20th Century

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Age of ideas

21 January 2012 11:00 am

Sam Leith on Tony Judt’s rigorous, posthumously published examination of the great intellectual debates of the last century

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A time to moan and weep

2 October 2010 12:00 am

Ferdinand Mount recalls the crisis years of the early 1970s, when Britain was pronounced ‘ungovernable’

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A foot in both camps

7 August 2010 12:00 am

As a five-year-old in the Arab quarter of Jerusalem in the 1950s, Kai Bird overheard an elderly American heiress offering $1 million to anyone who could solve the Arab-Israeli conflict.

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Proscribed reading

17 July 2010 12:00 am

In 1948, Poland’s new communist government was badly in need of legitimacy and desperate for international recognition. So they did what any self-respecting left-wing government would do, back in those days, in order to win a bit of respect; they held a cultural Congress.

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Reverting to type

17 July 2010 12:00 am

While I was living in Tokyo, a Japanese girl friend of mine fell in love with a British investment banker.

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The body in the snow

17 July 2010 12:00 am

A word is missing from the subtitle of Jonathan Green’s shocking exposé: cowardice.

A cousin across the water

7 July 2010 12:00 am

Though he was to live at Castle Leslie in Co. Monaghan, Sir John Randalph (later Shane) Leslie, cousin of Winston Churchill, was born at Stratford House, London, in 1885 though baptised at Glaslough with Lord Randolph Churchill as godfather.

King and his killer

7 July 2010 12:00 am

In the late days of the Bush administration, it was fashionable among liberals to call George W. Bush the ‘worst’ president since the founding of the republic and to suggest that under his leadership America experienced its own version of the Dark Ages.

Learning to live with the bomb

7 July 2010 12:00 am

In the autumn of 1962, not more than a couple of weeks after the Cuban missile crisis and with our British fleet of nuclear-armed V-bombers still on high alert, a man called Gervase Cowell, then working in our Moscow embassy, received a phone call.

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Secrets and silences

30 June 2010 12:00 am

Charlotte Moore’s family have lived at Hancox on the Sussex Weald for well over a century.

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An ideal banker

30 June 2010 12:00 am

At last, thirty years after his death, we have a proper biography of the enigmatic but inspirational banker Siegmund Warburg, extensively researched and beautifully written.

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A tireless campaigner

23 June 2010 12:00 am

Why haven’t we heard of Phillis Bottome? In her 60-year career she published 33 novels, several of them bestsellers, short stories, essays, biographies and memoirs.

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Not as sweet as he seemed

16 June 2010 12:00 am

There are already three biographies of E. M. Forster: P. N. Furbank’s two- volume, authorised heavyweight; Nicola Beauman’s less compendious, more engaging middleweight; and my own bantamweight, little more than an extended essay.

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Odd men out

16 June 2010 12:00 am

The first game played by the Allahakbarries Cricket Club at Albury in Surrey in September 1887 did not bode well for the club’s future.

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Almost a great man

16 June 2010 12:00 am

Of those prime ministers whom the old grammar schools escalator propelled from the bottom to the top of British society since the second world war, Ted Heath and Margaret Thatcher were in many ways the most alike.

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Golden youth or electric eel?

2 June 2010 12:00 am

Patrick Shaw-Stewart was the cleverest and the most ambitious of the gilded gang of young men who swam in the wake of the not-so-young but perennially youthful Raymond Asquith.

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Paranoia and empty promises

12 May 2010 12:00 am

It has taken more than half a century, but at last the Anglophone world has woken up to the fact that 20th-century communist history makes a superb backdrop for fiction.

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A girl’s best friend

12 May 2010 12:00 am

If you wanted to write about Marilyn Monroe, how would you go about it? The pile of biographies, memoirs and novels about poor, sad Marilyn is already teetering.

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Ghosts from the Soviet past

21 April 2010 12:00 am

Above all, it is the inhuman scale of things which impresses the visitor to Moscow: the vastness of Red Square, the width of the uncrossable streets, the implacability of the traffic.

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The map turns red

21 April 2010 12:00 am

Norman Stone forsook the chair of modern history at Oxford university for Ankara after realising that the ‘conversation at high tables would generally have made the exchanges in the bus- stop in the rain outside seem exhilarating’.

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Pearl of the Orient

31 March 2010 12:00 am

When she was a little girl, playing in the countryside around her missionary parents’ home in China, Pearl Buck used to come across the scattered body parts of babies abandoned for animals to devour. She would bury them, and tell no one.

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The stuff of legend

10 March 2010 12:00 am

This book could have been a classic.

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Fleeing fog and filth

24 February 2010 12:00 am

In a sense, as this interest- ing collection of his writings makes clear, Rudyard Kip- ling was always abroad.

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Method in his madness

24 February 2010 12:00 am

The car manufacturer Henry Ford domin- ates this remarkable book, managing, like Falstaff, to be its tragic hero, villain, and comic relief all at the same time.

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A dangerous fellow

10 February 2010 12:00 am

Do we need another huge life of Arthur Koestler? He wrote a great deal about himself, including three autobiographical works: Spanish Testament (1937), describing his experience as a death-row prisoner of General Franco, Arrow in the Blue (1952) and The Invisible Writing (1954).