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Tooth and Tail

Mark Urban, 7 September 1995

Brassey’s Defence Yearbook 1995 
edited by Lawrence Freedman and Michael Clarke.
Brassey, 396 pp., £35.95, April 1995, 1 85753 131 0
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Broken Lives: A Personal View of the Bosnian Conflict 
by Bob Stewart.
HarperCollins, 336 pp., £6.99, July 1994, 0 00 638268 1
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Looking for Trouble: An Autobiography 
by Peter de la Billière.
HarperCollins, 449 pp., £19.99, September 1994, 0 00 255245 0
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... use in peace-keeping operations. ‘If we lose that war-fighting capability,’ Field Marshal Sir Peter Inge remarked in a lecture last year, ‘I believe the British Army will be on the road to becoming a sort of gendarmerie which can provide a battalion here and a battalion there but frankly has lost its ability to go to war.’ It is almost inconceivable ...

Poor Khaled

Robert Fisk, 3 December 1992

... that the Americans would accept him as a four-star general alongside the Schwarzkopfs and the de la Billières? Typically, he failed to object to one of the most offensive passages in Schwarzkopf’s book, perhaps because he failed to understand its implications. Readers are now invited to spot the insult: Khalid [sic] was ideal: he’d been educated at ...

Introversion Has Its Limits

Adam Mars-Jones: ‘Essayism’, 8 March 2018

by Brian Dillon.
Fitzcarraldo, 138 pp., £10.99, June 2017, 978 1 910695 41 8
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Sound: Stories of Hearing Lost and Found 
by Bella Bathurst.
Wellcome, 224 pp., £8.99, February 2018, 978 1 78125 776 0
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Proxies: A Memoir in Twenty-Four Attempts 
by Brian Blanchfield.
Picador, 181 pp., £9.99, August 2017, 978 1 5098 4785 3
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... gentleman who told Bathurst about his reluctant withdrawal from the pleasures of life was Sir Peter de la Billière, commander-in-chief of British forces during the first Gulf War, whose deafening began when he was still in his twenties (he was born in 1934). He was downgraded on the basis of his poor hearing at ...

Conspire Slowly, Act Quickly

David Runciman: Thatcher Undone, 2 January 2020

Margaret Thatcher: The Authorised Biography Vol. III: Herself Alone 
by Charles Moore.
Allen Lane, 1072 pp., £35, October 2019, 978 0 241 32474 5
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... Norman Schwarzkopf, the commander of the US forces, accosted his British counterpart, General de la Billière: ‘Hey Peter, what sort of country have you got there when they sack the prime minister halfway through a war?’It was not a coup, not even a very British one. But it ...

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