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Six Minutes in May/ Nicholas Shakespeare

This is an account of how Winston Churchill became Prime Minister in May 1940. It begins with a detailed account of the Norway Campaign. The assault on Narvik which produced iron ore for Germany was Churchill’s brainchild as First Sea Lord. It was a disastrous campaign comparable to Gallipoli and [...]

August 9, 2019 // 0 Comments

The Impartiality of Love/Hannah Rothschild

This is a novel of many parts, most of which do not work. Above all it reveals the amoral ruthlessness of the art world after a woman called Annie, a cook who is unlucky in love, discovers a lost Antoine Watteau called Improbability of Love in a junk shop. This develops into a chick lit romance, an [...]

August 6, 2019 // 0 Comments

The Club/ Jonathan Clegg & Joshua Robinson

The subtitle of this book is “How the Premier League became the richest, most disruptive business in sport” which reflects a work that is more assertive than analytical. You can tell it’s written by journalists – in this case the Washington Post’s as a historian tends more to rely on [...]

July 29, 2019 // 0 Comments

Remembering lunar exploration

The programmes commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the landing on the moon prompted me to research my memory banks. My interest began before 1969 with Herge’s Destination Moon and Explorers on the Moon published some 10 years before. It’s different from other Tintin adventures in that [...]

July 17, 2019 // 0 Comments

Chanel’s Riviera / Anne de Courcy

This is not a biography of arguably the greatest businesswoman of all time but an account of the Riviera she inhabited in her only permanent home La Pausa at Roquebrune, Cap Martin overlooking Monte Carlo. As someone who has travelled to the Riviera frequently and read much of its literature I [...]

July 12, 2019 // 0 Comments

10 Minutes 38 seconds in this strange world/ Elif Shafak

This novel by a well known Turkish writer begins with the end, the end of Tequila Leila who is a murdered sex worker and lies dying in a rubbish bin in Istanbul. The opening chapter – hence the title – are devoted to her final thoughts, reminiscences, recalls in the last 10 minutes 38 [...]

July 5, 2019 // 0 Comments

Appeasing Hitler

Tim Bouverie has written a measured, well researched account of the Appeasement years. He cites several reasons for the appeasement policy of Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain: 1) the country was ill-prepared for war; 2) there was a mood of pacifism in the country which may well have resulted [...]

June 19, 2019 // 0 Comments

Overnight plucking

Here come further contributions to our continuing series of “items of potential interest to Rusters spotted on the internet”. Few things make me laugh more than a classic malapropism and/or inadvertent mix-up of words. My own grandmother was capable of both, sometimes in the same [...]

June 18, 2019 // 0 Comments

The Professor and the Parson/Adam Sisman

The biographer Adam Sisman is clearly intrigued by con men. His biography of Professor Hugh Trevor Roper necessarily had to discuss how, when and why he was duped into authenticating the Hitler diaries. The next one on John le Carre had to feature his conman father. Hugh Trevor Roper was intrigued [...]

June 3, 2019 // 0 Comments

The Greatest Comeback/David Bolchover

This life of Béla Guttman is not just the one of the best sporting biographies I have ever read but general biography too. The subtitle From Genocide to Football Glory says it all. I suspect many will be unfamiliar with name of Bela Guttmann. He is best known for being the manager of the Benfica [...]

May 15, 2019 // 0 Comments

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