Byron Rogers

Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon survive the Blitz in Mrs Miniver (1942).Churchill reckoned it was ‘worth six war divisions’ and Goebbels considered it an ‘exemplary propaganda film’, but to Lillian Hellman it was‘a piece of junk’

When Mussolini came knocking on Hollywood’s door

29 March 2014 9:00 am

John Ford was the first of the five famous Hollywood film directors to go to war. He went expecting to…


The man who shared a bed with D.H. Lawrence and Dylan Thomas (though not together)

9 November 2013 9:00 am

Rhys Davies was a Welsh writer in English who lived most of his life in London, that Tir na nÓg…

Guy Burgess (Picture: Getty)

What happens when journalists take sides

19 October 2013 9:00 am

This is a curious book. Its title and the name of its publisher suggest that it is going to be…

Portrait of Bolívar by Pedro José de Figueroa. ‘It was a time of heroes, 
when generals wore perfect uniforms and whole countries were named after them.’

Boliver, by Marie Arana - review

29 June 2013 9:00 am

So here we go again into a heart of darkness:  the humbug and horror which is the history of Spanish…


Michael Wharton: A Peter Simple life

20 April 2013 9:00 am

In praise of the satirist Michael Wharton, who would have been 100 this week

Henry Fonda as Bob Larkin in Firecreek (1968)

Part of the pantheon

19 January 2013 9:00 am

Henry Fonda once said that he had never had any ambition to be a film star. But then how could…

Now we know what happened

27 October 2012 9:00 am

First there was Sir Walter Raleigh, who after ‘getting one of the Mayds of Honour up against a tree in…

The brutal executions of the regicides were eventually changed to terms of life imprisonment, as the dignity with which the victims met their deaths excited too much public sympathy

More vindictive than merry

15 September 2012 9:00 am

At first I thought this was going to be a terrible book. It starts like a Hollywood B-movie Western on…


Out of sight, out of mind

28 April 2012 10:00 am

Arthur Newton and Peter Gavuzzi, long-distance interwar runners, are two of the most extraordinary British athletes. They are also the…


More sinned against than sinning

25 February 2012 10:00 am

When I saw the title of this book, then read that it only covered the period 1600-1800 I hoped this…

Nobody turns up

17 September 2011 12:00 am

This is not a book likely to figure in the lists of the reading circles of Home Counties England. There…


Scenes from the Mad Hatter’s tea party

2 July 2011 12:00 am

I only ever heard my mother admit twice to fancying other men.

A world of her own

2 April 2011 12:00 am

This book, written by someone whose husband was for three years prime minister of Britain, is impossible to review.


Nowhere becomes somewhere

5 February 2011 12:00 am

There have been quite a few anthologies of British eccentricity. Usually they are roll-calls of the lunatic: a sought-after heiress so snobbish she finally gave her hand in marriage to a man who had managed to convince her he was the Emperor of China; a miser so mean he would sit on fish until he considered them cooked; a man so addicted to cobnuts he would, after any long coach journey, be up to his knees in their shells. Men who refused to get into a bath, others who refused to get out of one, or were so quarrelsome they could spot an insult at 100 yards, others who so loved animals they would bath owls (which died), or founded their own religions so they could copulate with the faithful on the high altar (though I gather this was an ambition of the novelist Graham Greene). All the crackpots. So it is a pity that this book has as its subtitle ‘A Gallery of Glorious British Eccentrics.’


Laughter from the Gallery

30 October 2010 12:00 am

This is an amiable book. The parliamentary sketchwriter Simon Hoggart, also the wine correspondent of this magazine, for which he drinks as selflessly as Zorba the Greek, has set out to record anecdotes that have amused and appalled him in the course of his long professional life.


Mountain sheep aren’t sweeter

2 June 2010 12:00 am

Anyone who can speak Welsh is going to get a lot of fun from this book.


Holy smoke

19 May 2010 12:00 am

I have seen the last of the things that are gone, brooded the poet Padraic Colum.


The stuff of legend

10 March 2010 12:00 am

This book could have been a classic.


Method in his madness

24 February 2010 12:00 am

The car manufacturer Henry Ford domin- ates this remarkable book, managing, like Falstaff, to be its tragic hero, villain, and comic relief all at the same time.

Racists, pigs and hysterics

30 December 2009 12:00 am

I cannot remember getting so much pleasure from a book.

The myth survived

25 November 2009 12:00 am

You may find this book irritating. A complex exposition of 2,000 years of history, it is intended for the general reader, whoever he is (a general reader would surely not attempt it), so its source material is not identified but tidied away into long footnotes, presumably on the principle of pas devant la bonne.

But then the snow turned to rain

14 October 2009 12:00 am

My daughter when small came home from school one night singing these extraordinary lines: ‘Fortune, my foe, why dost thou frown on me/ And will thy favours never lighter be?’

Horror in the Arctic

22 July 2009 12:00 am

Around the middle of the 19th century a new image of horror appeared in Victorian art.

Instead of the poem

13 May 2009 12:00 am

The Canterbury Tales, by Geoffrey Chaucer, retold by Peter Ackroyd


The romance of the jungle

25 March 2009 12:00 am

The Lost City of Z, by David Grann