Max Egremont

Outmoded elegance

Harold Macmillan seemed well prepared when he succeeded a sick and humiliated Anthony Eden as prime minister after the disaster of Suez in 1957. An intellectual who knew about economics, a tough debater, an advocate of closer relations with Europe, Macmillan had been a ministerial success at Housing, the Foreign Office and the Treasury. He

Old gipsy-man

Who reads Ralph Hodgson’s poetry today? Probably few people under the age of 40 have even heard of this strange Englishman who died in 1961 in a small town in the American mid-west. His most famous poems are those once learnt by schoolchildren like ‘Time you old Gypsy Man’ or ‘The Bells of Heaven’, both

A nation given a bad name

Thirteen years ago, I was driving with a German friend through the Russian city of Kaliningrad (until 1945 the east Prussian city of Königsberg) when my friend said, ‘There’s the old German army barracks.’ As we stared glumly at the bleak building, darkness settled on me, brought on by three words, each — on its