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A prince, too, can do his bit

K.D. Reynolds: King Edward VII and George VI, 27 April 2000

Power and Place: The Political Consequences of King Edward VII 
by Simon Heffer.
Weidenfeld, 342 pp., £20, August 1998, 9780297842200
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A Spirit Undaunted: The Political Role of George VI 
by Robert RhodesJames.
Little, Brown, 368 pp., £22.50, November 1998, 0 316 64765 9
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... has been for more than a century, politically impotent and irrelevant. Simon Heffer and the late Robert RhodesJames have thought differently, and rightly so. Recent indignation over the ‘co-option’ of royal events by Tony Blair highlights the uses to which politicians can put the monarchy; it is hard to see why ...

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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... majestic Edwardian canvas by his son Winston, and once in a delicate line-drawing of the 1950s, by Robert RhodesJames. But all this time, as Roy Foster’s book makes plain, another Lord Randolph has lain concealed by the conventions of portraiture. Winston, to whom his father was a divinity but also a stranger, wanted ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: Books are getting too long, 1 December 1983

... a sort of glorified guide to the exhibition by Hermione Hobhouse, and a first-class biography by Robert RhodesJames.* Albert took a long time to receive his deserts. Indeed I doubt whether he was fully appreciated during his lifetime. He was a foreigner. He disliked the rigmarole of court life and he was altogether ...

Diary

W.G. Runciman: Like a Prep School, 10 January 1991

... had introduced Cannadine and Cannadine had given us an encouragingly comical puff for his book, Robert RhodesJames reminded us that Lloyd George, despite doing so much to reduce the Upper House to impotence and discredit, had ended his days as Earl Lloyd George of Dwyfor, and then led us off down miles of corridors ...

A Talented Past

Linda Colley, 23 April 1987

The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1790-1820. Vol. I: Survey 
edited by R.G. Thorne.
Secker, 400 pp., £225, August 1986, 0 436 52101 6
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The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1790-1820. Vol. II: Constituencies 
edited by R.G. Thorne.
Secker, 704 pp., £225, August 1986, 0 436 52101 6
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The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1790-1820. Vol. III: Members A-F 
edited by R.G. Thorne.
Secker, 852 pp., £225, August 1986, 0 436 52101 6
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The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1790-1820. Vol. IV: Members G-P 
edited by R.G. Thorne.
Secker, 908 pp., £225, August 1986, 0 436 52101 6
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The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1790-1820. Vol. V: Members P-Z 
edited by R.G. Thorne.
Secker, 680 pp., £225, August 1986, 0 436 52101 6
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... the past by Harold Macmillan and is protected now by the enthusiasm of men such as Roy Jenkins and Robert RhodesJames. But why should those of us who are excluded from this desirable club at Westminster want such an extended work of collective biography? In the case of these volumes one obvious reason lies in the ...

Eden and Suez

David Gilmour, 18 December 1986

Anthony Eden 
by Robert RhodesJames.
Weidenfeld, 665 pp., £16.95, October 1986, 0 297 78989 9
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Descent to Suez: Diaries 1951-56 
by Evelyn Shuckburgh, edited by John Charmley.
Weidenfeld, 380 pp., £14.95, October 1986, 0 297 78993 7
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Cutting the Lion’s Tail: Suez through Egyptian Eyes 
by Mohamed Heikal.
Deutsch, 242 pp., £12.95, October 1986, 0 233 97967 0
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The Suez Affair 
by Hugh Thomas.
Weidenfeld, 255 pp., £5.95, October 1986, 0 297 78953 8
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... views on foreign policy in the Thirties were less wise and consistent than is usually believed. Robert RhodesJames, however, not only endorses the traditional appreciation of Eden’s periods as Foreign Secretary: he claims that his Suez policy was absolutely justified and only wrecked by wrong-headed and ...

The Coburg Connection

Richard Shannon, 5 April 1984

Albert, Prince Consort 
by Robert RhodesJames.
Hamish Hamilton, 311 pp., £15, November 1983, 0 241 11000 9
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... general assumption was that Prince Albert had provided the definitive and approved working model. Robert RhodesJames has written an entertaining and effective but oddly out-of-kilter book about that model. His standard texts appear to be Justin McCarthy and H.A.L. Fisher, historians whose reputations had faded when Mr ...

Hoylake

Peter Clarke, 30 March 1989

Selwyn Lloyd 
by D.K. Thorpe.
Cape, 516 pp., £18, February 1989, 0 224 02828 6
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... on one of the compendious alibis put forward in extenuation of Eden by his faithful biographer, Robert RhodesJames. Why, then, by 1951, had Lloyd risen so high in the Conservative Party, to which he had only finally committed himself as late as 1944? One explanation is that he had a good war behind him. He was one ...

Late Deceiver

Robert Blake, 17 September 1981

Anthony Eden 
by David Carlton.
Allen Lane, 528 pp., £20, August 1981, 0 7139 0829 7
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... biography is said, though I have never seen any public announcement, to have fallen on Robert RhodesJames. If so, it is an excellent decision. Meanwhile Mr David Carlton has produced a scholarly, well-written work of some five hundred pages. The author admits very fairly that it is in the nature of an ...

Churchill’s Jackal

Kenneth O. Morgan, 24 January 1980

Brendan Bracken 
by Charles Edward Lysaght.
Allen Lane, 372 pp., £10, September 1980, 0 7139 0969 2
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... editors such as Garvin, press lords like Beaverbrook, businessmen like the elder Sir Robert Boothby, and above all the political eminence of Churchill, to forge the most improbable of political careers. In Michael Foot’s deadly phrase, Bracken was the classic ‘leather-lounged adventurer’, worming his way insidiously up the Tory ...

Members Only

R.B. Dobson, 24 February 1994

The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1386-1421 
edited by J.S. Roskell, Linda Clark and Carole Rawcliffe.
Alan Sutton, 3500 pp., £275, February 1993, 9780862999438
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... membership of Parliament, Lord Wedgwood certainly deserves most of the tributes he receives from Robert RhodesJames in a Foreword to this work. On the other hand, even in the Thirties it was optimistic of Wedgwood to suppose that the compilation of biographies of Members of the Commons would necessarily reveal the ...

World’s Greatest Statesman

Edward Luttwak, 11 March 1993

Churchill: The End of Glory 
by John Charmley.
Hodder, 648 pp., £30, January 1993, 9780340487952
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Churchill: A Major New Assessment of his Life in Peace and War 
edited by Robert Blake and Wm Roger Louis.
Oxford, 517 pp., £19.95, February 1993, 0 19 820317 9
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... Amery among other things, but his co-editor Lord Blake is ... Lord Blake, former Chairman of the Rhodes Trustees, former editor of the Dictionary of National Biography, former ... no, the Disraeli biographer and Tory historian of the Tory Party. Although Lord Blake is Lord Blake, it is exceedingly surprising that Louis did not instead procure the ...

Missionary Work

Christopher Turner: Henry Wellcome, 13 May 2010

An Infinity of Things: How Sir Henry Wellcome Collected the World 
by Frances Larson.
Oxford, 343 pp., £18.99, September 2009, 978 0 19 955446 1
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... years), that Wellcome felt free to start collecting on a grander scale. In his 1994 biography, Robert RhodesJames dismissed Wellcome as a ‘magpie collector’ who tried to rationalise the contents of his hoard after the fact, and concentrated instead on his subject’s social and business interests and his ...

Plonking

Ferdinand Mount: Edward Heath, 22 July 2010

Edward Heath 
by Philip Ziegler.
Harper, 654 pp., £25, June 2010, 978 0 00 724740 0
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... women minded it more), then it must have been as obscure as the hurt allegedly suffered by Henry James, since nobody so far has convincingly explained it. Ted’s father and grandfather were convivial, easygoing men, rooted in their native Kent, fond of a drink and ready to pinch any passing bottom. On his 80th birthday, Heath père, who had started life as ...

William Rodgers reads the papers

William Rodgers, 19 February 1987

The Market for Glory: Fleet Street Ownership in the 20th Century 
by Simon Jenkins.
Faber, 247 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 571 14627 9
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The End of the Street 
by Linda Melvern.
Methuen, 276 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 413 14640 5
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... the character of a former Chancellor of the Exchequer with great assurance. And, more recently, Robert RhodesJames discovered the roots of Anthony Eden’s vulnerability better than any contemporary profile-writer. This is not the privilege of hindsight. Newspaper editors simply do not have high enough ...

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