Books

Is Anna Wintour human?

21 May 2022 9:00 am

Apparently Anna Wintour wants to be seen as human, and Amy Odell’s biography goes some way to helping her achieve…

The sad fate of Edna St Vincent Millay – America’s once celebrated poet

21 May 2022 9:00 am

In June 1957, Robert Lowell attended a poetry reading by E.E. Cummings. Sitting dutifully and deferentially alongside him were Allen…

The danger of learning too much from Covid

21 May 2022 9:00 am

When Ray Bradbury was asked if his dystopian vision in Fahrenheit 451 would become a reality, he replied: ‘I don’t…

The treatment of mental illness continues to be a scandal

21 May 2022 9:00 am

There is much more desperation in this searching and enlightening history than there are remedies. Andrew Scull is a distinguished…

Travels in time and space: Sea of Tranquility, by Emily St. John Mandel, reviewed

21 May 2022 9:00 am

It’s a bold writer who confronts a major historical moment such as a pandemic before it’s over, but Emily St.…

The history of Nazism in small objects

21 May 2022 9:00 am

‘I can’t cook,’ writes the historian Karina Urbach, ‘which is probably why it took me so long to realise that…

Operation Chariot succeeded because it was unthinkable

21 May 2022 9:00 am

Eighty years ago, just after midnight on 28 March 1942, the British destroyer HMS Campbeltown crept up the estuary of…

For ruthless inhumanity, the Bolsheviks were unbeatable

21 May 2022 9:00 am

Sara Wheeler describes the appalling brutality of the Russian Revolution and its far-reaching aftermath

Atomic reading

14 May 2022 9:00 am

So you think you know the story of Britain’s notorious atomic tests in Australia? In that respect, the name of…

Light and shade in the Holy Land – a century in spectacular images

14 May 2022 9:00 am

Justin Marozzi on the troubled history of a small, much-coveted country

A botched coup: the desperate Cato Street conspiracy

14 May 2022 9:00 am

Almost half of the terrorists hadn’t even turned up. Still, on the night of 23 February 1820, 25 men, including…

Fresh air and fascism in the Bavarian Alps

14 May 2022 9:00 am

The village of Oberstdorf lies in the Bavarian Alps, geographically remote but, as this gripping book demonstrates, deeply etched by…

Did postmodernism pave the way for Donald Trump?

14 May 2022 9:00 am

David Shields is an American author who has decided to collate many of the questions he’s been asked in interviews…

Snafu at Slough House: Bad Actors, by Mick Herron, reviewed

14 May 2022 9:00 am

Reviewers who make fancy claims for genre novels tend to sound like needy show-offs or hard-of-thinking dolts. So be it:…

A meditation on exile and the meaning of home

14 May 2022 9:00 am

What does home mean? Where your dead are buried, as Zulus believe? Or where you left your heart, as a…

Has liberalism destroyed itself?

14 May 2022 9:00 am

According to Vladimir Putin, liberalism is an ‘obsolete’ doctrine, a worn-out political philosophy no longer fit for purpose. In this…

A bitter sectarian divide: Young Mungo, by Douglas Stuart, reviewed

14 May 2022 9:00 am

Douglas Stuart has a rare gift. The Scottish writer, whose debut novel Shuggie Bain deservedly won the 2020 Booker Prize,…

Messy family matters: Bad Relations, by Cressida Connolly, reviewed

14 May 2022 9:00 am

Cressida Connolly’s new novel begins with a couple of endings. It’s spring 1855, and on the battlefields of the Crimea…

Patterns in the grass: The Perfect Golden Circle, by Benjamin Myers, reviewed

14 May 2022 9:00 am

The Perfect Golden Circle is ostensibly about male friendship. Two men, flotsam of the 1980s – Calvert, a Falklands veteran,…

What the Marxist Tariq Ali gets wrong about Winston Churchill

14 May 2022 9:00 am

Tariq Ali, the Marxist writer and activist, believes that a ‘Churchill cult’ is ‘drowning all serious debate’ about the wartime…

All talk and no trousers: is Oxford really to blame for Brexit?

7 May 2022 9:00 am

Attacks on British elitism usually talk about Oxbridge, but Simon Kuper argues that it is specifically Oxford that is the…

Friend of Elizabethan exiles: the colourful life of Jane Dormer

7 May 2022 9:00 am

Thomas Cromwell’s biographer Diarmaid MacCulloch once told me that my father’s family, the Dormers, had been servants of the great…

Will the bad luck of the Philippines ever turn?

7 May 2022 9:00 am

The Philippines is the odd man out in Asia, a predominantly Catholic country colonised first by Spain, then the United…

Gardening’s bad girl: the genius – and malice – of Ellen Willmott

7 May 2022 9:00 am

In October 1897, the grandees of the Royal Horticultural Society gathered to bestow their highest award, the Victoria Medal of…

The pacifists of the 1930s deserve greater understanding

7 May 2022 9:00 am

As I’ve occasionally come to think is the case with The Spectator, this book is perhaps best begun at the…