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26 November 1987
The Korean War 
by Max Hastings.
Joseph, 476 pp., £14.95, September 1987, 9780718120689
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The Origins of the Korean War 
by Peter Lowe.
Longman, 256 pp., £6.95, July 1986, 0 582 49278 5
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Korea: The War before Vietnam 
by Callum MacDonald.
Macmillan, 330 pp., £25, November 1986, 0 333 33011 0
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... in Seoul have been cited in evidence, but none of the works under review provides any substantiation for this interpretation. The scale and weight of the North Korean attack speaks for itself. And as MaxHastings properly reminds us, the United States deliberately deprived Synghman Rhee’s forces of an offensive capability, as the Soviet Union did not for their own clients. The Pentagon hoped, in ...
4 March 1982
Auchinleck: The Lonely Soldier 
by Philip Warner.
Buchan and Enright, 288 pp., £10.50, November 1981, 9780907675006
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Das Reich: Resistance and the March of the 2nd SS Panzer Division through France, June 1944 
by Max Hastings.
Joseph, 264 pp., £9.95, November 1981, 0 7181 2074 4
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... commanders of the Second World War. Auchinleck, an honourable soldier of the old school, was fortunate not to be involved in the terrible events in France in June 1944 most readably reconstructed by MaxHastings. On D-Day the notorious 2nd SS Panzer (Das Reich) Division, filled with fanatical Nazis and brutalised by its recent experiences on the Eastern Front, was resting at Montauban some 450 miles ...


Max Hastings: Letters from the Front

9 September 2015
... Next month​ I shall raise a glass to the memory of a relation whom I never knew – a great-uncle called Aubrey Hastings, who was killed at the Battle of Loos a century ago, on 5 October 1915. In that era of large families, he was one of five of my close forebears who fought in France during the First World War. Three ...
3 March 1983
The Battle for the Falklands 
by Max Hastings and Simon Jenkins.
Joseph, 384 pp., £10.95, February 1983, 0 7181 2228 3
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... In the opening paragraph of their important book on the Falklands War, MaxHastings and Simon Jenkins write: ‘So extraordinary an event was it that, even after men began to die, many of those taking part felt as if they had been swept away into fantasy, that the ships sinking and ...

A Different Sort of Tory

Ronald Stevens: Max Hastings

12 December 2002
Editor: An Inside Story of Newspapers 
by Max Hastings.
Macmillan, 398 pp., £20, October 2002, 0 333 90837 6
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... Something about the British press attracts Canadians. In the 1920s Max Aitken bought the Daily and Sunday Express, turned them into successful popular papers and became Lord Beaverbrook in the process. In the 1950s Roy Thomson bought Kemsley Newspapers, added the Times ...

Terror Was Absolute

Chris Mullin: Vietnam

18 July 2019
Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy, 1945-75 
by Max Hastings.
Collins, 722 pp., £9.99, May, 978 0 00 813301 6
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... been invaded by four of the five permanent members of the Security Council.’ This is far from the first history of the Vietnam War, but the range of available sources has widened over the years and MaxHastings has made expert use of them. There is no shortage of memoirs and official papers that shed light on the war from every conceivable American angle. The Vietnamese experience is harder to ...
3 October 1985
Great Britons: 20th-Century Lives 
by Harold Oxbury.
Oxford, 371 pp., £14.95, September 1985, 0 19 211599 5
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The Oxford Book of Military Anecdotes 
edited by Max Hastings.
Oxford, 514 pp., £9.50, October 1985, 0 19 214107 4
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The Long Affray: The Poaching Wars in Britain 
by Harry Hopkins.
Secker, 344 pp., £12.95, August 1985, 9780436201028
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... of Surgeons. Field-Marshal French is outrageously snubbed by General Lanrezac after mispronouncing the place-name Huy. Haig, rather surprisingly, is the subject of no anecdotes at all. Wisely, MaxHastings decided not to have five hundred solid pages of anecdote, but to include longer passages describing, in the liveliest prose available, famous events: Horatius holding the bridge, the Waterloo Ball ...

Wrath of the Centurions

Max Hastings: My Lai

25 January 2018
My Lai: Vietnam, 1968 and the Descent into Darkness 
by Howard Jones.
Oxford, 504 pp., £22.99, June 2017, 978 0 19 539360 6
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... Before​ examining the most notorious war crime of the Vietnam era, it seems useful to glance at some other modern horror stories. At 2.15 p.m. on the afternoon of 10 June 1944, a company of the 2nd SS panzer division, ‘Das Reich’, entered the small French town of Oradour-sur-Glane, herded most of its population, swollen by refugees, into barns and garages, the women and children into the church ...

Big Man to Uncle Joe

Max Hastings: The Big Three

22 November 2018
The Kremlin Letters: Stalin’s Wartime Correspondence with Churchill and Roosevelt 
edited by David Reynolds and Vladimir Pechatnov.
Yale, 660 pp., £25, October 2018, 978 0 300 22682 9
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... Winston Churchill​ was the dominant personality on the allied side in the Second World War: not the leader of the most important belligerent, nor even the most influential warlord in the Grand Alliance, but the most significant human being. His prodigious literary skills afterwards enabled him, thanks to the writing, publication and long-lasting celebrity of his war memoirs, immensely to distort ...

Monopoly Mule

Anthony Howard

25 January 1996
Plant Here the ‘Standard’ 
by Dennis Griffiths.
Macmillan, 417 pp., £35, November 1995, 0 333 55565 1
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... never really come to terms with the ‘new journalism’, as represented first by Lord Northcliffe’s Daily Mail and then by its own subsequent and most famous owner, Lord Beaverbrook, who, as Sir Max Aitken, had effectively taken control of the Daily Express in 1915. Perhaps there was always something a bit archaic about the Standard as a national daily. For all the fame of its foreign ...

In Pyjamas

R.W. Johnson: Bill Deedes’s Decency

17 November 2005
Dear Bill: A Memoir 
by W.F. Deedes.
Macmillan, 451 pp., £14.99, July 2005, 9781405052665
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... writing – ‘you are as good as, and no better than, the last piece you wrote’ – and he prides himself on his ability to turn out a thousand good words in no time and under pressure: the reason MaxHastings, who followed him as editor of the Telegraph, and his successors always wanted to keep him on as a writer. He can be cutting about journalists whose main ambition is to rise to an executive ...

Other People’s Capital

John Lanchester: Conrad and Barbara Black

14 December 2006
Conrad and Lady Black: Dancing on the Edge 
by Tom Bower.
Harper, 436 pp., £20, November 2006, 0 00 723234 9
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... 11 December, Black had full control of the Telegraph, for a total cost of £30 million. There are two stories of what happened next. One is the external story, the one the world saw. Black appointed MaxHastings to run the Telegraph, and was able – thanks to the way Rupert Murdoch destroyed the power of the print unions by moving to his new plant in Wapping – to make the paper spectacularly ...


Ian Aitken: Closing Time at the Last Chance Saloon

6 August 1992
... must be seriously wrong when a senior British journalist can prefer to edit the Mail rather than the Times. (Indeed, he might have added that matters are even worse when his own editor-in-chief, MaxHastings, rejects the same offer by declaring that nothing would induce him to go to ‘that brothel’.) But we can’t dismiss these events simply as the consequence of national decline. Something must be ...


Suzanne Moore: Amanda Platell

6 January 2000
by Amanda Platell.
Piatkus, 297 pp., £5.99, November 1999, 0 7499 3119 1
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... Just look at the figures. In the changing rooms of Harvey Nicks the two women prepare to do battle: ‘Size 16 eyed size 12 with open hostility.’ In some parallel universe I like to think that MaxHastings and Paul Dacre and John Witherow and Alan Rusbridger behave like this. Dominic Lawson may well have said to Charles Moore in some gentleman’s outfitters what Sharon says to Georgina ...
2 April 1987
March to the South Atlantic: 42 Commando Royal Marines in the Falklands War 
by Nick Vaux and Max Hastings.
Buchan and Enright, 261 pp., £11.50, November 1986, 0 907675 56 5
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Further Particulars: Consequences of an Edwardian Boyhood 
by C.H. Rolph.
Oxford, 231 pp., £12.50, January 1987, 0 19 211790 4
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... The French Marshal MacMahon said: ‘I shall remove from my promotion list any officer whose name I have seen on the cover of a book.’ He spoke for high commanders everywhere. ‘Damn your writing, mind your fighting’ was the snub likely to greet a British officer with literary pretensions. The Duke of Cambridge opposed the founding of the Army Journal and the Cavalry Journal on the grounds that ...

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