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D.A.N. Jones, 17 November 1983

Peter Hall’s Diaries: The Story of a Dramatic Battle 
edited by John Goodwin.
Hamish Hamilton, 507 pp., £12.95, November 1983, 0 241 11047 5
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... Hall dictated more than a million words, he tells us, as source material for future historians. To John Goodwin, his trusty press officer, he has allotted the task of anthologising some quarter-million of those words. Goodwin has been his word processor. This book is an example of information technology. The dictator ...

Exact Walking

Christopher Hill, 19 June 1980

Calvin and English Calvinism to 1649 
by R.T. Kendall.
Oxford, 252 pp., £12.50, February 1980, 0 19 826716 9
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... shifts take place. He does refer to one theological factor of some historical importance. John Cotton, who left England for New England in 1633, was an experimental predestinarian on this side of the Atlantic who slipped into something very like antinomianism in America. He did so by reviving Calvin. Assurance is the essence of saving faith, and faith ...

Forget the Klingons

James Hamilton-Paterson: Is there anybody out there?, 6 March 2003

Evolving the Alien: The Science of Extraterrestrial Life 
by Jack Cohen and Ian Stewart.
Ebury, 369 pp., £17.99, September 2002, 0 09 187927 2
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XTL: Extraterrestrial Life and How to Find It 
by Simon Goodwin and John Gribbin.
Weidenfeld, 191 pp., £12.99, August 2002, 1 84188 193 7
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... It belongs, in fact, in the category of Jack&Ian’s despised astrobiology. Unlike Jack&Ian, Simon Goodwin and John Gribbin are very keen on habitable zones, drawing two concentric spheres of habitability out from the Sun to mark the limits between which it might be worth looking for life. After reading Evolving the Alien ...

Puritan Neuroses

Blair Worden, 19 April 1984

The Puritan Gentry: The Great Puritan Families of Early Stuart England 
by J.T. Cliffe.
Routledge, 313 pp., £18.95, March 1984, 0 7102 0007 2
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The Puritan Moment: The Coming of Revolution in an English County 
by William Hunt.
Harvard, 365 pp., £30.60, April 1983, 0 674 73903 5
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Godly People: Essays on English Protestantism and Puritanism 
by Patrick Collinson.
Hambledon, 604 pp., £24, July 1982, 9780907628156
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Laud’s Laboratory: The Diocese of Bath and Wells in the Early 17th Century 
by Margaret Steig.
Associated University Presses, 416 pp., £30, September 1983, 0 8387 5019 2
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The Puritan Conversion Narrative: The Beginnings of American Expression 
by Patricia Caldwell.
Cambridge, 210 pp., £17.50, December 1983, 0 521 25460 4
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Protestant Reformers in Elizabethan Oxford 
by C.M. Dent.
Oxford, 262 pp., £17.50, June 1983, 0 19 826723 1
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... in history are all the rage – nowhere more so than in the study of the English Civil Wars. John Morrill, that panjandrum of Civil War revisionism, is reported to have advised a recent meeting of the Royal Historical Society to think of 1640-60 not as the first of Europe’s modern revolutions but as the last of its wars of religion. J.T. Cliffe’s ...
Secret Affairs: Franklin Roosevelt, Cordell Hull and Sumner Welles 
by Irwin Gellman.
Johns Hopkins, 499 pp., $29.95, April 1995, 0 8018 5083 5
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Closest Companion: The Unknown Story of the Intimate Friendship between Franklin Roosevelt and Margaret Suckley 
edited by Geoffrey Ward.
Houghton Mifflin, 444 pp., $24.95, April 1995, 0 395 66080 7
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No Ordinary Time. Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War Two 
by Doris Kearns Goodwin.
Simon and Schuster, 759 pp., £18, June 1995, 0 671 64240 5
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The End of Reform 
by Alan Brinkley.
Knopf, 371 pp., $27.50, March 1995, 0 394 53573 1
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... cousin Franklin Roosevelt, found and edited by Geoffrey Ward) and No Ordinary Time (Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Pulitzer Prize-winning history of the home front during World War Two) are products of the current obsession with the private lives of public figures. But the books about the President’s women are written in the opposite spirit from the one about ...

Flossing

Andrew O’Hagan: Pukey poetry anthologies, 4 November 2004

Poems to Last a Lifetime 
edited by Daisy Goodwin.
HarperCollins, 308 pp., £18.99, October 2004, 0 00 717707 0
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All the Poems You Need to Say I Do 
edited by Peter Forbes.
Picador, 197 pp., £10, October 2004, 0 330 43388 1
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... improved on, with the publication of such instant classics as How to Become a Schizophrenic by John Modrow (1992) and How to Shit in the Woods by Kathleen Meyer (1989).1 There are people who will only read Westerns or Crime and others who prefer not to read any book unless, like the works of Maya Angelou, it manages somehow to have a self-help ...

JC’s Call

J.I.M. Stewart, 2 April 1981

Joseph Conrad: Times Remembered 
by Joseph Conrad.
Cambridge, 218 pp., £10.50, March 1981, 0 521 22805 0
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... died at the age of 67 on 3 August 1924, the day following the 18th birthday of his younger son, John Conrad, the author of the present book. John’s memories, which reach astonishingly far back into his earliest childhood, begin with his family living in poverty in a tiny cottage, ‘a dark and gloomy place’, at ...

Cheers

John Lanchester, 8 March 1990

The Thirsty Muse: Alcohol and the American Writer 
by Tom Dardis.
Abacus, 292 pp., £3.99, February 1990, 0 349 10143 4
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... of the condition by American novelists are surprisingly rare. One of the most vivid comes from John Updike’s Bech is back, the second of his books to deal with the American writer’s life through the alter ego of unprolific Jewish novelist Henry Bech, here attending a party: Like a fuzzy sock being ejected by the tumble drier there was flung towards ...

Joining them

Conrad Russell, 24 January 1985

Goodwin Wharton 
by J. Kent Clark.
Oxford, 408 pp., £15, November 1984, 0 19 212234 7
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Witchcraft and Religion 
by Christina Larner.
Blackwell, 184 pp., October 1984, 0 631 13447 6
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Lordship to Patronage: Scotland 1603-1745 
by Rosalind Mitchison.
Arnold, 198 pp., £5.95, November 1983, 0 7131 6313 5
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... Goodwin Wharton is a fascinating and amusing figure, but he is sui generis: the same things which make his flirtations with the occult such amusing reading also make it difficult to compare his doings with those of anyone else. He is a figure of the same chronological vintage as Sir Isaac Newton, dabbling in alchemy and gravity by turns, and he exhibits a perhaps comparable mixture (though in very different proportions) of the open-minded and the credulous ...

The Great Fear

William Lamont, 21 July 1983

Charles I and the Popish Plot 
by Caroline Hibbard.
North Carolina, 342 pp., £21, May 1983, 0 8078 1520 9
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Charles I: The Personal Monarch 
by Charles Carlton.
Routledge, 426 pp., £14.95, June 1983, 9780710094858
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The Puritan Moment: The Coming of Revolution in an English County 
by William Hunt.
Harvard, 365 pp., £24, April 1983, 0 674 73903 5
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... lack biographies in depth of key religious figure such as Stephen Marshall, Cornelius Burges, John Goodwin, Edmund Calamy, Henry Burton and others. They flit tantalisingly through the pages of Valerie Pearl’s valuable study of the London revolution of 1641, or Anthony Fletcher’s equally important analysis of petitioning on the eve of Civil ...

Knowledge Infinite

D.J. Enright, 16 August 1990

The Don Giovanni Book: Myths of Seduction and Betrayal 
edited by Jonathan Miller.
Faber, 127 pp., £6.99, July 1990, 0 571 14542 6
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... sound more like parody than playfulness; while, for all its entertainment value, the politician Goodwin Wharton’s conviction that God intended him to lie with James II’s wife and remedy her childlessness, whereupon the grateful monarch would abdicate in his favour, can only be attributed to plain lunacy. Robert Darnton reports on the autobiography of an ...

Diary

Stephen Frears: That's Hollywood, 20 December 1990

... least there were streets outside, but I can’t because of what happened to my former agent, Clive Goodwin, when he was staying there. He had a cerebral haemorrhage on a Saturday night, had asked for a doctor, had been taken for a drunk, and died in the police tank. I met with the Producers and the Studio and we agreed that the film should be made with ...

Shovelling Clouds

Adam Mars-Jones: Fred Vargas, 22 April 2015

Temps glaciaires 
by Fred Vargas.
Flammarion, 490 pp., €19.90, March 2015, 978 2 08 136044 0
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... status of logician or psychologist. This is Nero Wolfe lecturing his secretary-bodyguard Archie Goodwin, in Rex Stout’s Fer-de-Lance (1934), the first of the series: Must I again remind you, Archie, of the reaction you would have got if you had asked Velázquez to explain why Aesop’s hand was resting inside his robe instead of hanging by his side? Must ...

Irishness is for other people

Terry Eagleton: Enrique Vila-Matas, 19 July 2012

Dublinesque 
by Enrique Vila-Matas, translated by Anne McLean and Rosalind Harvey.
Harvill Secker, 245 pp., £16.99, June 2012, 978 1 84655 489 6
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... From Oliver Goldsmith and Oscar Wilde to George Bernard Shaw, Brendan Behan and Graham Norton, John Bull’s other island has furnished the British with a series of talented court jesters, praised and patronised in equal measure. Ireland was burdened with the task of writing much of its rulers’ great literature for them. The Irish themselves are adept at ...

Utopia in Texas

Glen Newey: Thomas More’s ‘Utopia’, 19 January 2017

Utopia 
by Thomas More, edited by George M. Logan, translated by Robert M. Adams.
Cambridge, 141 pp., £9.99, August 2016, 978 1 107 56873 0
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Utopia 
by Thomas More, translated by Gilbert Burnet.
Verso, 216 pp., £8.99, November 2016, 978 1 78478 760 8
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... they did to his hagiolaters. To the charge that More had an unnatural fondness for torture (when John Tewkesbury, a London leather merchant and Protestant, was incinerated after torture in 1531, More – by then lord chancellor – imagined ‘a hot firebrand burning at his back, that all the water of the world will never be able to quench’), one recent ...

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