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6 November 1980
Nixon: A Study in Extremes of Fortune 
by Lord Longford.
Weidenfeld, 205 pp., £8.95, October 1980, 0 297 77708 4
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... Let me first of all say this: the man is not a crook. So much for LordLongford. As far as his appalling subject goes, I am disinclined to be as charitable. And charity, unfortunately, is exactly what this hilarious little book requires of me: LordLongford having taken it upon ...
6 December 1979
Taking Sides 
by Bernard Levin.
Cape, 281 pp., £6.50, September 1979, 0 330 26203 3
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... into. Eliot once said that the translators of the New English Bible were atheists without knowing it. Keith is a censor without knowing it, and Levin is good on censors of any kind. His review of The Longford Report is an exemplary job of demolition, made all the more convincing by his generous willingness to regard LordLongford as something better than a buffoon. Commendably ready to hold an opinion no ...


Ian Hamilton: Self-Exposure at the Football Terrace

2 September 1982
... Vamp till ready,2 has recently appeared and its excellence shamed me into tracking down Vol. One. 2. Donald Davie, from his memoirs, just published under the title These the Companions.3 And 3. LordLongford, from his Diary of a Year4 – the year 1981. Each of these books makes much of its own modesty, of its willingness to expose its author’s true and warty face, and there has been a certain ...


Jon Halliday

2 June 1983
In the Service of the Peacock Throne: The Diaries of the Shah’s Last Ambassador to London 
by Parviz Radji.
Hamish Hamilton, 343 pp., £12.50, April 1983, 0 241 10960 4
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... Iranian royal family sought and found its biographers and publishers. Lesley Blanch is signed up to write a biography of the Empress. Margaret Laing is invited round to lunch with her publisher, LordLongford, to straighten out her biography of the Shah. Rather late in the day Lord Weidenfeld suggests that Lord Chalfont take three years off to do a biography of Ashraf! And this after an earlier ...


David Saunders-Wilson

23 November 1989
Inside Out 
by Rosie Johnston.
Joseph, 226 pp., £12.95, October 1989, 0 7181 3115 0
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Life on Death Row: One Man’s Fight against Racism and the Death Penalty 
by Merrilyn Thomas.
Piatkus, 160 pp., £12.95, September 1989, 0 86188 879 0
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... of not quite belonging, is at the very heart of the book. She rails against her fellow prisoners’ ‘misconceptions’ about her having or spending lots of money. Yet she received visits from LordLongford (she was a friend of his grandson) and Lord Hilton (‘a distant cousin of my mother’), and had a food hamper sent from Fortnum and Mason’s. On their last visit prior to her release, her ...
17 March 1983
... that preoccupies those who sit on government committees – and those who subsequently sit on the committees’ reports – namely, what should the law be? Conservative pressure-groups (but not LordLongford) have often been reluctant to be tied down to any details for a replacement of the Obscene Publications Act, and radical feminism is at best uneasy, sometimes openly contemptuous, about the machinery ...


Frank Field: Reading Kilroy-Silk’s Diary

6 November 1986
... turned the Parliamentary Penal Affairs Group into a kind of Royal Commission issuing endless magisterial statements by the chairman – one Robert Kilroy-Silk. This is quite an achievement, since LordLongford, himself no mean practitioner of PR, is a member of this group. It was, after all, Longford who stage-managed the coverage of the Beveridge Report – possibly the single most effective ...
7 November 1985
Savage Grace 
by Natalie Robins and Steven Aronson.
Gollancz, 473 pp., £10.95, October 1985, 0 575 03738 5
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... on Rikers Island, where he killed himself by putting his head in a plastic bag. By this time it was 1981. It is difficult to react to Savage Grace without sounding like either Savonarola or LordLongford. Some kind of moral judgment seems to be called for. No aesthetic judgment is possible anyhow, because this is one of those un-books composed of letters and statements by friends, acquaintances and ...
11 January 1990
King George VI 
by Sarah Bradford.
Weidenfeld, 506 pp., £18.95, October 1990, 0 297 79667 4
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... contrast with his unlamented brother whose conspicuous extravagance would have been a standing affront to Labour – he had no interest in private luxury. Upper-class socialists like Hugh Dalton and LordLongford occasionally alarmed him by raising the spectre of republicanism, but he found Attlee – once he had got used to him – greatly reassuring. In truth, no such nonsense ever stood a chance ...
24 May 1990
That was business, this is personal: The Changing Faces of Professional Crime 
by Duncan Campbell.
234 pp., £14.95, April 1990, 0 436 19990 4
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... we treat John Masterson’s stories as reliable evidence? He has been taken up by the Workers Revolutionary Party, the Citizens’ Commission for Human Rights (a Scientology-run organisation) and by LordLongford. Another ex-prisoner interviewed has been taken up by social workers, employed by the Save the Children Fund to introduce young offenders to their victims. He speaks of this experience ...
9 October 1986
The Pebbled Shore 
by Elizabeth Longford.
Weidenfeld, 351 pp., £14.95, August 1986, 0 297 78863 9
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Leaves of the Tulip Tree 
by Juliette Huxley.
Murray, 248 pp., £7.95, June 1986, 9780719542886
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Enid Bagnold 
by Anne Sebba.
Weidenfeld, 317 pp., £15, September 1986, 0 297 78991 0
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... Wider still and wider grows the span of authors’ acknowledgements. My forbearing husband/wife, my secretary who corrected my spelling, my patient editor and Lord Weidenfeld Whose Idea it Was – these we have grown to expect and honour. Elizabeth Longford, now in her eighties, thanks two family doctors who ‘made life so secure for us’ (and who themselves ...
20 October 1983
Elizabeth R.: A Biography 
by Elizabeth Longford.
Weidenfeld, 389 pp., £10.95, September 1983, 0 297 78285 1
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by Robert Lacey.
Hutchinson/BBC, 249 pp., £9.95, October 1983, 0 09 154290 1
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The Cult of the Prince Consort 
by Elizabeth Darby and Nicola Smith.
Yale, 120 pp., £10, October 1983, 0 300 03015 0
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... life will help? All these questions, or appropriate equivalents, arise in the case of a biography of a reigning monarch. The market is there – several markets indeed, and the name of Lady Longford is an indication that we are concerned with the upper end. She is not Crawfie – not so well informed on some matters perhaps, but better informed on many more. Moreover, she has come to us with the ...

At the Gay Hussar

John Sutherland

20 August 1981
One and Last Love 
by John Braine.
Eyre Methuen, 175 pp., £6.50, June 1981, 0 413 47990 0
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by Helen Yglesias.
Hodder, 332 pp., £6.95, August 1981, 9780340270424
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On the Yankee Station 
by William Boyd.
Hamish Hamilton, 184 pp., £7.95, July 1981, 0 241 10426 2
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Byzantium endures 
by Michael Moorcock.
Secker, 404 pp., £6.95, June 1981, 0 436 28458 8
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Heavy Sand 
by Anatoli Rybakov, translated by Harold Shuckman.
Allen Lane, 380 pp., £7.95, June 1981, 0 7139 1343 6
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... has a good bone structure, but there’s something curiously unreal about her.’ Unawed, the couple make sophisticated table-talk about their fellow guests: ‘That’s George Melly. And there’s LordLongford!’    ‘Not together? That would make the mind boggle.’    ‘No, at separate tables.’ It adds ‘sparkle’ to life, the narrator complacently observes, and ‘it can only ...


Susannah Clapp

23 July 1987
A Life with Alan: The Diary of A.J.P. Taylor’s Wife, Eva, from 1978 to 1985 
by Eva Haraszti Taylor.
Hamish Hamilton, 250 pp., £14.95, June 1987, 0 241 12118 3
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The Painted Banquet: My Life and Loves 
by Jocelyn Rickards.
Weidenfeld, 172 pp., £14.95, May 1987, 0 297 79119 2
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The Beaverbrook Girl 
by Janet Aitken Kidd.
Collins, 240 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 00 217602 5
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... This is a benign book, which is written in earnest. Eva Taylor is as well-disposed to the man she photographs in Hyde Park who has been accused of peeing in a public building as she is to LordLongford, whom she presses into drying the dinner dishes: ‘Frank looked pale ... He said he would note it in his diary.’ She is convivial and an eager recorder of conversations. Talk she considers ...

Seven Days

R.W. Johnson

4 July 1985
The Pick of Paul Johnson: An Anthology 
Harrap, 277 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 0 245 54246 9Show More
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... movement. Their faith had had to be sustained by a special intensity of commitment. Their post-1970 disorientation – and their reaction to it – was correspondingly sharper than those of others. LordLongford (Eton and Christ Church) peeled off into a peculiar variety of religious activities. Tony Benn (Westminster and New College) decamped for the wild and intransigent Left. Paul Johnson ...

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