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Knucklehead Truman

Douglas Johnson, 2 June 1983

The Eisenhower Diaries 
edited by Robert Ferrell.
Norton, 445 pp., £15.25, April 1983, 0 393 01432 0
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The Life and Times of Joe McCarthy: A Biography 
by Thomas Reeves.
Blond and Briggs, 819 pp., £11.95, June 1983, 0 85634 131 2
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The past has another pattern 
by George Ball.
Norton, 544 pp., £14.95, September 1982, 0 393 01481 9
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Torn Lace Curtain 
by Frank Saunders and James Southwood.
Sidgwick, 361 pp., £7.95, March 1983, 0 283 98946 7
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The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Path to Power 
by Robert Caro.
Collins, 882 pp., £15, February 1983, 0 00 217062 0
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The Politician: The Life and Times of Lyndon Johnson 
by Ronnie Dugger.
Norton, 514 pp., £13.25, September 1982, 9780393015980
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Years of Upheaval 
by Henry Kissinger.
Weidenfeld/Joseph, 1312 pp., £15.95, March 1982, 0 7181 2115 5
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Richard Nixon: The Shaping of his Character 
by Fawn Brodie.
Norton, 574 pp., £14.95, October 1982, 0 393 01467 3
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Haig: The General’s Progress 
by Roger Morris.
Robson, 458 pp., £8.95, October 1982, 9780860511885
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Keeping Faith: Memoirs of a President 
by Jimmy Carter.
Collins, 622 pp., £15, November 1982, 0 00 216648 8
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Crisis: The Last Year of the Carter Presidency 
by Hamilton Jordan.
Joseph, 431 pp., £12.95, November 1982, 0 7181 2248 8
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Power and Principle: Memoirs of the National Security Adviser 1977-81 
by Zbigniew Brzezinski.
Weidenfeld, 587 pp., £15, April 1983, 0 297 78220 7
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... his wartime driver, Kate Summersby Morgan, does not seem likely to persist, and was only a rumour. Frank Saunders, the driver who worked for President Kennedy’s parents, proceeds by innuendo rather than by rumour. The President, he tells us, did not like to sleep alone and when no one else was present, made use of a mysterious college friend, called Lem ...

Grandiose Moments

Frank Kermode, 6 February 1997

Ford Madox Ford: A Dual Life, Vol. II 
by Max Saunders.
Oxford, 696 pp., £35, September 1996, 0 19 212608 3
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... In 1971 Arthur Mizener’s The Saddest Story seemed adequately exhaustive, but now Max Saunders comes along with two vast volumes, even more thorough and more than doubling the page count. Alan Judd, faithful to Ford’s own lack of respect for academic pieties, brought out his footnoteless but still valuable life of Ford in 1990. ...

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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... on the enterprise from within, isn’t ever heard from again. On the other hand, Frances Stonor Saunders’s gripping book is stuffed with names of individuals, organisations and publications, whose sleazy history she gives in painstaking detail. Unfortunately, not all of her information is fully accurate or complete. It is, for example, careless to place ...

Stainless Splendour

Stefan Collini: How innocent was Stephen Spender?, 22 July 2004

Stephen Spender: The Authorised Biography 
by John Sutherland.
Viking, 627 pp., £25, May 2004, 0 670 88303 4
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... Apart from help from Spender’s family and friends, we are told that the typescript was read by Frank Kermode, Stuart Hampshire, Richard Wollheim and Karl Miller, a formidable jury who, at the very least, seem likely to have ensured that a satisfactory account of the Encounter imbroglio would be given. Faced with such difficulties and such good ...

The Balboan View

Kenneth Silverman: Alfred Kinsey, 7 May 1998

Alfred Kinsey: A Public/Private Life 
by James Jones.
Norton, 937 pp., £28, October 1997, 0 393 04086 0
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... University of Indiana, it appeared in 1948 under the imprint of a medical textbook house, the W.B. Saunders Company of Philadelphia. Weighing three pounds, its 804 pages confronted readers with 162 tables and 173 graphs. Yet it flooded out in a first printing of 100,000 copies, excited more than five hundred articles and reviews, and was declared by Time ...

The Writer and the Valet

Frances Stonor Saunders, 25 September 2014

... of the diaspora, of ‘Russia Abroad’, that strange in-between place where, as Semyon Frank said, one had to ‘live and breathe in a vacuum’.‘Zhivago’, in the pre-revolutionary genitive case, means ‘the living one’. On the novel’s first page a hearse is being followed to the grave. ‘Whom are you burying?’ the mourners are ...

Stuck on the Flypaper

Frances Stonor Saunders: The Hobsbawm File, 9 April 2015

... had installed itself in the KPD headquarters, now conveniently vacant. Liddell was assisted by Frank Foley, MI6’s Berlin station chief, whose diplomatic cover was passport control officer. On 31 March, the two men entered Karl Liebknecht Haus, now renamed Horst Wessel Haus and sporting a huge swastika where only weeks earlier Lenin had stared out from a ...

The Old, Bad Civilisation

Arnold Rattenbury: Second World War poetry, 4 October 2001

Selected Poems 
by Randall Swingler, edited by Andy Croft.
Trent, 113 pp., £7.99, October 2000, 1 84233 014 4
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British Writing of the Second World War 
by Mark Rawlinson.
Oxford, 256 pp., £35, June 2000, 0 19 818456 5
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... otherwise disposed of. We know now, particularly from the meticulous research of Frances Stonor Saunders in Who Paid the Piper? (1999), that this was a warfare at least co-ordinated, sometimes paid for, by the CIA – a fact both bruited and denied at the time. Of course there were weapons ready to hand in England: Churchill’s death-dealing ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: Bennett’s Dissection, 1 January 2009

... and expert on China, a man who fascinates Steiner and whom he wanted to write about in Frank Kermode’s Modern Masters series, published in the 1970s. Steiner had first seen Needham at a protest meeting against Anglo-American intervention in Korea in 1950, at which the distinguished scientist claimed to have incontrovertible proof of the use of ...

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