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23 April 1987
The Myriad Faces of War: Britain and the Great War 1914-1918 
by Trevor Wilson.
Polity, 864 pp., £35, September 1986, 9780745600932
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British Strategy and War Aims 1914-1916 
by David French.
Allen and Unwin, 274 pp., £25, September 1986, 0 04 942197 2
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The Old Lie: The Great War and the Public School Ethos 
by Peter Parker.
Constable, 319 pp., £15, March 1987, 0 09 466980 5
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... about due. It never rains but it pours. Now we have two, each in its different way outstanding. Trevor Wilson goes over the ground covered by Woodward, but at greater length and in far greater depth. This ‘total history’ of Britain at war not only covers operational, political, social, economic and literary aspects of the war, but focuses our ...

With Constantinople as Its Objective

Richard Prior and Trevor Wilson: Lord Kitchener and Winston Churchill

14 January 2002
Lord Kitchener and Winston Churchill: The Dardanelles Commission Part I, 1914-15 
Stationery Office, 218 pp., £6.99, April 2000, 0 11 702423 6Show More
Defeat at Gallipoli: The Dardanelles Commission Part II, 1915-16 
Stationery Office, 319 pp., £6.99, September 2000, 0 11 702455 4Show More
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... In the course of 1915, British naval and military forces, assisted by units from France and the British dominions, sought to gain mastery of the Dardanelles and Gallipoli. Their ultimate object was to knock Germany’s ally Turkey out of the Great War. The operation was conducted in two phases. First, an attempt was made to rush a naval force through the Dardanelles to bombard or overawe Constantinople ...

Stormy Weather

E.S. Turner

18 July 1996
Passchendaele: The Untold Story 
by Robin Prior and Trevor Wilson.
Yale, 237 pp., £19.95, May 1996, 0 300 06692 9
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... is a long time to wait for the so-called ‘untold story’ of Passchendaele. Robin Prior and Trevor Wilson are Australian historians who tell us, a little loftily, that ‘Great War studies have yet to escape their protracted adolescence.’ Their adult investigation is reminiscent of those relentless inquiries into scams carried out by district ...

Tea with Medea

Simon Skinner: Richard Cobb

19 July 2012
My Dear Hugh: Letters from Richard Cobb to Hugh Trevor-Roper and Others 
Frances Lincoln, 240 pp., £20, October 2011, 978 0 7112 3240 2Show More
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... the canonical index of posterity’s interest – measures three lines; by contrast, Hugh Trevor-Roper, his principal addressee in this collection, gets five thousand words. Yet Cobb, who died in 1996, was not only a historian of acknowledged genius. As these letters incidentally but consistently demonstrate, he was also a maverick member of the wider ...

Short Cuts

Tom Crewe: Chicanery and Fantasy

6 June 2019
... ill-fated Oxford phase (all his phases were short-lived and ill-fated) that he encountered Hugh Trevor-Roper, then Regius Professor of Modern History, who kept a dossier on his activities for the next 25 years. Adam Sisman, Trevor-Roper’s biographer, has now used the dossier as the foundation for a short, spry book, The ...

Eric Hobsbawm

Karl Miller

25 October 2012
... another female writer. When he was 90, he gave me a birthday present of the Memoirs of Harriette Wilson, the Regency courtesan. This is a work which he had fathomed that I might want to read. I had wanted to. But there was no communion here between an older man’s prurience and my own. I think of Harriette’s autobiography (rumoured to have been written by ...

Triumphalism

John Campbell

19 December 1985
The Kitchener Enigma 
by Trevor Royle.
Joseph, 436 pp., £15, September 1985, 0 7181 2385 9
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Kitchener: The Man behind the Legend 
by Philip Warner.
Hamish Hamilton, 247 pp., £12.95, August 1985, 0 241 11587 6
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... more than an opinionated sketch, chatty, anecdotal, unsubstantiated and frequently inaccurate. Trevor Royle’s is an altogether more serious book, a thorough, workmanlike biography which must surely have assembled the last possible jot of evidence on the sinking of the Hampshire. Both authors, however, feel it necessary to present their portraits as the ...

It’s Mummie

Jenny Diski

16 December 1993
TheLittle Princesses 
by Marion Crawford, introduced by A.N. Wilson.
Duckworth, 128 pp., £14.99, November 1993, 0 7156 2497 0
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... It was not ever thus in England,’ says A.N. Wilson, stilting his prose in deference to the text he’s introducing. He’s speaking of the deluge of intimacies we can expect these days in the press about the Royal Family. The ‘mystique of kingship’, Wilson explains, was restored in the late Thirties by George VI and Elizabeth, who, even before they moved into Buckingham Palace, erected a wall of silence around the House of Windsor, as soundproof as the walls of all those castles they processed around ...
5 March 1981
Precipitous City 
by Trevor Royle.
Mainstream, 210 pp., £6.95, May 1980, 0 906391 09 1
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RLS: A Life Study 
by Jenni Calder.
Hamish Hamilton, 362 pp., £9.95, June 1980, 0 241 10374 6
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Gillespie 
by J. MacDougall Hay.
Canongate, 450 pp., £4.95, November 1979, 0 903937 79 4
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Scottish Satirical Verse 
edited by Edwin Morgan.
Carcanet, 236 pp., £6.95, June 1980, 0 85635 183 0
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Collected Poems 
by Robert Garioch.
Carcanet, 208 pp., £3.95, July 1980, 0 85635 316 7
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... is God’s own gift to the sifter of anecdotes and the historian of large-scale cultural change. Trevor Royle tackles it with affection and enthusiasm. Admirable as these qualities are, the reader might expect something substantial in return for an exposure to Royle’s eagerness. What does he get? Well, he gets a lot of misinformation. Precipitous City ...

Had we lived …

Jenny Diski: The Afterlife of Captain Scott

9 February 2006
Scott of the Antarctic: A Life of Courage and Tragedy in the Extreme South 
by David Crane.
HarperCollins, 637 pp., £25, November 2005, 0 00 715068 7
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... inefficient, a hopeless incompetent, a victim of the exhaustion of empire. Later, in the 1980s, Trevor Griffiths endorsed the judgment from the left. On what is beginning to look like a roughly ten-year cycle, another assessment came due in 1996 and the old material was viewed by Francis Spufford in his eloquent I May Be Some Time with less animus and a ...

You have a new memory

Hal Foster: Trevor Paglen

11 October 2018
Trevor Paglen: Sites Unseen 
by John P. Jacob and Luke Skrebowski.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, 252 pp., £45, July 2018, 978 1 911282 33 4
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Trevor Paglen 
by Lauren Cornell, Julia Bryan-Wilson and Omar Kholeif.
Phaidon, 160 pp., £29.95, May 2018, 978 0 7148 7344 2
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... Detail from ‘English Landscape’ (2013). These are a few of the questions that motivate Trevor Paglen, an American artist based in Berlin. A geographer by training, Paglen was struck by the heavy redactions of aerial photographs from the US Geological Survey that he uncovered after the start of the Iraq War; they impelled him to fill in the blank ...

Darling Clem

Paul Addison

17 April 1986
Clement Attlee 
by Trevor Burridge.
Cape, 401 pp., £20, January 1986, 0 224 02318 7
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The Second World War Diary of Hugh Dalton 1940-1945 
edited by Ben Pimlott.
Cape in association with the London School of Economics, 913 pp., £40, February 1986, 9780224020657
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Loyalists and Loners 
by Michael Foot.
Collins, 315 pp., £15, March 1986, 0 00 217583 5
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... British history is very English: written mainly by the English and about England. But Trevor Burridge is a Welshman by birth and a citizen of Canada. He teaches at the French-speaking University of Montreal. One might expect, therefore, that he would bring to English history an outsider’s sense of disbelief, or the cheeky irreverence of an iconoclast ...

My Old, Sweet, Darling Mob

Iain Sinclair: Michael Moorcock

30 November 2000
King of the City 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 421 pp., £9.99, May 2000, 0 684 86140 2
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Mother London 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 496 pp., £6.99, May 2000, 0 684 86141 0
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... a memory stunt summoning all the ghosts of his long career, his busy life. The writer Jack Trevor Story is presented as a moral touchstone, the exemplar of a better period – jazz, film-scripts, novels sold three times over under different titles; the third wife, the fifth bankruptcy. These sidebars have sidebars, addenda foliate in Mandelbrotian ...

Cool It

Jenny Diski

18 July 1996
I May Be Some Time: Ice and the English Imagination 
by Francis Spufford.
Faber, 356 pp., £15.99, June 1996, 9780571144877
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... but assures her that ‘it will be splendid ... to pass with such companions as I have.’ Dr Wilson, according to his obituary in the Times, ‘beautifully lit up the wastes’, and Scott, in his last message, found in the tent with the three bodies, declared: ‘We are weak, writing is difficult, but for my own sake, I do not regret this journey, which ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2012

3 January 2013
... makes me remember when I was a boy and the series in, I think, the Hotspur or the Wizard about Wilson. Wilson was a tall sinewy man of indeterminate age, modest, taciturn, mysterious, who in a typical episode would bring off some amazing feat of endurance – running a vast distance in a seemingly impossible ...

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