Bill Sykes

Helpful votes received on reviews: 79% (53 of 67)
Location: Richmond,Surrey UK


Top Reviewer Ranking: 186,376 - Total Helpful Votes: 53 of 67
The House of Twenty Thousand Books by Sasha Abramsky
Fascinating picture of an intellectual's political and moral journey - son of an Orthodox rabbi who becomes a leading Marxist theoretician, but also the collector of a huge and unique library of rare manuscripts, first editions, etc.
Affectionately written by his grandson, but too often repetitive and certainly too long.
Rates of Exchange by Malcolm Bradbury
Rates of Exchange by Malcolm Bradbury
This tale of a na´ve academic on a lecture visit to a fictitious Eastern European country - it could be Czechoslovakia or Bulgaria - was written before the Cold War ended. All the political conformity, all the mystery and secrecy, all the austerity and shortages, its all there, and as I remember it personally in Prague or Sofia as a visitor in the '60s. But its there in an hilarious confusion of language, misunderstandings, clandestine sex and Marxist dogma, with at least a chuckle on every page, as Petworth (Petwurt,Pitwit, etc) is entertained (in more than one sense) by his official and unofficial hosts. I relived some of my own experiences, but this time with brilliant wit and humour.
Jessica Mitford: Churchill's Rebel by Meredith Whitford
Jessica Mitford: Churchill's Rebel by Meredith Whitford
3.0 out of 5 stars Best of the Mitfords, 24 Dec 2013
Lengthy and wordy, with long quotations from sometimes trivial letters, nevertheless this tells the story of the most worthy of the notorious Mitford daughters. Nancy achieved fame as a writer but not a nice person to know.
Unity and Diana (Mosley) were Hitler's most devoted admirers. Deborah merely wanted to be a duchess (and did). But Jessica (Decca) was a woman of principle, and the book tells in lavish detail her political development and her romantic marriage to a fellow socialist, Churchill's nephew Esmond Romilly.
A tough read, but worth it in the end.