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Emotional Sushi

Ian Sansom: Tony, Nick and Simon, 9 August 2001

One for My Baby 
by Tony Parsons.
HarperCollins, 330 pp., £15.99, July 2001, 0 00 226182 0
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How to Be Good 
by Nick Hornby.
Viking, 256 pp., £16.99, May 2001, 0 670 88823 0
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Little Green Man 
by Simon Armitage.
Viking, 246 pp., £12.99, August 2001, 0 670 89442 7
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... to Be Good now extends this fine line of wit even further: Here is a list of the people that Andrew and David have hitherto regarded as talentless, overrated, or simply wankers: Oasis, the Stones, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Robbie Williams, Kingsley Amis, Martin Amis, Evelyn Waugh, Auberon Waugh, Salman Rushdie, Jeffrey Archer, Tony Blair, Gordon ...

Into the Second Term

R.W. Johnson: New Labour, 5 April 2001

Servants of the People: The Inside Story of New Labour 
by Andrew Rawnsley.
Hamish Hamilton, 434 pp., £17.99, September 2000, 0 241 14029 3
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Mandelson and the Making of New Labour 
by Donald Macintyre.
HarperCollins, 638 pp., £6.99, September 2000, 0 00 653062 1
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Mo Mowlam: The Biography 
by Julia Langdon.
Little, Brown, 324 pp., £16.99, September 2000, 0 316 85304 6
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Ann Widdecombe: Right from the Beginning 
by Nicholas Kochan.
Politico’s, 302 pp., September 2000, 1 902301 55 2
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The Paymaster: Geoffrey Robinson, Maxwell and New Labour 
by Tom Bower.
Simon and Schuster, 272 pp., £17.99, March 2001, 0 7432 0689 4
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The Future of Politics 
by Charles Kennedy.
HarperCollins, 235 pp., £17.99, September 2000, 0 00 710131 7
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... remain outside. David Trimble was astonished but that’s how it always is with New Labour. Andrew Rawnsley records how the momentous decision that Britain would not join the euro during the current Parliament was taken. Aware of the increase in Euroscepticism from Philip Gould’s focus groups and daily readings of the Sun and the Mail, Gordon ...

Breast Cancer Screening

Paul Taylor, 5 June 2014

... of screening for cancer. ‘The NHS spends a significant amount of money on health screening,’ Andrew Miller, the chair of the committee, said, ‘and it is important that this is underpinned by good scientific evidence.’ But the awkward truth is that much of the evidence is contested. The argument over breast cancer screening has been going on for ...

Corbyn’s Progress

Tariq Ali, 3 March 2016

... chief of defence staff, Sir Nicholas Houghton. Interviewed on 8 November, he confided to a purring Andrew Marr that the army was deeply vexed by Corbyn’s unilateralism, which damaged ‘the credibility of deterrence’. On the same show, Maria Eagle, a PLP sniper with a seat on the front bench as the shadow defence secretary, essentially told Marr that she ...

The Great National Circus

Eric Foner: Punch-Ups in the Senate, 22 November 2018

The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War 
by Joanne Freeman.
Farrar, Straus, 450 pp., £20.99, September 2018, 978 0 374 15477 6
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... which had terrorised Northern settlers and sacked the town of Lawrence, but ridiculed Senator Andrew Butler of South Carolina in unusually personal terms, alluding to his speech impediment. ‘He shows an incapacity of accuracy,’ Sumner declared. ‘He cannot open his mouth, but out there flies a blunder.’ Brooks was Butler’s second cousin ...

A.E. Housman and Biography

Hugh Lloyd-Jones, 22 November 1979

A.E. Housman 
by Richard Perceval Graves.
Routledge, 304 pp., £9.75
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... taking account of the literary attitudes expressed in the London Introductory and Leslie Stephen Lectures. The author of such a study would find it helpful to have some understanding of the scholarly work which was the main business of Housman’s life, since the relation of this activity to his poetry is of great interest. Mr Graves quotes copiously ...

Into the Gulf

Rosemary Hill, 17 December 1992

A Sultry Month: Scenes of London Literary Life in 1846 
by Alethea Hayter.
Robin Clark, 224 pp., £6.95, June 1992, 0 86072 146 9
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Painting and the Politics of Culture: New Essays on British Art 1700-1850 
edited by John Barrell.
Oxford, 301 pp., £35, June 1992, 9780198173922
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London: World City 1800-1840 
edited by Celina Fox.
Yale, 624 pp., £45, September 1992, 0 300 05284 7
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... them, and when it is done with balance and integrity, as it is by John Barrell, Marcia Pointon or Stephen Daniels, writing on Coalbrookdale by Night, then the reader, whether they agree or not, gains by the reading. The history of art cannot be the history of art alone, but it must take the art into account. If the argument wanders too far from the picture ...

White Lie Number Ten

Nicholas Jose: Australia’s aboriginal sovereignty, 19 February 1998

Race Matters: Indigenous Australians and ‘Our’ Society 
edited by Gillian Cowlishaw and Barry Morris.
Aboriginal Studies Press, 295 pp., AUS $29.95, March 1998, 0 85575 294 7
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Aboriginal Sovereignty: Reflections on Race, State and Nation 
by Henry Reynolds.
Allen and Unwin, 221 pp., AUS $17.95, July 1996, 1 86373 969 6
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... with the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Lord Glenelg, and the Colonial Under-Secretary James Stephen (Virginia Woolf’s grandfather), with his Clapham Sect faith in the brotherhood of man. In the words of the historian Manning Clark, Stephen had come to the conclusion that ‘convicts and their descendants were ...

Mingling Freely at the Mermaid

Blair Worden: 17th-century poets and politics, 6 November 2003

The Crisis of 1614 and the Addled Parliament: Literary and Historical Perspectives 
edited by Stephen Clucas and Rosalind Davies.
Ashgate, 213 pp., £45, November 2003, 0 7546 0681 3
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The Politics of Court Scandal in Early Modern England: News Culture and the Overbury Affair 1603-60 
by Alastair Bellany.
Cambridge, 312 pp., £45, January 2002, 0 521 78289 9
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... Sir Thomas More, Sir Walter Ralegh, Samuel Daniel, Ben Jonson, Thomas May, John Milton, Andrew Marvell and many more – moved between history and poetry or drama, finding in them complementary means of instilling virtue and wisdom and influencing events. History, which was seen as a branch not only of scholarship but of rhetoric and of ...

Hey, Mister, you want dirty book?

Edward Said: The CIA, 30 September 1999

Who Paid the Piper? The CIA and the Cultural Cold War 
by Frances Stonor Saunders.
Granta, 509 pp., £20, July 1999, 1 86207 029 6
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... and mass killings. Yet it still gives me an eerie feeling to read about people like George Orwell, Stephen Spender and Raymond Aron, to say nothing of less admirable characters of the Melvin Lasky stripe, taking part in surreptitiously subsidised anti-Communist ventures – magazines, symphony orchestras, art exhibitions – or in the setting up of foundations ...

Visible Woman

James Shapiro: Sticking up for Shakespeare, 4 October 2007

Shakespeare’s Wife 
by Germaine Greer.
Bloomsbury, 406 pp., £20, September 2007, 978 0 7475 9019 4
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... in its closing couplet: ‘I hate, from hate away she threw,/And saved my life saying not you.’ Andrew Gurr was the first to point out that ‘hate away’ would have sounded to Elizabethans like ‘Hathaway’; Stephen Booth added that since the word ‘and’ was regularly pronounced ‘an’, Shakespeare may be hinting ...

Blame Robert Maxwell

Frederick Wilmot-Smith: How Public Inquiries Go Wrong, 17 March 2016

... it should be made in future inquiries. Chilcot has called Maxwellisation ‘normal practice’; Andrew Bailey and Brian Pomeroy, who are leading an inquiry into the near demise of HBOS, have said that it is ‘legally required’. Our law is such that custom slides silently into obligation. But in fact Maxwellisation is a recent innovation, barely ...

Dialling for Dollars

Deborah Friedell: Corruption in America, 19 March 2015

Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin’s Snuff Box to Citizens United 
by Zephyr Teachout.
Harvard, 376 pp., £22.95, October 2014, 978 0 674 05040 2
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... the presidential election of 2004, teaches law at Fordham University. Last year, she ran against Andrew Cuomo for the Democratic nomination for governor of New York. In more than 90 per cent of American elections, the politician who raises the most money wins. Teachout raised around $800,000; Cuomo raised more than $40 million. She hadn’t expected to beat ...

Beast of a Nation

Andrew O’Hagan: Scotland’s Self-Pity, 31 October 2002

Stone Voices: The Search for Scotland 
by Neal Ascherson.
Granta, 305 pp., £16.99, September 2002, 1 86207 524 7
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... to establish its role in bringing about a new United Kingdom within a new Europe. In the manner of Stephen Dedalus, we might do better to see Scotland’s conscience as ‘uncreated’; for while we must admit that Ascherson’s stones are interesting, they are not as interesting as people. Nationalism in Scotland is a place where good men and women busy ...

The Reviewer’s Song

Andrew O’Hagan: Mailer’s Last Punch, 7 November 2013

Norman Mailer: A Double Life 
by J. Michael Lennon.
Simon and Schuster, 947 pp., £30, November 2013, 978 1 84737 672 5
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... an A in the exam. Other kids who liked books were obsessed with the Holocaust, or serial killers, Stephen King, gangsters or Flowers in the Attic. My poison was Mailer. His writing popped off the page and in Advertisements for Myself I saw everything I felt a writer could be, a cosmonaut of psychic space who could find the pulse of their time in ...

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