This is a timely book and I wish it were a better one. Anti-Americanism has never been more intense in France, especially at the highest levels. It is marching in step with anti-Semitism, which, thanks to the huge influx of militant Muslims, is now more bloodthirsty in France than at any time since the Vichy years, when Jews were rounded up, held in their thousands in the ‘Vél d’Hiv’ (winter-sports stadium), then entrained to Auschwitz. Anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism have a good deal in common, being largely irrational, contradictory, and often based on sheer ignorance.
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'Only in Britain, perhaps, could spy chiefs – conventionally viewed as masters of subterfuge – be so highly regarded as ethical guides.'
In this month's Bookends, @AdamCSDouglas looks at the curious life of Henry Labouchere: a friend of Bram Stoker, 'loose cannon', and architect of the law that outlawed homosexual activity in Britain.
'We have all twenty-nine of her Barsetshire novels, and whenever a certain longing reaches critical mass we read all twenty-nine again, straight through.'
Patricia T O'Conner on her love for Angela Thirkell. (£)