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Under Fire: An American Story 
by Oliver North and William Novak.
HarperCollins, 446 pp., £17.99, October 1991, 0 06 018334 9
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Terry Waite: Why was he kidnapped? 
by Gavin Hewitt.
Bloomsbury, 230 pp., £15.99, November 1991, 0 7475 0375 3
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... Intelligence Agency, Bill Casey, devised a plan for revenge. One of the CIA’s top agents, William Buckley, was posted to Beirut to implement it. In March 1984, Buckley was taken prisoner and tortured. Casey’s brilliant plan ended in the deaths or hasty flights of several of the CIA’s agents in the area. Casey ordered that a photograph of the ...

Ultra-Sophisticated

Hilary Mantel, 7 December 1989

Life Lines: Politics and Health 1986-1988 
by Edwina Currie.
Sidgwick, 291 pp., £13.95, November 1989, 0 283 99920 9
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My Turn 
by Nancy Reagan and William Novak.
Weidenfeld, 384 pp., £15.95, October 1989, 0 297 79677 1
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Heiress: The Story of Christina Onassis 
by Nigel Dempster.
Weidenfeld, 180 pp., £12.95, October 1989, 0 297 79671 2
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... Edwina had her date with destiny on 10 September 1986. A TV crew were camped outside her house in her Derbyshire constituency, and were shining lights through the windows. Edwina waited for the phone to ring. When it did, it was a man’s voice, telling her to get along without delay to Downing Street. ‘And so, into my battered Maestro... ’ – a nice populist touch there ...

Fugitive Crusoe

Tom Paulin: Daniel Defoe, 19 July 2001

Daniel Defoe: Master of Fictions 
by Maximilian Novak.
Oxford, 756 pp., £30, April 2001, 0 19 812686 7
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Political and Economic Writings of Daniel Defoe 
edited by W.R. Owens and P.N. Furbank.
Pickering & Chatto, £595, December 2000, 1 85196 465 7
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... Commonwealth and Protectorate – a necessary journalistic strategy – he emerges in Maximilian Novak’s powerful account of his life and career as a principled radical whose seemingly protean changes of direction and allegiance were always in the service of the polity founded by the Glorious Revolution. Defoe boasted of wearing a mourning ring that had ...

Secret Purposes

P.N. Furbank, 19 September 1985

Defoe and the Idea of Fiction: 1713-1719 
by Geoffrey Sill.
Associated University Presses, 190 pp., £16.95, April 1984, 0 87413 227 4
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The Elusive Daniel Defoe 
by Laura Curtis.
Vision, 216 pp., £15.95, January 1984, 0 85478 435 7
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Dofoe’s Fiction 
by Ian Bell.
Croom Helm, 201 pp., £17.95, March 1985, 0 7099 3294 4
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Realism, Myth and History in Defoe’s Fiction 
by Maximillian Novak.
Nebraska, 181 pp., £21.55, July 1983, 0 8032 3307 8
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... Laura Curtis’s language strikes one as extravagant: she is importing a Romantic sublime or William Goldingesque apocalypticism into Defoe’s sober scene. Then what about the following? ‘In Chapter Two, I traced two tendencies in Robinson Crusoe and in A Journal of the Plague Year that conflict with Defoe’s compulsion to construct in his writing an ...

Form-Compelling

David Matthews: How to Write a Fugue, 21 September 2006

The Art of Fugue: Bach Fugues for Keyboard 1715-50 
by Joseph Kerman.
California, 173 pp., £15.95, August 2005, 0 520 24358 7
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... second set is still to be completed; the first has so far had only one complete performance, by William Howard, for whom the work is being written. Novák has a radically unorthodox attitude to fugue: the first fugue, evoking the creation of heaven and earth, has only one voice, and no counterpoint; the sixth is built on a one-note theme and employs only ...

It’s not the bus: it’s us

Thomas Sugrue: Stars, Stripes and Civil Rights, 20 November 2008

The Soiling of Old Glory: The Story of a Photograph that Shocked America 
by Louis Masur.
Bloomsbury US, 224 pp., $24.95, April 2008, 978 1 59691 364 6
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... absurdly expensive and diametrically opposed to the wishes of the parents in this city’. William Bulger, the flamboyant state senator whose district was the bastion of the anti-busing movement, lamented the ‘unremitting, calculated, unconscionable portrayal’ of his mostly Irish-American constituents ‘as unreconstructed racists’. Defending ...

Rising Moon

R.W. Johnson, 18 December 1986

L’Empire Moon 
by Jean-Francois Boyer.
La Découverte, 419 pp., August 1986, 2 7071 1604 1
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The Rise and Fall of the Bulgarian Connection 
by Edward Herman and Frank Brodhead.
Sheridan Square, 255 pp., $19.95, May 1986, 0 940380 07 2
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... supporters into the Moonie milieu with his Accuracy in Media movement: among AIM’s patrons were William Simon, the former Treasury Secretary, Joseph Coors, the beer magnate and Reagan confidant, Claire Booth Luce, Jimmy Goldsmith and Richard Mellon-Scaife. Moon now felt confident enough to take on the hated New York Times by launching the New York News ...

Between the Raindrops

David Bromwich: The Subtlety of James Stewart, 12 December 2002

James Stewart at the NFT 
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... that he was a natural actor. Carole Lombard, who had worked with Fredric March, Charles Laughton, William Powell and John Barrymore, thought him more remarkable than any of them. On screen, his name appeared as James Stewart, and he worked hard at every detail. He was a canny businessman. Before the Second World War, he invested in a small airline. Soon after ...

Hiatus at 4 a.m.

David Trotter: What scared Hitchcock?, 4 June 2015

Alfred Hitchcock 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Chatto, 279 pp., £12.99, April 2015, 978 0 7011 6993 0
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Alfred Hitchcock: The Man Who Knew Too Much 
by Michael Wood.
New Harvest, 129 pp., £15, March 2015, 978 1 4778 0134 5
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Hitchcock à la carte 
by Jan Olsson.
Duke, 261 pp., £16.99, March 2015, 978 0 8223 5804 6
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Hitchcock on Hitchcock: Selected Writings and Interviews, Vol. II 
edited by Sidney Gottlieb.
California, 274 pp., £24.95, February 2015, 978 0 520 27960 5
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... old acquaintance Gavin Elster wants him to trail his (apparent) wife, the luminous Madeleine (Kim Novak). We don’t exactly see what Scottie sees, Wood says. Rather, we see what he would see if his eyes were a camera. If Scottie can establish to his own satisfaction that Madeleine is prey to fugue states in which she assumes the appearance and personality of ...

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