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Edward Pearce, 26 July 1990

A Sparrow’s Flight: Memoirs 
by Lord Hailsham.
Collins, 463 pp., £17.50, July 1990, 0 00 215545 1
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... backed by much detail, but we get the message. Maudling was a lightweight, Macleod a first-rater, Edward Boyle is rightly adored, Margaret Thatcher did right by Quintin and so, despite differences, should be seen as a good thing. There are aperçus, however, despite the concern not to let noses poking through the railings sniff too much. Esteem for Rab Butler ...

Hooting

Edward Pearce, 22 October 1992

Beaverbrook 
by Anne Chisholm and Michael Davie.
Hutchinson, 589 pp., £20, October 1992, 0 09 173549 1
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... to membership of the Westminster Parliament, friendship with Bonar Law, the key Tory backbencher Edward Goulding, and the Imperial moralist/moraliser Rudyard Kipling, as well as sundry millions of pounds. The money had come fast, very fast from Halifax, St John and Montreal. Starting in a financier’s equivalent of a garret, a hotel bedroom, he began his ...

Rabbit Resartus

Edward Pearce, 8 November 1990

Rabbit at Rest 
by John Updike.
Deutsch, 505 pp., £14.99, October 1990, 0 233 98622 7
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... The thought did occur during the Eighties that it wouldn’t do to leave Rabbit Angstrom – Toyota dealer, wife-swapper, gone-to-seed athlete, conservative, citizen of Brewer, Pennsylvania, ex-working man, Scandinavian American and emblematic mess – just where he was after a mere three books. Indeed, although Rabbit, at the end of what is now a tetralogy, looks sick to the terminal rim, I would hesitate to take bets that resurrection is ruled out ...

Class Traitor

Edward Pearce, 11 June 1992

Maverick: The Life of a Union Rebel 
by Eric Hammond.
Weidenfeld, 214 pp., £16.99, March 1992, 0 297 81200 9
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... Bull,” I thought as I put the letter down on my desk. “You’re scared witless, Brenda.” ’ The style and address of Eric Hammond is unmistakable. He is here declining to be scared by a letter from Brenda Dean, ‘the pleasant woman at the helm of SOGAT’, trying to frighten him over EEPTU relations with Eddie Shah and Today. Hammond would eventually be expelled from the TUC and has, in many places where ice clinks against glass, become an object of disdain, just as in heavy left circles he is in receipt of simple hatred ...

Sweetly Terminal

Edward Pearce, 5 August 1993

Diaries 
by Alan Clark.
Weidenfeld, 421 pp., £20, June 1993, 0 297 81352 8
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... What’s all this?’ ‘It’s the new line to take!’ ‘How do you mean, “new”?’ ‘There’s just been’ (plainly a lie, since she wouldn’t look at me) ‘a telegram from Number 10.’ I was cornered. The little Portuguese (for the whole of my time as Minister for Trade, I am going to find myself at every international conference where the participating countries are identified in French – Royaume Uni – sitting next to a little Portuguese) was coming to the end of his peroration ...

Spurning at the High

Edward Pearce: A poet of Chartism, 6 November 2003

Ernest Jones, Chartism and the Romance of Politics 1819-69 
by Miles Taylor.
Oxford, 290 pp., £45, January 2003, 0 19 820729 8
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... Will became an ardent public man, working well in those times when reforms were begun with a young hopefulness of immediate good which has been much checked in our days, and getting at last returned to Parliament by a constituency who paid his expenses. Middlemarch The ‘hopefulness’ being ‘much checked in our days’ speaks the caution of 1867 as against the enthusiasm of 1832 ...

The Man in White

Edward Pearce, 11 October 1990

The Golden Warrior: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia 
by Lawrence James.
Weidenfeld, 404 pp., £19.50, August 1990, 0 297 81087 1
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... cozened: European and Arab, Foreign Office and Beduin feudatory, regular and irregular. Above all, Edward Lawrence was every bit as manipulative as any Foreign Office mandarin doing a deal with the French over Syria. Nothing illustrates this better than his treatment, coolly set out by Mr James, of Hussein’s two sons – Abdullah, later King Abdullah of ...

Up the avenue

Peter Clarke, 11 June 1992

Election Rides 
by Edward Pearce.
Faber, 198 pp., £5.99, April 1992, 0 571 16657 1
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... allusion to Cobbett’s Rural Rides, lacking the alliterative euphony of the original. What Edward Pearce of the Guardian offers is a record of his 19 days on the road during the General Election, visiting as many constituencies, each time in the company of a particular candidate, of varying party. There are glimpses of the circumstances of its ...

Shoy-Hoys

Paul Foot: The not-so-great Reform Act, 6 May 2004

Reform! The Fight for the 1832 Reform Act 
by Edward Pearce.
Cape, 343 pp., £20, November 2003, 0 224 06199 2
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... It was about property, and how best those who had it could keep it safe from those who hadn’t. Edward Pearce was an eloquent and observant parliamentary commentator for the Daily Telegraph and the Guardian. He delighted and, to his credit, often infuriated his readers with his sardonic wit and readable prose. Eventually shunned by both papers, he ...

Labour’s Beachmaster

Peter Clarke: Jenkins, Healey, Crosland, 23 January 2003

Denis Healey: A Life in Our Times 
by Edward Pearce.
Little, Brown, 634 pp., £28, June 2002, 0 316 85894 3
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Friends and Rivals: Crosland, Jenkins and Healey 
by Giles Radice.
Little, Brown, 376 pp., £20, September 2002, 0 316 85547 2
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... book could be expected to have the guile to become prime minister. What, then, is there left for Edward Pearce to say? His biography is a handsome and informative study, benefiting from the co-operation of its subject, notably by means of unique access to the diary which Healey kept from the age of 16. Evidently a spare and terse record, this has ...

‘Bye Bye Baghdad’

Paul Foot, 7 February 1991

... war party was ‘just’. Like the politicians against the war, the writers against the war – Edward Pearce in the Guardian, John Diamond in the Mirror, John Pilger wherever anyone prints what he writes – have to be winkled out from the chauvinist mass. How to explain the mood which swept otherwise independent-minded journalists and editors into ...

Diary

Karl Miller: On Doubles, 2 May 1985

... to come across a recent report in which the Parliamentary sketch writer of the Telegraph, Edward Pearce, was quoted as putting a view of the war which would at the time have been called cuckoo: ‘What precisely did we get out of the Falklands war except a warm glow, the experience of feeling good, and a roll of honour?... It was a collective act ...

Diary

J.P. Stern: This great wall has fallen down, 7 December 1989

... welfare state of the Western European dispensation. ‘If modern Germany has a historic patron,’ Edward Pearce wrote recently, ‘it is not Marx, nor Bismarck, nor the Frederick the Great celebrated by East Germans’ –or at least by the party hacks who were dictating Kulturpolitik as relentlessly as the National Socialists had done – ‘but Walther ...

Diary

Ronan Bennett: The IRA Ceasefire, 22 September 1994

... liar. What about the man at the centre of the ceasefire – the man whom Guardian columnist Edward Pearce describes as ‘a corporate assassin’ with ‘more to answer for than John Wayne Gacy, executed in the US for a couple of score killings ... a coffin-filler strategically deciding to desist from filling coffins’? There have been some sober ...

What difference did she make?

Eric Hobsbawm, 23 May 1991

A Question of Leadership: Gladstone to Thatcher 
by Peter Clarke.
Hamish Hamilton, 334 pp., £17.99, April 1991, 0 241 13005 0
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The Quiet Rise of John Major 
by Edward Pearce.
Weidenfeld, 177 pp., £14.99, April 1991, 0 297 81208 4
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... recruited through provincial grammar schools’. This question supplies the chief interest of Edward Pearce’s biography of John Major, a book sympathetic to its subject which – except at the end – lacks the author’s admirable blend of fun and savage indignation. John Major is a prime minister about whom so far we know virtually nothing except ...

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