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Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: A historian should have more sense, 6 May 1982

... This country has faced the choice of war or peace on some ten or twelve occasions during my lifetime. I was too young to have an opinion on the outbreak of the First World War, then known as the Great War. Thereafter I assumed I should always be against war even when it was conducted in the name of collective security. I opposed going to war over Manchuria in 1932 and campaigned energetically against going to war over Abyssinia in 1935 ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: Two Finals, 17 June 1982

... Sitting in Waterlow Park the other afternoon, I heard a park keeper ask an old lady with a transistor, ‘What is happening in the Cup Final?’ – to which the old lady replied: ‘Which one do you mean – the one at Wembley or the one at the Falklands?’ The park keeper returned: ‘Wembley of course. We have got to win in the Falklands, we are in the right ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: No doubt I am old-fashioned, 1 April 1982

... As I get older – and I have another birthday coming up – I reflect with detached curiosity on the changes I have seen. The most considerable change has only just occurred to me. When I was young we all believed in Progress and so did a couple of generations before us. We followed the guidance of Dr Coué and chanted in unison: ‘Every day in every way I am getting better and better ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: Enough about Politics, 15 April 1982

... Most years I make occasional lecture tours for the Historical Association. This year I thought I had done wisely to plan a trip to the West Country in late March. Nothing could have been more mistaken. There was no benign spring: there was either driving rain or cold winds near to freezing. Apart from an inspection of Plymouth harbour, we never went near the sea, which I am told is the main purpose of such a visit ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: Problems for the Solitary Housekeeper , 3 March 1983

... These are troubled times. We have a strike of water workers. I have been worrying for weeks whether the water would continue to run out of the taps. I even laid in a stock of Perrier water. In London at any rate, the water still runs. As to the Perrier water, almost my favourite drink, I cannot allow myself to drink it until the situation becomes acute ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: Birthdays and Centenaries, 5 May 1983

... I recently celebrated my 77th birthday. I don’t know why I should describe myself as celebrating it. Celebrations of my birthday seem long ago now. I have a photograph of myself on my 13th, wearing a new Eton jacket and a starched collar. I am looking pleased enough, but appearances are misleading I vaguely recollect that I did not like the Eton jacket and doubt whether I ever wore it again ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: Hungarians and Falklanders, 17 February 1983

... I am just returning to normal life after some weeks in Hungary. Not that life in Hungary is abnormal. Indeed, when asked what conditions in Hungary are like I always reply: ‘Much as in England.’ I was told that there was less unemployment. On the other hand, prices have recently gone up more. But, in general, life in Hungary is much as in any West European country ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: The End of Solitary Existence, 17 March 1983

... Here is a story with a warning. For years past, as I drove from King’s Cross to the Angel, I have noticed St James’s Church, Pentonville, at the top of the hill and have promised myself that one day I would pay it a visit. I was in too much of a hurry or the traffic was too dense or it was beginning to rain – there was always some excuse for pushing by ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: A historian writes for fun, 19 May 1983

... I have recently read The History Men by John Kenyon. I remember reading a different book, The History Man by Malcolm Bradbury, some years ago. I did not find Bradbury’s book at all funny, which I am told it is intended to be. After a careful reading I had not the slightest inkling of what the book was supposed to be about. Indeed I thought my mind was going ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: On Not Being Egocentric Enough, 4 August 1983

... Quite a time has passed since I last contributed a Diary to the London Review of Books, so long indeed that I have almost forgotten how to do it. Was my mind once flooding over with possible themes? I can hardly believe it. Certainly my mind is empty now. I stir my memory in vain. Here are some oddities that occur to me. The oddest is the persistence with which readers of the London Review of Books accuse me of supporting the wrong side in the Cold War and in particular of taking a sympathetic view of Hungary and its problems ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: Death of a Historian , 30 December 1982

... E. H. Carr died on 3 November last. I am inclined to say that he was the greatest British historian of our age: certainly he was the one I most admired. Ted Carr had a long run, varied enough to provide half a dozen careers for any lesser man. He started with twenty years in the diplomatic service, including membership of the British peace delegation to Paris in 1919 ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: Judgment Day, 16 June 1983

... As I write this paragraph the General Election is still almost four weeks away, and yet it seems already to have stolen the show. There is nothing else to read in the newspapers of any significance. My problem is that the General Election itself is of singularly little significance. No one in his senses imagines that the result will make the slightest difference ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: Magdalen College Portraits, 3 May 1984

... I am beginning to recover from the effects of being knocked down in Old Compton Street by a motor-car. Now I can walk to the end of the road. The other day I made an excursion as far as Camden Town to have my hair cut. This left me a little tired but otherwise unharmed. I resolved on a more ambitious venture: nothing less than a journey to Oxford when I drove part of the way myself ...
Democracy and Sectarianism: A Political and Social History of Liverpool 1868-1939 
by P.J. Waller.
Liverpool, 556 pp., £24.50, May 1981, 0 85223 074 5
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... Liverpool has always been a special case in British politics. At first glance the pattern may appear much the same as anywhere else: Whig and Tory, Liberal and Conservative, with Labour intruding towards the end. The names may be the same: their significance was widely different. For instance, Unitarians provided early 19th-century Liverpool with its intellectual aristocracy ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: An Unexpected Experience, 6 December 1984

... The study of English political history has suffered a grievous loss with the death of Stephen Koss in New York on 25 October last. Though only 44, hardly more than half my age, Stephen had already established himself as an authority of the first rank on British political history in the 19th and 20th centuries. He wrote outstanding biographies of such Liberal leaders as Asquith, John Morley and Haldane, concluding with A ...

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