The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

April 8, 2016

April 8, 2015

Alan Clark (1928 to 1999) was a flamboyant, scandalous, funny, conservative member of pariliament and animal rights activist. I can't think of any American politician that set of descriptors could pin point. His biographer Ion Trewin (July 13, 1943 to April 8, 2015) used Clark's diaries in composing Alan Clark: The Biography (2009) and those volumes were notoriously replete. A book review quotes this amusing interchange:

In an absurd court case once brought by Alan Clark against a column which parodied his diaries, his opponents’ lawyer asked him, 'Would it be fair to say, Mr Clark, that you are somewhat obsessed with your personal appearance, physique and sexual attractiveness?’ 'Self-assessment is difficult enough in dealing with one’s income tax,’ Clark replied, 'I think in relation to character it is quite valueless.’

Clark also wrote military history and Trewin includes this detail:

His numerous defeats in politics were often to do with laziness. This was so with his books of military history too. He would get out of trouble by making things up. His book about the First World War generals took its title, The Donkeys, [1961] from the famous phrase about the British soldiers being 'lions led by donkeys’. Clark could not find the source of the quotation, so he falsely attributed it to the memoirs of Falkenhayn.

And now the biographer, a once director of the Man Booker prize, is also dead.

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