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December 23, 2003



"In Denial"




I 100% agree about Regime Change. Even on the rare occasions when I don't agree with Hitchens (Israel perhaps) I still enjoy reading him just for the wonderful prose style.

David Duff

You are 'doing a Norm' on us with your list of best reads for the year. Here are some of mine in no particular order - and like you, they may have been published earlier but I read them this year.

"Against the Idols of the Age" an anthology by Roger Kimball of the writings of the late, great David Stove, the only philosopher apart from Machiavelli to make me laugh out loud with delight.

Anything by Alan Furst! I read one of his earlier in the year but I cannot remember the title and just today I spotted his latest, "Blood of Victory" in paperback so perhaps it will appear on my next year's list. His evocation of war-time Europe is palpable and his description of the cosmopolitan, artistic and political middle-classes as they ebbed and flowed around the marching armies is spot on.

This year I managed to get a copy of "The White Rabbit", a 1950's book telling the story of Wing Cdr. Yeo-Thomas who served with unbelievable courage in S.O.E. and his real-life description of life in occupied France and Eastern Europe demonstrates just how meticulous Furst has been in his research. (For old, out-of-print books, try www.abebooks.co.uk)

Earlier this year I directed "Flare Path" by Rattigan (a little diamond of a play that still has the capacity to grip and move even a 'post-modern' audience!) and as part of my research I read Max Hasting's "Bomber Command". I could hardly bear to finish it. The bravery of those young men whose losses were both terrible and terrifying... there are no words!

Finally, and at the risk of sounding a bit of an oiler, your writings on this blog, Oliver, have been a constant and scintillating pleasure.

Merry Christmas,
David Duff

Tom Steinberg

Did you know that a younger, more artistic, but still fearsomely erudite branch of the Radice clan is now a blogger? http://harpist.typepad.com

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