise to me that in over twenty years as an MP I have met my contemporary Sir Clive Whitmore only once. That was when I had ...

Protocols of Sèvres

Keith Kyle, 21 January 1988

The Failure of the Eden Government 
by Richard Lamb.
Sidgwick, 340 pp., £16.95, October 1987, 0 283 99534 3
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... answer is that while it has not greatly changed the outlines of the story as told by Paul Johnson, Hugh Thomas and a succession of memoirists, it begins to make possible a different type of account. It is only a beginning because the parallel French, Israeli, Egyptian and even, with very considerable exceptions, American papers are either not yet ...

Hugh Dalton to the rescue

Keith Thomas, 13 November 1997

The Fall and Rise of the Stately Home 
by Peter Mandler.
Yale, 523 pp., £19.95, April 1997, 0 300 06703 8
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Ancient as the Hills 
by James Lees-Milne.
Murray, 228 pp., £20, July 1997, 0 7195 5596 5
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The Fate of the English Country House 
by David Littlejohn.
Oxford, 344 pp., £20, May 1997, 9780195088762
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... homes, became the main alternative to demolition. Salvation came from the Labour Chancellor, Hugh Dalton, in 1946. A great walker, Dalton was more interested in open spaces than country houses. But by creating the National Land Fund for the acquisition of houses in lieu of death duties, he set in motion the transfer of many stately homes to public ...

Off-Screen Drama

Richard Mayne, 5 March 1981

European Elections and British Politics 
by David Butler.
Longman, 208 pp., £9.95, February 1981, 0 582 29528 9
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Political Change in Europe: The Left and the Future of the Atlantic Alliance 
edited by Douglas Eden.
Blackwell, 163 pp., £8.95, January 1981, 0 631 12525 6
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... a Social Democrat. In the Labour Party, he may be thought a hostile witness. So, undoubtedly, will Hugh Thomas, who contributes a rather slapdash opening chapter, and Paul Johnson, who writes far more cogently on ‘The British Left, Trade Unions and Democracy’. But their findings, like those of Butler and Marquand, have been overtaken and confirmed by ...

Red Stars

John Sutherland, 6 December 1984

Wild Berries 
by Yevgeny Yevtushenko, translated by Antonia Bovis.
Macmillan, 296 pp., £8.95, September 1984, 0 333 37559 9
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The Burn 
by Vassily Aksyonov, translated by Michael Glenny.
Hutchinson, 528 pp., £10.95, October 1984, 0 09 155580 9
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Fellow Travellers 
by T.C. Worsley.
Gay Men’s Press, 249 pp., £9.95, September 1984, 0 907040 51 9
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The Power of the Dog 
by Thomas Savage.
Chatto, 276 pp., £9.95, October 1984, 0 7011 3939 0
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The Fourth Protocol 
by Frederick Forsyth.
Hutchinson, 448 pp., £8.95, September 1984, 0 09 158630 5
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The Set-Up 
by Vladimir Volkoff, translated by Alan Sheridan.
Bodley Head, 397 pp., £8.95, September 1984, 0 370 30583 3
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... Younger’ in Spender’s autobiography, ‘Harry Watson’ by Worsley and ‘a secretary’ by Hugh Thomas in his history of the Spanish Civil War). The relationship went sour, Spender married, and Tony-Jimmy-Harry, fired by the doctrines he had picked up from his intellectual friends, enlisted in the International Brigade. In Spain, he was ...

British Worthies

David Cannadine, 3 December 1981

The Directory of National Biography, 1961-1970 
edited by E.T. Williams and C.S. Nicholls.
Oxford, 1178 pp., £40, October 1981, 0 19 865207 0
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... do get José Harris on Beveridge, James Lees-Milne on Harold Nicolson, O.S. Nock on Stanier, and Hugh Thomas on John Strachey. In such circumstances, where the great have already received the supreme accolade, there is little new to add. Much more interesting are the accounts of the otherwise unbiographied men and women of second rank, such as ...

Late Deceiver

Robert Blake, 17 September 1981

Anthony Eden 
by David Carlton.
Allen Lane, 528 pp., £20, August 1981, 0 7139 0829 7
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... untrue. It would have been impossible for Eden to disregard in the same way The Suez Affair by Hugh ThomasThomas is the son-in-law of Gladwyn Jebb, who was Ambassador in Paris at the time – or No End of a Lesson by Sir Anthony Nutting, who was Minister of State at the Foreign Office. Both books were published ...

History and the Left

Jonathan Haslam, 4 April 1985

The Comintern and the Spanish Civil War 
by E.H. Carr, edited by Tamara Deutscher.
Macmillan, 111 pp., £17.50, December 1984, 0 333 36952 1
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The British Marxist Historians: An Introductory Analysis 
by Harvey Kaye.
Polity, 316 pp., £22.50, November 1984, 0 7456 0015 8
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Worlds of Labour: Further Studies in the History of Labour 
by Eric Hobsbawm.
Weidenfeld, 369 pp., £15.95, October 1984, 0 297 78509 5
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The Collected Essays of Christopher Hill. Vol. I: Writing and Revolution in 17th-Century England 
Harvester, 340 pp., £28.50, February 1985, 0 7108 0565 9Show More
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... Spanish Civil War, published in the mid-Fifties. The massive volumes on the Civil War produced by Hugh Thomas and Burnett Bolloten in the Sixties left most Soviet sources untapped because neither could read Russian. Since that time a good deal of secondary literature based on Soviet archival material has appeared in the Soviet Union, filling in gaps and ...

Horrors and Cream

Hugh Tulloch, 21 August 1980

On the Edge of Paradise 
by David Newsome.
Murray, 405 pp., £17.50, June 1980, 0 7195 3690 1
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... who set reason against feeling and convention against homosexual impulse, but unlike the youthful Hugh Walpole (one of the earliest kittens to fluster Benson with his friskiness) or Eton masters like William Johnson Cory and Oscar Browning, his fear of sex was so great that he could keep his footing in the ‘precarious trade’ of schoolmastering and avoid ...

Betting big, winning small

David Runciman: Blair’s Gambles, 20 May 2004

... it had been at Fettes on 5 November 1956, at the very height of the crisis, that an effigy of Hugh Gaitskell (a Wykehamist, and leader of the Labour Party in its opposition to war) was burned, in order to remind the boys what treachery still meant. This event would have been part of the folk memory of the school when the young Anthony Blair, then still a ...

Lethal Specks

Hugh Pennington: Polonium, 14 December 2006

... not changed in their fundamentals. In 1943, Robert Oppenheimer assigned its production to Charles Thomas, central research director of the Monsanto chemical company. He set up a laboratory in the indoor tennis court of his mother-in-law’s large and remote estate in Dayton, Ohio. The polonium was made by irradiating slugs of bismuth metal in one of the new ...

Dark Knight

Tom Shippey, 24 February 1994

The Life and Times of Sir Thomas Malory 
by P.J.C. Field.
Boydell and Brewer, 218 pp., £29.50, September 1993, 0 85991 385 6
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... unto his oth. Hit is pyté that he lyvyth!’ This indignant outburst by Sir Lancelot in Sir Thomas Malory’s Morte Darthur has long been an embarrassment to admirers of the work and of its author. Ever since G.L. Kittredge, a hundred years ago, identified the author of Morte Darthur with Sir Thomas Malory of Newbold ...

Wicked Converse

Keith Thomas: Bewitched by the Brickmaker, 12 May 2022

The Ruin of All Witches: Life and Death in the New World 
by Malcolm Gaskill.
Allen Lane, 308 pp., £20, November 2021, 978 0 241 41338 8
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... cow produced multicoloured milk, she and her husband were convinced that it had been bewitched by Hugh Parsons, the brickmaker whose wife, Mary, had been fined for accusing Marshfield. In February 1651 George Langton, a carpenter, declined to sell hay to Parsons because he had none to spare. Parsons took this badly and occult revenge was suspected when, some ...

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