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-REVIEWSMORE WAR MEMORIES* ALFRED Z[MMERN O F the works which form the subject of this article, the first two emanate from the same publishing . house and are apparently intended to supplement one another. They do, but not in the manner which appears to have been anticipated. Mr. Lloyd George's War Memoirs, which have so far only been carried down to his accession to the Premiership in December, [9[6, embody his personal recollections, written down in recent months. Lord Riddell's book, on the other hand, consists of extracts from a diary kept at the time. The entries are fairly continuous, but we are told in the preface that a certain number of passages have been cut out, presumably in deference to the Official Secrets Act. Thus we have in Mr. Lloyd George's volume the record of what it pleases him to remember, or rather to set down, after a lapse of nearly twenty years, whereas Lord Riddell catches Mr. Lloyd George on "the wing and gives uS the colour and atmosphere of his circle during the war years. Lord Riddell-at that time, Sir George Riddell-is a man who has risen to power and wealth in the newspaper world. His best-known publication is a Sunday newspaper called the News oj the World which provides police-·War Memoir.r of DOrJid Lloyd George, vol.s. I and II. Ivor Nicholson and Watson (Ryerson Press). Lord Riddell's War Diary, Ivor Nicholson and Watson (Macmillans in Canada). The Life oj Herbert Hmry Asqu;th, Lord Oxford and A.Jqui/h, by J. A. Spender and Cyril Asquith, vots. ] and 11, Hutchinson and Co. 245 THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTERLY court and other news for the very large public which likes to use its Sunday leisure for reading of that type. During the war Lord Riddell was the recognized link between the government and the press, having been chosen by his colleagues in the London press as their · representative on a press committee for naval and military matters set up in 1912. He had, however, established specially close personal relations with Mr. Lloyd George. His diary ·indicates that he had buil t for his statesmanfriend the country house at Walton Heath which the latter occupied during the war, and that he also later rented another house in Sussex in order to provide him with a convenient retreat. The record shows that Lord Riddell was in the closest contact ·with Mr. Lloyd George throughout the war-period. The entries are jotted down in telegraphic fashion, frequently giving the substance of conversations in dialogue form. They constitute an invaluable first-hand historical record. On the whole, the writer avoids general reflections, though there is an occasional comment revealing the shrewd weather-beaten man of affairs. One of these (May 27, 1916) betrays the fact that, close though the two men were to one another, the confidence between them was not absolute: "L. G. never tells me· about his meetings with Northcliffe, but I am sure they are in daily contact." The publishers' announcement tells us that the interest of the Riddell diary is in its picture of Mr. Lloyd George "vital, buoyant, incredibly dynamic ... the ma·n of imagination who saw dangers most clearly and was the least dismayed." The ordinary reader, particularly if he is able to remember the war-period, is not likely to have this reaction to its pages. Rather will he be surprised ~nd even, perhaps, shocked at the pettiness, the triviality, the self-centred egotism which continually obtrude them246 REVIEWS selves. . No doubt high politics must always be largely concerned with the play of personality, even in war-time. Nevertheless, the atmosphere of Walton Heath, in which Welsh hymn-singing is interspersed between conversations on Mr. Lloyd George's oratorical models, his post-war political prospects, and his plans for buying up the Daily Chronic/e, is not edifying at this distance of time. One historical point of considerable interest emerges from these pages. It concerns the genesis of the election of December, 1918, the cause of so much trouble to Europe and mankind. It appears that Mr. Lloyd George's original intention was...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 245-251
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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