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21 February 1980
The Palestinians 
by Jonathan Dimbleby.
Quartet, 256 pp., £12.50, September 1980, 0 7043 2205 6
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The Rabin Memoirs 
by Yitzhak Rabin.
Weidenfeld, 272 pp., £10, November 1980, 0 297 77546 4
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... scarcely anything in the way of hard evidence, that the Arab states instructed the Palestinian Arab civilians to get out of the way so as to provide free-fire zones for the Arab armies. The Arabs, as JonathanDimbleby shows in his book, stick passionately by the contention tint they were either physically ejected by the Israelis or impelled to flee by Jewish psychological warfare. In the original draft of ...

Squidging about

Caroline Murphy: Camilla and the sex-motherers

22 January 2004
Camilla: An Intimate Portrait 
by Rebecca Tyrrel.
Short Books, 244 pp., £14.99, October 2003, 1 904095 53 4
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... to Mountbatten, ruminating on what had happened to his ‘blissful, peaceful and mutually happy relationship’ with Camilla. What made her so special? She was, he later told his official biographer, JonathanDimbleby, a ‘pretty’ and ‘bubbly’ girl, who ‘laughed easily and at the same sillinesses’ as Charles himself. Tyrrel is more blunt. Camilla was, she says, a ‘big-bosomed Goons fan ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: Meeting the Royals

19 February 2015
... or intellectual flunkies with a degree in agriculture. This has been good for his soul, fair-to-middling for his ego, and disastrous for his public relations. It’s true the prince once cultivated JonathanDimbleby, whom he somehow imagined to be the closest thing, in human form, to an Exocet missile, but it turned out that Mr Dimbleby, the erstwhile president of the Soil Association, was a damp squib ...
8 December 1994
The Prince of Wales 
by Jonathan Dimbleby.
Little, Brown, 620 pp., £20, November 1994, 0 316 91016 3
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... these examples suggest that the best preparation for the job of sovereign is not to be prepared for it at all, or not to be too well prepared for it, or for too long. There is no evidence in JonathanDimbleby’s interim (and interminable) biography that Prince Charles is reflective or self-aware enough to have grasped this sad, simple and vital truth. To be sure, we are repeatedly informed that ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: Jeffrey Epstein’s Little Black Book

15 August 2019
... and didn’t notice that the three girls behind him were 14 years old. The same question could be raised in relation to another singer, Bryan Ferry, or the actress Minnie Driver, or the broadcaster JonathanDimbleby. 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 ...

Puffed up, Slapped down

Rosemary Hill: Charles and Camilla

6 September 2017
Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life 
by Sally Bedell Smith.
Michael Joseph, 624 pp., £25, April 2017, 978 0 7181 8780 4
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The Duchess: The Untold Story 
by Penny Junor.
William Collins, 320 pp., £20, June 2017, 978 0 00 821100 4
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... new in the way of facts. Prince Charles in 1994 No one with even the most cursory interest in the subject will learn much from Sally Bedell Smith’s Prince Charles, which relies heavily on JonathanDimbleby’s biography of 1994, but her plod through the material builds into a detailed, sometimes affecting picture of Charles and of the curious concoction of fantasy, celebrity and tradition that ...

Last Exit

Murray Sayle

27 November 1997
The Last Governor: Chris Patten and the Handover of Hong Kong 
by Jonathan Dimbleby.
Little, Brown, 461 pp., £22.50, July 1997, 0 316 64018 2
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In Pursuit of British Interests: Reflections on Foreign Policy under Margaret Thatcher and John Major 
by Percy Cradock.
Murray, 228 pp., £18.99, September 1997, 0 7195 5464 0
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Hong Kong Under Chinese Rule: The Economic and Political Implications of Reversion 
edited by Warren Cohen and Li Zhao.
Cambridge, 255 pp., £45, August 1997, 0 521 62158 5
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The Hong Kong Advantage 
by Michael Enright, Edith Scott and David Dodwell.
Oxford, 369 pp., £20, July 1997, 0 19 590322 6
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... a Bill of Rights in June 1991, despite protests from Beijing, which pointed out that Britain itself has none. The last governor, arriving on 9 July 1992, soon began to sound very much like Lee. Jonathandimbleby’s The Last Governor makes brisk, almost effortless reading for a book on a complex subject. This child’s-guide effect is achieved by a simple moral scheme, avoiding analytic subtleties ...

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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... contribute on the same subject to the DNB. The rationale of this remains obscure, and in this volume robs us of Nigel Nicolson on Alexander, A.J.P. Taylor on Beaverbrook, Martin Gilbert on Churchill, JonathanDimbleby on his father, John Pearson on Ian Fleming, P.N. Furbank on E.M. Forster, Philip Williams on Gaitskell, Sybille Bedford on Aldous Huxley, Michael Holroyd on Augustus John, J.E. Morpurgo on ...
7 March 1985
Waugh in Abyssinia 
by Evelyn Waugh.
Methuen, 253 pp., £9.50, September 1984, 0 413 54830 9
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Remote People 
by Evelyn Waugh.
Penguin, 208 pp., £2.50, January 1985, 9780140095425
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Haile Selassie’s War 
by Anthony Mockler.
Oxford, 453 pp., £17.50, November 1984, 0 19 215867 8
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... of Ethiopia, came to the fore. Somali claims to the Ogaden appeared more attractive as they were found to have a validity of their own based on ethnic considerations independent of Italian ambitions. JonathanDimbleby and other visiting Journalists revealed the horrific extent of the previous Ethiopian famine and the total in adequacies of the imperial response to it. In 1935 the contrast between the ...

Oh God, can we face it?

Daniel Finn: ‘The BBC’s Irish Troubles’

18 May 2016
The BBC’s ‘Irish Troubles’: Television, Conflict and Northern Ireland 
by Robert Savage.
Manchester, 298 pp., £70, May 2015, 978 0 7190 8733 2
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... of torture that began to circulate almost immediately. This self-censorship ended only when the Sunday Times took up the issue; even then, the tone of BBC reporting was highly sceptical, as JonathanDimbleby noted in an (unsigned) article for the New Statesman: ‘Quite clearly, until the Compton Report [on the treatment of internees] bore out much of what had been alleged, the BBC’s intention was to ...

Trouble at the Fees Office

Jonathan​ Raban: Alice in Expenses Land

11 June 2009
... 1977] has done anything hugely wrong, but he’s an idiot about it. In the UK press’s coverage of the public mood, too little has been heard from ‘the lady up there on the right’, as David Dimbleby called her. Her perception that MPs have behaved more like idiots than scoundrels is reassuringly clear-headed and proportionate to this weird affair. Meanwhile the Telegraph, vaingloriously drunk on ...

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