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14 September 1989
Churchill: 1874-1922 
by Frederick Earl of Birkenhead, edited by Sir John Colville.
Harrap, 552 pp., £19.95, August 1989, 0 245 54779 7
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... during the Twenties and Thirties. His son, the third Earl, who took over the work, died tragically young in 1985. Robin Birkenhead’s draft extended to the end of 1940. It had been shown to SirJohnColville, who was asked to finish the story. He declined, but wrote an epilogue giving his own view of the Churchill he had known. He died suddenly in October 1987, having just completed the Foreword ...
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, JohnColville 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 ...

Baring his teeth

Peter Clarke

25 June 1992
The Macmillans: The Story of a Dynasty 
by Richard Davenport-Hines.
Heinemann, 370 pp., £18.50, April 1992, 0 434 17502 1
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... century crofter, scratching a living from the desolate but sublime landscape of the Isle of Arran. Next comes his only son, Malcolm, born on the bonny banks of Lochranza, the beauty of which inspired Sir Walter Scott to the curmudgeonly reflection that ‘wake where’er he may, man wakes to care and toil.’ So it proved with the Macmillans. Malcolm prospered though hard work on his poor land ...

Eden and Suez

David Gilmour

18 December 1986
Anthony Eden 
by Robert Rhodes James.
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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... problems with the support of the Foreign Office, but it was widely held that in politics he was a bit of a lightweight, a ‘natural number two’ who should never have become prime minister. John Grigg wrote of him before the Suez crisis: ‘Popularity means much more to him than it ever should mean to a statesman. Since the early days, when he was idolised by millions on account of his ...

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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... The state of play over the biographising of Anthony Eden is one of some interest. He offered the task to the late SirJohn Wheeler-Bennett, author of many major books including a study of the Munich crisis and the official biography of George VI, who agreed on condition that he would not be expected to publish in Lord ...

Lucky Kim

Christopher Hitchens

23 February 1995
The Philby Files. The Secret Life of the Master Spy: KGB Archives Revealed 
by Genrikh Borovik, edited by Phillip Knightley.
Little, Brown, 382 pp., £18.99, September 1994, 0 316 91015 5
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The Fifth Man 
by Roland Perry.
Sidgwick, 486 pp., £16.99, October 1994, 0 283 06216 9
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Treason in the Blood: H. St John​ Philby, Kim Philby and the Spy Case of the Century 
by Anthony Cave Brown.
Hale, 640 pp., £25, January 1995, 9780709055822
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My Five Cambridge Friends 
by Yuri Modin.
Headline, 328 pp., £17.99, October 1994, 0 7472 1280 5
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Looking for Mr Nobody: The Secret Life of Goronwy Rees 
by Jenny Rees.
Weidenfeld, 291 pp., £18.99, October 1994, 0 297 81430 3
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... and symbiosis. And, though this could never be admitted by the ideologues of the supposedly bipolar Kulturkampf, it did leak out to a wide public through the fictions of Len Deighton and John Le Carré. Watching the shadow-play on the walls of the Cold War cave, and seeing the literal interpenetration of opposites as Karla penetrated ‘us’, and ‘we’ reciprocated, one could make the ...

Wafted to India

Richard Gott: Unlucky Wavell

5 October 2006
Wavell: Soldier and Statesman 
by Victoria Schofield.
Murray, 512 pp., £30, March 2006, 0 7195 6320 8
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... at Cairo. Here, the long-planned conquest of the Turkish Empire was in its final stages. Indian troops had already advanced from Basra to Baghdad, and the capture of Palestine was imminent. Sir Edmund Allenby, the commander-in-chief in Egypt, had been told to take Jerusalem by Christmas. Wavell’s task was to act as the liaison officer between Allenby and the War Office, and he was present ...

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