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Norman Stone

21 July 1983
The Invention of Tradition 
edited by Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger.
Cambridge, 320 pp., £17.50, March 1983, 0 521 24645 8
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... One of Arnold Toynbee’s Laws was that, in any civilisation, mannered imitation of the past was a Bad Thing: he chose the Poles’ decision to reconstruct the Old City of Warsaw after 1945 as an instance, and would have much preferred to see them raze the ruins and build a ‘city of towers’ on modernistic lines. In a similar way, Victor Hugo remarked of the post-Napoleonic Bourbons that ‘nothing ...

Statue of Liberty

Norman Stone

7 July 1983
The Crisis of the Old Order in Russia: Gentry and Government 
by Roberta Thompson Manning.
Princeton, 555 pp., £35.30, February 1983, 0 691 05349 9
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Mikhail Bakunin: A Study in the Psychology and Politics of Utopianism 
by Aileen Kelly.
Oxford, 320 pp., £17.50, November 1982, 0 19 827244 8
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... The Russian gentry of the 19th century produced a strangely long list of ‘names’. Can you imagine the English nobility, in that or any other era, producing Tolstoys or Turgenevs, Mussorgskys or Herzens? The contrast between actual and would-be, in 19th-century Russia, was vast, and was to stimulate literature of a very high order: in this respect, there is a parallel between the Russian case and ...

Who knew?

Norman Stone

20 November 1980
The Terrible Secret 
by Walter Laqueur.
Weidenfeld, 262 pp., £8.95, September 1980, 0 297 77835 8
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... After the Second World War, an often-heard German excuse was that ‘we did not know.’ Even very senior Nazis, among them Goering and Speer, said that they had had no knowledge of Hitler’s plan to destroy the European Jews, let alone responsibility for it. The central planning of the Final Solution was intentionally such that very few records of essential decisions were kept; David Irving may even ...
5 February 1981
by Norman Stone.
Hodder, 195 pp., £6.95, August 1980, 0 340 24980 3
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Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ in Britain and America: A Publishing History 1930-39 
by James Barnes and Patience Barnes.
Cambridge, 158 pp., £8.50, September 1980, 0 521 22691 0
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The Berlin Secession: Modernism and Its Enemies in Imperial Germany 
by Peter Paret.
Harvard, 262 pp., £10.50, December 1980, 0 674 06773 8
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German Romantic Painting 
by William Vaughan.
Yale, 260 pp., £19.95, October 1980, 0 300 02387 1
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... continued, compulsive preoccupation with his personality – which a George Steiner even undertook to reinvent: his The Portage to San Cristobal of A.H. has been reviewed in these pages, nor are NormanStone, James J. Barnes and Patience P. Barnes always less fanciful. And if Hitler’s personality remains an unanswered question, so too, does the history of National Socialism – which a book like ...

Weimar in Partibus

Norman Stone

1 July 1982
Hannah Arendt: For Love of the World 
by Elizabeth Young-Bruehl.
Yale, 563 pp., £12.95, May 1982, 0 300 02660 9
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Hannah Arendt and the Search for a New Political Philosophy 
by Bhikhu Parekh.
Macmillan, 198 pp., £20, October 1981, 0 333 30474 8
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... Hannah Arendt arrived in New York as a refugee from Europe in 1941. She was, there, at the centre of a world that included a great deal of ‘Vienna 1900’ and ‘Berlin 1930’. Her friends, whom she referred to as ‘the tribe’ – ‘the clan’ would have been a better translation – included Alma Mahler, the novelist Hermann Broch, whose essay, Hofmannsthal und seine Zeit, is the best short ...


Norman Stone

22 January 1981
Politicians, Socialism and Historians 
by A.J.P. Taylor.
Hamish Hamilton, 259 pp., £12.50, October 1980, 0 241 10486 6
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A.J.P. Taylor: A Complete Annotated Bibliography 
by Chris Wrigley.
Harvester, 607 pp., £35, August 1980, 0 85527 981 8
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... Like Goering with culture, I reach for my revolver when offered philosophies of history,’ wrote A.J.P. Taylor some years ago, when the ‘What is History’ theme was going the rounds. He likes to parade himself as a simple, practical man – ‘an old-fashioned, penny-counting historian’. He thinks that history’s only function is ‘fun’, dismisses the rest as ‘sales-talk’ and believes ...

Before the Fall

Eric Hobsbawm

21 April 1983
Europe Transformed 1878-1919 
by Norman Stone.
Fontana, 448 pp., £3.50, February 1983, 0 00 634262 0
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... At the same time, they are almost inconceivably remote, bathed in the light of those lamps which, as Sir Edward Grey said in August 1914, were going out all over Europe, not to be lit again. NormanStone is right to begin his Europe Transformed with this hackneyed but still troubling quotation, though he is wise enough to avoid sentimentalising anera when the vast majority of Europeans lived lives ...

Grim Eminence

Norman Stone

10 January 1983
The Twilight of the Comintern 1930-1935 
by E.H. Carr.
Macmillan, 436 pp., £25, December 1982, 0 333 33062 5
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... The historian Edward Hallett Carr died on 3 November 1982, at the age of 90. He had an oddly laconic obituary in the Times, which missed out a great deal. If he had died ten years before, his death would probably have been noticed a great deal more, for Carr was an eminent left-wing historian, had a huge record of publication, and had embarked, 35 years before his death, on a History of Soviet Russia ...
17 August 1989
... made in the book trade and by newspaper and magazine owners, apocalyptic warnings of the imminent extinction of the literate as a species abound. ‘In all of my time, standards fell,’ Professor NormanStone rather oddly writes, too moved, presumably, to consider how a sceptical reader might be inclined to connect the two parts of his sentence in a relation of cause to effect. Professor Hugh Trevor ...

Living like a moth

Michael Ignatieff

19 April 1990
The Other Russia: The Experience of Exile 
by Michael Glenny and Norman Stone.
Faber, 475 pp., £14.99, March 1990, 0 571 13574 9
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Inferences on a Sabre 
by Claudio Magris, translated by Mark Thompson.
Polygon, 87 pp., £9.95, May 1990, 0 7486 6036 4
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... Khodasevitch – to reclaim it for the imagination. Thanks to their efforts, the Russian Ancien Régime is a kind of Atlantis of the European mind, as vivid beneath the waves as it was above them. NormanStone and Michael Glenny’s book is a scrapbook of Atlantis, an oral history of survivors from the sinking. Many of them were in their eighties when Glenny’s tape-recorder finally reached them in ...
10 January 1991
... in the system. This is the model which Labour has gratefully inherited, and which will now guide its policy. The National Curriculum’s defenders are of two sorts. The first, who include NormanStone, believe in it as a means of ‘ramming the national culture down pupils’ throats’. The second see it as a means of guaranteeing access for all to the same kinds of knowledge and understanding ...

Everlasting Stone

Patrick Wormald

21 May 1981
The Enigma of Stonehenge 
by John Fowles and Barry Brukoff.
Cape, 126 pp., £6.95, September 1980, 0 224 01618 0
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British Cathedrals 
by Paul Johnson.
Weidenfeld, 275 pp., £12.50, September 1980, 0 297 77828 5
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... be in a well-established tradition, but it has unusual features. His criterion of selection is simply that a building must have been, or become, the seat of a bishop. Thus St Albans and Peterborough, Norman abbeys ‘episcopalised’ respectively in 1877 and 1541, get in, but Fountains and even Hexham do not; Manchester, Derby and Blackburn are admitted, but St Mary Redcliffe or Lavenham are not. Such a ...
4 January 1996
The Death of Yugoslavia 
by Allan Little and Laura Silber.
Penguin, 400 pp., £6.99, September 1995, 0 14 024904 4
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... between Vance-Owen and Dayton? Answer: nothing except the mass graves. I can think of no greater testimony to David Owen’s efforts as a mediator than that he is denounced with equal vigour by NormanStone and Nora Beloff, resolute supporters of Croat and Serb interests respectively. A simple calculation of population size and relative military strength of the national forces inside Yugoslavia ...


Peter Clarke: True or False?

16 August 1990
... Gordon Craig, proving yet again that you can always tell a Harvard man but you can’t tell him much? Was it the measured judgment of Lord Dacre? Was it an impish vulgarisation ventured by Professor NormanStone? Well, no, it was Nicholas Ridley, of course, nailing back another fag, the better to concentrate his thoughts for the readers of the Spectator. His level of analysis, however, for all the ...

Tea with Medea

Simon Skinner: Richard Cobb

19 July 2012
My Dear Hugh: Letters from Richard Cobb to Hugh Trevor-Roper and Others 
Frances Lincoln, 240 pp., £20, October 2011, 978 0 7112 3240 2Show More
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... is a type of college scholarship (I’ve been in Oxford for thirty years, and I didn’t), or that the KA is a pub (I did know that), then you’re lost. ‘The Dean’ (of Peterhouse, Edward Norman) and ‘the Chancellor’ (of Oxford, Harold Macmillan) are not identified. How many readers will translate ‘My Successor … is not in much favour with your successor … owing to his lack of ...

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