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Dev and Dan

Tom Dunne, 21 April 1988

The Hereditary Bondsman: Daniel O’Connell, 1775-1829 
by Oliver MacDonagh..
Weidenfeld, 328 pp., £16.95, January 1988, 0 297 79221 0
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Eamon de Valera 
by Owen Dudley Edwards.
University of Wales Press, 161 pp., £19.95, November 1987, 0 7083 0986 0
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Nationalism and Popular Protest in Ireland 
edited by C.H.E. Philpin.
Cambridge, 466 pp., £27.50, November 1987, 0 521 26816 8
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Northern Ireland: Soldiers talking, 1969 to Today 
by Max Arthur.
Sidgwick, 271 pp., £13.95, October 1987, 0 283 99375 8
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War as a Way of Life: A Belfast Diary 
by John Conroy.
Heinemann, 218 pp., £12.95, February 1988, 0 434 14217 4
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... persist, and no other form of academic history achieves as wide a readership as biography. Oliver MacDonagh and Owen Dudley Edwards offer new interpretations of two men, each of whom dominated the politics of his time, Daniel O’Connell and Eamon de Valera. Their relevance to the current crisis is most apparent in the way each had to come to ...

There’s Daddy

Michael Wood, 13 February 1992

Flying in to Love 
by D.M. Thomas.
Bloomsbury, 262 pp., £14.99, February 1992, 0 7475 1129 2
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JFK 
directed by Oliver Stone.
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... have a history and a context. But this is not the sort of answer we get from either D.M. Thomas or Oliver Stone. Their suggestion is simpler. There is no paranoia, or paranoia is everywhere. For Thomas, this means anything goes (‘since fiction is a kind of dream, and history is a kind of dream, and this is both’). For Stone, it means whoever is passionate ...

Uplift

Nicholas Canny, 24 May 1990

The Emancipist: Daniel O’Connell, 1830-1847 
by Oliver Mac Donagh.
Weidenfeld, 372 pp., £20, October 1989, 0 297 79637 2
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... in his own time. This particular biography calls for even greater respect because its author, Oliver Mac Donagh, has established himself as the most incisive and (with the late F.S.L. Lyons) the most prolific Irish-born historian of his generation. The compound is preferred over the simple adjective to describe Mac Donagh not because there is any doubt ...

Out of the East

Blair Worden, 11 October 1990

The King’s Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of Thomas Wolsey 
by Peter Gwyn.
Barrie and Jenkins, 666 pp., £20, May 1990, 0 7126 2190 3
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Oliver Cromwell and the English Revolution 
by John Morrill.
Longman, 300 pp., £17.95, May 1990, 0 582 06064 8
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The Writings of William Walwyn 
edited by Jack McMichael and Barbara Taft.
Georgia, 584 pp., $45, July 1989, 0 8203 1017 4
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... too? In one respect Gwyn’s scepticism about faction is well-founded. Historians can be too ready to explain the promotions and demotions of politicians by reference to their connections or opinions rather than to their capacities. Kings and ministers need able men to work for them. Government can function only if men of opposing interests can learn to ...

You are a milksop

Ferdinand Mount, 7 May 2020

Providence Lost: The Rise and Fall of Cromwell’s Protectorate 
by Paul Lay.
Head of Zeus, 352 pp., £30, January, 978 1 78185 256 9
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... that Cromwell once called it ‘the Petition of Shite’. I can believe that one, too.When Oliver first elbowed his way into both the Short Parliament (which sat for three weeks in 1640) and the Long, he was turning forty, a plain man in a plain cloth suit with a speck or two of blood on his collarband, ‘his countenance swollen and reddish, his voice ...

Last Words

John Bayley, 7 January 1988

The Collected Stories of Angus Wilson 
Secker, 414 pp., £12.95, November 1987, 0 436 57612 0Show More
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... His cousin Oliver Baldwin described Kipling’s story ‘Mary Postgate’ as ‘the wickedest story in the world’. It did shock its readers very much, but it is not entirely easy to determine just what the shocking element was, perhaps still is. Told with a subdued but cheerful elegance a little in the manner of Jane Austen’s novels, which Kipling much admired, it is a tale about a virtuous spinster companion during the Great War, whose employer’s nephew in the RFC is killed on a training flight ...

One for water, one for urine

Stephen Smith, 3 December 1992

An Evil Cradling 
by Brian Keenan.
Hutchinson, 297 pp., £16.99, September 1992, 0 09 175208 6
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Hostage: The Complete Story of the Lebanese Captives 
by Con Coughlin.
Little, Brown, 461 pp., £16.99, October 1992, 0 316 90304 3
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... Waite was held hostage in Beirut, journalists found themselves asking what his links were with Oliver North. I have on my desk the daubs of a class of five-year-olds from Stockport, Cheshire, who were commissioned to re-create the scenes that the TV man John McCarthy would have missed during his captivity. Employed by the same organisation as McCarthy’s ...

In a narrow pass

Derek Hirst, 19 November 1992

A Spark in the Ashes: The Pamphlets of John Warr 
edited by Stephen Sedley and Lawrence Kaplan.
Verso, 116 pp., £9.95, October 1992, 0 86091 599 9
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... may not have seen the struggle in quite the cataclysmic terms the editors assume. Indeed, he was ready to concede some validity to forms – ‘not but that there is some power [of the spirit] in the form, but ’tis a weak and inferior appearance.’ More certainly, as a textual scholar himself, Warr would not have been impressed by the way his editors ...

Bad Medicine

Frank McLynn, 23 July 1992

The Malaria Capers 
by Robert Desowitz.
Norton, 288 pp., £14.95, February 1992, 9780393030136
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... among the fenlands and in the marshy ground of the Thames Valley, it claimed both James I and Oliver Cromwell. Theories about its origin have been legion: in the Middle Ages it was thought to be due to the action of planets and comets, to electrical storms or rains of ‘fever poison’; the Chinese thought it was caused by disharmony between Yin and ...

Modern Shakespeare

Graham Bradshaw, 21 April 1983

The Taming of the Shrew 
edited by H.J. Oliver.
Oxford, 248 pp., £9.50, September 1982, 0 19 812907 6
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Henry V 
edited by Gary Taylor.
Oxford, 330 pp., £9.50, September 1982, 0 19 812912 2
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Troilus and Cressida 
edited by Kenneth Muir.
Oxford, 205 pp., £9.50, September 1982, 0 19 812903 3
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Troilus and Cressida 
edited by Kenneth Palmer.
Methuen, 337 pp., £12.50, October 1982, 0 416 47680 5
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... in a return to courtly blank verse: I ask, that I might waken reverence And bid the check be ready with a blush.      (New Arden) Again Palmer sees (or hears) what is happening; Muir both obscures the pause and destroys the effect of ‘debonair’ insolence by giving Aeneas the line ‘Ay. I ask, that I might waken reverence.’ Nor is the effect ...

Make use of me

Jeremy Treglown: Olivia Manning, 9 February 2006

Olivia Manning: A Life 
by Neville Braybrooke and June Braybrooke.
Chatto, 301 pp., £20, November 2004, 0 7011 7749 7
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... It’s true that as a child she spent part of World War One in Ireland while her father, Oliver (everyone in her immediate family was either Oliver or Olivia), was on active service. She later kept quiet about this part of her life, both because it revealed her age – she preferred people to think that she was ...

On the imagining of conspiracy

Christopher Hitchens, 7 November 1991

Harlot’s Ghost 
by Norman Mailer.
Joseph, 1122 pp., £15.99, October 1991, 0 7181 2934 2
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A Very Thin Line: The Iran-Contra Affairs 
by Theodore Draper.
Hill and Wang, 690 pp., $27.95, June 1991, 0 8090 9613 7
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... astrological time, and its chief spent his evenings discussing Armageddon theology with strangers. Oliver North recruited convicted narcotics smugglers to run the secret war against Nicaragua. George Bush recruited Manuel Noriega to the CIA. As the Watergate hounds closed in, Henry Kissinger was implored to sink to his Jewish knees and join Richard Nixon in ...

May ’88

Douglas Johnson, 21 April 1988

Les Sept Mitterrand 
by Catherine Nay.
Grasset, 286 pp., frs 96, September 1988, 2 246 36291 1
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France Today 
by John Ardagh.
Secker, 647 pp., £22.50, October 1987, 0 436 01746 6
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Jacques Chirac 
by Franz-Oliver Giesbert.
Seuil, 455 pp., frs 125, April 1987, 2 02 009771 0
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Monsieur Barre 
by Henri Amouroux.
Laffont, 584 pp., frs 125, June 1986, 2 221 04954 3
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The Workers’ Movement 
by Alain Touraine, Michel Wieviorka and François Dubet, translated by Ian Patterson.
Cambridge/Editions de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, 322 pp., £35, October 1987, 0 521 30852 6
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The State and the Market Economy: Industrial Patriotism and Economic Intervention in France 
by Jack Hayward.
Wheatsheaf, 267 pp., £32.50, December 1985, 0 7450 0012 6
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France under Recession 1981-86 
by John Tuppen.
Macmillan, 280 pp., £29.50, February 1988, 0 333 39889 0
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... and in the importance of the market. Each criticises the other on the grounds that he is too ready to look after his friends and to revive the old république des copains. Thus Chirac has claimed that in 1985 Mitterrand went back on his promise never to introduce proportional representation, and accused him of being an irresponsible politician, type ...

The Leg

Oliver Sacks, 17 June 1982

... translucent beauty of the unborn. Standing, Walking On the 16th day after surgery I was judged ‘ready to walk’. What would I walk with? How could I walk? How could I stand on, let alone move, a ghostly lump of jelly, a nothing, hanging loosely from my hip? And even if, stiffened by its carapace of chalk, this preposterous appendage could support me, how ...

Diary

David Rieff: Cuban Miami, 5 February 1987

... remains faithful to Ronald Reagan at the precise moment when the rest of the country seems about ready to wash its hands of him. In retrospect, the Administration could, somehow, paper over the budget deficit and the disaster in Lebanon, the trade deficit and the bumbling fiasco that was Reykjavik, but when it turned out that it had truckled to the Ayatollah ...

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