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Royal Anxiety

Gabriele Annan, 9 June 1994

The Queen 
by Kenneth Harris.
Weidenfeld, 341 pp., £20, April 1994, 0 297 81211 4
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Divine Right: The Inglorious Survival of British Royalty 
by Richard Tomlinson.
Little, Brown, 357 pp., £17.50, June 1994, 0 316 91119 4
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... rather than awe-struck. The two books under review approach their subject from opposite corners. Kenneth Harris trudges deferentially through his subject’s life, like one of those grey-haired guides in cardigans who steer tourists through National Trust houses. Until the Epilogue he takes elephantine care never to appear to intrude his own ...


Arthur Marwick, 21 October 1982

by Kenneth Harris.
Weidenfeld, 630 pp., £14.95, September 1982, 0 297 77993 1
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... Attlee volunteered for active service. With commendable restraint in a very full and rich book, Kenneth Harris passes quickly over Attlee’s distinguished war service in the Dardanelles, which took him to the rank of major. At the war’s end, Attlee achieved considerable local prominence as both prospective Parliamentary candidate for Limehouse ...

The View from Moscow

Boris Kagarlitsky, 20 April 1989

... they sufficient? No political leader can be understood in isolation from his or her opponents. For Kenneth Harris,* unfortunately, the Social Democrat and Labour leaders have only walkon parts in the drama, and frequently, as in the case of Scargill and Livingstone, are presented as caricatures, deserving mention only on the list of victories scored by ...

When Neil Kinnock was in his pram

Paul Addison, 5 April 1984

Labour in Power 1945-1951 
by Kenneth Morgan.
Oxford, 546 pp., £15, March 1984, 0 19 215865 1
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... these sectarian times can still convey a true appreciation of Labour’s finest hour, it is surely Kenneth Morgan. He writes for the wide spectrum of readers who still talk the language of common-sense democratic debate. Of course this is rather a deceptive language. It is actually the old Whig ideology, broad and flexible, on which the British have got by for ...

The Stansgate Tapes

John Turner, 8 December 1994

Years of Hope: Diaries, Papers and Letters, 1940-62 
by Tony Benn, edited by Ruth Winstone.
Hutchinson, 442 pp., £25, September 1994, 0 09 178534 0
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... where he became a success at the Union and worked up his debating skills on an American tour with Kenneth Harris and Edward Boyle. The tour allowed for an excited response to the vigour and variety of American civilisation, which many young Englishmen have felt; though not many young Englishmen in New York got to stay with Reinhold Niebuhr. The Oxford ...
... stake: these are Frank Stanton, former chief executive; Wally Nielsen, an old Africa hand, and Kenneth Harris, a former Observer staffer; and the formidable Arco chairman Bob Anderson – now old but still vigorous. They appear, at last, to be concerned about what Rowland is doing to the paper, but they seldom say much at Board meetings. Rowland ...

Fear and Loathing in Limehouse

Richard Holme, 3 September 1987

Campaign! The Selling of the Prime Minister 
by Rodney Tyler.
Grafton, 251 pp., £6.95, July 1987, 0 246 13277 9
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Battle for Power 
by Des Wilson.
Sphere, 326 pp., £4.99, July 1987, 0 7221 9074 3
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David Owen: Personally Speaking 
by Kenneth Harris.
Weidenfeld, 248 pp., £12.95, September 1987, 0 297 79206 7
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... into a kaleidoscope with an attractive new pattern and with himself at the centre of it. In Kenneth Harris’s book of extended interviews with him, which must have been largely completed before the election and hastily updated since, Dr Owen lays emphasis on what he sees as two early betrayals of the SDP: the conversations which David Steel and I ...


David Cannadine, 2 December 1982

Duchess: The Story of Wallis Warfield Windsor 
by Stephen Birmingham.
Macmillan, 287 pp., £8.95, October 1982, 0 333 34265 8
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The Duke of Windsor’s War 
by Michael Bloch.
Weidenfeld, 397 pp., £10.95, October 1982, 0 297 77947 8
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... part of their memoirs to articulating their embittered hurt, and were still talking about it when Kenneth Harris interviewed them in 1970. But this book is the first to reveal the true extent of their pain, anguish and suffering. Wallis saw the Bahamas as the ‘St Helena of 1940’, where her husband, ‘the naughty boy’, was ‘dumped solely by ...

Bourgeois Reveries

Julian Bell: Farmer Eliot, 3 February 2011

Romantic Moderns: English Writers, Artists and the Imagination from Virginia Woolf to John Piper 
by Alexandra Harris.
Thames and Hudson, 320 pp., £19.95, October 2010, 978 0 500 25171 3
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... Moderns, her provocative critical survey of English cultural life between 1930 and 1945, Alexandra Harris points to Eliot’s lines in ‘East Coker’ about ‘Earth feet, loam feet, lifted in country mirth/Mirth of those long since under earth/Nourishing the corn.’ Harris argues that the poet was thinking about the dead ...

Marvellous Boys

Mark Ford, 9 September 1993

The Ern Malley Affair 
by Michael Heyward.
Faber, 278 pp., £15, August 1993, 0 571 16781 0
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... to the only avant-garde journal of the time, Angry Penguins. Angry Penguins was edited by Max Harris, a student at Adelaide University, and John Reed, who was 10 years Harris’s senior and lived just outside Melbourne. Independently wealthy, Reed was committed to sponsoring any form of artistic originality that caught ...

All my eye and Betty Martin

Roy Harris, 1 December 1983

A Dictionary of Mottoes 
by L.G. Pine.
Routledge, 303 pp., £9.95, October 1983, 9780710093394
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Newspeak: A Dictionary of Jargon 
by Jonathon Green.
Routledge, 263 pp., £9.95, October 1983, 0 7100 9685 2
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The Oxford Miniguide to English Usage 
by E.S.C. Weiner.
Oxford, 412 pp., £1.95, October 1983, 0 19 869127 0
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The Oxford Dictionary of Current Idiomatic English: Volume II 
by A.P. Cowrie, R. Mackin and I.R. McCaig.
Oxford, 685 pp., £12.50, October 1983, 0 19 431150 3
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A Dictionary of the Teenage Revolution and its Aftermath 
by Kenneth Hudson.
Macmillan, 203 pp., £12.95, October 1983, 0 333 28517 4
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A Dictionary of Catch-Phrases 
by Eric Partridge.
Routledge, 278 pp., £5.95, October 1983, 0 7100 9989 4
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... publishers to provide different answers for the purchasing public. It is a relief to turn to Kenneth Hudson’s Dictionary of the Teenage Revolution and find the following anti-prescriptivist credo in the Introduction: ‘To record and interpret this language demands an unconventional type of dictionary, with fuller and more discursive entries and the ...

Sea Creatures

Peter Campbell, 23 July 1987

Sidney Nolan: Such is life 
by Brian Adams.
Hutchinson, 275 pp., £16.95, June 1987, 0 09 168430 7
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Andrew Wyeth: The Helga Pictures 
by John Wilmerding.
Viking, 208 pp., £25, September 1987, 9780670817665
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Faces 1966-1984 
by David Hockney and Marco Livingstone.
Thames and Hudson, 96 pp., £8.95, June 1987, 0 500 27464 9
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... to be his most famous work. The magazine Angry Penguins which had been started in Adelaide by Max Harris was now run jointly with John Reed, and one of Nolan’s paintings was reproduced on the cover of the notorious ‘Ern Malley’ issue. Ern Malley was a poet invented by two young men who thought Modernism had destroyed the craft of verse. They compiled ...

At Hyde Park Corner

Jonathan Meades: The Bomber Command Memorial , 25 October 2012

... for acknowledgment was hardly sated by the perennially defaced statue of Air Marshal Sir Arthur Harris outside St Clement Danes. The interesting peer of the realm Lord Ashcroft KCMG wrote about the unveiling on his website conservativehome: ‘I was privileged enough to share that special moment … as a guest of the Bomber Command Association. As one of ...

Bypass Variegated

Rosemary Hill: Osbert Lancaster, 21 January 2016

Osbert Lancaster’s Cartoons, Columns and Curlicues: ‘Pillar to Post’, ‘Homes Sweet Homes’, ‘Drayneflete Revealed’ 
by Osbert Lancaster.
Pimpernel, 304 pp., £40, October 2015, 978 1 910258 37 8
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... by the fact that St Ronan’s, Worthing was a spectacularly sporty school. The headmaster, Stanley Harris, had captained England at football and was also a distinguished cricketer and rugby player. Lancaster, an only child who had lost his father two years earlier at the Battle of the Somme, proved himself as the terms came and went to be uniformly hopeless at ...

Darling Clem

Paul Addison, 17 April 1986

Clement Attlee 
by Trevor Burridge.
Cape, 401 pp., £20, January 1986, 0 224 02318 7
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The Second World War Diary of Hugh Dalton 1940-1945 
edited by Ben Pimlott.
Cape in association with the London School of Economics, 913 pp., £40, February 1986, 9780224020657
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Loyalists and Loners 
by Michael Foot.
Collins, 315 pp., £15, March 1986, 0 00 217583 5
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... placed before the public. Attlee was officially recognised as a great man with the publication of Kenneth Harris’s biography in 1982. Harris enlarged Attlee’s stature in two different respects. It had always been suspected that Attlee, though something of a dark horse, was a wholly sane and balanced human being of ...

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