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Linda Colley, 19 August 1993

The End of the House of Windsor: Birth of a British Republic 
by Stephen Haseler.
Tauris, 208 pp., £14.95, June 1993, 1 85043 735 1
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The Rise and Fall of the House of Windsor 
by A.N. Wilson.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 211 pp., £16.99, May 1993, 1 85619 354 3
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Royal Throne: The Future of the Monarchy 
by Elizabeth Longford.
Hodder, 189 pp., £16.99, April 1993, 0 340 58587 0
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Diana v. Charles 
by James Whitaker.
Signet, 237 pp., £14.99, May 1993, 0 670 85245 7
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The Tarnished Crown 
by Anthony Holden.
Bantam, 400 pp., £16.99, May 1993, 0 593 02472 9
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Inheritance: A Psychological History of the Royal Family 
by Dennis Friedman.
Sidgwick, 212 pp., £14.99, April 1993, 0 283 06124 3
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Raine and Johnnie: The Spencers and the Scandal of Althorp 
by Angela Levin.
Weidenfeld, 297 pp., £17.99, July 1993, 0 297 81325 0
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... may not). Even worse, as far as the present Queen is concerned, most Britons don’t care. As A.N. Wilson cruelly remarks, ‘it is possible that the Queen is the only person in the British Isles who is interested in the British Commonwealth. Most of her subjects have some difficulty in remembering what, exactly, it is.’ Britons are therefore conspicuously ...

Tristram Rushdie

Pat Rogers, 15 September 1983

Shame 
by Salman Rushdie.
Cape, 287 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 224 02952 5
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Scandal 
by A.N. Wilson.
Hamish Hamilton, 233 pp., £8.95, September 1983, 0 241 11101 3
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Love and Glory 
by Melvyn Bragg.
Secker, 252 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 436 06716 1
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The Complete Knowledge of Sally Fry 
by Sylvia Murphy.
Gollancz, 172 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 575 03353 3
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... novel confirms his astonishing gifts of eloquence, verbal energy and narrative imagination. A.N. Wilson had raised the issue of political scandal in an earlier book, Who was Oswald Fish? (1977). But he got put of the situation by ensuring that his Honourable Member was too dim to be dishonourable, so that the heroine Fanny junked him by the end of Chapter ...

Half-Resurrection Man

Keith Hopkins, 19 June 1997

Paul: A Critical Life 
by Jerome Murphy O’Connor.
Oxford, 416 pp., £35, June 1996, 0 19 826749 5
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Paul: The Mind of the Apostle 
by A.N. Wilson.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 274 pp., £17.99, March 1997, 1 85619 542 2
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... have tended to favour St Peter, the rock of apostolic succession. Indeed, the main message of A.N. Wilson’s book is that it was Paul, not Jesus, who founded Christianity (‘if anyone did’). Paul is the earliest surviving Christian writer, a radical Jewish thinker and, for many Protestants, the inspired witness to primitive Christianity, before it was ...

Clive’s Clio

Hugh Tulloch, 8 February 1990

Not by Fact Alone: Essays on the Writing and Reading of History 
by John Clive.
Collins Harvill, 334 pp., £15, October 1989, 0 00 272041 8
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... Gladstone would have envied and calls us back to traditional values, while on television Mr A.N. Wilson approaches the eminent Victorians in a manner far different from that of Lytton Strachey seventy years ago. In 1918 Strachey intended to blow up, once and for all, the stale and inhibiting pieties of his parents and their generation. When the Oxford ...

Literary Man

J.I.M. Stewart, 7 June 1984

Hilaire Belloc 
by A.N. Wilson.
Hamish Hamilton, 398 pp., £12.95, April 1984, 0 241 11176 5
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... he recorded of himself is liable to be full of fibs is disadvantageous to a biographer, and A.N. Wilson shows himself adequately aware of the fact. But there is a further hazard. Belloc was ceaselessly sociable and loquacious, and ceaselessly – by the standards of his time – outrageous to the point of being unprintable. There has, as a result, come into ...

Dark Places

John Sutherland, 18 November 1982

Wise Virgin 
by A.N. Wilson.
Secker, 186 pp., £7.50, October 1982, 0 436 57608 2
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The London Embassy 
by Paul Theroux.
Hamish Hamilton, 211 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 241 10872 1
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The frog who dared to croak 
by Richard Sennett.
Faber, 182 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 571 11989 1
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Vintage Stuff 
by Tom Sharpe.
Secker, 220 pp., £7.50, November 1982, 0 436 45810 1
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Rogue Justice 
by Geoffrey Household.
Joseph, 174 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 7181 2178 3
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... With Wise Virgin, A.N. Wilson continues his bleak investigation of trauma. The Healing Art (his most acclaimed novel so far) scrutinised human sensibility under the sentence of terminal cancer. Wise Virgin takes the life term and solitary confinement of bereaved blindness. It’s played out with Wilson’s customary geometric neatness of design ...

Blame it on Darwin

Jonathan Rée, 4 October 2017

Charles Darwin, Victorian Mythmaker 
by A.N. Wilson.
John Murray, 438 pp., £25, September 2017, 978 1 4447 9488 5
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... may never have uttered these words, but they have become legendary, and they rankle with A.N. Wilson, whose new book is designed to cut Darwin down to size and discredit ‘Darwin-worshippers’ and their ‘new religion’. Wilson is impressed by Wilberforce’s arguments about ‘missing links’ and ‘reversion to ...

Jack and Leo

John Sutherland, 27 July 1989

The Letters of Jack London 
edited by Earle Labor, Robert Leitz and Milo Shepard.
Stanford, 1657 pp., $139.50, October 1988, 0 8047 1227 1
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Tolstoy 
by A.N. Wilson.
Hamish Hamilton, 572 pp., £16.95, May 1988, 0 241 12190 6
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... tangled period of Jack’s early life, 1903, when he was bouncing backwards and forwards between Anna Strunsky, Charmian Kittredge and his wife of three years, Bessie. Jack’s subsequent harshness to his first wife and his daughters is revealed in a number of places. The editors also print the exquisitely awkward letter of February 1914 in which Jack ...

Tea or Eucharist?

Anthony Howard, 3 December 1992

The Faber Book of Church and Clergy 
edited by A.N. Wilson.
Faber, 304 pp., £17.50, November 1992, 0 571 16204 5
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High and Mitred: A Study of Prime Ministers as Bishop-Makers 1837-1977 
by Bernard Palmer.
SPCK, 350 pp., £20, October 1992, 0 281 04594 1
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... fingers in the dyke upholding a vision of the dear old ecclesia anglicana as it once was. A.N. Wilson’s anthology, however, rides nobly to their rescue. It is a wonderfully evocative work drenched in a sense of a glory that has departed. Wilson lays his own viewpoint on the line from the start. ‘The new ...

Must they twinkle?

John Sutherland, 1 August 1985

British Literary Magazines. Vol. III: The Victorian and Edwardian Age 1837-1913 
edited by Alvin Sullivan.
Greenwood, 560 pp., £88.50, December 1984, 0 313 24335 2
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The Book Book 
by Anthony Blond.
Cape, 226 pp., £9.95, April 1985, 0 224 02074 9
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... For the moment, I want to consider its historical evidence against a provocative assertion by A.N. Wilson, quoted in Anthony Blond’s Book Book. According to Wilson (don, novelist, Sunday Telegraph reviewer, Young Fogey and former literary editor of the Spectator), there is now no literary reviewing worth the name in ...

The British Dimension

Rosalind Mitchison, 16 October 1980

The Life of David Hume 
by Ernest Campbell Mossner.
Oxford, 736 pp., £20, March 1980, 0 19 824381 2
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‘The People Above’: Politics and Adminsitration in Mid-18th-Century Scotland 
by Alexander Murdoch.
John Donald, 199 pp., £12, March 1980, 0 85976 053 7
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The Laird of Abbotsford 
by A.N. Wilson.
Oxford, 197 pp., £8.95, June 1980, 0 19 211756 4
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The Strange Death of Scottish History 
by Marinell Ash.
Ramsay Head Press, 166 pp., £6.50, March 1980, 0 902859 57 9
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... the Dundas men were moderate in what they extracted and generous in the service they gave. A.N. Wilson’s book on Scott has an infectious enthusiasm. It reads, not like a systematic analysis of Scott’s writings, still less like a biography, but like good, if rambling talk. His achievement is to appreciate Scott’s remarkable historic sense. In the ...

Diary

John Jones: Iris, Hegel and Me, 18 December 2003

... I’ve been basking in a warm glow from A.N. Wilson’s recent book about Iris Murdoch* – I mean its way of holding Plato and Kant not quite on a level with each other but far above everyone else except Hegel, about whom more later, in its account of her attention to the classical masters. This is a big merit, and a needful one because others, including her official biographer, have been at fault here ...

Take that white thing away

Nicholas Spice, 17 October 1985

The Good Apprentice 
by Iris Murdoch.
Chatto, 522 pp., £9.95, September 1985, 0 7011 3000 8
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... So it is hardly surprising that the ‘real’ world is not much in evidence in the book. A.N. Wilson, in his review of The Good Apprentice in the Spectator, thinks this way of talking about Iris Murdoch’s novels, although it is very common, is misconceived. But if it is, then Murdoch’s moral philosophy is misconceived, since the distinction between ...

Liza Jarrett’s Hard Life

Paul Driver, 4 December 1986

The Death of the Body 
by C.K. Stead.
Collins, 192 pp., £9.95, August 1986, 0 00 223067 4
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Kramer’s Goats 
by Rudolf Nassauer.
Peter Owen, 188 pp., £10.50, August 1986, 0 7206 0659 4
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Mefisto 
by John Banville.
Secker, 234 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 9780436032660
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The Century’s Daughter 
by Pat Barker.
Virago, 284 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 9780860686064
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Love Unknown 
by A.N. Wilson.
Hamish Hamilton, 202 pp., £9.95, August 1986, 0 241 11922 7
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... understand how one can be enslaved by it without hating it bitterly’). It is typical of A.N. Wilson’s insouciance that the death scene in his Love Unknown is the breeziest possible – the abrupt demise of a character merely inserted so that she can be killed off (though not before she can be mocked). These two novels are more conventionally devised ...

Diary

Alan Brien: Finding Lenin, 7 August 1986

... biographies which have the deeper and wider resonance of a novel’: Christopher Booker), A.N. Wilson tells a funny anecdote about Mussolini that was new to me, though I had just finished Denis Mack Smith’s Mussolini. It runs: ‘Mussolini had in fact modelled his style of dress on that of his favourite film stars, Laurel and Hardy, whose sartorial ...

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