Caroline Moorehead

Caroline Moorehead book about kidnapping, Fortune’s Hostages, was published recently.

Just Good Friends

Caroline Moorehead, 2 February 1984

When a Mafia suspect called Joseph Miceli Crimi led police, in March 1981, to an office safe in Castiglion Fibocchi, near Arezzo, which contained the names of prominent Italians and documents linking them to a series of dubious and highly confidential deals, the stability of the entire country came under threat. So, too, did the international institution of Freemasonry. The 962 people listed all belonged to a secret Masonic lodge, called Propaganda 2, and as Italian Freemasonry fell into disrepute, so the ripples of self-questioning spread outwards, to other Masonic brotherhoods. In France, there is now open discussion about Masonry’s close ties to the Socialists and speculation as to the part influential Masons played in the 1981 Elections. (The current French Grand Master is Air Force General Jacques Mitterrand, the President’s brother.) In America, it is widely known that 17 Presidents, including Ford and Reagan, have been Masons. The dollar bill bears not only the likeness of George Washington, who was initiated into Masonry in 1752, but the all-seeing eye, its symbol. Yet the precise nature of the Masonic bonds, the rituals exacted of its members, and indeed the very origins of the society, remain remarkably little explored.

Guerrilla International

Caroline Moorehead, 6 August 1981

One of the first reactions to the kidnapping in the spring of 1978 of Aldo Moro, leader of the Italian Christian Democratic Party, was fascinated disbelief. How could such a superbly timed and orchestrated feat, involving some fifty actors, the knocking-out of a local telephone system and the diverting of police cars, as well as routes and steps planned meticulously many months before, possibly be the work of Italians? How could a group like the Red Brigades, well-known for their chronic disorganisation, conceivably have pulled it off? The same incredulity was displayed when the Basque Nationalists assassinated Franco’s political heir, Carrero-Blanco. How could a collection of young Spaniards, on their own, be so efficient?


Caroline Moorehead, 5 February 1981

At 11.32 on a cold morning in London early last year six young men, who had been on a spending spree and had mailed 203 lb of women’s cocktail dresses, children’s toys and ties back to Baghdad, entered and took over the Iranian Embassy in Princes Gate. It was not immediately clear who they were or why they were there, but soon Scotland Yard learnt that behind the stuccoed facade overlooking Hyde Park there were 19 hostages, among them a British policeman.

Inventing Africa

Caroline Moorehead, 18 September 1980

‘We owe much to your country,’ the Anglican archbishop of Uganda told Patrick Marnham shortly before being shot in 1977. ‘We need you, and not just your knowledge; we need your fellowship. Most people here know this. What we have become, you made us.’ The tragedy of this statement suffuses Fantastic Invasion, the record Patrick Marnham brought back with him from a series of visits to West and East Africa. That, and Marnham’s own judgment: ‘We fear Africa, because when we leave it alone it works.’

Samuel’s Slave

Caroline Moorehead, 15 May 1980

‘And do you think, Dame Freya,’ an interviewer once asked Freya Stark, ‘that travel broadens the mind?’ There was a pause. The explorer pondered; a distant, reflective gaze settled on her face. The young man sat back, well pleased to see his question taken so seriously: for a minute, he could have been forgiven for thinking he was onto a winner. At last it became clear that Dame Freya was about to pronounce. He lent forward, expectantly. ‘No,’ the clear voice enunciated with extreme finality. ‘No.’ There was nothing more to be said.

Martha Gellhorn, the war reporter and writer who feared nothing on earth so much as boredom, and hated the ‘kitchen of life’, was enamoured of a different drudgery –...

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A Little ‘Foreign’: Iris Origo

P.N. Furbank, 27 June 2002

Iris Origo, who died in 1988 at the age of 86, was a highly esteemed biographer and autobiographer, author of The Last Attachment (1949), about Byron and Teresa Guiccioli, his last mistress; The...

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Dangers of Discretion: international law

Alex de Waal, 21 January 1999

Over a century ago, Gustave Moynier, a stocky middle-aged Genevan lawyer, author and philanthropist, proposed an international court to enforce respect for the Geneva Convention. Moynier was the...

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You would not want to be him

Colin McGinn, 19 November 1992

Bertrand Russell’s first and formative love affair was with symbolic logic. But the relationship, though fertile, was troubled. Beginning in rapture, as he moulded and extended the new...

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Getting rid of them

Tom Shippey, 31 August 1989

The first of these books has a clear plan, allowing several people to work on it. It pulls in material from all over the world, giving scope for frissons of strangeness and variety. Most of all,...

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Votes for Women, Chastity for Men

Brian Harrison, 21 January 1988

Social movements have been in vogue among British historians since the 1950s. This is partly because Labour’s agenda, strangely combining statist welfare and libertarian protest, has...

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Making history

Malise Ruthven, 19 June 1986

When, shortly before the Second World War, Freya Stark was asked by a publisher if she would write Gertrude Bell’s biography, she turned the idea down. Although she admired her famous...

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Rainy Nights

Sylvia Clayton, 1 March 1984

‘If ever there was a Christ-like man in human form, it was Marcus Lowe,’ said Louis B. Mayer, head of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, in tribute to a colleague. Graham Greene was listening at...

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Supreme Kidnap

James Fox, 20 March 1980

The readers of the Italian weekly L’Espresso (swaying in the breeze like a field of ripe corn) were treated, in their issue of 20 January, to a new form of journalistic entertainment...

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