7,772 book reviews and counting...

Who Loses, Who Wins: The Journals of Kenneth Rose, Volume Two 1979-2014 Reviews

Who Loses, Who Wins: The Journals of Kenneth Rose, Volume Two 1979-2014 by Kenneth Rose

Who Loses, Who Wins: The Journals of Kenneth Rose: Volume Two 1979-2014

Kenneth Rose

3.00 out of 5

4 reviews

Imprint: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
Publication date: 14 Nov 2019
ISBN: 9781474610582

The wry and amusing second volume of the journals of royal biographer and Sunday Telegraph journalist Kenneth Rose, one of the most astute observers of the Establishment in 20th-century Britain.

4 stars out of 5
14 Dec 2019

"His journals are stuffed with juicy plums, and they will become an indispensable source."

Unobtrusively edited by Thorpe, the diaries reveal Rose warts and all. Ridiculously snobbish, yes, but a courtier who revelled in gossip, which is the lifeblood of biography, and a man who could never resist a good story. His journals are stuffed with juicy plums, and they will become an indispensable source.

Reviews

3 stars out of 5
1 Dec 2019

"The world Rose’s journals describe is rarefied. "

As he got older and his health declined, Rose became querulous and many old friends found him impossible to deal with. Almost none of this asperity reaches these pages. I’m not sure whether Kenneth himself edited the writing in the journals or the editor of this volume, Richard Thorpe – who clearly has a fondness for his subject – has done the job for him. Either way, this is how Kenneth wished to be remembered by the world: as a suave, amusing columnist and gifted historian who walked with the great.

2 stars out of 5
17 Nov 2019

"it can’t be denied that he enjoyed the confidence of a glittering circle of friends"

Rose’s entries occasionally burst into magnificent life, but overall they seem rather flat — what interested him and his circle no longer seems very important. And if you think I’m being unkind, this is mild compared with Rose’s criticisms of rival diarists. Alan Clark is dismissed as “trivial, self-serving and dirty minded”. The work of Duff Cooper is written off as “disappointing”.

4 stars out of 5
Patrick Kidd
16 Nov 2019

"Further anecdotes from the man who knew everyone who was anyone do not disappoint"

This volume, even more than the first, is a glorious, multicolour gallery of snapshots of high society. Dip into it and you will find something fun, such as the story about Frank Longford, the anti-pornography campaigner, walking through Soho with a friend and declaring: “This place used to be a vulgar spot with a brothel and a sex shop. And now look: it’s a nice healthy massage establishment.” Or the revelation that when Laurence Olivier entered the House of Lords the perfectionist old ham insisted on having three dress rehearsals.