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Second World War-Game

Douglas Johnson, 22 May 1980

1943: The victory that never was 
by John Grigg.
Eyre Methuen, 255 pp., £7.95, April 1980, 9780413396105
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... they chalked on walls the near-seditious slogan, ‘Open the Second Front Now,’ to discover from John Grigg that they were right. The argument of his book is simple. We should have invaded France in the summer of 1943. Had we done so, he claims, the whole operation would have been simpler. We would have lost fewer men in the operation, there would have ...

Tethering the broomstick

José Harris, 18 April 1985

Lloyd George: From Peace to War 1912-1916 
by John Grigg.
Methuen, 527 pp., £19.95, February 1985, 0 413 46660 4
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... been yes makes the mystery of Lloyd George all the more intractable. In the two earlier volumes of John Grigg’s biography the full ambiguity of Lloyd George’s character and role in history had yet to be revealed. Volume Three carries us into the heartland of the problem. The book opens in 1912 with Lloyd George at the height of his powers as a ...

In the Front Row

Susan Pedersen: Loving Lloyd George, 25 January 2007

. . . If Love Were All: The Story of Frances Stevenson and David Lloyd George 
by John Campbell.
Cape, 557 pp., £25, June 2006, 0 224 07464 4
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... duties; and Stevenson’s competence at her job (not to mention the fact that she looked, as John Campbell notes, ‘too prim to be anything so improper as a mistress’) warded off suspicion. But the real reason this triangular relationship endured unmolested was surely that, in some crucial sense, all three principals played by the ...


Peter Clarke: Lloyd George versus Haig, 3 April 2003

Lloyd George: War Leader 
by John Grigg.
Allen Lane, 670 pp., £25, October 2002, 9780713993431
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... a great personage, there is a need to look elsewhere for a more discriminating view. Inevitably, John Grigg’s biography of Lloyd George invites such comparisons and they redound almost wholly to Grigg’s credit, except in one obvious respect: beginning at much the same time, Gilbert actually finished the ...

Taunted with the Duke of Kent, she married the Aga Khan

Rosemary Hill: Coming Out, 19 October 2006

Last Curtsey: The End of the Debutantes 
by Fiona MacCarthy.
Faber, 305 pp., £20, October 2006, 0 571 22859 3
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... it to an end. Indeed the curtsies might have been stopped the year before had it not been for John Grigg (then Lord Altrincham) whose sensational article in the National and English Review on the future of the monarchy had included a savage attack on debutantes and all they represented. The queen is thought to have kept the ceremony going for one ...

Eden and Suez

David Gilmour, 18 December 1986

Anthony Eden 
by Robert Rhodes James.
Weidenfeld, 665 pp., £16.95, October 1986, 0 297 78989 9
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Descent to Suez: Diaries 1951-56 
by Evelyn Shuckburgh, edited by John Charmley.
Weidenfeld, 380 pp., £14.95, October 1986, 0 297 78993 7
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Cutting the Lion’s Tail: Suez through Egyptian Eyes 
by Mohamed Heikal.
Deutsch, 242 pp., £12.95, October 1986, 0 233 97967 0
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The Suez Affair 
by Hugh Thomas.
Weidenfeld, 255 pp., £5.95, October 1986, 0 297 78953 8
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... a bit of a lightweight, a ‘natural number two’ who should never have become prime minister. John Grigg wrote of him before the Suez crisis: ‘Popularity means much more to him than it ever should mean to a statesman. Since the early days, when he was idolised by millions on account of his personal appearance and blameless views, he has never lost ...

We’ve done awfully well

Karl Miller: The Late 1950s, 18 July 2013

Modernity Britain: Opening the Box, 1957-59 
by David Kynaston.
Bloomsbury, 432 pp., £25, June 2013, 978 0 7475 8893 1
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... Hamburg after the war, I met a very interesting man, mentioned in these dispatches from the 1950s. John Harvey-Jones was a naval officer who talked to people as if they were all there, in a way that was strange among seniors, and he gave people books – in my case, Daisy Ashford’s The Young Visiters. He later became the head of ICI. I forgot to ask him ...


John Sutherland, 14 June 1990

CounterBlasts No 10. The Monarchy: A Critique of Britain’s Favourite Fetish 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Chatto, 42 pp., £2.99, January 1990, 0 7011 3555 7
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The Prince 
by Celia Brayfield.
Chatto, 576 pp., £12.95, March 1990, 0 7011 3357 0
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The Maker’s Mark 
by Roy Hattersley.
Macmillan, 558 pp., £13.95, June 1990, 9780333470329
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A Time to Dance 
by Melvyn Bragg.
Hodder, 220 pp., £12.95, June 1990, 0 340 52911 3
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... He was subjected to even more abuse from the British press and public than Nasser or John Foster Dulles. In a widely photographed incident, Altrincham was physically assaulted. His assailant shouted to the pressmen he had summoned to watch: ‘This is for insulting the Queen!’ The papers – except the Times, which on advice from the palace ...

Big Man to Uncle Joe

Max Hastings: The Big Three, 22 November 2018

The Kremlin Letters: Stalin’s Wartime Correspondence with Churchill and Roosevelt 
edited by David Reynolds and Vladimir Pechatnov.
Yale, 660 pp., £25, October 2018, 978 0 300 22682 9
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... between the leaders of Britain and America was dogged by tensions neatly characterised by John Grigg when he wrote that Churchill became jealous of Roosevelt’s power, while Roosevelt was envious of Churchill’s genius. Grigg took the view that the prime minister ‘resented his enforced subordination to a ...

World’s Greatest Statesman

Edward Luttwak, 11 March 1993

Churchill: The End of Glory 
by John Charmley.
Hodder, 648 pp., £30, January 1993, 9780340487952
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Churchill: A Major New Assessment of his Life in Peace and War 
edited by Robert Blake and Wm Roger Louis.
Oxford, 517 pp., £19.95, February 1993, 0 19 820317 9
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... Rose (and Zionism) and Roy Jenkins (the Government of 1951-55) are predictably good. The uneven John Keegan (... ’s Strategy), though seemingly disqualified by his recent published confession that he cannot understand Clausewitz, nevertheless succeeds here, correctly citing the one document that proves conclusively that WSC was the Greatest Strategist ...

Did Lloyd George mean war?

Michael Brock, 26 November 1987

David Lloyd George: A Political Life. The Architect of Change, 1863-1912 
by Bentley Brinkerhoff Gilbert.
Batsford, 546 pp., £25, April 1987, 0 7134 5558 6
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... suddenly that Germany was not the peaceful country he had long supposed, but one run by Junkers? John Grigg, whose work receives all too little recognition in this book, has pointed out that Lloyd George’s sympathy with France was nothing new. He had shown it 13 years earlier over Fashoda. The new revelation concerned Germany. In Professor Gilbert’s ...

Gruff Embraces

Philip Purser, 21 October 1993

The Expense of Glory: A Life of John Reith 
by Ian McIntyre.
HarperCollins, 447 pp., £20, September 1993, 0 00 215963 5
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... had actually braved their father’s displeasure, and become an Anglican parson. After chiding John for pushing himself into the forefront of all their mother’s obituaries he has a swipe at his famous brother’s double standards: When I recall Father’s intense dislike of the Church of England and of the English public schools, and your professed ...

The Best Stuff

Ian Jack: David Astor, 2 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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... through anxiety and depression. Most mornings, the car that took him from his home in St John’s Wood to the Observer offices near Fleet Street would divert to Sigmund Freud’s old house in Maresfield Gardens, Hampstead, where Freud’s daughter Anna still saw patients. There, Astor would spend a daily analytic hour on the couch attempting to ...

The Satoshi Affair

Andrew O’Hagan, 30 June 2016

... signed by its sender and encrypted to its receiver’. The public key, or address, is matched, as John Lanchester handily described it in the LRB, to ‘a private key which provides access to that address’. A key is really just a string of numbers and digits: the public key demonstrates ownership of any given address; the private key can only be used by the ...

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