The World of Paperbacks

Contemporary Review, February 2000 | Go to article overview

The World of Paperbacks


PIMLICO have recently published a variety of excellent biographies. The first is Richard Osborne's Herbert von Karajan: A Life in Music ([pounds]15.00. 851 pages. ISBN 0-7126-6465-3). This massive biography was first published in hardback in 1998 when it won widespread acclaim. The author, one of this country's leading authorities on classical music, based his work in part on interviews with Karajan and those who knew him. This gives it a refreshing intimacy. The second is Martin Gilbert's Churchill. A Photographic Portrait ([pounds]l5.00. ISBN 0-7126-6563-3). The photographs and cartoons, many from Churchill's own collection, give a unique insight into his extraordinary life. The third is Sir Roy Strong's The Cult of Elizabeth: Elizabethan Portraiture and Pageantry ([pounds]12.50.227 pages. ISBN 0-7126-6481-5) in which the art historian shows how the arts were used to create the myth of Gloriana. The fourth is Helen Langdon's Caravaggio: A Life ([pounds]15.00. 436 pages. ISBN 0-7126-6582-X), a well informed and balanced biography of one of Italy's greatest and most colourful painters.

From PENGUIN we have the latest volume in Lyn Macdonald's continuing history of the Great War: To the Last Man: Spring 1918 ([pounds]l2.99/Can$26.99. 382 pages. ISBN 0-14-02-6840-5). Like her other books, this one is based on first-hand recollections of survivors and describes the Germans' 'big push' of 1918 which almost broke the Allied lines. Other recent releases include a trilogy of titles on recent European history by the reporter-historian, Timothy Garton Ash: We the People: The Revolution of '89 Witnessed in Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin and Prague ([pounds]7.99. 169 pages. ISBN 0-14-028391-9); The Uses of Adversity: Essays on the Fate of Central Europe ([pounds]8.99. 278 pages. ISBN 0-14-028392-7) and The Polish Revolution: Solidarity ([pounds]9.99. 439 pages. ISBN 0-14-028390-0). Penguin have also republished Lady Ranfurly's second volume of memoirs, The Ugly One: The Childhood Memoirs of Hermione, Countess of Ranfurly 1913-39 ([pounds]6.99. 202 pages. ISBN 0-14-027408-1) and James Fenton's Leonardo's Ne phew: Essays on Art and Artists ([pounds]9.99. 284 pages. ISBN 0-14-027219-4) in which the literary critic and Professor of Poetry at Oxford looks at the great works of painting and sculpture.

CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS have brought out a third edition of The Cambridge Paperback Encyclopaedia ([pounds]12.95/US$ 19.95. 1071 pages. ISBN 0-521-66800-X). This massive reference book may not contain all there is to know but it comes remarkably close with almost 21,000 entries of which 500 are new. The book is based on The Cambridge Encyclopaedia and is easy to use, a great virtue in such a volume.

PAPERMAC recently reissued The Chancellors ([pounds]12.00. 497 pages. ISBN 0-333-73058-5) by Roy, Lord Jenkins, himself a former socialist Chancellor in Harold Wilson's era. It surveys Chancellors of the Exchequer from Lord Randolph Churchill to Hugh Dalton, proof that evolutionary progress is not always the case. …

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