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Pastiche

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 is more decrepit than at the moment of its restoration ...

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 the Anglo-Irish one, among others ...

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 be formally right in his assertion that there is no written document to link Hitler himself with the Final Solution until October 1943; and the same absence or confusion in the written record has even been taken as evidence that the whole thing did not really happen at all ...

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 evocation of Fin-de-Siècle Vienna there is, and his mistress, the wife of the art-historian Meier-Graefe ...

Taylorism

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 that we study history ‘for pleasure, not instruction ...

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 which has been described as ‘monumental’ and ‘a classic ...

Hitler and History

Hans Keller, 5 February 1981

Hitler 
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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... to reinvent: his The Portage to San Cristobal of A.H. has been reviewed in these pages, nor are Norman Stone, 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 Robert Harbison’s recent Deliberate ...

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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... as Sir Edward Grey said in August 1914, were going out all over Europe, not to be lit again. Norman Stone 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 which, despite modest improvements, were, by our ...

Blaming teachers

Jane Miller, 17 August 1989

... extinction of the literate as a species abound. ‘In all of my time, standards fell,’ Professor Norman Stone 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-Roper offers himself as a flying doctor battling ...

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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... is a kind of Atlantis of the European mind, as vivid beneath the waves as it was above them. Norman Stone 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 their close, cluttered rooms and for this alone ...

The National Curriculum

Ken Jones, 10 January 1991

... guide its policy. The National Curriculum’s defenders are of two sorts. The first, who include Norman Stone, 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. But these defenders from the left in fact ...

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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... 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 criterion may smack of arbitrary inconsistency, but it ...

Diary

Peter Clarke: True or False?, 16 August 1990

... Was it the measured judgment of Lord Dacre? Was it an impish vulgarisation ventured by Professor Norman Stone? 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 difference of tone, is on the same wavelength as that of ...
... recklessness – itself a characteristic product of the Anglo-Scot on the loose, Madsen Pirie or Norman Stone – collided with a Scots conviction that we did at last know where we were, and where we wanted to go. The information revolution had managed to coincide with the cultural renaissance, without playing into the hands of the large concerns, and ...

In Praise of Barley Brew

E.S. Turner: Combustible Belloc, 20 February 2003

Old Thunder: A Life of Hilaire Belloc 
by Joseph Pearce.
HarperCollins, 306 pp., £20, July 2002, 0 00 274095 8
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... Belloc has enabled conscientious students of history to see both sides. He is delighted to find Norman Stone, at the time a professor of modern history at Oxford, writing in the Sunday Times that he considers Belloc a more perceptive historian than G.M. Trevelyan: ‘I think that, in the end, I shall go to Trevelyan’s enemies, Hilaire Belloc or Lord ...

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