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Smoking for England

Paul Foot, 5 July 1984

Smoke Ring: The Politics of Tobacco 
by Peter Taylor.
Bodley Head, 384 pp., £9.95, March 1984, 0 370 30513 2
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... This theory later became the central slogan of the Thatcher-Reagan reaction of the Eighties. Peter Taylor’s marvellous book does awful damage to it. He deals with the power of the tobacco companies, especially the six giant ones which control the production, distribution and marketing of the crop all over the world. Tobacco has been around for some ...

Thanks to the Fels-Naptha Soap King

Miles Taylor: George Lansbury, 22 May 2003

George Lansbury: At the Heart of Old Labour 
by John Shepherd.
Oxford, 407 pp., £35, September 2002, 0 19 820164 8
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... unemployed men and their families to the coast. The inspiration behind the scheme was George Lansbury, the subject of John Shepherd’s biography, a book as meticulous as it is generous. It is nonetheless timely: just as the prison service has brown-filled this pleasant site, so, too, New Labour has trampled on the radical socialism of which ...

Having it both ways

Peter Clarke, 27 January 1994

A.J.P. TaylorA Biography 
by Adam Sisman.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 468 pp., £18.99, January 1994, 1 85619 210 5
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A.J.P. TaylorThe Traitor within the Gates 
by Robert Cole.
Macmillan, 285 pp., £40, November 1993, 0 333 59273 5
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From Napoleon to the Second International: International Essays on the 19th Century 
by A.J.P. Taylor, edited by Chris Wrigley.
Hamish Hamilton, 426 pp., £25, November 1993, 0 241 13444 7
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... as money. No one asked A.J.P. Who? Such tensions are worth exploring; and the more A.J.P. Taylor’s life is explored, the more tensions are disclosed. When he wrote his autobiography, he proposed to call it ‘An Uninteresting Story’, doubtless suspecting that his publishers would veto this proposal (as they duly did). Whatever else it ...

Misbehavin’

Susannah Clapp, 23 July 1987

A Life with Alan: The Diary of A.J.P. Taylor’s Wife, Eva, from 1978 to 1985 
by Eva Haraszti Taylor.
Hamish Hamilton, 250 pp., £14.95, June 1987, 0 241 12118 3
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The Painted Banquet: My Life and Loves 
by Jocelyn Rickards.
Weidenfeld, 172 pp., £14.95, May 1987, 0 297 79119 2
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The Beaverbrook Girl 
by Janet Aitken Kidd.
Collins, 240 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 00 217602 5
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... When the London Review of Books began to run a Diary in 1982, A.J.P. Taylor was one of its authors. He always delivered to an exact length, well before the deadline, and often in person. A new editorial assistant, handed copy by the small seventy-five-year-old in a deerstalker who had scaled the steep stairs to our earlier offices, decided he must be a Mercury messenger ...

Wife Overboard

John Sutherland: Thackeray, 20 January 2000

Thackeray 
by D.J. Taylor.
Chatto, 494 pp., £25, October 1999, 0 7011 6231 7
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... study to integrate a wealth of Thackeray illustration into its text, something that D.J. Taylor also does effectively. Taylor’s book represents a third generation of biography. His judgment on Thackeray is generous, but much less inclusive than Ray’s. The basis of ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: Birthdays and Centenaries, 5 May 1983

... now both dead, and ‘Michael Innes’, still alive. We had dinner in a private room at the George restaurant, now also dead. Halfway through dinner the waiter asked to speaks to me in private. Then he said: ‘I am a respectable married man and if that gentleman comes out again I shall go home.’ I expostulated with Tom, who restrained his curiosity ...

Mismatch

Rosemary Ashton, 17 October 1985

Troubled Lives: John and Sarah Austin 
by Lotte Hamburger and Joseph Hamburger.
Toronto, 288 pp., £19.50, May 1985, 0 8020 2521 8
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... It was fortunate for George Eliot, or Marian Evans as she was in 1852, that the philosopher Herbert Spencer rejected her brave and desperate pleas for him to marry her. If he had accepted, she might well have found herself in something akin to Sarah Austin’s position as emotional and financial prop to a miserable, selfish hypochondriac ...

Short Cuts

Rosemary Hill: Shakespeare’s Faces, 7 January 2016

... has supported. Only the question of its authorship was troublesome. The identity of ‘Jo: Taylor’ has been subjected to a needle-in-haystack search for a painter called John Taylor. Duncan-Jones, threading her way carefully back through the marginalia of the historian ...

Snob Cuts

Rosemary Hill: Modern Snobbery, 3 November 2016

... The bookseller was a snob about snobbery and thought it was vulgar to talk about class. D.J. Taylor is perhaps a literary snob for Cooper gets no mention in his much less enjoyable The New Book of Snobs: A Definitive Guide to Modern Snobbery (Little, Brown, £16.99). His first mistake is to attempt a definition rather than rely on examples. He suggests ...

Bring back the 19th century

Miles Taylor, 22 June 2000

British Society 1680-1880: Dynamism, Containment and Change 
by Richard Price.
Cambridge, 349 pp., £40, October 1999, 0 521 65172 7
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... of Hanover in the early 18th century has been extended by historians to encompass the reigns of George IV and William IV. Now Price wishes to stretch the elastic a little further and bring in the Victorians as well. He argues that neither the advent of Parliamentary democracy in 1832 nor the coming of free trade in 1846 saw off the dominant features of the ...

Taylorism

Norman Stone, 22 January 1981

Politicians, Socialism and Historians 
by A.J.P. Taylor.
Hamish Hamilton, 259 pp., £12.50, October 1980, 0 241 10486 6
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A.J.P. TaylorA Complete Annotated Bibliography 
by Chris Wrigley.
Harvester, 607 pp., £35, August 1980, 0 85527 981 8
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... with culture, I reach for my revolver when offered philosophies of history,’ wrote A.J.P. Taylor some years ago, when the ‘What is History’ theme was going the rounds. He likes to parade himself as a simple, practical man – ‘an old-fashioned, penny-counting historian’. He thinks that history’s only function is ‘fun’, dismisses the ...

God loveth adverbs

Jonathan Glover, 22 November 1990

Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity 
by Charles Taylor.
Cambridge, 601 pp., £25.95, November 1989, 0 521 38331 5
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... not ruined by redevelopment, or having friends with a sense of humor? One great virtue of Charles Taylor’s discussion of our values is that it escapes the narrowness of what is conventionally thought to be moral, and looks much more broadly. Another notable advance is that he goes beyond merely stating intuitions, and both shows how they used to be ...

There’s a porpoise close behind us

Michael Dobson, 13 November 1997

The Origins of English Nonsense 
by Noel Malcolm.
HarperCollins, 329 pp., £18, May 1997, 0 00 255827 0
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... by the most prolific of the poets reprinted by Malcolm: the celebrated scribbling wherryman John Taylor, known as the Water-Poet, enough of whose publications are in this vein to earn him the distinction of being England’s first professional manufacturer of nonsense. Taylor’s subsequent work includes, along with ...
Under Fire: An American Story 
by Oliver North and William Novak.
HarperCollins, 446 pp., £17.99, October 1991, 0 06 018334 9
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Terry Waite: Why was he kidnapped? 
by Gavin Hewitt.
Bloomsbury, 230 pp., £15.99, November 1991, 0 7475 0375 3
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... from different departments. The chairman of the Task Force, North reveals, was the Vice-President, George Bush. North gives him the highest accolade. ‘He was,’ he concludes, ‘comfortable with covert operations.’ Soon after Buckley was kidnapped in 1984, this little group with Bush at its head and North as its dynamo, was running the US Government ...

Goodbye to Some of That

Basil Davidson, 22 August 1996

... to depart for Hungary ‘since you know the Balkans’. Major Grand’s Chief of Staff, the late George Taylor, who had come from Australia (it is very much that kind of story), was unimpressed when I objected that while I had sojourned in Yugoslavia, a manner of Katmandu for the dissident young of those remote times, I had never done so in ...

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