"The comprehensive guide to book reviews from The Bookseller"

Who's In, Who's Out Reviews

Who's In, Who's Out by Kenneth Rose, Richard Thorpe

Who's In, Who's Out

The Journals of Kenneth Rose: Volume 1 1944-1979

Kenneth Rose, Richard Thorpe

3.00 out of 5

3 reviews

Imprint: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
Publication date: 1 Nov 2018
ISBN: 9781474601542

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

4 stars out of 5
Jane Ridley
1 Dec 2018

"As a history of the Establishment in the second half of the 20th century, these journals will become indispensable and definitive"

As a history of the Establishment in the second half of the 20th century, these journals will become indispensable and definitive. They are the equivalent for that period of the journals of Harold Nicolson and Chips Channon for the first half, combining sharp observation and anecdote with political and social insights. They are also extremely entertaining. Rose was right to think that they were his most important and lasting contribution. D R Thorpe has done a great job of editing them. He has a light touch. 

Reviews

2 stars out of 5
Max Hastings
11 Nov 2018

"A biographer’s attempts to be a great modern diarist were stymied by snobbery"

One of Winston Churchill’s intimates observed contemptuously after the publication of the diaries of his personal physician, Lord Moran, that the Greatest Englishman’s doctor never attended any wartime encounter of significance, but was sometimes invited to dinner afterwards. It might be said of royal biographer and journalist Kenneth Rose that, while he aspired to become his generation’s Pepys, his journals come closer to the work of Charles Pooter, had he been a habitué of the Beefsteak club...More than a few grand people — the Duke of Kent, Harold Macmillan, Princess Margaret, exalted churchmen and many clever gays — found Rose a serviceable companion, but there is little evidence here that their society yielded memorable insights either into their lives, or his own.

4 stars out of 5
Patrick Kidd
10 Nov 2018

"Some people just have more talent for writing paragraphs than books."

Some people just have more talent for writing paragraphs than books.
What lovely paragraphs they are, though. Dip into the book at random and you often pull out a plum, seldom earth-shattering, but nonetheless fun, the essential for a diary story. He notes, for instance, that Noël Coward, whenever he wanted to go to the lavatory at a social gathering, would tell guests, “I must telephone the Vatican”; while lunch with Ralph Richardson brings the advice that raw mutton is the best material to use for removing stage make-up.