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David Reynolds: The Real Mrs Miniver, 25 April 2002

The Real Mrs Miniver 
by Ysenda Maxtone Graham.
Murray, 314 pp., £17.99, November 2001, 0 7195 5541 8
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Mrs Miniver 
by Jan Struther.
Virago, 153 pp., £7.99, November 2001, 1 85381 090 8
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... on the credits, and the commentary was delivered by the veteran American correspondent Quentin Reynolds. An estimated 60 million Americans saw the film in the winter of 1940-41. As Nicholas Cull observed in Selling War (1995), the Blitz became an Anglo-American ‘co-production’. This was the atmosphere in which Mrs Miniver climbed to the top of ...

Too Proud to Fight

David Reynolds: The ‘Lusitania’ Effect, 28 November 2002

Wilful Murder: The Sinking of the ‘Lusitania’ 
by Diana Preston.
Doubleday, 543 pp., £18.99, May 2002, 0 385 60173 5
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Lusitania: Saga and Myth 
by David Ramsay.
Chatham, 319 pp., £20, September 2001, 1 86176 170 8
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Woodrow Wilson 
by John Thompson.
Longman, 288 pp., £15.99, August 2002, 0 582 24737 3
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... sacrificed the Lusitania to draw the United States into the war. Both Diana Preston and David Ramsay deal briskly and effectively with this. Churchill and Jackie Fisher, the First Sea Lord, were preoccupied with the escalating political crisis over Gallipoli. The absence of British naval escorts for the Lusitania in the war zone reflected the ...

Enjoying every moment

David Reynolds: Ole Man Churchill, 7 August 2003

Churchill 
by John Keegan.
Weidenfeld, 181 pp., £14.99, November 2002, 0 297 60776 6
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Man of the Century: Winston Churchill and His Legend since 1945 
by John Ramsden.
HarperCollins, 652 pp., £9.99, September 2003, 0 00 653099 0
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Clementine Churchill: The Revised and Updated Biography 
by Mary Soames.
Doubleday, 621 pp., £25, September 2002, 0 385 60446 7
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Churchill at War 1940-45 
by Lord Moran.
Constable, 383 pp., £9.99, October 2002, 1 84119 608 8
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Churchill’s Cold War: The Politics of Personal Diplomacy 
by Klaus Larres.
Yale, 583 pp., £25, June 2002, 0 300 09438 8
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... In August 1940, Winston Churchill likened the relationship between Britain and America to the Mississippi: ‘It just keeps rolling along,’ he told the Commons, ‘full flood, inexorable, irresistible, benignant.’ In the car afterwards he sang ‘Ole Man River’ (out of tune) on the way back to Number Ten. Sixty years later, one might say the same about Ole Man Churchill, whose reputation just keeps rolling along ...

Had he not run

David Reynolds: America’s longest-serving president, 2 June 2005

Franklin Delano Roosevelt 
by Roy Jenkins.
Pan, 208 pp., £7.99, May 2005, 0 330 43206 0
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Franklin D. Roosevelt 
by Patrick Renshaw.
Longman, 223 pp., $16.95, December 2003, 0 582 43803 9
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Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom 
by Conrad Black.
Weidenfeld, 1280 pp., £17.99, October 2004, 0 7538 1848 5
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... Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the longest-serving president in American history – 12 years and a month. He won four elections and forged a Democratic majority that lasted into the 1960s. When he took office in March 1933 the US banking system had collapsed and a quarter of the workforce was unemployed. When he died in April 1945 Americans were enjoying unprecedented prosperity and victory in the war had catapulted the country from the margins of international politics to the rank of global superpower ...

Short Cuts

Geoffrey Wheatcroft: Gordon Brown, 7 June 2007

... fortune through some startling and, on occasion, clandestine publishing and movie contracts, as David Reynolds has shown in his riveting In Command of History. Then there is self-justification after retirement, which almost always produces memoirs of numbing boredom: I assume – or hope – that no one alive has actually read every page of all the ...

Big Man to Uncle Joe

Max Hastings: The Big Three, 22 November 2018

The Kremlin Letters: Stalin’s Wartime Correspondence with Churchill and Roosevelt 
edited by David Reynolds and Vladimir Pechatnov.
Yale, 660 pp., £25, October 2018, 978 0 300 22682 9
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... was rendered by Stalin’s linguists as diversiya, Russian for ‘subversion’ or ‘sabotage’. David Reynolds is the author of distinguished works of modern American history, and a master in the art of overcoming wilful or accidental distortions of wartime events and communications. In Command of History: Churchill Fighting and Writing the Second ...

This Guilty Land

Eric Foner: Every Possible Lincoln, 17 December 2020

Abe: Abraham Lincoln in His Times 
by David S. Reynolds.
Penguin, 1066 pp., £33.69, September, 978 1 59420 604 7
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The Zealot and the Emancipator: John Brown, Abraham Lincoln and the Struggle for American Freedom 
by H.W. Brands.
Doubleday, 445 pp., £24, October, 978 0 385 54400 9
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... man and liberator of the slaves, has been the subject of more than 16,000 books, according to David S. Reynolds’s new biography, Abe. That’s around two a week, on average, since the end of the American Civil War. Almost every possible Lincoln can be found in the historical literature, including the moralist who ...

Hinsley’s History

Noël Annan, 1 August 1985

Diplomacy and Intelligence during the Second World War: Essays in Honour of F.H. Hinsley 
edited by Richard Langhorne.
Cambridge, 329 pp., £27.50, May 1985, 0 521 26840 0
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British Intelligence and the Second World War. Vol. I: 1939-Summer 1941, Vol. II: Mid-1941-Mid-1943, Vol. III, Part I: June 1943-June 1944 
by F.H. Hinsley, E.E. Thomas, C.F.G. Ransom and R.C. Knight.
HMSO, 616 pp., £12.95, September 1979, 0 11 630933 4
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... force.’ Not every myth, however, is corrupted by moth and rust. With boundless self-confidence David Reynolds tries to demolish the most potent myth of all: ‘their finest hour’. Churchill claimed that the War Cabinet never considered suing for peace in 1940, nor were terms for surrender ‘even mentioned in our most private conclaves’. ...

World’s Greatest Statesman

Edward Luttwak, 11 March 1993

Churchill: The End of Glory 
by John Charmley.
Hodder, 648 pp., £30, January 1993, 9780340487952
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Churchill: A Major New Assessment of his Life in Peace and War 
edited by Robert Blake and Wm Roger Louis.
Oxford, 517 pp., £19.95, February 1993, 0 19 820317 9
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... experts, it too will have been elected for nought.) And the platoon’s roll still goes on, with David Reynolds on 1940 (not this book’s finest chapter), Henry Pelling on ‘... and the Labour Movement’ (Commies are included), Max Beloff on ‘... and Europe’, and Sarvepalli Gopal on ‘... and India’ – Gopal unaccountably holds a grudge ...

Complete with spats

A.N. Wilson, 27 May 1993

Dorothy L. Sayers: Her Life and Soul 
by Barbara Reynolds.
Hodder, 398 pp., £25, March 1993, 0 340 58151 4
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... I have been reading again The Mind of the Maker by Dorothy L. Sayers. Barbara Reynolds says that this book – together with her famous series of radio dramas The Man Born to be King – is her greatest work. And Barbara Reynolds should know. She is the goddaughter of Sayers; she is a distinguished Italian scholar and collaborated with Sayers on her translation of The Divine Comedy (a collaboration fascinatingly written up in her book The Passionate Intellect: Dorothy L ...

At least that was the idea

Thomas Keymer: Johnson and Boswell’s Club, 10 October 2019

The Club: Johnson, Boswell and the Friends who Shaped an Age 
by Leo Damrosch.
Yale, 488 pp., £20, April 2019, 978 0 300 21790 2
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... but on the wrong house. At No. 9, a more accurately sited plaque marks where, in 1764, Joshua Reynolds and Samuel Johnson founded the Literary Club, or simply the Club, which met weekly to dine in an upstairs room at the Turk’s Head until the landlord died and the dinners moved elsewhere. The building now houses New Loon Moon, one of London’s ...

Another Tribe

Andy Beckett: PiL, Wire et al, 1 September 2005

Rip It Up and Start Again: Post-Punk 1978-84 
by Simon Reynolds.
Faber, 577 pp., £16.99, April 2005, 0 571 21569 6
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... walking out of I’m a Celebrity, Get Me out of Here. The rise and fall of PiL, recounted by Simon Reynolds with great vividness and detail, is the archetypal story of the tumultuous pop music era of the late 1970s and early 1980s, known rather bloodlessly since as post-punk. Until recently, the PiL story was one of the few about post-punk that even keen ...

The Strange Case of John Bampfylde

Roger Lonsdale, 3 March 1988

... public existence, it must be as the man on the right in this unusual double portrait by Joshua Reynolds. An interested enquirer might learn that Bampfylde was a minor poet of the later 18th century and, in the absence of much hard information, encounter what is scarcely more than a striking anecdote of frustrated love and subsequent insanity. To probe the ...

Naked except for a bath towel

Paul Addison, 24 January 1985

Churchill and Roosevelt: The Complete Correspondence 
edited by Warren Kimball.
Princeton, 674 pp., £125, October 1984, 0 691 05649 8
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... all the way back to the beginnings of the alliance. In other words, there was a worm in the bud. David Reynolds has characterised the origins of the relationship in an illuminating phrase: ‘competitive co-operation’. Alas for the British, the competition was an unequal one, a fact that Churchill himself began to realise during the last two years of ...

The Forty Years’ Peace

Keith Kyle, 21 October 1993

The United States and the End of the Cold War: Implications, Reconsiderations and Provocations 
by John Lewis Gaddis.
Oxford, 301 pp., £19.50, July 1992, 0 19 505201 3
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Dean Acheson: The Cold War Years, 1953-71 
by Douglas Brinkley.
Yale, 429 pp., £22, February 1993, 0 300 04773 8
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The Quest for Stability: Problems of West European Security 1918-1957 
edited by Rolf Ahmann, A.M. Birke and Michael Howard.
Oxford, 546 pp., £50, June 1993, 0 19 920503 5
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... military presence in Nato; John Young’s reassessment of British attitudes to European union; David Reynolds on the sharply different views of the post-1945 strategic pattern held by Attlee and Bevin, and the clash of the British chiefs of staff (already looking on Russia as the new enemy) first with the Foreign Office (which initially wanted to ...

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