×

Non-fiction

The ‘Catalogus Plantarum’ is an early botany book that urges its reader to walk in the British wild.

The Secret Lives of Books – occasional tales from the Bodleian

22 April 2013 13:28

Does monotropa hypopithys, or yellow bird’s nest, still grow in Mickleham, Surrey, in the woods once owned by Sir Lucas Pepys the celebrity physician who, in ministering to King George… Continue reading

0 Comments
Ian Bell plays another breathtaking cover drive against New Zealand last month. (Marty Melville/AFP/Getty Images)

Wisden finally merits the epithet ‘Cricket Bible’

17 April 2013 11:11

The man who christened Wisden ‘The Cricket Bible’ had little religion. Wisden is an unprepossessing sight: a 1,500 page tome surrounded by a flame-yellow dust jacket covered in mud brown… Continue reading

0 Comments
Van Dyck's first self-portrait (C.1615), which forms the cover of 'The Young Van Dyck' edited Alejandro Vergara and Friso Lammertse. (Courtesy of Thames and Hudson)

The Young Van Dyck edited by Alejandro Vergara and Friso Lammertse – review

4 April 2013 10:00

Precocious genius will never fail to impress. But it is also very hard to relate to. Aged 14, Anthony Van Dyck painted a Portrait of a Seventy-Year-Old man that looked… Continue reading

0 Comments
A picture taken during the Special Air Service's celebrated operation in the Iranian embassy in London, 1980. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Zero Six Bravo proves that too much secrecy over Special Forces is a bad thing

3 April 2013 9:30

Zero Six Bravo tells of 60 Special Forces operators forced to remain silent in the face of accusations of ‘cowardice’ and ‘running away from the Iraqis’ in the 2003 war.… Continue reading

3 Comments
Three Mitford sisters in the early thirties. Nancy Mitford (right) pinched 'U and non-U' pronunciation from Professor Ross, author of 'How to Pronounce It'. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

How To Pronounce It – U and non-U. A guide for George “innit” Osborne.

28 March 2013 11:38

Sometimes, in the joyous lotteries we call ‘secondhand bookshops’, you find a volume that takes you back to a different era because of its physical appearance. Sometimes you find one… Continue reading

23 Comments
Rod Steiger playing Napoleon on the set of 'Waterloo', the 1970 film by Dino de Laurentis. The battle, Napoleon's final and greatest defeat, is one of the few glaring ommissions from Jeremy Harwood's very good 'Atlas of History's Greatest Military Victories', published by Icon Books. (Photo by Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Atlas of History’s Greatest Military Victories, by Jeremy Harwood – review

27 March 2013 9:39

Final proof – if any were needed – that Englishmen are not made of the same mettle as their rough, tough ancestors is provided on the website of the Towton… Continue reading

5 Comments
Field Marshal Alan Brooke's diaries will keep our 21 year old interested and provide invaluable advice about leadership and working with difficult superiors. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

21 books for a godson, pt. 2

26 March 2013 11:30

This post is the second half of a list of 21 books that a man might give to his godson on the occasion of his twenty-first birthday.That is novels done.… Continue reading

2 Comments
People light candles in front of the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) to commemorate the bombing of Dresden, which was so vividly described by Victor Gregg in Rifleman. Gregg was a British prisoner being held in Dresden at the time of the bombings. (ROBERT MICHAEL/AFP/Getty Images)

Rifleman by Victor Gregg is a book you ought to read

21 March 2013 10:00

I live in New York and until this month I had never heard of Victor Gregg, the World War II veteran whose 2011 memoir, Rifleman, was hailed as possibly the… Continue reading

33 Comments
A statue of General Charles de Gaulle on the Champs Elysees. (JACQUES DEMARTHON/AFP/Getty Images)

A tale of two colonels

15 March 2013 9:05

This week, March 11th, marks the 50th anniversary of the shooting by firing squad near Paris of the last person (so far) to be executed by the state for political… Continue reading

16 Comments
Mods gather on Southend's seafront on June 3, 2007 in Southend, England. (Bruno Vincent/Getty Images)

Review: Mod! – A Very British Style, by Richard Weight

8 March 2013 15:51

Doesn’t it all seem a long time ago? For years, the 1960s remained a key cultural reference, universally understood. But then, at some point, probably around the turn of the… Continue reading

2 Comments
The Colosseum. (FILIPPO MONTEFORTE,FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/GettyImages)

Review – Invisible Romans, by Robert Knapp

5 March 2013 12:39

It’s tempting to reduce the Roman Empire to a roll call of famous men and their infamous deeds. The Republic toppled with Caesar on the steps of the senate; freedom… Continue reading

0 Comments
Papuan tribal warriors from Karang Senang village armed with bows and arrows prepare to attack the neighboring Harapan village after two Karang Senang tribesmen were killed in the raging tribal war in Mimika town located in Indonesia's restive Papua province. Authorities effort to mediate between the warring tribes have failed as violence erupted in 2012.  (TJAHJONO ERANIUS/AFP/GettyImages)

Interview with a writer: Jared Diamond

1 March 2013 10:55

In his latest book The World Until Yesterday, Jared Diamond analyses the behavioral differences between human beings in tribal stateless-societies and those living in bureaucratic nation states. Diamond says that if… Continue reading

6 Comments
Alfred Hitchcock pictured in Cannes in 1972. (Picture: AFP/Getty Images)

The Last Days of Alfred Hitchcock

28 February 2013 10:14

For the last 40 years it’s been impossible to interview Anthony Hopkins without him doing his Tommy Cooper impression. He’s obsessed with the bloke, constantly interrupting Silence of the Lambs… Continue reading

1 Comment
Roy Lichtenstein, ‘The red horseman’, 1974.

Roy Lichtenstein: comic genius?

26 February 2013 10:24

Tate Modern promises that its forthcoming retrospective will showcase ‘the full scope of Roy Lichtenstein’s artistic explorations’, to which Spectator art critic Andrew Lambirth responded acidly: ‘I look forward to… Continue reading

0 Comments
A man holds a pillbox with the AIDS ribbon on sale at the Global Village in Mexico City on August 3, 2008 during an exhibition in the framework of the XVII International AIDS/HIV Conference, which shows how far we have come since Marco Roth's father was diagnosed with the condition in the 1980s. Picture: Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images

An unwanted relation

25 February 2013 12:07

In June 1981, the United States’ Centers  for Disease Control noted in its weekly report that five ‘previously healthy’ young men in Los Angeles had been treated for pneumonia. Two… Continue reading

0 Comments
The Silence of Animals hi res

Interview with a writer: John Gray

22 February 2013 9:59

In his new book The Silence of Animals, the philosopher John Gray explores why human beings continue to use myth to give purpose to their lives. Drawing from the material… Continue reading

20 Comments
Ioana Timoce sits at a cafe terrace with her new book. Image: LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images

Doing it the French way

21 February 2013 10:49

‘Where have all the great French writers gone?’ the people cry. Or at least they would if anyone was interested in French books. Translated literature claims just 3 per cent… Continue reading

5 Comments
Prime Minister David Cameron Official Visit To India

The battle for credibility: David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Hilary Mantel edition

19 February 2013 18:49

Why can’t politicians resist the temptation to comment? Hilary Mantel’s piece in the LRB is about as political as the pasta I was eating when David Cameron stopped darkening Indian… Continue reading

6 Comments
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge Visits St Andrew's School, Berkshire. Image: Getty

Hilary Mantel’s sympathy for the royals

19 February 2013 12:47

Hilary Mantel has got into hot-water over a piece she has written about monarchy for the London Review of Books. There has been consternation over Mantel’s statement that the Duchess… Continue reading

6 Comments
Neil Shubin says that life has an internal clock that is governed by the rotation of the Earth and the cycle of the tides. Image: Getty.

Interview with a writer: Professor Neil Shubin

15 February 2013 12:26

Following in the footsteps of the great tradition of paleontologists like Stephen Jay Gould, and evolutionary biologists such as Ernst Mayr, Neil Shubin, professor in the Department of Organismal Biology… Continue reading

1 Comment
Action from the 2011 ICC World Cup second Semi-Final between Pakistan and India at Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) Stadium in Mohali, India, on March 30, 2011. Image: Getty

Cricket’s the loser

12 February 2013 19:11

Cricket glorifies some cheats. W.G. Grace often batted on after being clean bowled; such was the public demand to watch him. Douglas Jardine’s bodyline tactics revolutionised fast bowling: eventually making… Continue reading

4 Comments
US soldiers carry a wounded comrade through a swampy area during action in Vietnam in 1969. NATIONAL ARCHIVES/AFP/GettyImages

War is not to be envied

11 February 2013 13:09

Donald Anderson is a former US Air Force Colonel and current professor of English Literature at the US Air Force Academy. His new book, Gathering Noise from my Life: A… Continue reading

0 Comments
The Sun Sets Behind The Houses Of Parliament

You must read this book

7 February 2013 15:37

I was delighted to be one of the judges (along with John Rentoul, Heather Brooke and Tony McNulty) who selected Nick Cohen’s You Can’t Read This Book as the polemic… Continue reading

7 Comments
Children at the Natural History Museum. Image: Getty

Childishly scientific

5 February 2013 14:30

2.30pm, Tuesday, the bookshop of the Natural History Museum. Horrible Science: Blood, Bones and Body Bits is being leafed through by one of its typical readers. In other words he’s… Continue reading

0 Comments
Richard III's deformed skeleton proves that one supposed Tudor libel about the king was no more than the truth. Image: Getty

Richard III should be reburied under Leicester council’s car park

5 February 2013 14:00

Anyone who watched last night’s Channel 4 Documentary Richard III: The King Under the Car Park will need no reminding that members of the Richard III Society tend to be… Continue reading

62 Comments