Geoffrey Wheatcroft

Geoffrey Wheatcroft’s Churchill’s Shadow is out now.

A Little Holiday: Ben Hecht’s Cause

Geoffrey Wheatcroft, 23 September 2021

Inthe early 1920s, Herman J. Mankiewicz (‘Mank’) and Ben Hecht were not very successful writers in New York. Then Mank ventured west, the first of what was to become an exodus of literary talent to the Hollywood movie studios. In 1925, Mank summoned Hecht to join him with an offer of $300 a week to write for Paramount Pictures: ‘Millions are to be grabbed out here and...

The Finchley Factor: Thatcher in Israel

Geoffrey Wheatcroft, 13 September 2018

A short book​ could be written about British prime ministers and Zionism. It might begin in 1840, when Lord Palmerston, foreign secretary and prime minister-to-be, received a letter from his stepson-in-law Lord Ashley, an MP better known later as Lord Shaftesbury, the Tory philanthropist commemorated by the statue of Eros at Piccadilly Circus. Palmerston ‘had been chosen by...

The First New War: Crimea

Geoffrey Wheatcroft, 25 August 2011

At its high tide under Suleiman the Magnificent and his immediate successors, the Ottoman Empire stretched from the Persian Gulf in the south to the Balkans in the north and reached the gates of Vienna in 1683. Then came the long ebb, as the Turks retreated from Europe and others competed to replace them. One power in particular had grown rapidly in importance. The small medieval principality...

Lucky Lad: Harold Evans

Geoffrey Wheatcroft, 17 December 2009

As the 19th century turned into the 20th, the English press was diverse and vigorous. Apart from the Times, whose threepenny price marked it as the newspaper of record for the ruling class, London had a clutch of what were conveniently known as penny papers. On one side were the Tory Morning Post, Daily Telegraph and Standard, on the other, the Liberal Daily News and Daily Chronicle,...

On Trying to Be Portugal: Zionist Terrorism

Geoffrey Wheatcroft, 6 August 2009

Why should the conflict between the state of Israel and the Palestinians absorb the attention of the world, as it does? It makes no sense when you look objectively at the Holy Land (a convenient term to describe the territory between Jordan and the sea: British Mandatory Palestine from 1920 to 1948 and controlled by Israel one way or another since 1967), which is about the size of New...

Short Cuts: Gordon Brown

Geoffrey Wheatcroft, 7 June 2007

Why do politicians write books? Sometimes money is the simple answer. Disraeli and Churchill were both scribbling before they entered Parliament, and Churchill ended with more than one small fortune through some startling and, on occasion, clandestine publishing and movie contracts, as David Reynolds has shown in his riveting In Command of History.

Then there is self-justification after...


Geoffrey Wheatcroft, 18 December 1980

Nations rise and fall: some which were once great no longer are – Sweden, say, or Holland – while Russia, which wasn’t, now is. Sometimes countries – the United States or Israel – arise from nothing. But the subject of Mr Haffner’s book is odder. It first appeared from nowhere and then disappeared quite without trace: to him, a sad disappearance.


Hare-Brained? Sure?

17 December 2009

In my review of Harold Evans’s My Paper Chase (LRB, 17 December 2009) I wrote that Lord Thomson, the proprietor of the Times and Sunday Times, ‘had had enough’ of industrial disputes by the time the papers were sold to Rupert Murdoch in 1981, to which Jacob Ecclestone responds that ‘Thomson had indeed “had enough". He died in 1976’ (Letters, 7 January). My consolation,...

Dalai Lamu

23 January 1986

SIR: ‘Britain’s problems, Heath declared in the autumn of 1973, were the problems of success’ (Paul Addison in his review of The Writing on the Wall by Phillip Whitehead – LRB, 23 January). But he did not. I’m not sure how this misattribution has entered educated folklore, along with Voltaire supposedly saying that he disagreed with what you said but … or Goering’s...

Literary Magazines

7 November 1985

SIR: Many of your readers will have smiled at Mr Clive James’s honeyed tribute to the London Review of Books, and also to the late New Review (LRB, 7 November 1985). It was brave of him to write it and brave of you to publish it. The smile was wiped off my own face, however, by the sentence: ‘Grub Street journeymen who could point to no artistic achievement beyond a noseful of burst veins...

Murder in the Cathedral

Anthony Howard, 7 December 1989

The most revealing moment at the recent meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod occurred during an impromptu speech by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Dr Robert Runcie was speaking...

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Painting the map red

William Boyd, 5 September 1985

The story of the South African gold and diamond fields and of the men who rose to wealth and notoriety as a result of their exploitation has stimulated writers since the 1870s, when diamonds were...

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