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Cambodia: Year One

Elizabeth Becker

9 February 1995
Cambodia: A Shattered Society 
by Marie Alexandrine Martin, translated by Mark McLeod.
California, 398 pp., $35, July 1994, 0 520 07052 6
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Cambodia’s New Deal: A Report 
by William Shawcross.
Carnegie Endowment, 106 pp., £27.50, July 1994, 0 87003 051 5
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... and fair elections resulting in a democratic government. All in a year. Needless to say, Untac did not deliver everything it promised. That it accomplished nearly half of this list is remarkable. WilliamShawcross, who has already written two important books on Cambodia, Sideshow and The Quality of Mercy, argues in his slim study that the UN mission ‘conducted a brief, profound and very welcome ...
6 December 1984
The Quality of Mercy: Cambodia, Holocaust and Modern Conscience 
by William Shawcross.
Deutsch, 464 pp., £12.95, September 1984, 0 233 97691 4
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... WilliamShawcross’s The Quality of Mercy is a fascinating, detailed and moving study of the famine that struck Cambodia – or Kampuchea as it is now called – five years ago, and of the response of the rest of the ...
19 January 1989
The Shah’s Last Ride: The Story of the Exile, Misadventures and Death of the Emperor 
by William Shawcross.
Chatto, 463 pp., £15.95, January 1989, 9780701132545
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... the ultimate divine vengeance against one who had ‘sinned on earth’. Indeed, the Shah’s odyssey through the hospitals of Central America, New York City and Cairo – told in gruesome detail by WilliamShawcross – gave grim satisfaction to the mullahs who had already ordered his assassination. Not long after his departure, I had sat at the feet of the outrageous Ayatollah Khalkhali, the hanging ...
28 January 1993
Rupert Murdoch 
by William Shawcross.
Chatto, 616 pp., £18.99, September 1992, 0 7011 8451 5
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... making Times for the rather pathetic reason that he was proud to be the owner of so venerable an institution. This line of reasoning should, in logic, lead me to express admiration for the subject of WilliamShawcross’s enormous biography. For Rupert Murdoch is arguably the most successful, and certainly one of the most ruthlessly interfering, media moguls in the history of the world. Moreover, he ...

The Last Intellectual

Rosemary Hill: The Queen Mother’s Letters

6 December 2012
Counting One’s Blessings: The Selected Letters of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother 
edited by William Shawcross.
Macmillan, 666 pp., £25, October 2012, 978 0 230 75496 6
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... Palace had been bombed as it made her feel she could look the East End in the eye, thus allowing Spitting Image to present her forty years later as a gin-swilling commoner. Since then death and WilliamShawcross have done little to humanise her. His biography was pious to a degree and, like his equally fulsome edition of her letters, much too long.* Despite all of which a personality, powerful and ...


David Gilmour

1 June 1989
Prepared for the worst: Selected Essays and Minority Reports 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Chatto, 357 pp., £15.95, April 1989, 0 7011 3459 3
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... of the world (except Australia) Kissinger created havoc, sustaining old dictatorships and conjuring new ones, sabotaging peace efforts and instigating lethal military adventures. Many years ago WilliamShawcross and Seymour Hersh revealed the extent of his hooliganism in Cambodia and elsewhere. More recently Patrick Seale showed in his biography of Asad that Kissinger almost single-handedly wrecked ...

All hail, sage lady

Andrew O’Hagan: ‘The Crown’

15 December 2016
... for being a constant second. It’s not such an unusual story if you’re a woman, but for a 1940s naval officer striated with pride, it came to seem, if reports are true, like a life sentence. WilliamShawcross, in his expertly genuflecting biography of the queen mother, shows us a Duke of Edinburgh just after his wedding, a young man in love writing to his mother-in-law of the new unity he has ...


Christopher Hitchens

12 January 1995
... ethics of an eclectic liberal newspaper. What a wondrously heartening outcome this is, if you can look at it in the right way. How nice to dwell, for example, in the unclouded moral universe of Mr WilliamShawcross, who wrote a piece of effortless superiority, entitled ‘Shrugging off Genocide’, in the Times for 16 December. You would not collect, from Shawcross’s fulminations against Gott and ...


Jenny Diski: Rape-Rape

5 November 2009
... name to be published) has now said that she doesn’t want the matter pursued. Then I got twitchy when I read the petition written by Bernard-Henri Lévy, and signed by Paul Auster, Milan Kundera, WilliamShawcross, Claude Lanzmann, Salman Rushdie, Mike Nichols, Neil Jordan, and, to bring up the female numbers, Diane von Furstenberg, the Isabelles Adjani and Huppert, Yamani Benguigui, Danièle ...

Our Lady of the Counterculture

Marina Warner: The Virgin Mary

8 November 2012
... too terrible to contemplate. He urged me to think about it. I was in Vietnam a few months later as a journalist, because I had only just got married, and I didn’t want to be parted from my husband, WilliamShawcross, who had been assigned to cover the war for the Sunday Times. In our room upstairs at the Hotel Royale, Saigon, I began looking at the New Testament, and was startled to find so few ...
19 July 1984
... has been going on, with Rowland keen to get rid not only of his editor but of three or four other senior staff members as well – notably the columnist Conor Cruise O’Brien, the financial writer William Keegan, and, in all probability, the political editor Adam Raphael. If he hasn’t sacked them yet, it may only be because he finds himself strapped in by the conditions attached to the sale of the ...


Paul Foot: The Buttocks Problem

5 September 1996
... its subject-matter. I therefore make full use of mine, as a pupil at Shrewsbury School in the Fifties. In his Foreword to a new biography of Anthony Chenevix-Trench,* one-time headmaster of Eton, Sir William Gladstone writes that Trench’s ‘interest was in drawing out the best from boys as individuals’. Another interest, not mentioned by Sir William, lay in drawing down the underpants of boys – as ...

Bravo l’artiste

John Lanchester: What is Murdoch after?

5 February 2004
The Murdoch Archipelago 
by Bruce Page.
Simon and Schuster, 580 pp., £20, September 2003, 0 7432 3936 9
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Rupert Murdoch: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Media Wizard 
by Neil Chenoweth.
Crown Business, 416 pp., $27.50, December 2002, 0 609 61038 4
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Autumn of the Moguls: My Misadventures with the Titans, Poseurs and Money Guys who Mastered and Messed up Big Media 
by Michael Wolff.
Flamingo, 381 pp., £18.99, January 2004, 0 00 717881 6
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... The strange thing is that he may have been telling the truth. A very great deal has been written about Murdoch, most of it at some deep level boring because it is so much on one side or the other. WilliamShawcross surprised and disappointed many of his admirers by coming out as a big Murdoch fan in his 1992 biography. Bruce Page’s recent work, The Murdoch Archipelago, is as badly written as any ...
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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... be a watch-dog in the City – too often it is part of the show. The Business pages were barely developed a quarter of a century ago at the time of the Royal Commission on the Press chaired by Lord Shawcross (there has been another Royal Commission since). Its concern was less with content and editorial independence than with costs, efficiency and concentration of ownership. This was the first time the ...

From Victim to Suspect

Stephen Sedley: The Era of the Trial

21 July 2005
The Trial: A History from Socrates to O.J. Simpson 
by Sadakat Kadri.
HarperCollins, 474 pp., £25, April 2005, 0 00 711121 5
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... Jackson, the US prosecutor, was in consequence able to describe the trial as ‘one of the most significant tributes that power has ever paid to reason’, and the British prosecutor, Sir Hartley Shawcross, to say without blushing: ‘There are those who would perhaps say that these wretched men should have been dealt with summarily without trial . . . But that was not the view of the British ...

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