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E.S. Turner

4 September 1986
Monty: The Field-Marshal 1944-1976 
by Nigel Hamilton.
Hamish Hamilton, 996 pp., £15, June 1986, 0 241 11838 7
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... relaxation a few weeks later: ‘You may now engage in conversation with adult Germans in the streets and public places. You will not, for the present, enter the homes and houses of the Germans.’ NigelHamilton, in this robust last volume of his 2732-page trilogy, does not reproduce these orders, which surely have more than a touch of the touching about them. Here was a soldier who had commanded ...


Nigel Hamilton: Writing Books, and Selling Them

23 October 1986
... Woman, Novel No 1, is ready. I drive over to collect the typescript, traffic not too bad. We do not discuss it until I am halfway out of the door. ‘I didn’t really like it, I have to say, Mr Hamilton. But then you knew that I wouldn’t.’ She is in her seventies now. Yes, I knew – but no one else can read my handwriting as she does! ‘It was quite readable, though.’ Does she mean ...

In the field

Nigel Hamilton

5 November 1981
Washington Despatches, 1941-45: Weekly Political Reports from the British Embassy 
edited by H.G. Nicholas.
Weidenfeld, 700 pp., £20, August 1981, 0 297 77920 6
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British Intelligence and the Second World War. Vol. II 
by F.H. Hinsley, E.E. Thomas, C.F.G. Ransom and R.C. Knight.
HMSO, 850 pp., £15.95, September 1981, 0 11 630934 2
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Mars without Venus: A Study of Some Homosexual Generals 
by Frank Richardson.
William Blackwood, 188 pp., £5.95, September 1981, 9780851581484
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Soldiering on: An Unofficial Portrait of the British Army 
by Dennis Barker.
Deutsch, 236 pp., £8.50, October 1981, 0 233 97391 5
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A Breed of Heroes 
by Alan Judd.
Hodder, 288 pp., £6.95, September 1981, 0 340 26334 2
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War in Peace: An Analysis of Warfare Since 1945 
edited by Robert Thompson.
Orbis, 312 pp., £9.95, September 1981, 0 85613 341 8
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... personally by Auchinleck: if Eighth Army could not hold Alam Halfa, then it did not deserve to fight another day. This was a very courageous decision to make, and there are still those – like Nigel Nicolson – who hold that it was too great a risk to take at such a critical moment. One can imagine, therefore, Montgomery’s relief when, four days after giving out his new orders for Alam Halfa ...

Principal Boy

Nigel Hamilton

21 March 1985
by Philip Ziegler.
Collins, 786 pp., £15, March 1985, 0 00 216543 0
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... Dickie, you’re so crooked that if you swallowed a nail you’d shit a corkscrew!’ Thus the irascible Field Marshal Sir Gerald Templer, in a ‘Templerism’ openly addressed to Lord Louis Mountbatten. It is one of Philip Ziegler’s virtues as an official biographer that he is willing to quote the unkind as well as the kind remarks about his hero. Another is his readability: a seven-hundred-page ...

No Fun

David Blackbourn: Heinrich and Thomas Mann

15 October 1998
Letters of Heinrich and Thomas Mann, 1900-49 
edited by Hans Wysling, translated by Don Reneau.
California, 444 pp., £40, March 1998, 0 520 07278 2
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... Twenty years ago NigelHamilton wrote a double biography of the literary Brothers Mann, giving equal billing to the celebrated Thomas and the neglected Heinrich. It was certainly time to look again at Heinrich, whose importance as ...


David Fraser

22 December 1983
Monty. Vol. II: Master of the Battlefield 1942-1944 
by Nigel Hamilton.
Hamish Hamilton, 863 pp., £12.95, October 1983, 0 241 11104 8
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Decision in Normandy: The Unwritten Story of Montgomery and the Allied Campaign 
by Carlo D’Este.
Collins, 555 pp., £12.95, October 1983, 0 00 217056 6
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... head and shoulders above his peers as one who really understood war and knew how to win. Monty, master of the battlefield. In this second volume of his immensely long biography of the Field Marshal NigelHamilton takes position uncompromisingly at the latter end of the spectrum of opinion. He is not blind to Monty’s faults. ‘These,’ he writes of some of Monty’s characteristics, ‘were not ...

The Kennedy Boys

R.W. Johnson

28 January 1993
JFK: Life and Death of an American President. Vol. I: Reckless Youth 
by Nigel Hamilton.
Century, 898 pp., £20, October 1992, 0 7126 2571 2
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... said. He didn’t care a damn about the girl – it was just the inconvenience that bothered him. In that sense he was a pretty selfish guy. This story sums up in a few lines all the major themes of NigelHamilton’s book – the over-whelming shadow of Joe Kennedy, Jacks’s unrelenting promiscuity, indeed his virtually psychopathic drive for sexual satisfaction, and the coldness and detachment ...
9 January 1992
Through a Glass Darkly: The life of Patrick Hamilton 
by Nigel​ Jones.
Scribner, 408 pp., £18.95, December 1991, 0 356 19701 8
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... Towards the end of his life (he died aged 58) Patrick Hamilton was taking the cure in some Metroland establishment while Malcolm Lowry was being dried out in another not far off. That was around l960, and the two writers never met; but both had become something ...


Norman Page

8 January 1987
Beloved Emma: The Life of Emma, Lady Hamilton 
by Flora Fraser.
Weidenfeld, 410 pp., £14.95, September 1986, 0 297 78895 7
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Loving Emma 
by Nigel​ Foxell.
Harvester, 201 pp., £8.95, March 1986, 0 7108 1056 3
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... One might say that the problem with Emma Hamilton is knowing quite how to take her. Near the end of her book, Flora Fraser quotes a startlingly vivid account of Emma’s behaviour just after receiving news of Nelson’s death: it was, an eye-witness ...

Madder Men

Hal Foster: Richard Hamilton​ on Richard Hamilton

24 October 2019
Richard HamiltonIntrospective 
by Phillip Spectre.
König, 408 pp., £49, September, 978 3 88375 695 0
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... humble in origin and, if possible, anointed by a predecessor – so he gives us Cimabue discovering the shepherd boy Giotto sketching a pastoral scene with perfect skill. Born in 1922, Richard Hamilton was a working-class kid whose gift for drawing was recognised early on: at 12, he talked his way into adult classes, and at 16, not long before the Second World War, into the Royal Academy of Art ...
17 October 1996
Sleaze: Politicians, Private Interests and Public Reaction 
edited by F.F. Ridley and Alan Doig.
Oxford, 222 pp., £10.99, April 1996, 0 19 922273 8
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Changing Trains: The Autobiography of Steven Norris 
Hutchinson, 273 pp., £16.99, October 1996, 0 09 180212 1Show More
The Quango Debate 
edited by F.F. Ridley and David Wilson.
Oxford, 188 pp., £10.99, September 1995, 9780199222384
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... The abject surrender of Neil Hamilton, the ‘envelope man’ who changed the law so that he could sue the Guardian for libel, deprived the nation of an exhilarating and informative court case. When the Guardian alleged that Hamilton ...
2 July 1981
Monty: The Making of a General, 1887-1942 
by Nigel Hamilton.
Hamish Hamilton, 871 pp., £12, June 1981, 0 241 10583 8
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The War between the Generals: Inside the Allied High Command 
by David Irving.
Allen Lane, 446 pp., £9.95, June 1981, 0 7139 1344 4
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... do so in any case, despite the very great length of the volume, by the remarkable quality of the author’s writing, the depth of his research and his admirable capacity for organising material. Mr Hamilton has not only been through the enormous archive of papers left by the Field-Marshal himself, but also worked extensively in several others. He has corresponded and talked with almost everyone still ...

Passing-Out Time

Christopher Tayler: Patrick Hamilton’s drinking

29 January 2009
The Slaves of Solitude 
by Patrick Hamilton.
Constable, 327 pp., £7.99, September 2008, 978 1 84529 415 1
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The Gorse Trilogy 
by Patrick Hamilton.
Black Spring, 603 pp., £9.95, June 2007, 978 0 948238 34 5
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... Louis MacNeice, it was sometimes said, was always in the pub but never really of it. Much the same could be said of Patrick Hamilton, who was best known in his lifetime for his stage chillers Rope (1929) and Gaslight (1938), but is mostly remembered for the expert depictions of joyless interwar boozing in Hangover Square (1941 ...

The Comic Strip

Ian Hamilton

3 September 1981
... the beating really is quite bad this time. The Comic Strip’s other double act, the Outer Limits, is more hooked into the media than is Coyote, and more conventionally slick. Peter Richardson and Nigel Planer have been together now for eight years – ‘We do everything together. We piss into each other’s mouths’ – but for most of that time they played music, with the jokes as decoration ...

They never married

Ian Hamilton

10 May 1990
The Dictionary of National Biography: 1981-1985 
edited by Lord Blake and C.S. Nicholls.
Oxford, 518 pp., £40, March 1990, 0 19 865210 0
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... his explosive temperament, often aggravated by alcohol’, Enid Bagnold was ‘too fond of the great and the grand to be taken seriously by the literary establishment’. According to Enoch Powell, Nigel Birch deserves to be ‘remembered for his insistence on retaining the trees in Park Lane when it was widened’. Sometimes the choice of contributors can seem cosier than it might have been: Ned ...

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