A Very English Hero: The Making of Frank Thompson by Peter J Conradi - review by Alan Judd

Alan Judd

From Iris to Sofia

A Very English Hero: The Making of Frank Thompson


Bloomsbury 419pp £18.99

Spin-off biographies are dangerously tempting. Researching a major subject always reveals rabbit holes down which the biographer could happily disappear, never to rejoin the main burrow. Often it’s a mistake to go back to the warren at all. But if the author is as accomplished as Peter Conradi, acclaimed biographer of Iris Murdoch, then it’s a journey worth taking.

Frank Thompson was a brilliant, modest, handsome and gentle young man, physically clumsy and engagingly self-deprecating, born in 1920 to Anglo-American parents of strong religious and political beliefs. His father, a poet and Methodist minister, was deeply involved with Indian independence; his American mother grew up in Syria and Lebanon

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