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Haleking

John Bossy: Simon Forman, 22 February 2001

The Notorious Astrological Physician of London: Works and Days of Simon Forman 
by Barbara Howard Traister.
Chicago, 260 pp., £19, February 2001, 0 226 81140 9
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Dr Simon Forman: A Most Notorious Physician 
by Judith Cook.
Chatto, 228 pp., £18.99, January 2001, 0 7011 6899 4
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... was Forman’s full version of the term, which has puzzled everybody, unduly I think. According to Liddell and Scott, the Greek ‘alektwr means ‘cock’, keraV, ‘horn’, ‘areskw, ‘to please’, and tauroV, of course, ‘bull’: hence the phrase means roughly ‘a horny cock pleasing to a bull’, reduced to ‘halek’ = ‘cock’. Forman’s Greek ...

Issues of Truth and Invention

Colm Tóibín: Francis Stuart’s wartime broadcasts, 4 January 2001

The Wartime Broadcasts of Francis Stuart 
edited by Brendan Barrington.
Lilliput, 192 pp., £25, September 2000, 1 901866 54 8
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... was that the writer was an elderly man whose name carried with it an uncertain stigma. In 1983 Robert Fisk published In Time of War: Ireland, Ulster and the Price of Neutrality 1939-45 and this seemed to settle the argument about what Stuart had been doing in Germany. Fisk’s account of the episode was based on transcripts of Stuart’s broadcasts in the ...

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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... that their account of operations is based on the now outdated Official Histories, or on books like Liddell Hart’s History of the Second World War which were published before the headquarters’ War Diaries were released from the confines of the statutory 30-year ruling. What emerges is a sort of cryptographer’s dream of the war in the field – a fantasy ...

Into the Second Term

R.W. Johnson: New Labour, 5 April 2001

Servants of the People: The Inside Story of New Labour 
by Andrew Rawnsley.
Hamish Hamilton, 434 pp., £17.99, September 2000, 0 241 14029 3
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Mandelson and the Making of New Labour 
by Donald Macintyre.
HarperCollins, 638 pp., £6.99, September 2000, 0 00 653062 1
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Mo Mowlam: The Biography 
by Julia Langdon.
Little, Brown, 324 pp., £16.99, September 2000, 0 316 85304 6
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Ann Widdecombe: Right from the Beginning 
by Nicholas Kochan.
Politico’s, 302 pp., September 2000, 1 902301 55 2
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The Paymaster: Geoffrey Robinson, Maxwell and New Labour 
by Tom Bower.
Simon and Schuster, 272 pp., £17.99, March 2001, 0 7432 0689 4
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The Future of Politics 
by Charles Kennedy.
HarperCollins, 235 pp., £17.99, September 2000, 0 00 710131 7
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... too, in the growing sleaze chronicled by Tom Bower. Although Bower has concentrated his efforts on Robert Maxwell and (the intimately connected) Geoffrey Robinson, many more are encompassed by the allegations he raises – it is not just a matter of Peter Mandelson but of Bernard Donoghue, Gordon Brown, Helen ...

C (for Crisis)

Eric Hobsbawm: The 1930s, 6 August 2009

The Morbid Age: Britain between the Wars 
by Richard Overy.
Allen Lane, 522 pp., £25, May 2009, 978 0 7139 9563 3
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... Storm Jameson, Ernest Jones, Sir Arthur Keith, Maynard Keynes, Archbishop Cosmo Lang, Basil Liddell Hart, Bronislaw Malinowski, Gilbert Murray, Philip Noel-Baker, George Orwell, Lord Arthur Ponsonby, Bertrand Russell, George Bernard Shaw, Arnold Toynbee, the Webbs, H.G. Wells or Leonard and Virginia Woolf? Unless clearly backed by an important ...

Diary

Max Hastings: Letters from the Front, 10 September 2015

... generation. ‘I saw more fighting,’ he wrote, than Siegfried Sassoon, or Edmund Blunden, or Robert Graves, far more than Liddell Hart, four or five times as much as Wilfred Owen, and I didn’t go home with a nervous breakdown. [But] I fear the damage is done, and the myth of the 1930s has prevailed … When I meet ...

Ruthless and Truthless

Ferdinand Mount: Rotten Government, 6 May 2021

The Assault on Truth: Boris Johnson, Donald Trump and the Emergence of a New Moral Barbarism 
by Peter Oborne.
Simon and Schuster, 192 pp., £12.99, February, 978 1 3985 0100 3
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Political Advice: Past, Present and Future 
edited by Colin Kidd and Jacqueline Rose.
I.B. Tauris, 240 pp., £21.99, February, 978 1 83860 120 1
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... Patel, would have had to go for being officially found guilty of bullying her staff; so would Robert Jenrick, the housing secretary, for a ripe lobbying scandal.As for policymaking, a concern for accuracy was supposed to go hand in hand with a thorough and detailed examination of pros and cons, a proper submission of papers and keeping of records, rather ...

Liquidator

Neal Ascherson: Hugh Trevor-Roper, 19 August 2010

Hugh Trevor-Roper: The Biography 
by Adam Sisman.
Weidenfeld, 598 pp., £25, July 2010, 978 0 297 85214 8
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... some important and lasting friendships including those with Gilbert Ryle, Stuart Hampshire, Guy Liddell and Dick White, who after the war became the head of MI5 and then MI6 – an invaluable contact. And Trevor-Roper enjoyed the company of Kim Philby, whom he found the most intelligent and sophisticated of his colleagues. After the war, he interrogated ...

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