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De-Nazification

Noël Annan, 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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... 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 which has haunted him since his childhood. As a boy, he ...

Deliverology

David Runciman: Blair Hawks His Wares, 31 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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... his party’s too, somewhere down the river. But he’s also been peddling an idea: deliverology. Tom Bower 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 government machine to deliver what I wanted. I created a ...

Stinking Rich

Jenny Diski: Richard Branson, 16 November 2000

Branson 
by Tom Bower.
Fourth Estate, 384 pp., £17.99, September 2000, 1 84115 386 9
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... or speak on a Virgin mobile. Among these hold-outs, I wouldn’t be surprised, might have been Tom Bower, 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 into your life, though Virgin Writs is not, so far as I ...

There is only one Harrods

Paul Foot, 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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... denounced by a Tory Prime Minister, Edward Heath, as ‘the unacceptable face of capitalism’. Tom Bower 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 appearing and even ...

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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... well aware that the Czech Jew had little alternative but to sell his beast. This, according to Tom Bower, 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 the margin imbued Maxwell with the ...

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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... wartime conduct, the facts are for the most part known. The question is how to judge them. Tom Bower 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 from the genocide’. But his sweeping claims only tell ...

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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... only tycoon with a wholly distinctive prose style. It is on show in a furious email Black wrote to Tom Bower, 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 elevation; were ...

Do what you wish, du Maurier

E.S. Turner, 31 March 1988

Maxwell 
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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... had.’ The rival biographers do not see the Liechtenstein connection in the same rosy light. Tom Bower, 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 success in America’ (where much ...

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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... from its traditional moorings and restraints is visible, 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 ...

The Stuntman

David Runciman: Richard 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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... oligarch. This is not to say that where they are bad, he is good. If even half the things in Tom Bower’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 of publicity, he thrives on it. The ...

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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... 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,’ Finney answers. ‘I was only 18. And the main concern was to ...

The Common Touch

Paul Foot, 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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... perspective and calls them to account: Charles Raw on Jim Slater, Michael Gillard on Rossminter, Tom Bower on Tiny Rowland, Christopher Hird on Rupert Murdoch. But the long shadow of Thatcher and her mandarins still shuts out the ...

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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... of the wheeling and dealing and finagling (or is it finessing?), you are better off going to Tom Bower’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-enthusiasm and naivety. Whether she really believes ...

No Fear of Fanny

Marilyn Butler, 20 November 1980

Fanny 
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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... 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 witches and is ...

The big drops start

John Bayley, 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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... 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 of worship and consolation. Mary was to have a long ...

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