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Memories of Lindsay Anderson

Alan Bennett, 20 July 2000

... thoughts occur like ‘I bet Tom Stoppard doesn’t have to do this’ or ‘There is no doubt David Hare would have deputed this to an underling.’ So I was happy to read in Gavin Lambert’s Mainly about Lindsay Anderson* that Lindsay harboured similar thoughts about such self-imposed menialities. On the eve of filming O Lucky Man Lindsay has his ailing ...

Attending Poppy

Christopher Tayler: David Grand, 9 December 1999

by David Grand.
Quartet, 255 pp., £10, April 1999, 9780704381155
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... no talking, coughing, clearing of the throat, or any movement whatsoever of the lips. As David Thomson remarks in his Biographical Dictionary of Film, this was a life ‘so primed for legend, it leaves one feeling that the doleful, suspicious Hughes had some hygienic plan for missing life altogether and going straight into myth’. Hughes was, after ...

Scandal in Pittsburgh

David Nasaw: Andrew Mellon, 19 July 2007

Mellon: An American Life 
by David Cannadine.
Allen Lane, 779 pp., £30, November 2006, 0 7139 9508 4
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... their personal lives. ‘Though Judge Mellon had rebelled decisively against his own father,’ David Cannadine writes in his new biography of the judge’s son Andrew, ‘he had no intention of tolerating any such conduct in the next generation … The judge regarded his sons as essentially extensions of himself.’ When Andrew Mellon was in his teens, his ...

Perfect Companions

C.K. Stead, 8 June 1995

Christina Stead: A Biography 
by Hazel Rowley.
Secker, 646 pp., £12.99, January 1995, 0 436 20298 0
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... aunt. The most important effect was to create a very close bond between Christina and her father, David; but then David Stead remarried. There was a stepmother, and soon a brood of half-brothers and sisters, which grew to number five. Christina felt the gap open between her and the man who had been mother and father; and at ...

Bad Character

Andrew O’Hagan: Saul Bellow, 21 May 2015

The Life of Saul Bellow: To Fame and Fortune, 1915-64 
by Zachary Leader.
Cape, 812 pp., £35, May 2015, 978 0 224 08467 3
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... outstripped anyone’s claim to possess their own story. Here he is writing to his oldest friend, David Peltz, who is thinly fictionalised as Woody Selbst in the story ‘A Silver Dish’ and as George Swiebel in Humboldt’s Gift. ‘What matters,’ Bellow wrote to Peltz when he complained of being used, is that good things get written … We’ve known ...

Advised by experts

David Worswick, 21 December 1989

The Economic Section, 1939-1961: A Study in Economic Advising 
by Alec Cairncross and Nita Watts.
Routledge, 372 pp., £40, May 1989, 0 415 03173 7
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The Robert Hall Diaries. Vol. I: 1947-1953 
edited by Alec Cairncross.
Unwin Hyman, 400 pp., £40, May 1989, 9780044452737
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... was kept in being, with Meade succeeding Robbins as head. It remained in the Cabinet Office, with Herbert Morrison, Lord President of the Council, as its minister. On the face of it, this looked like the core of an economic general staff, but it did not work out that way. In the long list of domestic and external problems needing attention, the wartime ...

More Reconciliation than Truth

David Blackbourn: Germany’s Postwar Amnesties, 31 October 2002

Adenauer’s Germany and the Nazi Past: The Politics of Amnesty and Integration 
by Norbert Frei, translated by Joel Golb.
Columbia, 479 pp., £24.50, September 2002, 0 231 11882 1
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... joint four-power auspices, and a few individuals continued to be imprisoned by other nations. Herbert Kappler, the former police chief of Rome, briefly made headlines when he escaped from an Italian prison in 1978; two German war criminals in Dutch custody were freed from Breda prison only at the beginning of 1989. But the release of war criminals held on ...

Theme-Park Prussia

David Blackbourn, 24 November 1994

Prussia: The Perversion of an Idea 
by Giles MacDonogh.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 456 pp., £20, July 1994, 1 85619 267 9
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... Frau Ebert was partial to marzipan tart. General Seeckt drank beer, Ernst Röhm drank wine, Herbert Bismarck drank practically anything (like father, like son). A jolly good time is clearly being had by (almost) all. Unfortunately, when it comes to the tough questions about Prussian history MacDonogh is usually out to ...

Promises, Promises

David Carpenter: The Peasants’ Revolt, 2 June 2016

England, Arise: The People, the King and the Great Revolt of 1381 
by Juliet Barker.
Abacus, 506 pp., £10.99, September 2015, 978 0 349 12382 0
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... of the rising as the “Peasants’ Revolt”.’ His conclusion is much the same as Herbert Eiden’s in his study of the landholdings of the rebels in Norfolk. Both Dyer and Eiden also found large numbers of artisans among the insurgents: brewers, carpenters, smiths, tailors and so on. Wat Tyler was one such if his name indicates his ...


William Rodgers: Party Conference Jamboree, 25 October 1990

... to victory in the previous day’s NEC elections. It was a bitter, ugly and exhausting Conference. Herbert Morrison and Hugh Dalton, who had helped to carry the Labour Party through the wartime coalition and the Attlee Government, lost their places on the National Executive to Harold Wilson and Richard Crossman, the candidates of the Left. Dalton sulked, but ...

Pillors of Fier

Frank Kermode: Anthony Burgess, 11 July 2002

Nothing like the Sun: reissue 
by Anthony Burgess.
Allison and Busby, 234 pp., £7.99, January 2002, 0 7490 0512 2
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... young man addressed in the Sonnets is the Earl of Southampton, not, as some still think, William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke. The Rival Poet of Sonnet 86 remains George Chapman, not, as some think, Samuel Daniel or Michael Drayton or Christopher Marlowe or Ben Jonson or, since his was assuredly an ‘alien pen’ (Sonnet 78), Torquato Tasso. Candidates for the ...

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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... bid, backed by merchant bankers Kleinwort Benson and the legendarily expensive City solicitors Herbert Smith, claimed that the Fayeds came from an ancient Egyptian aristocratic family, that they had a fleet of liners, that they owned oil wells and the Rockefeller Plaza and had hundreds of millions of pounds’ worth of construction work on order from one ...


Michael Dobson, 8 June 1995

Edmond Malone, Shakespearean Scholar: A Literary Biography 
by Peter Martin.
Cambridge, 298 pp., £40, April 1995, 0 521 46030 1
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... of the working practices of the Elizabethan theatre is based, but the records of Sir Henry Herbert, Master of the Revels from 1622 to 1642, a complementary treasure-trove on Jacobean and Caroline court entertainments and dramatic censorship; Malone who first trawled systematically through the parish and corporation records of Stratford for the ...

Round Things

T.J. Binyon, 24 October 1991

Maurice Baring: A Citizen of Europe 
by Emma Letley.
Constable, 269 pp., £18.95, September 1991, 0 09 469870 8
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... of Days (1914). On the outbreak of war he managed to get himself attached to the staff of Sir David Henderson, then commanding the Royal Flying Corps, and after some difficulty in donning his uniform (‘Six people endeavoured to put on my puttees; none of them were entirely successful, except finally in the evening. Sir ...

Deep Down in the Trash

Robert Crawford, 21 August 1997

God’s Gift to Women 
by Don Paterson.
Faber, 64 pp., £6.99, May 1997, 9780571177622
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... Bunker Man and to Kathleen Jamie’s poetry collection The Queen of Sheba. It is insistent in W.N. Herbert’s poem ‘Featherhood’ and Janice Galloway’s Foreign Parts. It bridges writing as different as the poetry of Carol Ann Duffy, Kate Clanchy or David Kinloch, and the fiction of Christopher Whyte or ...

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