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Bertie pulls it off

John Campbell, 11 January 1990

King George VI 
by Sarah Bradford.
Weidenfeld, 506 pp., £18.95, October 1990, 0 297 79667 4
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... nonsense ever stood a chance. King George and Queen Elizabeth were – deservedly – too popular. Sarah Bradford has written an excellent book about this admirable but personally very dull man. Her research has been immensely thorough and wide-ranging – including some sixty sets of private papers – and her ordering of the myriad nuggets she has ...

Tunnel Vision

Jenny Diski: Princess Diana, 2 August 2007

The Diana Chronicles 
by Tina Brown.
Century, 481 pp., £18.99, June 2007, 978 1 84605 286 6
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Diana 
by Sarah Bradford.
Penguin, 443 pp., £7.99, July 2007, 978 0 14 027671 8
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... Still, you wonder, is there really anything more to say? The answer is no, but Tina Brown and Sarah Bradford soldier on nevertheless. Each of them has produced hundreds of pages based on books already written (by journalists, her friends, his friends, butlers, nannies, ex-employers, protection officers, a speech trainer, lovers, paparazzi) and the ...

Prime Ministers’ Pets

Robert Blake, 10 January 1983

Benjamin Disraeli Letters: Vol. I 1815-1834, Vol. II 1835-1837 
edited by J.A.W. Gunn, John Matthews, Donald Schurman and M.G. Wiebe.
Toronto, 482 pp., £37.50, June 1982, 0 8020 5523 0
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The Gladstone Diaries: with Cabinet Minutes and Prime Ministerial Correspondence, Vol. VII, January 1869-June 1871, Vol. VIII, July 1871-December 1874 
edited by H.C.G. Matthew.
Oxford, 641 pp., £35, September 1982, 0 19 822638 1
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Disraeli 
by Sarah Bradford.
Weidenfeld, 432 pp., £14.95, October 1982, 0 297 78153 7
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Gladstone: Vol. I 1809-1865 
by Richard Shannon.
Hamish Hamilton, 580 pp., £18, November 1982, 0 241 10780 6
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H.H. Asquith: Letters to Venetia Stanley 
edited by Michael Brock and Eleanor Brock.
Oxford, 676 pp., £19.50, November 1982, 0 19 212200 2
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... the quest for papers at Belvoir Castle (Lord John Manners and George Smythe), Weston Park (Lady Bradford and Lady Chesterfield) and Windsor Castle, where there apparently still exists a notable private correspondence with Queen Victoria alleged by Lord Esher in 1905 to have been destroyed by King Edward VII. Perhaps some of it was, but evidently much ...

The Man Who Never Glared

John Pemble: Disraeli, 5 December 2013

Disraeli: or, The Two Lives 
by Douglas Hurd and Edward Young.
Orion, 320 pp., £20, July 2013, 978 0 297 86097 6
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The Great Rivalry: Gladstone and Disraeli 
by Dick Leonard.
I.B. Tauris, 226 pp., £22.50, June 2013, 978 1 84885 925 8
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Disraeli: The Romance of Politics 
by Robert O’Kell.
Toronto, 595 pp., £66.99, February 2013, 978 1 4426 4459 5
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... the story with the recent work of Colin Matthew, Roy Jenkins, Richard Shannon, John Vincent, Sarah Bradford and Stanley Weintraub. Essentially it’s dry-bones parliamentary history – elections, cabinets, reshuffles, bills, budgets, divisions, dissolutions – and its verdict on the falling out hardly deepens our understanding: ‘By the end of ...

How to be a wife

Colm Tóibín: The Discretion of Jackie Kennedy, 6 June 2002

Janet & Jackie: The Story of a Mother and Her Daughter, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis 
by Jan Pottker.
St Martin’s, 381 pp., $24.95, October 2001, 0 312 26607 3
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Mrs Kennedy: The Missing History of the Kennedy Years 
by Barbara Leaming.
Weidenfeld, 389 pp., £20, October 2001, 0 297 64333 9
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... into the details of what happened next. This privilege has been embraced by others, among them, Sarah Bradford in America’s Queen (2000): ‘They would have sex in all sorts of unconventional places, aeroplanes, small boats, the beach, regardless of who might be watching or photographing. The brother of one of Jackie’s Washington friends was ...

Whakapapa

D.A.N. Jones, 21 November 1985

The Prague Orgy 
by Philip Roth.
Cape, 89 pp., £5.95, October 1985, 0 224 02815 4
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Loyalties 
by Raymond Williams.
Chatto, 378 pp., £9.95, September 1985, 0 7011 2843 7
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Cousin Rosamund 
by Rebecca West.
Macmillan, 295 pp., £9.95, October 1985, 0 333 39797 5
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The Battle of Pollocks Crossing 
by J.L. Carr.
Viking, 176 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 670 80559 9
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The Bone People 
by Keri Hulme.
Hodder, 450 pp., £9.95, July 1985, 0 340 37024 6
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... son of Sir Norman Braose.’ We meet Sir Norman kissing little Alex, who is Nan’s girl, and Sarah says: ‘Say hello to Aunt Emma, Alex.’ Emma tells little Alex she is going to stay at Nayles, ‘a marvellous house with an old family name’, where Emma used to stay when she was a little girl ‘because mummy and daddy were abroad’. It is a good ...

Toxic Lozenges

Jenny Diski: Arsenic, 8 July 2010

The Arsenic Century: How Victorian Britain Was Poisoned at Home, Work and Play 
by James Whorton.
Oxford, 412 pp., £16.99, January 2010, 978 0 19 957470 4
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... The gloomier villages of southern England became poisoning hotspots, some of them legends. Sarah Chesham (aka Sally Arsenic) roamed the Essex village of Clavering offering toxic lozenges to any children who were not kept indoors by their mothers, and her own two children died mysteriously. Everyone knew, but nobody said anything. Chesham was acquitted ...

Labour dies again

Ross McKibbin, 4 June 2015

... net gain of one seat from the Tories, it won 12 from the Lib Dems and unseated George Galloway in Bradford. A net gain outside Scotland of 14 seats is disappointing but not catastrophic. Labour did well in London, as expected, winning 45 of 73 seats and gaining four seats from the Conservatives and three from the Lib Dems. The social-ethnic structure and ...

What was it that drove him?

David Runciman: Gordon Brown, 4 January 2018

My Life, Our Times 
by Gordon Brown.
Bodley Head, 512 pp., £25, November 2017, 978 1 84792 497 1
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... he must ring the Telegraph’s editor to put the record straight. He has to do this on a train to Bradford, where he is due to unveil a memorial in honour of a local police officer, Sharon Beshenivsky, who was murdered in an armed robbery four years earlier. When the call to the Telegraph comes through he ends up taking it ‘in the cramped space between two ...

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