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Christopher Hugh Sykes FRSL (17 November 1907 – 8 December 1986) was an English author. Born into a well-off northern English landowning family, he was the second son of the diplomat Sir Mark Sykes (1879–1919), and his wife, Edith (née Gorst). His sister was Angela Sykes, the sculptor. His uncle, also Christopher Sykes, was, for a time, a close friend of Edward VII.
Northern England, also known as the North of England or simply the North, is the northern part of England, considered as a single cultural area. It extends from the Scottish border in the north to near the River Trent in the south, although precise definitions of its southern extent vary. Northern England approximately comprises three statistical regions: the North East, North West and Yorkshire and the Humber. These have a combined population of around 14.9 million as of the 2011 Census and an area of 37,331 km2. Northern England contains much of England's national parkland but also has large areas of urbanisation, including the conurbations of Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Teesside, Tyneside, Wearside, and South and West Yorkshire.
The Sykes family of Sledmere own Sledmere House in Yorkshire, England.
Colonel Sir Tatton Benvenuto Mark Sykes, 6th Baronet was an English traveller, Conservative Party politician and diplomatic advisor, particularly with regard to the Middle East at the time of the First World War. He is associated with the Sykes–Picot Agreement, drawn up while the war was in progress, regarding the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire by Britain, France and Russia.
Educated at Downside School and Christ Church, Oxford, Sykes was, for a time in his youth, in the Foreign Office, including a stint as an attaché (1928–29) in the British Embassy in Berlin, where Harold Nicolson was then Counsellor. This was followed by a year (1930–31) at the British Legation in Teheran. An early hero was Aubrey Herbert, remembered now as the man who inspired John Buchan's classic thriller, Greenmantle . [ citation needed ]
Downside School is a co-educational Catholic independent school for children aged 11 to 18, located in Stratton-on-the-Fosse, between Westfield and Shepton Mallet in Somerset, south west England, attached to Downside Abbey. It has both boarding and day pupils.
Christ Church is a constituent college of the University of Oxford in England. Christ Church is a joint foundation of the college and the cathedral of the Oxford diocese, which serves as the college chapel and whose dean is ex officio the college head.
The University of Oxford is a collegiate research university in Oxford, England. There is evidence of teaching as early as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's second-oldest university in continuous operation. It grew rapidly from 1167 when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris. After disputes between students and Oxford townsfolk in 1209, some academics fled north-east to Cambridge where they established what became the University of Cambridge. The two 'ancient universities' are frequently jointly called 'Oxbridge'. The history and influence of the University of Oxford has made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.
Though Sykes thought of making politics his career, his stammer and also his artistic and imaginative disposition indicated that political life was not for him. At the School of Oriental Studies in London, he devoted himself to Persian studies in 1933 before travelling in Central Asia during 1933–34 with Robert Byron, who later wrote The Road to Oxiana recounting their long expedition in what was then an almost unexplored country. In the book, Byron states that Sykes was given an order to leave Persia, but they could negotiate that he leaves via Afghanistan with Byron.
Robert Byron was a British travel writer, best known for his travelogue The Road to Oxiana. He was also a noted writer, art critic and historian.
The Road to Oxiana is a travelogue by Robert Byron, first published in 1937. It is considered by many modern travel writers to be the first example of great travel writing. The word "Oxiana" in the title refers to the region along Afghanistan's northern border.
On their return to England, Sykes and Byron wrote a novel together under the name of Richard Waughburton, Innocence and Design, published in 1935. A little later, Sykes and Cyril Connolly planned a book with the title of The Little Voice. In common with other projects of Connolly's, the book never got beyond the planning stages. Sykes published in 1936 a biography of the German Persianist Wilhelm Wassmus; he did not, during later years, include this volume in his list of his publications. A memoir of Byron, killed at sea in 1941, was included in Sykes' best-selling book, Four Studies in Loyalty. [ citation needed ]
Cyril Vernon Connolly was an English literary critic and writer. He was the editor of the influential literary magazine Horizon (1940–49) and wrote Enemies of Promise (1938), which combined literary criticism with an autobiographical exploration of why he failed to become the successful author of fiction that he had aspired to be in his youth.
Sykes had an eventful war. Having held, like his famous father, a Territorial Army commission in The Green Howards in 1927–30, he was commissioned in 1939 as a reserve officer in the regiment's newly formed 7th Battalion. In June 1940, Sykes joined SO1 (later Special Operations Executive [SOE]), where he was personal assistant to Colonel Cudbert Thornhill. In October 1941, Sykes was sent out to Tehran as Deputy Director of Special Propaganda (DDSP) under diplomatic cover (Second Secretary at the British Legation) in the aftermath of the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran, where he remained until November 1942, when he was transferred to Cairo. Out of a job because his department had been wound up, Sykes found time to write a light novel, High Minded Murder (1944), something of a roman à clef, set in wartime Cairo where Graham Greene's sister Elizabeth was living(Sykes mentions Greene himself in his biography of Waugh). Meanwhile, after failing to find any position as an intelligence officer in the Middle East, Sykes returned to the UK in May 1943, volunteered for the Special Air Service (SAS), and was posted to the Commando Training Depot at Achnacarry Castle, Invernesshire on 1 July 1943. As an SAS officer, Sykes, who spoke fluent French but could not pass as a native, undertook extremely hazardous work with the French Resistance: an experience which, like his friendship with Byron, was depicted in Four Studies in Loyalty (dedicated to the town of Vosges), this time in that book's last chapter.
The Special Operations Executive (SOE) was a British World War II organisation. It was officially formed on 22 July 1940 under Minister of Economic Warfare Hugh Dalton, from the amalgamation of three existing secret organisations. Its purpose was to conduct espionage, sabotage and reconnaissance in occupied Europe against the Axis powers, and to aid local resistance movements.
The Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran, also known as the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Persia, was the joint invasion of Iran in 1941 during the Second World War by the British Commonwealth and the Soviet Union. The invasion lasted from 25 August to 17 September 1941 and was codenamed Operation Countenance. Its purpose was to secure Iranian oil fields and ensure Allied supply lines for the USSR, fighting against Axis forces on the Eastern Front. Though Iran was neutral, the Allies considered Reza Shah to be friendly to Germany, deposed him during the subsequent occupation and replaced him with his young son Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
The Special Air Service (SAS) is a special forces unit of the British Army. The SAS was founded in 1941 as a regiment, and later reconstituted as a corps in 1950. The unit undertakes a number of roles including covert reconnaissance, counter-terrorism, direct action and hostage rescue. Much of the information and actions regarding the SAS is highly classified, and is not commented on by the British government or the Ministry of Defence due to the sensitivity of their operations.
Nowadays Sykes is especially remembered for his biography of his friend Evelyn Waugh, whom he met after the success of Waugh's Vile Bodies. He introduced Waugh to the socialite Diana Cooper, aka Lady Stitch. He praised Brideshead, Waugh's Catholic epic (the two were both Catholics, but with the notable difference—mentioned by Waugh's son Auberon when reviewing Sykes's book in the November 1975 issue of Books and Bookmen – that whereas Waugh converted to Roman Catholicism in his twenties, Sykes was a cradle Catholic) though admitting to his dislike of the character Julia Flyte. Sykes makes some interesting comparisons between scenes in Waugh's books and those of William M Thackeray - the fox hunting scene in a Handful of Dust is compared to that in Barry Lyndon.
Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh was an English writer of novels, biographies, and travel books, and he was also a prolific journalist and book reviewer. His most famous works include the early satires Decline and Fall (1928) and A Handful of Dust (1934), the novel Brideshead Revisited (1945), and the Second World War trilogy Sword of Honour (1952–61). He is recognised as one of the great prose stylists of the English language in the 20th century.
Auberon Alexander Waugh was an English journalist, and eldest son of the novelist Evelyn Waugh. He was widely known by his nickname Bron.
Sykes is also remembered to a lesser extent, for his history of the British Mandate of Palestine, Crossroads to Israel (1965). He also wrote several books of fiction and lives of Orde Wingate (published 1959 - Sykes drew attention to Wingate as the possible basis for Waugh's character Brigadier Ritchie Hook in The Sword of Honour trilogy, in his biography of Waugh) the general sometimes known as the "Lawrence of Judea" (a phrase that Wingate deplored); Lady Astor, who, born in Virginia, was one of the first women to sit in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom; and Adam von Trott zu Solz, executed following his part in the failed 20 July plot to assassinate Hitler. [ citation needed ]
After 1945 Sykes worked for many years in BBC Radio, where he helped to get Waugh's broadcast on P G Wodehouse, who was captured in Le Touquet by the Germnas, on air, as well as writing for several British and American periodicals, including The New Republic , The Spectator , Books and Bookmen, The Observer and the short-lived English Review Magazine. He was invested as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. [ citation needed ]
He married Camilla Georgiana, daughter of Sir Thomas Wentworth Russell (great-grandson of the 6th Duke of Bedford) [ citation needed ] Writer/journalist Tom Sykes is a grandson.on 25 October 1936. Their son, Mark Richard Sykes (born 9 June 1937), by his second marriage, is father to six children including New York-based fashion writer and novelist Plum Sykes. The writer and photographer, Christopher Simon Sykes, is a nephew.
This section lacks ISBNs for the books listed in it. (September 2014)
Innocence and Design (1935; written as "Richard Waughburton", jointly with Robert Byron)
Maria Krystyna Janina Skarbek, OBE, GM, Croix de guerre, also known as Christine Granville, was a Polish agent of the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) during the Second World War. She became celebrated especially for her daring exploits in intelligence and irregular-warfare missions in Nazi-occupied Poland and France.
During World War II, Operation Tombola was a major Special Air Service raid on German rear areas in Italy.
Orde Charles Wingate & Two Bars was a senior British Army officer, known for his creation of the Chindit deep-penetration missions in Japanese-held territory during the Burma Campaign of World War II.
Friedrich Adam von Trott zu Solz was a German lawyer and diplomat who was involved in the conservative resistance to Nazism. A declared opponent of the Nazi regime from the beginning, he actively participated in the Kreisau Circle of Helmuth James Graf von Moltke and Peter Yorck von Wartenburg. Together with Claus von Stauffenberg he conspired in the 20 July plot, and was supposed to be appointed Secretary of State in the Foreign Office and lead negotiator with the Western Allies if they had succeeded.
Decline and Fall is a novel by the English author Evelyn Waugh, first published in 1928. It was Waugh's first published novel; an earlier attempt, titled The Temple at Thatch, was destroyed by Waugh while still in manuscript form. Decline and Fall is based, in part, on Waugh's schooldays at Lancing College, undergraduate years at Hertford College, Oxford, and his experience as a teacher at Arnold House in north Wales. It is a social satire that employs the author's characteristic black humour in lampooning various features of British society in the 1920s.
A Handful of Dust is a novel by the British writer Evelyn Waugh. First published in 1934, it is often grouped with the author's early, satirical comic novels for which he became famous in the pre-World War II years. Commentators have, however, drawn attention to its serious undertones, and have regarded it as a transitional work pointing towards Waugh's Catholic postwar fiction.
Colonel The Honourable Aubrey Nigel Henry Molyneux Herbert, of Pixton Park in Somerset and of Teversal, in Nottinghamshire, was a British soldier, diplomat, traveller, and intelligence officer associated with Albanian independence. He was twice offered the throne of Albania. From 1911 until his death he was a Conservative Member of Parliament. His eldest half-brother was George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon (1866–1923), the famous Egyptologist who discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun, who predeceased him by five months, by legend due to the "curse of the pharaohs". He suffered during most of his life from poor eyesight and was almost blind by his early 40s.
John Murray is a British publisher, known for the authors it has published in its history, including Jane Austen, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Lord Byron, Charles Lyell, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Herman Melville, Edward Whymper, and Charles Darwin. Since 2004, it has been owned by conglomerate Lagardère under the Hachette UK brand. Business publisher Nicholas Brealey became an imprint of John Murray in 2015.
Marie Illarionovna Vassiltchikov was a Russian princess who wrote "Berlin Diaries, 1940-1945", which described the effects of the bombing of Berlin and events leading to the attempted assassination of Adolf Hitler in the 20 July Plot.
The Special Night Squads (SNS) were a joint British-Jewish counter-insurgency unit, established by Captain Orde Wingate in Mandatory Palestine in 1938, during the 1936-1939 Arab revolt. The SNS basically comprised British infantry soldiers, together with some men drawn from the Jewish Supernumerary Police, and total unit strength was 100 by 1938. Wingate selected his men personally, among them Yigal Allon and Moshe Dayan, and trained them to form small mobile striking units. Wingate also collaborated with the Jewish paramilitary formation, the Haganah, reinforcing his unit with some of Haganah's Fosh commandos. Given British opposition to the formal creation of Jewish military units, it is not clear to what degree the authorities were aware of the exact details of Wingate's operations in this regard.
William Edward David Allen was a British scholar, Foreign Service officer, politician and businessman, best known as a historian of the South Caucasus—notably Georgia. He was closely involved in the politics of Northern Ireland, and had fascist tendencies.
The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold is a novel by the British writer Evelyn Waugh, first published in July 1957. It is Waugh's penultimate full-length work of fiction, which the author called his "mad book"—a largely autobiographical account of a period of hallucinations caused by bromide intoxication that he experienced in the early months of 1954, recounted through his protagonist Gilbert Pinfold.
Sir Ronald Evelyn Leslie Wingate, 2nd Baronet, was a British colonial administrator, soldier and author. Wingate was born in 1889 in Kensington, London, and educated at Bradfield College and Balliol College, Oxford before entering the Indian Civil Service. In the Civil Service, he served as an Assistant Commissioner in Punjab and the city magistrate of Delhi.
Shiela Grant Duff was a British author, journalist and foreign correspondent. She was notable for her opposition to appeasement before the Second World War.
Gereon Karl Goldmann, OFM was a German Franciscan priest, a World War II veteran of the Wehrmacht and Waffen SS, and a member of the German Resistance against Adolf Hitler.
The Temple at Thatch was an unpublished novel by the British author Evelyn Waugh, his first adult attempt at full-length fiction. He began writing it in 1924 at the end of his final year as an undergraduate at Hertford College, Oxford, and continued to work on it intermittently in the following 12 months. After his friend Harold Acton commented unfavourably on the draft in June 1925, Waugh burned the manuscript. In a fit of despondency from this and other personal disappointments he began a suicide attempt before experiencing what he termed "a sharp return to good sense".
Anton Gill is a British writer of historical fiction and nonfiction. He won the H. H. Wingate Award for non-fiction for The Journey Back From Hell, an account of the lives of survivors after their liberation from Nazi concentration camps.