Max Hastings

Max Hastings’s books include Finest Years: Churchill as Warlord 1940-45.

Big Man to Uncle Joe: The Big Three

Max Hastings, 22 November 2018

Winston Churchill​ was the dominant personality on the allied side in the Second World War: not the leader of the most important belligerent, nor even the most influential warlord in the Grand Alliance, but the most significant human being. His prodigious literary skills afterwards enabled him, thanks to the writing, publication and long-lasting celebrity of his war memoirs, immensely to...

Wrath of the Centurions: My Lai

Max Hastings, 25 January 2018

This is as thorough an account as we are ever likely to have of this defining act of military barbarism. If its concluding passages fail to provide a wholly satisfactory closure, that is probably because no closure is attainable. We hate to be brought face to face with the fact that Western soldiers, poorly led and operating in a climate of endemic racial contempt, are capable of acting as appallingly as the Germans who murdered Jews and other captives in the Second World War. As the US Marine sergeant said to Phil Caputo in 1965, young men of all nationalities are capable of doing unspeakably cruel, barbaric things, if their commanders allow them.

Diary: Letters from the Front

Max Hastings, 10 September 2015

Next month​ I shall raise a glass to the memory of a relation whom I never knew – a great-uncle called Aubrey Hastings, who was killed at the Battle of Loos a century ago, on 5 October 1915. In that era of large families, he was one of five of my close forebears who fought in France during the First World War. Three wrote letters and reflections about the trench experience, of which I...

Terror Was Absolute: Vietnam

Chris Mullin, 18 July 2019

The Chinese​ occupied Vietnam for the best part of a thousand years, up to the tenth century. They attacked it again in 1979. The Mongols launched three invasions in the 13th century. The...

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A Different Sort of Tory: Max Hastings

Ronald Stevens, 12 December 2002

Something about the British press attracts Canadians. In the 1920s Max Aitken bought the Daily and Sunday Express, turned them into successful popular papers and became Lord Beaverbrook in the...

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For twenty-five years, between the studies written in its immediate aftermath and those based on archives opened a generation later, the Korean War was largely ignored. That was natural enough:...

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Keeping the peace

E.S. Turner, 2 April 1987

The French Marshal MacMahon said: ‘I shall remove from my promotion list any officer whose name I have seen on the cover of a book.’ He spoke for high commanders everywhere....

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Soldier, Sailor, Poacher

E.S. Turner, 3 October 1985

To qualify for admission to Great Britons it is necessary, first, to have died between 1915 and 1980. Ideally, the candidate should have performed some work of noble note, or at least public...

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What did they do in the war?

Angus Calder, 20 June 1985

When, in War and Peace, young Nikolai Rostov first rides, into action with his fellow hussars against the French at Austerlitz, he feels that the longed-for time has come ‘to experience the...

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Politician’s War

Tam Dalyell, 3 March 1983

In the opening paragraph of their important book on the Falklands War, Max Hastings and Simon Jenkins write: ‘So extraordinary an event was it that, even after men began to die, many of...

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Soldier’s Soldier

Brian Bond, 4 March 1982

Field-Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleck, who died in Marrakesh in March 1981 aged 96, retained to the end a touching faith that History would eventually vindicate him in the controversial aspects of...

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