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Solitude and Multitude

Tony Gould, 13 February 1992

Pablo Neruda: Absence and Presence 
by Luis Poirot, translated by Alastair Reid.
Norton, 185 pp., £25, March 1991, 0 393 02770 8
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Adios, Poeta 
by Jorge Edwards.
Tusquets Editores, 335 pp., ptas 1,800, November 1990, 84 7223 191 7
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... According to his friend from a younger generation, the Chilean writer and diplomat Jorge Edwards, the most enigmatic thing about Pablo Neruda was the way he could switch in one bound, so to speak, from solitude to sociability. This poet of the sea and of lonely places was also one of the most gregarious people Edwards has ever known. Neruda discusses the contrasting attractions of ‘solitude and multitude’ in his Memoirs:    The human crowd has been the lesson of my life ...

Stanley and the Women

Tony Gould, 25 July 1991

Stanley: The Making of an African Explorer 
by Frank McLynn.
Constable, 411 pp., £17.95, October 1989, 0 09 462420 8
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Stanley: Sorcerer’s Apprentice 
by Frank McLynn.
Constable, 499 pp., £25, January 1991, 0 09 470220 9
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Dark Safari: The Life behind the Legend of Henry Morton Stanley 
by John Bierman.
Hodder, 401 pp., £17.95, January 1991, 0 340 50977 5
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... One can see the attraction of Henry Morton Stanley for the modern biographer. There is the intriguing rags-to-riches story of a Welsh bastard and orphan, whose childhood in the workhouse seemed to mark him out for a life of crime, and whose shifty adventures in early manhood gave little indication of the great explorer to come. Then there is the sexual ambivalence, the ‘was he or wasn’t he homosexual?’ and, after his late marriage, the ‘did he or didn’t he do it with his wife?’ What about the modern reader? Will he read one volume, let alone two, on the life of H ...

Father and Son

Tony Gould, 23 June 1988

When the fighting is over: A Personal Story of the Battle for Tumbledown Mountain and its Aftermath 
by John Lawrence and Robert Lawrence.
Bloomsbury, 196 pp., £12.95, May 1988, 0 7475 0174 2
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Tumbledown 
by Charles Wood.
Penguin, 80 pp., £3.95, April 1988, 0 14 011198 0
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... You would have to be a Martian not to know that Tumbledown was the name of one of the few serious battles in the Falklands campaign and that Robert Lawrence was the platoon commander in the 2nd Battalion, the Scots Guards, who had 40 per cent of his brain removed by a sniper’s bullet after he had earned himself a Military Cross by his bravery. Even before the film was shown on BBC television on 31 May Robert Lawrence had appeared on Wogan and been interviewed on radio, When the fighting is over had been serialised in the Observer, and the Daily Mail had chosen to question some of the assertions made by the Lawrences, père et fils, in their book ...
... Nothing has really happened to me during these 16 years: I’ve not lost anybody, any relative or friend; one or two friends are now living outside the country, but that’s all. I never suffered anything; I’ve not been persecuted, nothing. Only once, I was under arrest for eight hours. Those eight hours were because I was visiting a friend who had been taken to gaol and I was held there for a little interrogation – quite cordial and friendly and respectful ...

Shaky Do

Tony Gould, 5 May 1988

Mary and Richard: The Story of Richard Hillary and Mary Booker 
by Michael Burn.
Deutsch, 249 pp., £12.95, April 1988, 0 233 98280 9
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... Michael Burn assumes in this book that the name of Richard Hillary means nothing to present-day readers, so the reviewer had better follow his practice and provide biographical details. Although he was born in Australia shortly after the end of the First World War, Hillary came to England at an early age and had a thoroughly English upper middle-class education – prep school, followed by public school (Shrewsbury) and Oxford (Trinity College ...

Allendistas

D.A.N. Jones, 5 November 1992

Death in Chile: A Memoir and a Journey 
by Tony Gould.
Picador, 277 pp., £15.99, July 1992, 0 330 32271 0
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Some write to the future 
by Ariel Dorfman, translated by George Shivers and Ariel Dorfman.
Duke, 271 pp., £10.95, May 1992, 0 8223 1269 7
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... the college manciple: ‘Are you asking me or are you telling me – peasant?’ Similarly, Tony Gould met a Chilean caballero, when they were Cambridge undergraduates, some thirty years ago. He was called Cristian Huneeus, a young man of landed family, a gentlemanly left-winger and already a published novelist. In those days, British readers were ...

Angela and Son

Dan Jacobson, 2 August 1984

Inside Outsider: The Life and Times of Colin MacInnes 
by Tony Gould.
Chatto, 261 pp., £12.50, September 1983, 0 7011 2678 7
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... then in raping the children’s nursemaid) inveterately homosexual. It is perhaps inevitable that Tony Gould should present Colin MacInnes’s life as, in effect, a protracted Oedipal drama: one from which he was quite incapable of extricating himself. Like his mother, or in competition with her, he became a writer; the subjects he chose to write about ...

Delivering the Leadership

Nick Cohen: Get Mandy, 4 March 1999

Mandy: The Authorised Biography of Peter Mandelson 
by Paul Routledge.
Simon and Schuster, 302 pp., £17.99, January 1999, 9780684851754
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... constituency disappearing with a prostitute for five minutes or so. She recognises Raymond Gould and turns to blackmail once the business is done. Gould refuses to deal and she takes her tale to Mike Molloy, a Mirror reporter. Molloy confronts Gould, who refers him to his ...

Making things happen

Ross McKibbin, 26 July 1990

Heroes and Villains: Selected Essays 
by R.W. Johnson.
Harvester, 347 pp., £25, July 1990, 9780745007359
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... offend, have much straight talking. How do they read now? The reader should probably start with ‘Tony Benn, Neil Kinnock and the Travails of Labour’ (a review of Benn’s 1963-67 diaries and Hilary Wainwright’s Labour: A Tale of Two Parties) and ‘Raymond Williams and E.P. Thompson’. The first began, I imagine, simply as a critique of the Bennite Left ...

Bus Lane Strategy

Tristram Hunt: London Governments, 31 October 2002

Governing London 
by Ben Pimlott and Nirmala Rao.
Oxford, 208 pp., £15.99, May 2002, 0 19 924492 8
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... It’s unlikely that Sidney Webb features in Tony Blair’s pantheon of political heroes. It would, in fact, be difficult to think of a less likely match for Tony and Cherie than Sidney and Beatrice. Yet, after almost a century, the Webbs’ thinking about local government – their disdain for civic initiative and zeal for state uniformity – still appears to influence Labour Party policy ...

Mr Straight and Mr Good

Paul Foot: Gordon Brown, 19 February 1998

Gordon Brown: The Biography 
by Paul Routledge.
Simon and Schuster, 358 pp., £17.99, February 1998, 0 684 81954 6
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... and the subsequent policy review conducted by the Shadow Secretary for Trade and Industry, Bryan Gould. Who are the two young members of the Tribune Group passionately arguing against the inclusion in Labour’s new programme of a modest measure, supported by the Tribune Group, to buy 2 per cent of the shares in British Telecom and thus restore public ...

At the Design Museum

Andrew O’Hagan: Peter Saville, 19 June 2003

... afterglow of punk, the most interesting spot on the planet for anyone interested in rock music. Tony Wilson, a rock show host and frenetic gadabout who ran club nights in the city for unsigned bands, established Factory Records, which then released the work of Joy Division, New Order, A Certain Ratio, The Durutti Column and other new-wave upstarts with big ...

The Leader’s Cheerleaders

Simon Jenkins: Party Funding in Britain, 20 September 2007

The Cost of Democracy: Party Funding in Modern British Politics 
by K.D. Ewing.
Hart, 279 pp., £30, March 2007, 978 1 84113 716 2
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... and become more like the electoral machines of their leaders, as is largely the case in America. Tony Blair’s celebrated ‘project’, guided by Philip Gould, dismantled the rambling institutions that formed the Labour coalition and turned Labour into whatever the leader wanted it to be, even, in Blair’s case, a ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: A Shameful Year, 8 January 2004

... I was a part of it even when I was a part of it. 16 March. One of the lowest moments this year was Tony Blair and Jack Straw misrepresenting the French and German position on Iraq in order to encourage xenophobia and get more support from the Murdoch papers. 17 March. A bin Laden associate reported as being ‘quizzed’ by American agents in Pakistan. Were ...

Living with Monsters

Ferdinand Mount: PMs v. the Media, 22 April 2010

Where Power Lies: Prime Ministers v. the Media 
by Lance Price.
Simon & Schuster, 498 pp., £20, February 2010, 978 1 84737 253 6
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... Now, 30 years on, Lance Price, himself a former BBC reporter who then worked as a media adviser to Tony Blair, has brought the story up to the present (his title and subtitle are on much the same lines as Margach’s). At first blush, it is hard to see that much has changed. Price is particularly good at showing how half the prime ministers of the last hundred ...

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