Ferdinand Mount

The first suicide bomber was probably Samson, who died while pulling down the temple of the Philistines

Religion does not poison everything - everything poisons religion

It slips so easily off the tongue. In fact, it’s a modern mantra. ‘Religion causes all the wars.’ Karen Armstrong…

Karl Marx Photo: Getty

Piketty’s decaff Marxism would be just as oppressive and intrusive as the old variety

If a title works once, the chances are it will work again. Half the punch of Marx’s masterwork is in…

Respect For Elders

Ferdinand Mount's diary: Supermac was guilty!

You have to hand it to Supermac. Fifty years after the event, he is still running rings round them. The…

Isaiah Berlin (left) and Isaac Deutscher

Isaac & Isaiah, by David Caute - review

The scene is the common room of All Souls College, Oxford, in the first week of March 1963. It is…

Thatcher Family

Oh, Calcutta!

Now a byword for poverty, the former capital of British India makes for a fascinating study, says Ferdinand Mount

Keats in his last illness, by Joseph Severn

A life of sad romance

‘What porridge had John Keats?’ Browning offers this as the crass sort of question that stupid people ask. But in…

Class is back

…and the divisions are more bitterly felt than ever


Spiritual superhero

When totting up the positives from the British Raj, people often put the railways first, followed by the Indian Civil…


The Letters of Samuel Beckett: Volume II, 1941-56, edited by George Craig, Martha Dow Fehsenfeld, Dan Gunn and Lois More Overbeck

The die was miscast from the start, more’s the pity. As we reach the halfway point in this massy four-volume…


Elegy for wild Wales

If you drive West out of Carmarthen on the A40, you pass through a landscape of dimpled hills and lonely chapels and little rivers full of salmon trout.


A time to moan and weep

Ferdinand Mount recalls the crisis years of the early 1970s, when Britain was pronounced ‘ungovernable’


Raise a glass to Alan Watkins

Ferdinand Mount mourns the passing of his friend and colleague — and a former Spectator columnist — whose wit, humour and clarity of expression remain unrivalled


Refusing to play the game

What sort of person would you expect to be bringing out a life of J.D. Salinger two months after his death, bearing in mind that Salinger was more obsessive about his privacy than any other writer in human history and fought the publication of the last biography all the way to the US Supreme Court?


David Cameron should honour his marriage vow

Labour’s Green Paper on families makes it clear that the party is opposed to promoting marriage. Ferdinand Mount says it’s crucial that the Tories don’t waver, but stick to their promise of a financial incentive

A long journey

Concerning E. M. Forster, by Frank Kermode


Ferdinand Mount opens his diary

The Go-Away Bird

Muriel Spark: The Biography, by Martin Stannard

How different from us?

The Ends of Life: Roads to Human Fulfilment in Early Modern England, by Keith Thomas

The downfall of a pessimist

Ferdinand Mount reviews Paul Delany's biography of George Gessing


Intolerable, unstoppable, indispensable

There is no getting away from it, Edith Wharton was grand. It never occurred to her to spare expense. On…

The monster we hate to love

What is it about fruit? There is no more searing passage in the memoirs of Auberon Waugh than the bit…

The Voltaire of St Aldates

Ah Oxford! Welcome to the City of Dreadful Spite, otherwise known as Malice Springs, the permanent Number One on the…

Looking back in judgment

Listing page content here The heart starts to sink on the very first page, p. xiii to be precise, because…