Category Archives: Literature

Book Review: Tim Harford ~ Messy: How to be creative and resilient in a tidy-minded world (2016)

Britain had a TV show whose catch phrase was, ‘The computer says no’ and it reflected a stifled uncreative world. It satirises the mechanistic attempt at deleting risk from everyday life looking for monochrome ‘perfection’. A hideous uncreative world doomed … Continue reading

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Book Review: E M Delafield ~ The Diary of a Provincial Lady (1930)

Through the magic of Amazon’s pricing policy this costs 99p on Kindle. On the other hand if you wish to buy all five of the ‘Provincial Lady’ series you pay only 49p! Obviously it’s your decision but I risked 49p … Continue reading

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A very brisk Mother Superior in a French convent

[Her] account includes being told by the [Mother] Superior that if a doctor advised a surgical operation, “your Superiors will decide whether your life is of sufficient value to the community to justify the expense. If it is not, you … Continue reading

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The Treacherous King Edward VIII

  Source https://www.express.co.uk/entertainment/books/563824/New-book-reveals-fascinating-relationship-Edward-VIII-Adolf-Hitler  

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Book Review: Norman Mailer ~ The Naked and the Dead (1949)

How do you review a masterpiece? This is a work of staggering genius and, if possible, was better for a 50 year gap between readings. Obviously I bookmarked sections in preparation for this review, which is very easy in Kindle … Continue reading

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Karl Marx as a journalist

The ethos of the [Russian Crimean] army was dominated by the eighteenth-century parade-ground culture of the tsarist court, in which promotion, to quote Karl Marx, was limited to ‘martinets, whose principal merit consists of stolid obedience and ready servility added … Continue reading

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Book Review: Hilary Mantel ~ The Mirror and the Light (2020)

The scale of the success of the Thomas Cromwell trilogy is that it’s a 2112 page story about a Tudor civil servant. Cromwell’s speciality was as a courtier and sycophant endlessly grovelling to Henry VIII. He was also a ruthless … Continue reading

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A J P Taylor on the Nuremberg Trials

Twenty years ago [1963] I published a book about the origins of the Second World War. At the time it was dismissed as wrong-headed and controversial. Now it has become the accepted version for most people. But there still lurks … Continue reading

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Book Review: Michael Bollen ~ Earth Inc. (2008)

When I first read this in 2008 I hugged myself with delight, took careful note of the author’s name and waited for the next display of brilliance. I’m still waiting. He’s a one hit wonder like Procol Harum’s A Whiter … Continue reading

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A 1950s Ronald Searle cartoon

From Down with Skool by Willans and Searle

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