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15 October 1981
Blind Eye to Murder 
by Tom Bower.
Deutsch, 501 pp., £9.95, July 1981, 0 233 97292 7
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The Road to Nuremberg 
by Bradley Smith.
Deutsch, 303 pp., £7.95, October 1981, 0 233 97410 5
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... society in which we live is rotten and culpable, they are really arguing that if only all were to change all would be well. That is a simplistic, and sometimes a sinister, conception of society. Mr Bower is a Panorama journalist and certainly no charge of inadequate documentation could be levelled at him. He has ransacked the archives and interviewed over two hundred people in order to lay a ghost ...


David Runciman: Blair Hawks His Wares

30 March 2016
Broken Vows: Tony Blair – The Tragedy of Power 
by Tom Bower.
Faber, 688 pp., £20, March 2016, 978 0 571 31420 1
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... Nigeria to Kazakhstan. What has he been selling? Himself, of course, plus his reputation, and perhaps his party’s too, somewhere down the river. But he’s also been peddling an idea: deliverology. TomBower gives us the pitch. He reports Blair telling Paul Kagame, the Rwandan president, back in 2007: ‘I learned by bitter experience during ten years as prime minister the problems of getting the ...

Stinking Rich

Jenny Diski: Richard Branson

16 November 2000
by Tom Bower.
Fourth Estate, 384 pp., £17.99, September 2000, 1 84115 386 9
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... Virgin Cola or wine, invest in Virgin life insurance, wear a Virgin wedding dress, ride a Virgin train or speak on a Virgin mobile. Among these hold-outs, I wouldn’t be surprised, might have been TomBower, who tells us that halfway through writing this biography he found himself in receipt of a writ for defamation after an article he wrote in the Evening Standard. One way or another Virgin gets ...

Max the Impaler

Jeremy Warner

12 March 1992
Maxwell: The Outsider 
by Tom Bower.
Heinemann, 520 pp., £16.99, December 1991, 0 7493 0238 0
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... in the moonlight would be engaged in even tougher and more ruthless dealings since their customers were well aware that the Czech Jew had little alternative but to sell his beast. This, according to TomBower, is where Maxwell gained his first experience of business methods and ethics. ‘Watching his grandfather ceaselessly looking for business and haggling the two sides at both ends to increase ...
23 September 1993
Tiny Rowland: A Rebel Tycoon 
by Tom Bower.
Heinemann, 659 pp., £16.99, May 1993, 0 434 07339 3
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... before he and his company Lonrho were allowed to take over the Observer and Today newspapers, was once denounced by a Tory Prime Minister, Edward Heath, as ‘the unacceptable face of capitalism’. TomBower has now written books about both men which prove both charges a hundred times over. Maxwell was so infuriated by Bower’s book that he spent hundreds of thousands of pounds to stop it ...

Further to Fall

Owen Bennett-Jones

21 August 1997
Switzerland Unwrapped: Exposing the Myths 
by Mitya New.
Tauris, 210 pp., £18.95, June 1997, 1 86064 300 0
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Blood Money 
by Tom Bower.
Macmillan, 387 pp., £16.99, March 1997, 0 333 71517 9
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... who had doubtless been sending wartime booty to Switzerland. When it comes to assessing the country’s wartime conduct, the facts are for the most part known. The question is how to judge them. TomBower stands at one extreme of the argument. For him the Swiss are ‘no longer just a peculiarly charmless people’: they have been shown up to be ‘dishonest Nazi collaborators who had profited ...

Other People’s Capital

John Lanchester: Conrad and Barbara Black

14 December 2006
Conrad and Lady Black: Dancing on the Edge 
by Tom Bower.
Harper, 436 pp., £20, November 2006, 0 00 723234 9
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... is not the only tycoon to have lived large, issued writs and faced criminal charges; but he is the only tycoon with a wholly distinctive prose style. It is on show in a furious email Black wrote to TomBower, protesting that Bower’s forthcoming book about Lord and Lady Black was going to be ‘a heartwarming story of two sleazy, spivvy, contemptible people, who enjoyed a fraudulent and unjust ...
31 March 1988
by Joe Haines.
Macdonald, 525 pp., £12.95, March 1988, 0 356 17172 8
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Maxwell: The Outsider 
by Tom Bower.
Aurum, 374 pp., £12.95, March 1988, 0 948149 88 4
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Maxwell: A Portrait of Power 
by Peter Thompson and Anthony Delano.
Bantam, 256 pp., £12.95, February 1988, 0 593 01499 5
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Goodbye Fleet Street 
by Robert Edwards.
Cape, 260 pp., £12.95, March 1988, 0 224 02457 4
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... who need the chance he had to make for himself; and to promoting for others the education which he never had.’ The rival biographers do not see the Liechtenstein connection in the same rosy light. TomBower, observing that the Principality is the ideal location for amassing and dispensing a fortune, describes the link as Maxwell’s ‘poisoned chalice ... the obstacle to his final ambition of ...

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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... at least equally simplistic demands, will William Hague. The fact that Labour has now loosed itself from its traditional moorings and restraints is visible, too, in the growing sleaze chronicled by TomBower. 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 ...

The Stuntman

David Runciman: Branson

20 March 2014
Branson: Behind the Mask 
by Tom Bower.
Faber, 368 pp., £20, February 2014, 978 0 571 29710 8
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... Richard Branson​ is the mirror image of a Russian oligarch. This is not to say that where they are bad, he is good. If even half the things in TomBower’s new biography are true, Branson is far from being good. He is playing the same game as his Russian counterparts, but it’s the looking-glass version. Where they do their best to avoid the glare ...

Carry on up the Corner Flag

R.W. Johnson: The sociology of football

24 July 2003
Ajax, the Dutch, the War: Football in Europe during the Second World War 
by Simon Kuper.
Orion, 244 pp., £14.99, January 2003, 0 7528 5149 7
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Broken Dreams: Vanity, Greed and the Souring of British Football 
by Tom Bower.
Simon and Schuster, 342 pp., £17.99, February 2003, 9780743220798
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... and career by telling an FA superior to put the Nazi salute ‘where the sun doesn’t shine’ is pure ‘Carry on up the Corner Flag’. Later, Kuper interviews the Preston North End winger Tom Finney about the Cup Final of 1941, when Preston beat Arsenal. Wasn’t it odd, he asks, to play the final in bombed-out London? ‘I wasn’t all that interested in the war when I was playing ...
10 November 1994
Hanson: A Biography 
by Alex Brummer and Roger Cowe.
Fourth Estate, 336 pp., £20, September 1994, 1 85702 189 4
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... have taken its place in the tradition of challenging financial journalism which keeps the moguls in perspective and calls them to account: Charles Raw on Jim Slater, Michael Gillard on Rossminter, TomBower on Tiny Rowland, Christopher Hird on Rupert Murdoch. But the long shadow of Thatcher and her mandarins still shuts out the light ...

Bob and Betty

Jenny Diski

26 January 1995
A Mind of My Own: My Life with Robert Maxwell 
by Elizabeth Maxwell.
Sidgwick, 536 pp., £16.99, November 1994, 0 283 06251 7
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... place to look for a description of Maxwell the businessman or Maxwell the crook. For a detailed account of the wheeling and dealing and finagling (or is it finessing?), you are better off going to TomBower’s biography of her husband.* As she sees it, Maxwell made mistakes because he was ‘rash’, a word she uses repeatedly about his trickier business dealings. His faults are essentially over ...

No Fear of Fanny

Marilyn Butler

20 November 1980
by Erica Jong.
Granada, 496 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 0 246 11427 4
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The Heroine’s Text 
by Nancy Miller.
Columbia, 185 pp., £10, July 1980, 0 231 04910 2
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... finds himself embarking on some adventure still warm with the life of another book. The beautiful heroine begins her adventures not in obscurity, like Cleland’s Fanny Hill, but, like Fielding’s Tom Jones, as the foundling adoptive child of aristocratic parents in a paradisal country house. Seduced by her foster-father Lord Bellars, Fanny takes, like Tom, to the road, whereupon she falls in with ...
7 December 1989
Coleridge: Early Visions 
by Richard Holmes.
Hodder, 409 pp., £16.95, October 1989, 0 340 28335 1
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Wordsworth: Romantic Poetry and Revolution Politics 
by John Williams.
Manchester, 203 pp., £29.95, November 1989, 0 7190 3168 0
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Sara Coleridge, A Victorian Daughter: Her Life and Essays 
by Bradford Keyes Mudge.
Yale, 287 pp., £18.95, September 1989, 0 300 04443 7
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... from those who have heard of you yet are strangers to your person.’ The occasion was his meeting in the autumn of 1799 with the Hutchinson sisters – Mary, Sara and Joanna – at their brother Tom’s Yorkshire farm. Coleridge laid himself out to charm them and succeeded. The middle sister, Sara, whom he would call Asra, to set her apart from his own wife Sara, became his prime female figure ...

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