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Tag Archives: WW2

My first Carr

On my personal discovery of eccentric English novelist (and teacher, and artist, and airman, and footballer) JL Carr, the night before what would have been his 108th birthday. – For The Critic

Selassie come home

The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste Canongate, £16.99, pp. 428 . In 1935 the troops of Benito Mussolini’s sinister-clownish Roman Empire II invaded Ethiopia, in large part out of spite for Italy’s embarrassing defeat there 40 years before. Initially largely uncontested – thanks both to emperor Haile Selassie’s desperate faith in international brotherhood and to [...]

Hit and miss

Chastise: The Dambusters Story 1943 By Max Hastings William Collins £25 . By 1943, after nearly four years of war ‘ameliorated [only] by a thin gruel of successes,’ Britain and her western allies had little to boast in terms of their offensive victories; the lion’s share of the burden was very clearly being shouldered by [...]

Did The English Patient send me to Afghanistan?

Two nights from now, by way of (ahem) a birthday present, I will be attending a live-orchestra screening of The English Patient at the Albert Hall. I had invited an old friend, a raven-haired young lady (named in Debrett’s) of impossibly romantic tendency, who first exposed me to the film in, I’d say, about 1998 [...]

Up diddly up, down diddly down

Itchin’ for a Twitch Inn, at the Heritage weekend. – For The Oldie

M.O.’s m.o. – or; Everybody wants to be like Mike

A review of Michael Ondaatje’s Warlight. – For The Spectator

Monty’s trouble

A footsoldier’s review of Antony Beevor’s Arnhem: the Battle for the Bridges, 1944. – For The Oldie

NEWS AT A GLANCE

. In the United Kingdom 200 out of every million persons are employed as writers or editors. — The Nelson Evening Mail, April 2 1907 . No-one has been found in a major search along the Torridge. ‘Pog mahone’ means ‘kiss my arse’, in Gaelic. Some people do not like to read instructions. In South Africa [...]

Turning Japanese stomachs

Confessions of a Mask by Yukio Mishima Penguin, 170pp, £8.99 . Born two years after the Great Earthquake of 1923, in ‘not too good a section of Tokyo’, Kochan is a sickly child, brought up by stultifying parents and a morbid grandmother. His first reliable memory is of the ‘night-soil’ man, and he immediately becomes [...]

NEWS AT A GLANCE

. The honorary freedom of the borough of Rye in Sussex confers upon the freemen the privilege of kissing the mayoress. — The Nelson Evening Mail, March 21 1907 . When you register your child at birth, it immediately becomes the legal property of the state. In WW2 German physicists were able to discern the [...]