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Iris Murdoch: A Life

Iris Murdoch: A Life Description:

In Iris Murdoch Peter Conradi assesses the remarkable intellectual and cultural legacy of the celebrated philosopher and beloved novelist Depicting her personal life in extraordinary detail her student days at Oxford her Communist activities her early affairs and her enduring marriage to John Bayley he also deftly interprets her philosophical works and twenty six novels with brilliant clarity and insight Murdoch emerges as a writer who in her early years imagined herself as the heir to George Eliot but later found a kinship with Dostoevsky s fantastic realism his obsessions with sadomasochism and his philosophical fascination with moral anarchy Relying on ninety five hitherto unseen diaries hundreds of interviews and thousands of letters Conradi has written a riveting biography that is as much an absorbing history of literary England from to the present as it is a vivid depiction of one of our greatest twentieth century writers

Rating: 3.34 out of 5

The Red Ripper

The Red Ripper Description:

A Moscow based journalist explores the flaws and successes of Soviet law enforcement as he examines the bizarre and terrifying case of Citizen Chi as he is known in the Russian media a seemingly steadfast member of the Communist Party and father of two children who embarked on a year killing spree murdering and mutilating more than people

Rating: 3.57 out of 5

Hitler's Piano Player: The Rise and Fall of Ernst Hanfstaengl, Confidante of Hitler, Ally of FDR

Hitler's Piano Player: The Rise and Fall of Ernst Hanfstaengl, Confidante of Hitler, Ally of FDR Description:

Ernst Hanfstaengl Putzi was court jester pianist and foreign press chief for Hitler during his political climb and later played a lead role in Roosevelt s top secret project to use disinformation against the Nazis An urbane Harvard educated German Putzi was living in Germany in when he first heard Hitler speak in Munich Introducing himself after the speech Putzi began one of the strangest relationships in twentieth century politics As he tried to introduce Hitler to Munich high society and polish his image in the eyes of the world Hanfstaengl helped finance Mein Kampf claimed to have devised the chant of Sieg Heil and attempted to set Hitler up with the American ambassador s beautiful young daughter But he fell out of Hitler s graces fled to Britain where he was interned and then transferred to America There he worked for his old friend from the Harvard Club Franklin Delano Roosevelt The star of Roosevelt s S Project Putzi provided information on four hundred leading Nazis analyses of Hitler s speeches and a sixty eight page psychological portrait of Hitler Through newly declassified documents photographs interviews with members of Hanfstaengl s family and original writing by Hanfstaengl Peter Conradi recounts the remarkable life of history s personal link between Hitler and FDR

Rating: 3.58 out of 5

Who Lost Russia?: How the World Entered a New Cold War

Who Lost Russia?: How the World Entered a New Cold War Description:

When the Soviet Union collapsed on December it looked like the start of a remarkable new era of peace and co operation Some even dared to declare the end of history assuming all countries would converge on enlightenment values and liberal democracy br br Nothing could be further from the truth Russia emerged from the s battered and humiliated the parallels with Weimar Germany are striking Goaded on by a triumphalist West a new Russia has emerged with a large arsenal of upgraded weapons conventional and nuclear determined to reassert its national interests in the near abroad Chechnya Georgia and Ukraine as well as fighting a proxy war in the Middle East Meanwhile NATO is executing large scale maneuvers and stockpiling weaponry close to Russia s border br br In this provocative new work Peter Conradi argues that we have consistently failed to understand Russia and its motives and in doing so have made a powerful enemy br

Rating: 3.32 out of 5

The Great Survivors: How Monarchy Made It Into the Twenty-First Century

The Great Survivors: How Monarchy Made It Into the Twenty-First Century Description:

From the coauthor of The King s Speech comes an uncompromising portrayal of Europe s royals In this riveting and extensively researched account of the royals Peter Conradi the celebrated coauthor of The King s Speech on which the Academy Award winning film of the same name was based reveals the scandals excesses conflicts and interests hidden behind the pomp of the ceremonial garb and the grandeur of official functions Taking the reader on a journey between past and present into a world populated by great celebrities such as Wallis Simpson Grace Kelly and Princess Diana as well as lesser known and slightly murkier aristocratic figures this book analyzes the reasons behind this anachronistic paradox by looking at the history of the main European dynasties and providing a keyhole glimpse into their world their lives and their secrets At a time when Western society appears to be demanding more equality and democracy people s fascination with monarchies shows no signs of waning

Rating: 3.57 out of 5

Hot Dogs and Cocktails: When FDR Met King George VI at Hyde Park on Hudson

Hot Dogs and Cocktails: When FDR Met King George VI at Hyde Park on Hudson Description:

b From the coauthor of i The King s Speech i the story behind the historic meeting between FDR and King George VI on the eve of World War II a meeting that is now the subject of a major Hollywood movie i Hyde Park on Hudson i b br br Between June th and th King George VI and Queen Elizabeth were the guests of Franklin Delano Roosevelt at his country estate in Hyde Park New York during what was the first ever visit by a reigning British monarch to the United States Coming at a time when Britain desperately needed U S help in the conflict that now seemed inevitable the meeting was front page news on both sides of the Atlantic and imbued with huge political significance This fascinating book recreates the backdrop to the royal visit analyzing the political background and the media s reaction and tells the back stories both of the King and of Roosevelt whose colorful personal life became entwined with the visit

Rating: 3.47 out of 5

Going Buddhist: Panic and Emptiness, the Buddha and Me

Going Buddhist: Panic and Emptiness, the Buddha and Me Description:

It often takes a crisis to see what a life s shape has been to learn what really matters For Peter J Conradi acclaimed biographer of Iris Murdoch the moment came in This is his account of the life journey on which he subsequently embarked a self help book for cynics it makes clear that going Buddhist is neither a quick fix nor a one shot deal Drawing on his conversations with Murdoch and the remarkable letters they exchanged Conradi seeks to explain the beauty of Buddhism a religion increasingly relevant to Westerners Peter Conradi s recent books include the widely hailed i Iris Murdoch A Life i

Rating: 3.50 out of 5

The King's Speech: How One Man Saved the British Monarchy

The King's Speech: How One Man Saved the British Monarchy Description:

One man saved the British Royal Family in the first decades of the th century he wasn t a prime minister or an archbishop of Canterbury He was an almost unknown and self taught speech therapist named Lionel Logue whom one newspaper in the s famously dubbed The Quack who saved a King br br Logue wasn t a British aristocrat or even an Englishman he was a commoner and an Australian to boot Nevertheless it was the outgoing amiable Logue who single handedly turned the nervous tongue tied Duke of York into one of Britain s greatest kings after his brother Edward VIII abdicated in over his love of Mrs Simpson br br This is the previously untold story of the remarkable relationship between Logue and the haunted future King George VI written with Logue s grandson and drawing exclusively from his grandfather Lionel s diaries and archive It throws an extraordinary light on the intimacy of the two men and the vital role the King s wife the late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother played in bringing them together to save her husband s reputation and reign br br The King s Speech How One Man Saved the British Monarchy is an astonishing insight into a private world Logue s diaries also reveal for the first time the torment the future King suffered at the hands of his father George V because of his stammer Never before has there been such a personal portrait of the British monarchy at a time of its greatest crisis seen through the eyes of an Australian commoner who was proud to serve and save his King

Rating: 3.63 out of 5

The Saint and the Artist: A Study of the Fiction of Iris Murdoch

The Saint and the Artist: A Study of the Fiction of Iris Murdoch Description:

Iris Murdoch who died in was the author of novels including The Bell A Fairly Honourable Defeat The Black Prince and the Booker Prize winning The Sea The Sea In The Saint and the Artist now fully revised and updated distinguished literary critic Peter J Conradi offers a lively and valuable critical appreciation of her works of fiction He traces the way in which the zest and buoyant high spirits of her early novels gave way to a more deeply and darkly comic achievement in the novels of the s Conradi who knew Murdoch well suggests how her own life wonderfully transmuted into high art provided the raw material for her novels he also argues that they should be read as serious entertainments and as important fictions in the Anglo Russian tradition and not as disguised philosophy Peter J Conradi is the author of the highly acclaimed biography Iris Murdoch A Life

Rating: 3.37 out of 5

A Very English Hero: The Making of Frank Thompson

A Very English Hero: The Making of Frank Thompson Description:

Gentle modest and handsome a fine poet proficient in nine languages eccentric Englishman Frank Thompson made an unlikely soldier The elder of two sons of a formidable family of writers his brother would become the radical historian E P Thompson lover of Iris Murdoch he was an intellectual idealist a rare combination of brilliant mind and enormous heart br br Despite his mother s best efforts and the Communist Party line Iris had herself recruited him in September Frank enlisted Serving first with the Royal Artillery then Phantom finally moving to SOE to escape the long littleness of life he documented his wartime experiences He wrote prodigiously letters diaries and poetry the best of which the much anthologised An Epitaph for my Friends for many the landmark poem of the Second World War gives a taste of what English poetry may have lost when in June aged twenty three Frank was captured tortured and executed in Litakovo Bulgaria a sense of his ability to touch the reader to speak for his generation to bear witness to their lost youth A dictionary he was carrying once stopped an enemy bullet and saved his life a volume of the great Roman poet Catullus was found on him after his death Frank fought a poet s war br br Frank s letters still read fresh and alive today his journals retain a startling intimacy and it s from these that Peter J Conradi brings vividly to life a brilliantly attractive and courageous personality a soldier poet or scholar soldier of principle and integrity a very English hero from a very different era br br Peter J Conradi honorary research fellow and biographer is the author of critical studies of Dostoevsky Angus Wilson and John Fowles He was a friend of Dame Iris Murdoch s and produced a study of her novels and thoughts He lives in England

Rating: 3.66 out of 5