Wednesday 17 April 2013

Ernest Latham

I was just  unexpectedly invited to meet Ernest Latham the historian, across the road from my flat, in Club A. He was not dancing but talking to the 'Critical Café' on the dance-floor of the club. He was an American diplomat here in the 1980s . His new book. Timeless and Transitory, includes essays on Olivia Manning, Countess Waldeck, Donald Dunham etc. It looks like a box of chocolates that I want to scoff at one go. 

He was a good friend of Patrick Leigh Fermor - (why did I not meet PLF?). 

Fascinating to be taken back to 1980s Bucharest for a couple of hours. Latham knew Silviu Brucan, who was a pathological liar. Professor Latham says was Brucan always said in the 80s that he was an unreconstructed Stalinist. He was a friend of Patrascanu but escaped the purge because he was in North America at the time that Patrascanu was executed.  

I suspect Latham also knew Ion Iliescu rather well in the 1980s, but he avoids this subject gracefully. He says Iliescu could have been third Bratianu had he been able to give up his belief in socialism. I have heard others say something like this, though I cannot see it.


  1. Well, how was it?

  2. The Talk, Reception.

  3. Guess both Bratianu and Stalin turned in their graves a little ... 'wish I were there to hear of a side of this country otherwise perfectly foreign. [reaching for the book instead]