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Mount Amery

Paul Addison, 20 November 1980

The Leo Amery Diaries 
edited by John Barnes and David Nicholson, introduced by Julian Amery.
Hutchinson, 653 pp., £27.50, October 1980, 0 09 131910 2
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... Politics are three-quarters drudgery, so it takes a special ingredient to enliven the diary of a politician. Harold Nicolson and Chips Channon wrote splendid diaries because they were not so much politicians as sublime social columnists who happened to sit in the House of Commons. Richard Crossman and Barbara Castle were heavyweights and professionals, and the eternal grind of committee life is reflected in their accounts ...

For Church and State

Paul Addison, 17 July 1980

Sir John Seeley and the Uses of History 
by Deborah Wormell.
Cambridge, 233 pp., £15, March 1980, 0 521 22720 8
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... John Robert Seeley was Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge between Kingsley and Acton. One of the few eminent Victorians who inspired no memorial biography, he was best remembered as the author of The Expansion of England (1883), a sweeping historical manifesto in favour of the unification of the British Empire. The book survived as long as the Empire itself, but otherwise Seeley was neglected until in recent years Richard Shannon and Sheldon Rothblatt both identified him as a leading figure in the reorientation of the Victorian élite ...

Middle Way

Paul Addison, 6 December 1979

Consensus and Disunity: The Lloyd George Coalition Government 1918-1922 
by Kenneth O. Morgan.
Oxford, 436 pp., £15
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... shared conceptions of the transition to peace. These were symbolised above all in Christopher Addison’s Ministry of Reconstruction, with its ambitious portfolio of post-war reforms for industry and the social services. Whatever the political calculations, there was, then, a higher theme inherent in the General Election of 1918: it was called ‘to ...

War within wars

Paul Addison, 5 November 1992

War, Strategy and International Politics: Essays in Honour of Sir Michael Howard 
edited by Lawrence Freedman, Paul Hayes and Robert O’Neill.
Oxford, 322 pp., £35, July 1992, 0 19 822292 0
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... be employed for the protection of merchant shipping. The Admiralty also comes out badly from Paul Hayes’s analysis of its pre-1914 plans for a sudden descent on Germany. But for the resistance these plans encountered, he writes, ‘the catastrophe of the Gallipoli campaign might instead have been enacted in Friesland. The effects on morale, prestige ...

Outbreak of Pleasure

Angus Calder, 23 January 1986

Now the war is over: A Social History of Britain 1945-51 
by Paul Addison.
BBC/Cape, 223 pp., £10.95, September 1985, 0 563 20407 9
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England First and Last 
by Anthony Bailey.
Faber, 212 pp., £12.50, October 1985, 0 571 13587 0
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A World Still to Win: The Reconstruction of the Post-War Working Class 
by Trevor Blackwell and Jeremy Seabrook.
Faber, 189 pp., £4.50, October 1985, 0 571 13701 6
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The Issue of War: States, Societies and the Far Eastern Conflict of 1941-1945 
by Christopher Thorne.
Hamish Hamilton, 364 pp., £15, April 1985, 0 241 10239 1
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The Hiroshima Maidens 
by Rodney Barker.
Viking, 240 pp., £9.95, July 1985, 0 670 80609 9
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Faces of Hiroshima: A Report 
by Anne Chisholm.
Cape, 182 pp., £9.95, August 1985, 0 224 02831 6
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End of Empire 
by Brain Lapping.
Granada, 560 pp., £14.95, March 1985, 0 246 11969 1
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Outposts 
by Simon Winchester.
Hodder, 317 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 340 33772 9
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... of a world revolution of the common man, aimed at a new world of plenty and security’. Paul Addison, in Now the war is over, an excellent book derived from a good TV series, sees Common Wealth as representing a ‘strand of socialist utopianism, to be found mainly among the professional middle classes, that ran through the Forties’. Yet ...

Sunny Days

Michael Howard, 11 February 1993

Never Again: Britain 1945-51 
by Peter Hennessy.
Cape, 544 pp., £20, September 1992, 0 224 02768 9
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Churchill on the Home Front 1900-1955 
by Paul Addison.
Cape, 493 pp., £20, November 1992, 0 224 01428 5
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... of government expenditure in 1951 to 43 per cent in 1955. The second Churchill Administration, in Paul Addison’s words, was one of ‘Tory wets, for whom social harmony was a higher priority than economic sufficiency. The Prime Minister himself was soaking wet.’ Yet the very breadth of the consensus indicated the limited nature of the social ...

Jingo Joe

Paul Addison, 2 July 1981

Joseph Chamberlain: A Political Study 
by Richard Jay.
Oxford, 383 pp., £16.95, March 1981, 0 19 822623 3
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... A century ago Joseph Chamberlain was the Tony Benn of his time, the bogeyman of moderate and conservative opinion. The point is familiar to historians of the period, but never easy to convey. Why, after all, should the upper classes have been scared of a Liberal? Were the Liberals not a party of property and wealth? Indeed they were, and from the gallery of the House of Commons one could observe a multitude of well-fed, broad-bottomed types on the Liberal benches ...

When Neil Kinnock was in his pram

Paul Addison, 5 April 1984

Labour in Power 1945-1951 
by Kenneth Morgan.
Oxford, 546 pp., £15, March 1984, 0 19 215865 1
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... To people over a certain age, the politics of the 1940s are still a burning issue. Talk to them of Attlee, and the sparks of old controversies fly up as though Neil Kinnock were still in his celebrated pram. But to the present generation of students, Attlee might as well be Campbell-Bannerman, or Dr Mussadiq the Akond of Swat. To them, such matters are all a part of grandad’s world, a mysterious place where there was bread rationing, and patriotism was mixed up with pride in the welfare state ...

Lord Randolph’s Coming-Out

Paul Addison, 3 December 1981

Lord Randolph Churchill: A Political Life 
by R.F. Foster.
Oxford, 431 pp., £16, November 1981, 0 19 822679 9
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... Lord Randolph Churchill has many claims to fame and some to notoriety. His marriage to Jennie Jerome pioneered a series of matches between British aristocrats and American heiresses: the beginning of a special relationship of significance in the next century, if not in his own. He entered politics and rose to power between 1880 and 1885 as a master of opposition tactics both inside and outside the House of Commons ...

Early Hillhead Man

Paul Addison, 6 May 1982

Churchill’s Political Philosophy 
by Martin Gilbert.
Oxford, 119 pp., £8, November 1981, 0 19 726005 5
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Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years 
by Martin Gilbert.
Macmillan, 279 pp., £8.95, September 1981, 0 333 32564 8
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Churchill and de Gaulle 
by François Kersaudy.
Collins, 476 pp., £12.95, September 1981, 0 00 216328 4
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The Diaries of Sir Robert Bruce Lockhart 
edited by Kenneth Young.
Macmillan, 800 pp., £30, October 1981, 0 333 18480 7
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Churchill’s Indian Summer 
by Anthony Seldon.
Hodder, 667 pp., £14.95, October 1981, 0 340 25456 4
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... Churchill, like Disraeli, turned his political struggles into a romance. To read his writings and speeches is to be invited into a special world of technicolor spendour, the stage for an epic with the author as hero. But ought we to suspend disbelief? A division of opinion has long existed between romantics, who feel themselves seduced and compelled by Churchill’s vision of events, and the sceptics who treat it as a fabrication ...

Prince Arthur

Paul Addison, 21 August 1980

Balfour 
by Max Egremont.
Collins, 391 pp., £12.95, June 1980, 0 00 216043 9
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... There have been aristocrats in British politics since Arthur Balfour. But the career of ‘Prince Arthur’ was the last great expression of the old aristocratic system before it crashed. In the late 19th century a flourishing grapevine of wealthy and leisured families still clambered in profusion around the House of Commons and the Cabinet. At 10 Downing Street Lord Salisbury promoted his relations so vigorously that his administration became known as the ‘Hotel Cecil’, and the apple of his eye was undoubtedly his nephew, Arthur Balfour ...

Churchill by moonlight

Paul Addison, 7 November 1985

The Fringes of Power: Downing Street Diaries 1939-1955 
by John Colville.
Hodder, 796 pp., £14.95, September 1985, 0 340 38296 1
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... Except for two years as a fighter pilot in the RAF, John Colville was Churchill’s Private Secretary throughout the war, and again during his peacetime premiership of 1951-5. Some readers will enjoy his diaries mainly as a portrait of Churchill, whose blazing presence and wealth of eccentricity light up almost every page. But in the background a larger subject looms up ...

How Left was he?

Paul Addison, 7 January 1993

John Maynard Keynes: The Economist as Saviour 1920-1937 
by Robert Skidelsky.
Macmillan, 731 pp., £20, November 1992, 0 333 37138 0
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Maynard Keynes: An Economist’s Biography 
by D.E. Moggridge.
Routledge, 941 pp., £35, April 1992, 9780415051415
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... John Maynard Keynes is famous for his private life and associations with Bloomsbury and famous, too, as the economist who campaigned for public works between the wars, and revolutionised economics with his General Theory. A biographer of Keynes has to straddle two very different worlds, and it is one measure of Robert Skidelsky’s achievement that he writes with equal authority of both in this deeply researched and densely textured book ...

Warfare and Welfare

Paul Addison, 24 July 1986

The Audit of War: The Illusion and Reality of Britain as a Great Nation 
by Correlli Barnett.
Macmillan, 359 pp., £14.95, March 1986, 0 333 35376 5
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The Great War and the British People 
by J.M. Winter.
Macmillan, 360 pp., £25, February 1986, 0 333 26582 3
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... income was mortgaged for decades ahead to pay for the new Leviathan of welfare. And so to the Addison Report on What’s Wrong with Barnett. In vivid chapters tracing the roots of wartime problems as far back as the 18th century, Barnett shows that the flaws in British industry were structural and originated in the Industrial Revolution itself. This was a ...

Permissiveness

Paul Addison, 23 January 1986

The Writing on the wall: Britain in the Seventies 
by Phillip Whitehead.
Joseph, 438 pp., £14.95, November 1985, 0 7181 2471 5
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... was perfectly obvious to the general public. At the zenith of the inflationary wage spiral in 1975 Paul Johnson observed: Free collective bargaining necessarily excludes huge sections of society. They are not organised. They cannot be organised. Rapid inflation inflicts the greatest possible suffering on the very poor, the old, the very young, the sick, the ...

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