Sceptre Books, 1986. Reprint. Paperback. Used - Very good. A little toned. Index. 270 pp. Item #8918
It was a great relief to many when in October 1982 Bernard Levin returned to the pages of The Times. In his eighteen months' leave from regular journalism (during which he was alarmed to discover that he didn't miss it) there were those less fortunate, some of them addicts of up to thirty years, left twitching with curiosity to know what he was thinking now. We were treated, it is true, to the sumptuous delights of his book Enthusiasms, but the familiar voice delivering ever unpredictable opinions at predictable intervals was missed. Collected in The Way We Live Now, from Levin's new weekly column in The Times which bears that headline, we find arguments for democracy, the rights of theatre critics, The Genius of Venice, Isaac Stern and Frank Lloyd Wright. There is condemnation for Mao, Kim Il Sung, writers' conferences and euthanasia. Levin remains a defender of free speech even if, alas, it is the free speech of Michael Heseltine under fire from egg-throwers, even if it is that of the smoker against the tyranny of ASH. Never failing o spring surprises, Levin pronounces the last minutes of E.T. to be as affecting as anything he has ever seen in a cinema, a theatre or even an opera house. In recent book reviews from the Observer, a number of which are also included, Levin shows a hero-worshipping brother of C.P. Snow 'all unceremoniously painting a monster' and condemns the autobiography of a very different sort of monster, Mafia godfather Jospeh Bonanno, as a 'mendacious, illiterate and disgusting book'. No less whole-hearted in his praise, Levin's reviews of the final and companion volumes of The Diary of Samuel Pepys or Peter Heyworth's exemplary biography of Otto Klemperer make it seems the merest foolishness to begin a new day without rushing out to buy them. Those readers who devour Levin's words week by week will want this feast between hard covers. And for anyone who still needs an introduction to one of Britain's most eagerly read journalists this is the book to try.