Geoffrey Wheatcroft

Geoffrey Wheatcroft’s books include The Strange Death of Tory England and Churchill’s Shadow.

‘The rhythm and rhetorical emphasis’ of the beginning of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Nicholas Spice writes, is ‘far more effective’ with a conductor (LRB, 16 March). I wonder if he is familiar with Spira mirabilis. This band of young European musicians rehearse symphonic music intensively and lengthily together and then perform it, all without a conductor. I heard them play Beethoven,...

Not Even a Might-Have Been: Chips’s Adventures

Geoffrey Wheatcroft, 19 January 2023

Oh my God, how rich and powerful Lord Channon has become! There is his house in Belgrave Square next door to Prince George, duke of Kent, and duchess of ditto and little Prince Edward. The house is all Regency upstairs with very carefully draped curtains and Madame Récamier sofas and wall paintings. Then the dining room is entered through an orange lobby and discloses itself...


Bloody Londoners

15 December 2022

‘In London … Jacobite leaders were being hanged, drawn and quartered before cheering English crowds,’ Neal Ascherson writes (LRB, 15 December 2022). Not quite: those leaders, notably Lords Kilmarnock, Balmerino and Lovat, were brought to London to be tried, and were beheaded in 1747, but that peculiarly sanguinary refinement of castration and disembowelment wasn’t enacted in England (apart...

A Little Holiday: Ben Hecht’s Cause

Geoffrey Wheatcroft, 23 September 2021

Inthe early 1920s, Herman J. Mankiewicz (‘Mank’) and Ben Hecht were not very successful writers in New York. Then Mank ventured west, the first of what was to become an exodus of literary talent to the Hollywood movie studios. In 1925, Mank summoned Hecht to join him with an offer of $300 a week to write for Paramount Pictures: ‘Millions are to be grabbed out here and...

The Finchley Factor: Thatcher in Israel

Geoffrey Wheatcroft, 13 September 2018

A short book​ could be written about British prime ministers and Zionism. It might begin in 1840, when Lord Palmerston, foreign secretary and prime minister-to-be, received a letter from his stepson-in-law Lord Ashley, an MP better known later as Lord Shaftesbury, the Tory philanthropist commemorated by the statue of Eros at Piccadilly Circus. Palmerston ‘had been chosen by...

Murder in the Cathedral

Anthony Howard, 7 December 1989

The most revealing moment at the recent meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod occurred during an impromptu speech by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Dr Robert Runcie was speaking...

Read more reviews

Painting the map red

William Boyd, 5 September 1985

The story of the South African gold and diamond fields and of the men who rose to wealth and notoriety as a result of their exploitation has stimulated writers since the 1870s, when diamonds were...

Read more reviews

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences