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Keeping the peace

E.S. Turner, 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 nothing but indiscipline could result from allowing serving officers to discuss their profession in print ...

Heart of Darkness

Christopher Hitchens, 28 June 1990

Not Many Dead: Journal of a Year in Fleet Street 
by Nicholas Garland.
Hutchinson, 299 pp., £16.95, April 1990, 0 09 174449 0
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A Slight Case of Libel: Meacher v. Trelford and Others 
by Alan Watkins.
Duckworth, 241 pp., £14.95, June 1990, 0 7156 2334 6
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... done much better on a bad one. As Garland himself modestly records, of a conversation he had with Max Hastings’s secretary: She said that she thought my cartoons were very good. ‘They’re so – political.’ She also admitted to being a paid-up member of the SDP and said cheerfully that I should keep up the good work. I don’t know how these ...

As seen on TV

Keith Kyle, 26 September 1991

From the House of War 
by John Simpson.
Hutchinson, 390 pp., £13.99, August 1991, 0 09 175034 2
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In the Eye of the Storm 
by Roger Cohen and Claudio Gatti.
Bloomsbury, 342 pp., £16.99, August 1991, 0 7475 1050 4
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... Robert Fisk, Bob McKeon (the CBS correspondent who ‘liberated’ Kuwait city in the sense that Max Hastings ‘liberated’ the ‘Upland Goose’ in Port Stanley) and others who operated on their own, using their wits. CNN, the wall-to-wall American news network, by means of which the world’s top public figures carefully study each other’s form ...

On Trying to Be Portugal

Geoffrey Wheatcroft: Zionist Terrorism, 6 August 2009

‘A Senseless, Squalid War’: Voices from Palestine 1945-48 
by Norman Rose.
Bodley Head, 278 pp., £20, March 2009, 978 0 224 07938 9
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Major Farran’s Hat: Murder, Scandal and Britain’s War against Jewish Terrorism 1945-48 
by David Cesarani.
Heinemann, 290 pp., £20, March 2009, 978 0 434 01844 4
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... existed. That sentiment persisted until the 1967 war. Even two years after it, when the young Max Hastings visited Israel, he, like so many, was ‘thrilled by the brilliance of Israel’s military achievement’, as he said in his recent Leonard Stein lectures, in which he went on to describe his subsequent disillusionment. Tony Judt is now an ...

William Rodgers reads the papers

William Rodgers, 19 February 1987

The Market for Glory: Fleet Street Ownership in the 20th Century 
by Simon Jenkins.
Faber, 247 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 571 14627 9
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The End of the Street 
by Linda Melvern.
Methuen, 276 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 413 14640 5
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... substantial number of readers and offers a distinctive style. The re-vamped Daily Telegraph under Max Hastings seems least sure of its direction. Despite its consistent right-wing politics, its reputation for a thorough and reliable news service has made it for many years the best British newspaper for expatriates or holidaymakers to buy abroad. But a ...

Woof, woof

Rosemary Hill: Auberon Waugh, 7 November 2019

A Scribbler in Soho: A Celebration of Auberon Waugh 
edited by Naim Attallah.
Quartet, 341 pp., £20, January 2019, 978 0 7043 7457 7
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... cage Waugh would not rattle. Sometimes it was just for fun. He could be, as his former colleague Max Hastings put it, ‘manically mischievous’. At others he would make a point with Swiftian savagery, as in July 1977 when the Gay News trial came to court. Mary Whitehouse, the campaigner against the ‘permissive society’, had brought a private ...

Gosh, what am I like?

Rosemary Hill: The Revenge Memoir, 17 December 2020

Friends and Enemies: A Memoir 
by Barbara Amiel.
Constable, 592 pp., £25, October 2020, 978 1 4721 3421 9
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Diary of an MP’s Wife: Inside and Outside Power 
by Sasha Swire.
Little, Brown, 544 pp., £20, September 2020, 978 1 4087 1341 9
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... them by country with a special ‘Borderline’ category within the UK list containing only Max Hastings. Swire is more sweeping in her acknowledgments to ‘all the Cameroons for not mentioning me or barely mentioning me in their memoirs – this is payback!’ But is it? Neither of these dispiriting books makes its author sympathetic. Having at ...

Fed up with Ibiza

Jenny Turner: Sybille Bedford, 1 April 2021

Sybille Bedford: An Appetite for Life 
by Selina Hastings.
Chatto, 432 pp., £35, November 2020, 978 1 78474 113 6
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... It has been common among Bedford fans to assume that Lisa was English, but according to Selina Hastings in her new biography she wasn’t. She was German, from Hamburg, and at least partly Jewish (‘I never learned how partly, nor through whom. Nobody cared much, or had to – happy days’). Her mother, Bedford once said, ‘instilled into me the idea ...

What did they do in the war?

Angus Calder, 20 June 1985

Firing Line 
by Richard Holmes.
Cape, 436 pp., £12.95, March 1985, 0 224 02043 9
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The Right of the Line: The Royal Air Force in the European War 1939-1945 
by John Terraine.
Hodder, 841 pp., £14.95, March 1985, 0 340 26644 9
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The Bomber Command War Diaries: An Operational Reference Book 
by Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt.
Viking, 804 pp., £25, May 1985, 0 670 80137 2
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’45: The Final Drive from the Rhine to the Baltic 
by Charles Whiting.
Century, 192 pp., £7.95, March 1985, 0 7126 0812 5
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In the Ruins of the Reich 
by Douglas Botting.
Allen and Unwin, 248 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 9780049430365
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1945: The World We Fought For 
by Robert Kee.
Hamish Hamilton, 371 pp., £12.95, May 1985, 0 241 11531 0
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VE Day: Victory in Europe 1945 
by Robin Cross.
Sidgwick, 223 pp., £12.95, May 1985, 0 283 99220 4
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One Family’s War 
edited by Patrick Mayhew.
Hutchinson, 237 pp., £10.95, May 1985, 0 7126 0812 5
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Poems of the Second World War: The Oasis Selection 
edited by Victor Selwyn.
Dent, 386 pp., £12, May 1985, 0 460 10432 2
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My Life 
by Bert Hardy.
Gordon Fraser, 192 pp., £14.95, March 1985, 0 86092 083 6
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Victory in Europe: D Day to VE Day 
by Max Hastings and George Stevens.
Weidenfeld, 192 pp., £10.95, April 1985, 0 297 78650 4
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... less drab and sordid – monochrome, after all, has its consonance with the vilenesses of 1939-45. Max Hastings’s Victory in Europe is ‘brightened’ by stills from color film shot by George Stevens, a Hollywood director (he later made Shane). Stevens ran an official unit attached to the Allied Armies’ Supreme Headquarters, but military procedures ...

Don’t Look Down

Nicholas Spice: Dull Britannia, 8 April 2010

Family Britain 1951-57 
by David Kynaston.
Bloomsbury, 776 pp., £25, November 2009, 978 0 7475 8385 1
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... Tory ones, to regret this lurch’ (Julian Glover in the Guardian); ‘the politics of envy’ (Max Hastings in the Financial Times). While David Cameron thought it enough simply to call Brown’s remark ‘spiteful’. In February 2008, Kynaston said in the Guardian that the continuing existence of the private schools in Britain constituted ‘a ...


Iain Sinclair: On the Promenade, 17 August 2006

... coachloads of professionally unimpressed new Europeans, runs from the exploitable heritage set of Hastings Old Town to the surreal beach colony of Pevensey Bay. Marooned spectres of Modernism – the De La Warr Pavilion, the shell of Bulverhythe Lido, Marine Court in St Leonards – collaborate with colour unco-ordinated huts, modest hives and tottering ...

England’s Chum

John Bayley, 5 May 1988

The Hand, Great Anarch! India 1921-1952 
by Nirad Chaudhuri.
Chatto, 979 pp., £25, November 1987, 0 7011 2476 8
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The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian 
by Nirad Chaudhuri.
Hogarth, 506 pp., £7.95, November 1987, 0 7012 0800 7
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... an English gentleman in an ahistorical sense. He would have been perfectly at home with Warren Hastings, or with any of the grandees of the East India company. In his house there were two great kitchens, one for the preparation of local dishes under a Bengali thakur, one for Western food produced by a Muslim chef who had trained in Europe. The Bose ...

Edward and Tilly and George

Robert Melville, 15 March 1984

Swans Reflecting Elephants: My Early Years 
by Edward James, edited by George Melly.
Weidenfeld, 178 pp., £8.95, July 1982, 0 297 77988 5
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... had returned to London and Tilly was rehearsing for a revival of The Miracle. It was produced by Max Reinhardt, with Lady Diana Cooper as the statue of the Madonna and Tilly as the nun who was seduced by a knight and ran away with him. The statue of the Madonna comes alive, steps off her pedestal, dons the nun’s discarded veil and assumes her duties. The ...

Nobbled or Not

Bernard Porter: The Central African Federation, 25 May 2006

British Documents on the End of Empire Series B Vol. 9: Central Africa: Part I: Closer Association 1945-58 
by Philip Murphy.
Stationery Office, 448 pp., £150, November 2005, 0 11 290586 2
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British Documents on the End of Empire Series B Vol. 9: Central Africa: Part II: Crisis and Dissolution 1959-65 
by Philip Murphy.
Stationery Office, 602 pp., £150, November 2005, 0 11 290587 0
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... as a true test of African opinion on his regime ‘indabas’ of chiefs rather than a referendum. Hastings Banda, the Nyasaland nationalist leader, responded to this kind of argument by asking what the people of Britain would think if it were claimed that their ‘feelings, desires and aspirations’ were best represented by ‘dukes, earls and ...

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