Simon Heffer on Richard Evans Pursuit of Power: oh dear

Simon Heffer on Richard J. Evans, The Pursuit of Power: Europe, 1815-1914 (Penguin History of Europe), to paraphrase him, falls well below [the Speccie’s] normal standards of copy-editing:

And there are factual errors which in their range also help illustrate the scope of the book: there was no such person as Lord George Macartney; Gorz is not on the Mediterranean, but near the top of the Adriatic; Earl Russell, and not Gladstone, succeeded Palmerston as prime minister; there were 14, not 20, men in Disraeli’s 1868 cabinet; Thomas Crapper was never knighted (though these days would probably be a duke, especially if he assisted a prime minister); there is no proof Asquith had an affair (by which carnal activity is usually understood to be the defining part), lengthy or otherwise, with Venetia Stanley, even though he was obsessed with her; and it is simply not true to say Edward VII played no ‘notable part in politics’ — Salisbury, Balfour and Asquith especially found him to be a deep irritant because of his constant interference, and Balfour was outraged by the initiative that became the Entente Cordiale.

  1. Qualified contemporaries thought that there was a Lord George Macartney, but Heffer obviously has higher standards.
  2. The Adriatic is a constituent sea of the Mediterranean, or does Heffer really think that Barcelona is on the Balearic but not the Mediterranean as well?
  3. Wikipedia indeed only lists 14 members of Disraeli’s 1868 cabinet, but Edward Horsman speaking at the time said without contradiction that there were only nine, and I’m sure further digging would produce other counts.
  4. Breakfast before (more) bollocks.

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  1. Ahem, the Catalan sea, surely? (I’ve honestly seen it called that, ha!). Heffer is clearly no sailor, buoyant as he may be.

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