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Big Fish

Frank Kermode

9 September 1993
Tell Them I’m on my Way 
by Arnold Goodman.
Chapmans, 464 pp., £20, August 1993, 1 85592 636 9
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Not an Englishman: Conversations with Lord Goodman 
by David Selbourne.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 237 pp., £17.99, August 1993, 1 85619 365 9
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... The portrait of Lord Goodman on the jacket of his memoirs is from a photograph; the one on David Selbourne’s book is from a portrait by Lucian Freud. In the first he looks severe but quizzical, a kind man but not a man to be ...

Taking the Blame

Jean McNicol: Jennie Lee

7 May 1998
Jennie Lee: A Life 
by Patricia Hollis.
Oxford, 459 pp., £25, November 1997, 0 19 821580 0
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... would speak to us – so the office was run by an old lady and a child’, one of her private secretaries remembered. She relied instead on political will, her influence with Wilson and on Lord Goodman, a lawyer and old friend who was quickly co-opted. His presence made her job much easier and a number of people thought that he ran things while the Minister swanned about going to openings, but they ...
16 December 1993
Aren’t We Due a Royalty Statement? 
by Giles Gordon.
Chatto, 352 pp., £16.99, August 1993, 0 7011 6022 5
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Yesterday Came Suddenly 
by Francis King.
Constable, 336 pp., £16.95, September 1993, 9780094722200
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Excursions in the Real World 
by William Trevor.
Hutchinson, 201 pp., £16.99, September 1993, 0 09 177086 6
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... might and should be given a chance. Gordon’s portraits, of course, have to be highly selective as to detail; but his choice in this respect is often unsure. Having described, quite relevantly, ArnoldGoodman as ‘physically a dauntingly large and hairy man’, he adds that there was a Goodman brother who ‘was smaller in stature’. Now I come to think of it, though, that might interest an ...

This Trying Time

A.N. Wilson: John Sparrow

1 October 1998
The Warden 
by John Lowe.
HarperCollins, 258 pp., £19.99, August 1998, 0 00 215392 0
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... of Sparrow’s oldest friends, I was reminded of Auden’s line about Housman keeping ‘tears like dirty postcards in a drawer’. Then I remembered the line by which the same poet skewered Matthew Arnold: ‘And thrust his gift in prison till it died’. Sparrow was a man who appeared to have had every girt handed him by the gods: unshakeable homosexuality – no pram in the hall to make war on his ...

Keeping Left

Edmund Dell

2 October 1980
The Castle Diaries 
by Barbara Castle.
Weidenfeld, 778 pp., £14.95, September 1980, 0 297 77420 4
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... Harold Wilson had no choice but to stop Barbara’s headlong charges, as in the matter of pay beds, he could not bring himself to do it himself. He brought in the magnificent, if always late, ArnoldGoodman. Wilson won four elections in difficult times. His third and fourth governments were elected in unprecedently difficult times, but his Ministers felt themselves to be very experienced. Most ...

Dingy Quadrilaterals

Ian Gilmour: The Profumo Case

19 October 2006
Bringing the House Down: A Family Memoir 
by David Profumo.
Murray, 291 pp., £20, September 2006, 0 7195 6608 8
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... me, so I suggested substituting ‘McCarthy in Westminster’. At least initially, my intervention proved unfortunate. The ‘industrious garbage collector’ immediately issued a writ, his solicitor ArnoldGoodman maintaining that it would be difficult to conceive a graver libel against a Member of Parliament. Naturally we defended the action. Nearly two years later, when the exchange of documents took ...

Endgame

John Bayley

17 March 1988
End of a Journey: An Autobiographical Journal 1979-1981 
by Philip Toynbee.
Bloomsbury, 422 pp., £25, February 1988, 0 7475 0132 7
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... not being able to write naturally himself. It seems likely that Philip Toynbee would have given anything to be a real novelist and a real poet, but in his ‘experimental’ novels – Tea with Mrs Goodman and The Garden to the Sea – and in the gargantuan poem Pantaloon which occupied him for so many years, the words seem always to be getting in the way, too keen to be doing their work, like dogs ...

Much like the 1950s

David Edgar: The Sixties

7 June 2007
White Heat: A History of Britain in the Swinging Sixties 
by Dominic Sandbrook.
Little, Brown, 878 pp., £22.50, August 2006, 0 316 72452 1
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Never Had It So Good: A History of Britain from Suez to the Beatles 
by Dominic Sandbrook.
Abacus, 892 pp., £19.99, May 2006, 0 349 11530 3
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... a Lovely War in the West End. Of course there were examples of avant-garde plays which didn’t go down well, and John Arden’s Serjeant Musgrave’s Dance was a notorious box-office disaster. But Arnold Wesker’s Roots (which is cited as having disappointing ticket sales in its first run) did capacity business on its revival alongside the other two plays in the trilogy. And Look Back in Anger ...

Good History

Christopher Hill

5 March 1981
After the Reformation: Essays in Honour of J.H. Hexter 
edited by Barbara Malament.
Manchester, 363 pp., £17.95, December 1980, 0 7190 0805 0
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Puritans and Adventurers 
by T.H. Breen.
Oxford, 270 pp., £10, October 1980, 0 19 502728 0
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On History 
by Fernand Braudel, translated by Sarah Matthews.
Weidenfeld, 226 pp., £10.95, January 1981, 0 297 77880 3
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Sociology and History 
by Peter Burke.
Allen and Unwin, 116 pp., £6.95, August 1980, 0 19 502728 0
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... Quentin Skinner’s ‘The Origins of the Calvinist Theory of Revolution’ is a by-product of his great work, The Foundations of Modern Political Thought. Revolutionary thinkers like Ponet, Goodman and Knox, he argues, owed more to Lutheran than to Calvinist ideas; and he traces justification of popular revolt to a group of Parisian nominalists of whom the most radical was Jacques Almain, the ...

Scoop after Scoop

Ian Jack: Chapman Pincher’s Scoops

4 June 2014
Dangerous to Know: A Life 
by Chapman Pincher.
Biteback, 386 pp., £20, February 2014, 978 1 84954 651 5
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... him as the Edward Snowden of his day: ‘No investigative journalist, before or since, has managed to reveal quite so many things that the [British] government wanted kept secret,’ writes Michael Goodman of the Department of War Studies at King’s College London. And yet Pincher believes he never threatened the security of the state – that would be the work of a traitor, which is the way he ...

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