Books of the year 2010 | D J Taylor

Hugh Trevor-Roper by Adam Sisman


As a former pupil of the subject's bête noire, Sir Keith Thomas, I was completely beguiled by Adam Sisman's Hugh Trevor-Roper (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £25). Once the scent of metaphorical cordite had blown away from all those old lecture rooms, one was left with a vain, touchy, nervous, ultimately tragic figure, who never got round to writing the masterpiece that lay within his grasp and, like so many of that university's eminences, seemed to crumble to dust when taken out of Oxford.

In a rather different part of the cultural firmament, Different for Girls (Ebury Press, £11.99), by the former Sleeper frontwoman Louise Wener, is the best rock memoir I have read in years - witty, level-headed and surprisingly matter-of-fact about her lightning transition from nowhere to magazine front pages and thence to a much more comfortable spot somewhere in between.

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This article first appeared in the 22 November 2010 issue of the New Statesman, Advantage Cameron