Waiting for the Bombs to Drop

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Within ten years of the end of ‘the war to end all wars’ official committees were meeting in secret to prepare for the next one. The assumption was that fighting on battlefields would be replaced by aerial combat, that London would be the enemy bombers’ target, and that it would be defenceless, for, as Prime […]

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Peopling the Piazzas of Pompeii

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

On a scorching summer’s day, in the very centre of Pompeii, I was accosted by a hot and bothered American who asked despairingly, ‘Is there anything radically different at that end from this end?’ The same disenchantment is reflected in a graffito in Pompeii’s café toilet, recorded by the authors of this excellent new book: […]

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A Pearl Before Swine

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

There’s something odd about Vienna and the Austrians. Don’t just take my word for it – read virtually every English-language writer who has puzzled over the place and its people since the War. Graham Greene, Jan Morris, John Irving, Stephen Brook, Frederic Morton, Hella Pick, even the grand-daddy of Austrophile Englishmen, Gordon Brook-Shepherd, who devoted […]

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