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The Camelot-Chequers Axis

Christopher Sandford of this parish is not only an adorner of these pages but has also garnered considerable status as a cultural historian.  His inquiring eyes range widely, playing over everything from cricket to Kurt Cobain, the Great War to The Great Escape, Conan Doyle to Eric Clapton, and countless other late-19th- and 20th-century Anglospheric interests.  Although conservative in some ways, he empathizes easily with unconservative subjects, or at least is able to tease out counterintuitive realities from modern myths.  So in Satisfaction, his biography of Keith Richards published in 2004, he revealed such shocking truths as that the countercultural icon ne plus ultra likes few things better than Surrey and evensong, and that the large beakers of lethal-looking liquid carried ostentatiously onto many a reputation-tarnishing or -burnishing talk show actually contain iced tea.

In Harold and Jack (which I reviewed for Chronicles in February 2015), Sandford inspected the unexpectedly warm relationship between the stuffily Conservative Harold Macmillan and JFK, the acronymed epitome of 1960’s chic and “radicalism.”  Now he plumbs more deeply Kennedy’s background, character, and development, underlining...

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