Gerard Noel

Remembering Anthony Blond

The publisher Gerard Noel pays tribute to his friend and author who died last week at the age of 79 One Friday evening in the early 1980s two brand-new, bright red cars roared up to my house in Gloucestershire. The drivers were Laura and Anthony Blond, my guests for a bank holiday weekend, who had

Brave enough to say no

The first world war seemed like a good idea at the time. Cheering crowds thronged deliriously through the capitals of Europe as war was declared. In England the prospect of being paid to kill foreigners started a stampede to join up. Within five weeks almost 480,000 men had volunteered, many lying about their age. An

Bursting out of the closet

Born in 1947, Jeremy Norman belongs to the first generation of homosexual Englishmen able to express their sexuality openly and without fear of prosecution, courtesy of the Sexual Offences Act of 1967. As his entertaining memoir attests, Norman has certainly made the most of his freedom. Not only has his life been ‘a frenzied dance

Watching the ranks closing

William Russell was a young American who worked as a clerk in the US embassy in Berlin at the time of the German invasion of Poland in September 1939. When Berlin Embassy, his account of those epic times appeared in 1941, it was acclaimed on both sides of the Atlantic. Little is known of what

A congregation of clergymen

This highly readable selection of obituaries is based on the original more general collections of Hugh Massingberd. His object was to celebrate life rather than death; and indeed the persons here described, though from a specialised category, come vividly alive in the capable hands of Canon Trevor Beeson. The period covered is the quarter century

A failure of papal nerve

This is one of the most devastating but, at the same time, restrained and balanced indictments, among the many that have appeared, of the conduct of the Roman Catholic Church in the face of the Holocaust. It is restrained in that it avoids extreme positions, let alone emotive language, even disagreeing with the expression ‘Hitler’s