Noel Annan (1916–2000) was a British military intelligence officer and scholar of European history. His works include Leslie Stephen and Our Age, Changing Enemies: The Defeat and Regeneration of Germany, and The Curious Strength of Positivism in English Political Thought.


The Camel at the Door

First Childhood

by Lord Berners

A Distant Prospect

by Lord Berners
The English “vogue novel” is by definition an ephemeral affair, as perishable as a spider’s web. In its classic form the setting is a country house where the characters assemble and do little else except talk about themselves, their friends, and their ideas; and it is essential that the characters …

Cat & Pig

Winston and Clementine: The Personal Letters of the Churchills

edited by Mary Soames
The British like to think of their country as the cradle of parliamentary democracy, but many years passed before it became democratic. The aristocracy ruled during the nineteenth century, and even in the twentieth century, when women at last won the vote, patrician government prevailed. There were gaps when Labour …

Dean of the Cold War

Acheson: The Secretary of State Who Created the American World

by James Chace
Most Europeans think of Dean Acheson as the most distinguished American secretary of state in this century, the progenitor of the Marshall Plan, the sponsor of the Franco-German alliance, and the man who brought into being the North Atlantic Treaty, which committed America to the defense of Europe against Soviet …

Blue Fingernails

Violet: The Life and Loves of Violet Gordon Woodhouse

by Jessica Douglas-Home
Violet Gordon Woodhouse, who died at seventy-seven in 1948, was the most admired English harpsichordist of her time; for much of her life she presided over a ménage of four adoring men, and she fascinated many of the prominent writers and musicians she came to know. In her well-written biography …

Secret Sharers

The File: A Personal History

by Timothy Garton Ash
In Julien Duvivier’s pre-war movie Un Carnet de Bal, a woman turns up an old dance program with the names of her beaux and sets out to find what had happened to them twenty years later. In much the same way Timothy Garton Ash decided to look up the informers …

Between the Acts

Bloomsbury Recalled

by Quentin Bell

Lutyens and the Edwardians: An English Architect and his Clients

by Jane Brown
Why do we have an inextinguishable desire to designate certain periods as an age or an epoch or an era? Is it a plot to impose order on that swirling movement of events and tendencies in history which would otherwise be unintelligible? Or is it a device to make our …

The Abominable Emperor

An Uncommon Woman: The Empress Frederick, Daughter of Queen Victoria, Wife of the Crown Prince of Russia, Mother of Kaiser Wilhelm

by Hannah Pakula

Blood and Iron: From Bismarck to Hitler: The von Moltke Family's Impact on German History

by Otto Friedrich
After 1919 dispossessed royalty and their courtiers deluged the public with memoirs whose absurdity was matched by their banality. Cecil Beaton decided to write a spoof that was illustrated with sumptuous photographs and drawings. It purported to be by a penniless exile in New York called Baroness von Bülop. Beaton …

The Best Years of Their Lives

Selling War: The British Propaganda Campaign Against American 'Neutrality' in World War II

by Nicholas John Cull

London at War

by Philip Ziegler
The spring this year was bitterly cold in Britain. But for the first week in May the north wind relented, and VE day was celebrated in baking sunshine. The nation wallowed in nostalgia. Nostalgia for past glory and for a war that, apart from a few revisionist historians, people remembered …