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The Suitcase: Part Three

Frances Stonor Saunders, 10 September 2020

... glare of summer, trying to avoid the ‘garbage, dung, stench and slander’ of the place, as George Seferis described it, ‘the pestering flies, the beggars, the street salesmen who pushed things in their faces … the yelling, the hooting, the screeching brakes, the clanging of tram-cars and howl of tram-horns’. Lawrence Durrell, who had been living ...

Knucklehead Truman

Douglas Johnson, 2 June 1983

The Eisenhower Diaries 
edited by Robert Ferrell.
Norton, 445 pp., £15.25, April 1983, 0 393 01432 0
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The Life and Times of Joe McCarthy: A Biography 
by Thomas Reeves.
Blond and Briggs, 819 pp., £11.95, June 1983, 0 85634 131 2
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The past has another pattern 
by George Ball.
Norton, 544 pp., £14.95, September 1982, 0 393 01481 9
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Torn Lace Curtain 
by Frank Saunders and James Southwood.
Sidgwick, 361 pp., £7.95, March 1983, 0 283 98946 7
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The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Path to Power 
by Robert Caro.
Collins, 882 pp., £15, February 1983, 0 00 217062 0
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The Politician: The Life and Times of Lyndon Johnson 
by Ronnie Dugger.
Norton, 514 pp., £13.25, September 1982, 9780393015980
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Years of Upheaval 
by Henry Kissinger.
Weidenfeld/Joseph, 1312 pp., £15.95, March 1982, 0 7181 2115 5
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Richard Nixon: The Shaping of his Character 
by Fawn Brodie.
Norton, 574 pp., £14.95, October 1982, 0 393 01467 3
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Haig: The General’s Progress 
by Roger Morris.
Robson, 458 pp., £8.95, October 1982, 9780860511885
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Keeping Faith: Memoirs of a President 
by Jimmy Carter.
Collins, 622 pp., £15, November 1982, 0 00 216648 8
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Crisis: The Last Year of the Carter Presidency 
by Hamilton Jordan.
Joseph, 431 pp., £12.95, November 1982, 0 7181 2248 8
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Power and Principle: Memoirs of the National Security Adviser 1977-81 
by Zbigniew Brzezinski.
Weidenfeld, 587 pp., £15, April 1983, 0 297 78220 7
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... But this is in comparison with the clichéridden public pronouncements he was given to making: George Ball, who twice campaigned against him, has written of ‘a plodding fivestar general uttering pedestrian language written by some journalistic hack with all the grace of a gun-carriage being hauled across cobblestones’. It appears from the diaries that ...

The Suitcase

Frances Stonor Saunders, 30 July 2020

... after church on Sunday, that my father was anything other than a ‘from here’ person. Donald Saunders looked the same and sounded the same as the other guests who sipped Tio Pepe (medium or dry) from Lilliputian glasses and did small talk while Alexander and I handed around the shiny peanuts (bald, like the vicar) after first shovelling out fistfuls for ...


Alan Bennett: Allelujah!, 3 January 2019

... or her – place. A lovely thing. 31 December. Because some 25 years ago The Madness of King George was nominated for an Oscar, around Christmas we generally get a clutch of DVDs soliciting votes for the next year’s awards. Today it’s Call Me by Your Name, which has been much lauded, so much so that when we come to watch it this rather gets in the ...

The Writer and the Valet

Frances Stonor Saunders, 25 September 2014

... Chukovsky and others. It was a founding text of the Kulturkampf, as important in its way as George Kennan’s Long Telegram (also written in 1946) was to the shaping of the political Cold War. In a letter accompanying the report, Berlin requested that it be treated as ‘confidential’ because of ‘the well-known consequences to the possible sources ...


Peter Clarke, 21 September 1995

LSE: A History of the London School of Economics and Political Science 
by Ralf Dahrendorf.
Oxford, 584 pp., £25, May 1995, 0 19 820240 7
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... executor to deflect most of the money away from the obvious political uses that had been intended. George Bernard Shaw’s indignant account of a subsequent meeting of the Fabian executive, at which Webb ‘hinted that the bequest had been left to him to dispose of as he thought fit, and that the executive had nothing to do with it’, was not just Shavian ...

Stuck on the Flypaper

Frances Stonor Saunders: The Hobsbawm File, 9 April 2015

... was probably acquired from a Cockney immigration officer), he was a subject of King George V, and therefore, as he spent a lifetime explaining to interviewers, not a refugee. ‘After the excitements of Berlin, Britain was inevitably a comedown,’ Hobsbawm remembered. ‘Nothing in London had the emotional charge of those ...

Miracle on Fleet Street

Martin Hickman: Operation Elveden, 7 January 2016

... On​ 11 December, the director of public prosecutions, Alison Saunders, announced that all outstanding cases against Mirror Group journalists for phone hacking would be dropped, and that no corporate case would be brought against Rupert Murdoch’s News UK for hacking or perverting the course of justice. It was Christmas come early on Fleet Street, but that isn’t the way the papers chose to tell it ...

Colloquially Speaking

Patrick McGuinness: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945, 1 April 1999

The Penguin Book of Poetry from Britain and Ireland since 1945 
edited by Simon Armitage and Robert Crawford.
Viking, 480 pp., £10.99, September 1998, 0 670 86829 9
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The Firebox: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945 
edited by Sean O’Brien.
Picador, 534 pp., £16.99, October 1998, 0 330 36918 0
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... they engage with a post-Poundian poetic tradition (Charles Olson, Edward Dorn, Robert Duncan, George Oppen) of a kind that gives modern American poetry its variety and experimentalism. Gunn and Davie are included in both anthologies, but to read their collected poems (the next step after reading Davie’s superb ‘Time Passing, Beloved’ and Gunn’s ...


David Goldie: Morecambe and Wise, 15 April 1999

Morecambe and Wise 
by Graham McCann.
Fourth Estate, 416 pp., £16.99, October 1998, 1 85702 735 3
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... desire to explore the situations and character dispositions that make laughter happen. French and Saunders, whose range, from shared flat to Hollywood burlesque, owes much to Eric and Ernie, are to some extent an exception. Others, like Reeves and Mortimer, who are the inheritors of the spirit, if not the style, of Morecambe and Wise carry the double act into ...

Father’ Things

Gabriele Annan, 7 August 1980

The Duke of Deception: Memories of My Father 
by Geoffrey Wolff.
Hodder, 275 pp., £8.25, June 1980, 0 340 25469 6
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... into a Wasp himself, educated at Groton and Yale, a member of exclusive clubs, and named Arthur Saunders Wolff III. He was often drunk. His father was fed up with him and kept him short of money, but as he was oldish, inheritance did not seem too far off. Duke borrowed from friends, charged to his mother’s account, and lived reluctantly though luxuriously ...

Doctor in the Dock

Stephen Sedley, 20 October 1994

Medical Negligence 
edited by Michael Powers and Nigel Harris.
Butterworth, 1188 pp., £155, July 1994, 0 406 00452 8
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... was when I stayed to listen to the next lecture, ‘On Alleged Medical Negligence’, delivered by George Bonney, a laconic orthopaedic surgeon with long experience on the governing body of the Medical Defence Union. His tongue-in-cheek thesis was that the invention of penicillin had been a disaster for doctors, who until then had been unable to cure much ...

The Colossus of Maroussi

Iain Sinclair: In Athens, 27 May 2010

... weekends and are unreported. The 17N group, responsible for the assassination of Brigadier Stephen Saunders, the British military attaché in Athens, in June 2000, had been rounded up, so it was claimed, just in time for the Olympics. Savas Xiros, the alleged motorbike gunman, was arrested after a lethal device he was carrying went off prematurely. From his ...


Alan Bennett: Bennett’s Dissection, 1 January 2009

... how Tom comes to know it, too, as I’m sure boxing isn’t his thing. 22 January. I’m reading George Steiner’s My Unwritten Books, a series of chapters, some more autobiographical than others, on the books he wishes he’d written. The first section is on the Cambridge scholar and scientist Joseph Needham, microbiologist and expert on China, a man who ...

Wild Hearts

Peter Wollen, 6 April 1995

Virginia Woolf 
by James King.
Hamish Hamilton, 699 pp., £25, September 1994, 0 241 13063 8
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... Vanessa Bell, Frederick and Jessie Etchells, himself, Duncan Grant, Wyndham Lewis, Helen Saunders and some others – at the Galerie Barbazanges in Paris, which was located on the ground floor of Poiret’s imposing residence at 109 rue Faubourg St-Honoré, next door to the Martine interior design workshop which served as the model for Omega. The ...

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