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A Sense of Humour in Daddy’s Presence

J.L. Nelson: Medieval Europe, 5 June 2003

The Myth of Nations: The Medieval Origins of Europe 
by Patrick Geary.
Princeton, £11.95, March 2003, 0 691 09054 8
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Europe in the High Middle Ages 
by William Chester Jordan.
Penguin, 383 pp., £9.99, August 2002, 0 14 016664 5
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... Patrick Geary’s The Myth of Nations is more timely than he could have anticipated. ‘Historians have a duty to speak out,’ he writes, ‘even if they are certain to be ignored.’ Why such passion, such a sense of contemporary engagement, in a book about the very early Middle Ages? Since 1989, this period – between the third and eighth centuries – has been persistently misrepresented by Europe’s nationalist and racist politicians, who claim to find in the Middle Ages some kind of justification for their policies ...

Hush-Hush Boom-Boom

Charles Glass: Spymasters, 12 August 2021

The Quiet Americans: Four CIA Spies at the Dawn of the Cold War – A Tragedy in Three Acts 
by Scott Anderson.
Picador, 576 pp., £20, February, 978 1 5290 4247 4
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... in the Philippines courtesy of the unorthodox methods of Anderson’s fourth subject, Edward Geary Lansdale. Born in Detroit in 1908, Lansdale was working in Los Angeles as an advertising copywriter when he too enlisted in the army after Pearl Harbor. Thanks to a thyroid condition he wasn’t sent into combat, so he applied to OSS in the hope of seeing ...

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