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Articles by Henry Elkins

About Henry Elkins

A keen researcher of family ancestors, Henry will be reporting on the centenary of World War One. More Posts

The Plot Against America

I promise you this is the last review you will have to read of HBO’s Plot Against America but the editor asked me to put it in a historical context. I have to start with the observation that this was not a documentary but a drama based on the fiction of Philip Roth. This said, a number of [...]

July 30, 2020 // 0 Comments

Our NHS is a wonderful thing

Yesterday, as it turned out, I didn’t have a procedure at my local hospital in order that a biopsy could be taken of a small blemish in the centre of my forehead in order to check whether it might be something serious – or hopefully confirm that it wasn’t. At my age and getting older by the [...]

July 25, 2020 // 0 Comments

Going ‘off piste’ for a moment

One of the Rust’s engaging features to my mind – consistent with comments made by many of its readers that write to me – is its unique and somewhat haphazard approach to its mission. I’ve lost count of those I fall into conversation with – especially those with connections to marketing [...]

June 22, 2020 // 0 Comments

A man on a mission

Michael (Lord) Ashcroft, 74, is a British born entrepreneur/businessman estimated in March 2020 to be worth £1.7 billion and a man of many parts. He officially lives ‘off shore’, retains dual citizenship with Britain and Belize, and his tax status has been a source of controversy most [...]

May 3, 2020 // 0 Comments

The Battle of the Atlantic/Jonathan Dimbleby

There is a new type of historian about – one who is not an academic but in the media, like Sir Max Hastings or Jonathan Dimbleby who has written the above account which I read as an audio book  narrated by him. Like most history books it is far too long and would benefit from editing. It is [...]

April 29, 2020 // 0 Comments

The Mirror and the Light/Hilary Mantel

In these extraordinary times I feel entitled in reviewing a book that I have not read and am not going to read. It’s the third book in Hilary Mantel’s trilogy on Thomas Cromwell. Reviewers I respect have criticised it for being too long and needing editing. Why the fuss? It’s rather like [...]

March 24, 2020 // 0 Comments

The Splendid and the Vile/ Erik Larson

This an engaging and well-researched account by an American author and journalist of the Blitz. My initial reaction on reading the reviews was “Do I need this?” Over the last year I had read Andrew Roberts’ biography of Churchill, Appeasing Hitler, Nicholas Shakespeare’s Six Minutes [...]

March 17, 2020 // 0 Comments

The small gap between certainty and the opposite

It’s a funny old world we live in. Yesterday I travelled by train into central London to lunch with some old mates who on the face of it have nothing more in common than a past in the sense that we all went to the same school at roughly the same time. At least that’s one way of looking at it. [...]

March 14, 2020 // 0 Comments

The Vietnam War /Ken Burns

One of the advantages of seniority, as most Rusters are, is our very personal memories of chronicled events. Thus in watching the 10 disc set of Ken Burns’ superb documentary on Vietnam my own memories flooded back. I can recall the school debates, the domino theory that all South East Asia [...]

February 21, 2020 // 0 Comments

Trial of Christine Keeler/The Profumo Affaire

I did not watch the final episode of the trial of Christine Keeler though old-fashionedly I recorded it (I’m the over 50 generation the BBC no longer want) but I did see Tom Mangold’s documentary Keeler, Profumo, Ward and me. This was more about him – as its title suggests – than [...]

January 31, 2020 // 0 Comments

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