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D.A.N. Jones, 8 January 1987

The Old School: A Study 
by Simon Raven.
Hamish Hamilton, 139 pp., £12, September 1986, 0 241 11929 4
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The Best Years of their Lives: The National Service Experience 1945-63 
by Trevor Royle.
Joseph, 288 pp., £12.95, September 1986, 0 7181 2459 6
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Murder without Conviction: Inside the World of the Krays 
by John Dickson.
Sidgwick, 164 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 9780283994074
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Inside ‘Private Eye’ 
by Peter McKay.
Fourth Estate, 192 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 947795 80 4
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Malice in Wonderland: Robert Maxwell v. ‘Private Eye’ 
by Robert Maxwell, John Jackson, Peter Donnelly and Joe Haines.
Macdonald, 191 pp., £10.95, December 1986, 0 356 14616 2
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... schoolboys came into their own, hogging the Queen’s Commission and acquiring conscript valets. Trevor Royle, a serious young Scot, describes ‘the National Service Experience, 1945-63’ in his worthy book, The Best Years of Their Lives: he feels sorry that he was too young to meet this challenge himself. By the Sixties all we conscripts had emerged ...

Triumphalism

John Campbell, 19 December 1985

The Kitchener Enigma 
by Trevor Royle.
Joseph, 436 pp., £15, September 1985, 0 7181 2385 9
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Kitchener: The Man behind the Legend 
by Philip Warner.
Hamish Hamilton, 247 pp., £12.95, August 1985, 0 241 11587 6
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... more than an opinionated sketch, chatty, anecdotal, unsubstantiated and frequently inaccurate. Trevor Royle’s is an altogether more serious book, a thorough, workmanlike biography which must surely have assembled the last possible jot of evidence on the sinking of the Hampshire. Both authors, however, feel it necessary to present their portraits as ...

India for the English

Rajnarayan Chandavarkar, 8 March 1990

The British Conquest and Dominion of India 
by Penderel Moon.
Duckworth, 1235 pp., £60, April 1989, 0 7156 2169 6
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Raj 
by Gita Mehta.
Cape, 463 pp., £12.95, June 1989, 0 224 01988 0
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The Last Days of the Raj 
by Trevor Royle.
Joseph, 291 pp., £15.95, June 1989, 0 7181 2904 0
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... to the definition of Englishness, or perhaps Britishness. In the ‘sceptical’ 1960s, Trevor Royle tells us, some people considered the British Raj a ‘shameful thing’, and ‘the idea of empire was met with derision by younger intellectuals’; now, in the Eighties, happily liberated from guilt, ‘people want to know ... why the ...

Blessed, Beastly Place

Douglas Dunn, 5 March 1981

Precipitous City 
by Trevor Royle.
Mainstream, 210 pp., £6.95, May 1980, 0 906391 09 1
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RLS: A Life Study 
by Jenni Calder.
Hamish Hamilton, 362 pp., £9.95, June 1980, 0 241 10374 6
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Gillespie 
by J. MacDougall Hay.
Canongate, 450 pp., £4.95, November 1979, 0 903937 79 4
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Scottish Satirical Verse 
edited by Edwin Morgan.
Carcanet, 236 pp., £6.95, June 1980, 0 85635 183 0
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Collected Poems 
by Robert Garioch.
Carcanet, 208 pp., £3.95, July 1980, 0 85635 316 7
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... is God’s own gift to the sifter of anecdotes and the historian of large-scale cultural change. Trevor Royle tackles it with affection and enthusiasm. Admirable as these qualities are, the reader might expect something substantial in return for an exposure to Royle’s eagerness. What does he get? Well, he gets a lot ...

Dazed and Confused

Paul Laity: Are the English human?, 28 November 2002

Patriots: National Identity in Britain 1940-2000 
by Richard Weight.
Macmillan, 866 pp., £25, May 2002, 0 333 73462 9
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Pariah: Misfortunes of the British Kingdom 
by Tom Nairn.
Verso, 176 pp., £13, September 2002, 1 85984 657 2
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Identity of England 
by Robert Colls.
Oxford, 422 pp., £25, October 2002, 0 19 924519 3
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Albion: The Origins of the English Imagination 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Chatto, 518 pp., £25, October 2002, 1 85619 716 6
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... form’ in favour of parallel feet, straight hips and regular steps. The nation was reduced to Trevor Howard in Brief Encounter. The decline of the gentlemanly ideal transformed the political nation during the second half of the 20th century. The ‘secret rules of upper classness’ ceased to apply, and poshness became less fashionable. This was just one ...

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