Bodyguard of Lies

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Political mendacity – especially in wartime – did not begin with Tony Blair. Churchill himself was honest enough to admit: ‘Truth is so precious that sometimes it has to be protected by a bodyguard of lies.’ One awful occasion when the great man deployed that bodyguard in force is the subject of this excellent and […]

A City Surprised

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

The fall of Singapore – like those of Rome, Constantinople and Berlin – has long been familiar as an epic, pivotal point in history. In its familiarity lies the power of this 600-page narrative, in which we meet the participants, first as they drink gin slings, dance to ‘Ain’t She Sweet’ and watch The Wizard […]

The Child’s View

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

We are all familiar with the gambit ‘What did you do in the war, Daddy?’ The question is suggestive of much, particularly the silence that many returning men adopted in 1945 when unable to share the horrors they had experienced with a family now grown distant from long absence. But it ought to suggest another […]

‘Practising Science in Hell Itself’

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

When the 11th Armoured Brigade of the British Army entered Bergen-Belsen, on the morning of 15 April 1945, they found mounds of unburied corpses and 60,000 survivors – Hungarians, Poles, Romanians, Czechs, Yugoslavs, French, Belgians and Russians (most though not all of them Jews) – all reduced to little more than skeletons and covered in […]

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RLF - March