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Between Jesus and Napoleon

Jonathan Haslam: The Paris Conference of 1919, 15 November 2001

Peacemakers: The Paris Conference of 1919 and Its Attempt to End War 
by Margaret MacMillan.
Murray, 574 pp., £25, September 2001, 0 7195 5939 1
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... With war in Europe an immediate prospect in July 1914, the young First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, felt a tinge of guilt at his growing excitement and ‘hideous fascination’ with the detailed preparation. He caught the mood of the moment. ‘No one can measure the consequences,’ he recorded; ‘we all drift on in a kind of dull cataleptic trance ...

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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... In 1977 E.H. Carr completed his 14-volume History of Soviet Russia. He had embarked on an intellectual day excursion but found himself on a major expedition through a dark continent of knowledge. He had originally intended – as far back as 1944 – to spend no more than three years in the field. It turned out to be thirty-three. After such an achievement, after such exertions, any ordinary human being might have felt that enough was enough, and faded into a well-deserved retirement, tending roses at home in Barton, pottering about Great Court, Trinity College, Cambridge, a living legend spied by earnest young undergraduates ...

British Chill

Anatol Lieven: What E.H.Carr Got Right, 24 August 2000

The Vices of Integrity: E.H.Carr 1892-1928 
by Jonathan Haslam.
Verso, 306 pp., £25, July 1999, 1 85984 733 1
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... his astringent dissection of self-serving internationalist hypocrisy is more valuable than ever. Jonathan Haslam’s perceptive and intelligent biography shows how much Carr’s thinking was shaped by the age into which he was born, even if he seemed on the surface to have broken utterly with his origins. ‘For all the dramatic changes that were to ...

Someone Else, Somewhere Else

Peter Clarke, 13 November 1997

Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals 
edited by Niall Ferguson.
Picador, 548 pp., £20, April 1997, 9780330351324
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... of a Nazi-dominated Europe, but not one, as he shows, that can be dismissed as fantasy. Jonathan Haslam, arguing about whether the Cold War was inevitable, writes as a self-confessed sceptic about the value of such questions. ‘One dubious instance,’ he suggests, ‘is where the historian arbitrarily selects a single favourite ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: Jeffrey Epstein’s Little Black Book, 15 August 2019

... in relation to another singer, Bryan Ferry, or the actress Minnie Driver, or the broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby. How exactly did Epstein come to have ten numbers for Peter Mandelson? We are all, to some extent, defined by the company we keep, and if there are things we don’t notice about our ‘friends’, it is often because we realised it was better ...

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