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The power of total contempt

As plans gather pace to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of the second world war, there are certain to be renewed calls to record the reminiscences of ex-servicemen in this conflict ‘before it is too late’. Most of these efforts, however well intentioned, are useless from a historical point of view. The Imperial

Never short of an answer

People, that’s to say some critics, just don’t get it about R. B. Kitaj. They dislike the way he paints, running things past us in dead heats, so to speak, drawing things together with a Huck Finn-like disregard for propriety. He’s bookish, it seems, and full of himself, which annoys them, and he can be

The awkward squad | 16 October 2004

The introduction to Alone! Alone! is very good. It’s modest and candid, and everything Rosemary Din- nage says about book-reviewing is spot on (e.g. ‘If it’s about misery, send it to Dinnage’ — funny, I thought that was me.) Especially this: ‘It’s sometimes like writing a diary, or a running commentary of evolving ideas.’ That’s

The price of the last push

This lucid account by a practised hand of what went on in Europe during that final year of the second world war addresses a question that has puzzled many people. Why, after putting the German army to rout in August 1944, did it take Anglo-American forces until May 1945 to secure victory? Field-Marshal Montgomery, with