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Non-fiction

Charlie Croker has a new book out. Image: Getty.

To take or not to take a pseudonym

18 October 2012 14:04

Literary pseudonyms have been on my mind lately, for a couple of reasons. The first is Salman Rushdie’s revelation that he chose ‘Joseph Anton’ as his cover name when in… Continue reading

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Michael Newton argues that assassination is an event for public consumption. Image: Getty.

Killing as entertainment

18 October 2012 9:36

‘The history of our love affair with violence’ is how Michael Newton describes his new book, Age of Assassins. In fact, its scope is much narrower: assassination in Europe and… Continue reading

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The good points in Daniel Hannan's 'A Doomed Marriage' are obscured by the bad. Image: Getty.

Review – A Doomed Marriage by Daniel Hannan

17 October 2012 9:23

When Dan Hannan’s book, A Doomed Marriage: Britain and Europe, arrived through the post I was alarmed to see that it was shrink wrapped in the same way as top… Continue reading

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Outliving Ozymandias

9 October 2012 10:02

In 1842, a wealthy heiress called Sarah Losh built a church in Wreay (rhymes with ‘near’, apparently), close to Carlisle. Coupling carvings of caterpillars with turtle gargoyles and a spattering… Continue reading

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Roger Moore doesn't like parties. Image: Getty.

Shelf Life: Roger Moore

3 October 2012 16:02

A few surprising revelations from this week’s esteemed Shelf Lifer, as Roger Moore tells us which literary character he’d sleep with, what he doesn’t like doing in his spare time… Continue reading

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Edwina Currie's second volume of diaries is required reading for anyone who wants to enter the Commons. Image: Getty.

The loneliness of Edwina Currie

2 October 2012 9:49

Edwina Currie is very much an acquired taste and I am very happy that I acquired it in 1983 when we were both first elected to Parliament. Sassy, saucy, fiendishly… Continue reading

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Afghan troops on patrol with British forces in Helmand, 2007. Patrick Hennessey's 'Kandak: Fighting with the Afghans' describes the 'innate ability' of the Afghan soldier. Image: Getty.

Interview – Patrick Hennessey, Kandak: Fighting with the Afghans

28 September 2012 11:35

“It always struck me that it was a much easier war to support the closer you got to it,” says Patrick Hennessey of the war in Afghanistan. Hennessey, who served… Continue reading

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Christopher Clark's monumental and brilliant study of the breakout of the Great War restates the case that all countries were to blame. Image: Getty.

Let’s not be beastly to the Germans

27 September 2012 15:11

The question of how Europe stumbled into the horrific abyss of  the First World War, the catastrophe which The Economist once called ‘the greatest tragedy in human history’ is obviously… Continue reading

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Katherine Angel's 'Unmastered' is a singular exploration of female sexual desire. Image: Getty.

Unmastered: A book on desire, most difficult to tell (…or read)

26 September 2012 9:42

Among the new words which entered the English Dictionary last year was ‘overshare’, def: ‘to reveal an inappropriate amount of detail about one’s personal life’. If that detail pertains to… Continue reading

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Former US Navy SEAL Mark Owen's account of the death of Osama bin Laden is not as dramatic as one might expect. Image: Getty.

The death of Osama bin Laden

25 September 2012 11:12

Everyone knows something of what happened the night American Navy Seals killed Osama bin Laden in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad. Frenzied reports followed the news of his death… Continue reading

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Which of the conveniences listed in 'The Good Loo Guide' are still convenient? Image: Getty.

The Good Loo Guide

20 September 2012 9:46

Funny the ways you can learn about a book. Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones alerted me to one recently, 43 years after his death. I was at Somerset House… Continue reading

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Interview: John R. MacArthur on the US election

19 September 2012 10:06

When Barack Obama entered the White House in January 2009, millions of citizens across the United States believed it was a new dawn for the American political system. Obama promised… Continue reading

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Robert Hughes' 'Culture of Complaint' is a brilliant guide to the various culture wars that have raged around us in recent days. Image: Getty

Robert Hughes – The novelty of the shock

18 September 2012 9:43

The real shock of the new came in 1991. It was sobering, and it was reverent, which aren’t exactly the first words one would associate with The Shock of the… Continue reading

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This week's Discovering Poetry column examines Thomas Jordan's anti-Republican polemics, written soon after the Restoration. Image: Getty.

The poetic lies against Old Ironsides

17 September 2012 15:19

‘How the War Began’ by Thomas Jordan, 1663. ‘I’ll tell you how the war began: The holy ones assembled (For so they called their party then Whose consciences so trembled).… Continue reading

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Events at Marikana remind one Africa's bad old days, but the continent is progressing economically. Image: Getty

Africa’s growth spurt

12 September 2012 10:32

When South African police opened fire on striking miners at Lonmin’s Marikana platinum mine, it had all of the hallmarks of the bad old days of the continent – the… Continue reading

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Zadie Smith's 'NW' seems to be winning plaudits, and rightly so. Image: Getty.

A tale of two Smiths: Zadie Smith and The Smiths

10 September 2012 15:00

It is lit-fiction season: that time of the year of when the premier novelists of the age dominate the market. Ian McEwan, Pat Barker, Zadie Smith, Sebastian Faulks and Rose… Continue reading

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Tensions have been rising in the Far East over Chinese ambitious in the South China Sea. Image: Getty

Hot War in the South China Sea?

5 September 2012 16:22

Like the deserts of the Middle East, the barren islands of the South China Sea now loom as a new theatre of war.  Asian countries, indeed America, too, are at… Continue reading

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Stepping out with my baby. Image: Getty

The language of patronage

4 September 2012 14:58

Somehow, sex is less appealing when it’s characterised as ‘equitable return’. Though I’ve heard the phrase used in a similar context a dozen times since, I wasn’t quite sure what… Continue reading

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Midway, a battle which shaped the modern world. Image: Getty.

Midway: The overlooked battle

4 September 2012 10:33

For many of us the Battle of Midway is just one more Hollywood spectacular in, to paraphrase Neville Chamberlain, a far-away sea of which we know little. But having recently… Continue reading

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"Burma Captured: In Images and In Spirit" Burma Ball To Benefit The New Blood Migrant School

Naomi Wolf, Marie Stopes and grand deceit

3 September 2012 11:27

‘This man makes a pseudonym and crawls behind it like a worm,’ wrote Sylvia Plath in The Fearful. The weekend’s literary pages were gripped by a story of pseudonyms. R.J.… Continue reading

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Walking deep into England. Image: Getty

In England’s green and pleasant land

31 August 2012 9:20

The idea came to me after I had just got back from South America after a long trip to Peru.  Perhaps because I was badly jetlagged, everything about England looked… Continue reading

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Me? Spin? Jeremy Vine's great guide to survival. Getty Images

Jeremy Vine’s survival guide

29 August 2012 18:34

I first knew Jeremy Vine as a very young, charming, earnest and totally driven political correspondent for the BBC in the 1980s. So when I started reading It’s All News… Continue reading

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England, UK . 7.7.2012. London . David Lomon, 93, one the last surviving British veterans of the Spanish Civil War unveils a plaque honouring the volunteers from the British Isles

General Franco’s British foes

29 August 2012 15:02

David Lomon was one of the lucky ones. While fighting in Aragon in south-west Spain in the spring of 1938, the former salesman from Hackney was captured by one of… Continue reading

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Abandoned village, Getty Images

Last rites

28 August 2012 9:10

‘Village’, to most middle-Englanders, conjures up a cosy, living community. Perhaps the post office is threatened with closure or the bus timetable is to be cut, but the hanging baskets… Continue reading

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Nina Bawden with her husband Austen Kark

Nina Bawden dies age 87

22 August 2012 18:34

Author of classic children’s novel Carrie’s War and the Booker shortlisted Circles of Deceit, Nina Bawden has died today aged 87. Apart from writing over forty novels for adults and children,… Continue reading

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