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Modest House in the Judengasse

C.H. Sisson, 5 July 1984

Random Variables 
by Lord Rothschild.
Collins, 238 pp., £12.50, May 1984, 0 00 217334 4
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... as a trifle baroque. Then there are representations, in various genres, of members of the Rothschild family beginning with Gutle who was born in 1753, the daughter of Baruch Schnapper, a Frankfurt tradesman. A glance at the contents shows an even greater variety of subject-matters, in chunks varying from seven or eight lines to 50 pages. One might say ...

Patria Potestas

David Allen, 19 April 1984

Dear Lord RothschildBirds, Butterflies and History 
by Miriam Rothschild.
Hutchinson, 398 pp., £14.95, November 1983, 0 09 153740 1
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... one of his nieces, was a prime example of the absurdity of that custom. Walter, the second Baron Rothschild, great-great-grandson of the fortune-founding Mayer Amschel, was manifestly without any talent at all for finance, had absolutely no need to earn a living and had a younger brother who possessed in full measure the very abilities in which he was ...

At Somerset House

Peter Campbell: Zaha Hadid, 16 December 2004

... their teeth on run-of-the-mill buildings. The Pritzker Prize juries (this year’s was headed by Lord Rothschild and included Frank Gehry, who won the prize in 1989) have, over the years, chosen a significant number of winners (Gehry, Rem Koolhaas and now Hadid) whose reputations, at the time of the award, depended to a great extent on small buildings ...

Seductive Intentions

John Ziman, 2 August 1984

A Science Policy for Britain 
by Tam Dalyell.
Longman, 135 pp., £5.95, September 1983, 0 582 90257 6
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... irrelevance that was going to be cured by the ‘customer-contractor principle’ recommended by Lord Rothschild in 1971. From now on, EHE would have to earn part of its income by undertaking specific research projects directly commissioned by government departments, acting as ‘customers’s on behalf of the public. Thus, the Department of Health and ...

The German Ocean

D.J. Enright: Suffolk Blues, 17 September 1998

The Rings of Saturn 
by W.G. Sebald, translated by Michael Hulse.
Harvill, 296 pp., £15.99, June 1998, 1 86046 398 3
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... sightseers (‘they reminded me of dressed-up circus dogs or seals’), and driven by the present Lord Somerleyton, his ticket satchel slung about him. Later, in a section on the Belgian Congo linking Joseph Conrad (who improved his English by reading the Lowestoft newspapers) with Roger Casement (whom Conrad much admired for his integrity), Sebald remarks on ...

Medawar’s Knack

N.W. Pirie, 27 September 1990

A Very Decided Preference: Life with Peter Medawar 
by Jean Medawar.
Oxford, 256 pp., £15, August 1990, 0 19 217779 6
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The Threat and the Glory: Reflections on Science and Scientists 
by Peter Medawar, edited by David Pyke.
Oxford, 291 pp., £15, August 1990, 0 19 217778 8
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... of the customer/contractor principle for financing research, which is associated with the late Lord Rothschild. It frightened the scientific community but, although harmful, it did less damage than we expected because the ‘customers’ don’t know what they need or what they may be able to get from research and therefore rely, to a great extent, on ...

Tunnel Vision

Jenny Diski: Princess Diana, 2 August 2007

The Diana Chronicles 
by Tina Brown.
Century, 481 pp., £18.99, June 2007, 978 1 84605 286 6
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by Sarah Bradford.
Penguin, 443 pp., £7.99, July 2007, 978 0 14 027671 8
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... she lists in her seven pages of acknowledgments, she knows all (two full pages) the right people (Lord Rothschild, Henry Kissinger, Bruce Oldfield, Emma Soames), quantities (three paragraphs) of the right researchers, and even the right London hotel owner, who made ‘a room available every time I hit town’ for ‘a demanding writer with a moody ...

An Enemy Within

Paul Foot, 23 April 1987

Molehunt: The Full Story of the Soviet Mole in MI5 
by Nigel West.
Weidenfeld, 208 pp., £10.95, March 1987, 0 297 79150 8
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... a solution. Peter Wright in Tasmania was astonished to get a letter from a former MI5 colleague, Lord Rothschild. The peer enclosed a first-class air ticket to London and begged Wright to use it. Before long Wright found himself being introduced to Chapman Pincher, the celebrated spy writer from the Daily Express, who, ...

Whitehall Farce

Paul Foot, 12 October 1989

The Intelligence Game: Illusions and Delusions of International Espionage 
by James Rusbridger.
Bodley Head, 320 pp., £12.95, August 1989, 0 370 31242 2
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The Truth about Hollis 
by W.J. West.
Duckworth, 230 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 7156 2286 2
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... these ‘controllers’? That question is answered very forcefully by Rusbridger. In 1963, Lord Denning wrote (apparently meaning it): ‘The Security Services (MI5) are, in the eye of the law, ordinary citizens with no powers greater than anyone else.’ That view was recently put in perspective by the Master of the Rolls. ‘It is essential in the ...

Honest Graft

Michael Brock, 23 June 1988

Corruption in British Politics, 1895-1930 
by G.R. Searle.
Oxford, 448 pp., £19.50, November 1987, 0 19 822915 1
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... by royal command. These may be ranked as small imprudences, however, and when they are set beside Lord Randolph Churchill’s relationship with Lord Rothschild no decline in standards is discernible. If ‘corruption’ is used in the narrow sense to denote the impingement of private interests on public decisions, even ...

So what if he was

Paul Foot, 25 October 1990

No Other Choice 
by George Blake.
Cape, 288 pp., £12.99, September 1990, 0 224 03067 1
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Inside Intelligence 
by Anthony Cavendish.
Collins, 181 pp., £12.95, October 1990, 9780002157421
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... this on to the Prime Minister in a private letter. Eventually, someone (probably the old grass Lord Rothschild, a former intelligence chief who was prepared to go to any lengths to deflect attention from his own pro-Russian past) told Sir Maurice that his secret about positive vetting was known. Oldfield confessed to Sir Robert Armstrong, secretary to ...


Peter Campbell, 7 May 1987

Joseph Banks: A Life 
by Patrick O’Brian.
Collins Harvill, 328 pp., £15, April 1987, 0 00 217350 6
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... public life developed. In Lincolnshire, he took his turn, competently but unwillingly, as Lord Lieutenant, and was an influential agricultural improver. The King’s merino sheep were a continuing interest. Banks was able to use his connections with Continental scientists to help assemble the flock and its management was for many years his ...

Homage to Barbara Cartland

Jenny Diski, 18 August 1994

... Reach for the Stars,* which seems for half its length to concern her memories of her great friend Lord Mountbatten. They were in the middle of writing a novel together (Love at the Helm – ‘he was to do the plot ... then I would do the love’) when he was killed. She mentions, in case we had forgotten, that he was Viceroy of India and swerves suddenly ...

Queen Croesus

David Cannadine, 13 February 1992

Royal Fortune: Tax, Money and the Monarchy 
by Phillip Hall.
Bloomsbury, 294 pp., £18.99, February 1992, 0 7475 1133 0
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... acceded to the throne as Edward VII in 1901, he immediately asked the Conservative Government of Lord Salisbury whether he might be ‘relieved’ of the income tax he paid on the Civil List. Much to the King’s regret, the Cabinet refused to budge, arguing that he must continue to honour his mother’s pledge to pay, and an announcement to this effect was ...


Ferdinand Mount: Edward Heath, 22 July 2010

Edward Heath 
by Philip Ziegler.
Harper, 654 pp., £25, June 2010, 978 0 00 724740 0
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... At the end of his official biography of Lord Mountbatten 25 years ago, Philip Ziegler wrote: ‘There was a time when I became so enraged by what I began to feel was his determination to hoodwink me that I found it necessary to place on my desk a notice saying: REMEMBER, IN SPITE OF EVERYTHING, HE WAS A GREAT MAN ...

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