ONE OF MY hstory masters always used to qualift the dates he gave with the proviso, ‘Give or take a hundred years’. I’m afraid we took this for ignorance, but I think it was his way of explaining that there was more to the subiect than the recital of dates. Later at Oxford mv d examiners asked me to give the dates of George II17s prime ministers. I thought then, and stdl do, that ths was a pretty fatuous way to evaluate three years of study under historians such as Richard Cobb and Christopher Hd. In other words, I am not a fan of hstory by numbers.
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I have just spent a wonderful few minutes re-reading the best book review of the year in my opinion. It's by Piers Brendon in September's issue of @Lit_Review. Beautifully captioned as 'Jack the Lad', Brendon takes Fredrik Logevall's JFK: Vol.I apart! It's a laugh a minute. Ouch!
'Perhaps the real modern polymaths are the hidden ones who do not themselves grab the limelight but have the expertise to bring together different fields of knowledge: librarians, teachers, editors of literary journals…'
Jan Morris, who died last week, was a much-loved contributor to our pages. In 2017, she wrote a characteristically witty article about the different winds, their various personalities and how they had touched her life: https://literaryreview.co.uk/let-it-blow.