Philip Ziegler

Lesley Blanch in a bar in Menton in the south of France, in 1961Lesley Blanch in a bar in Menton in the south of France, in 1961

Lesley Blanch: a true original on the wilder shores of exoticism

Lesley Blanch (1904–2007) will be remembered chiefly for her gloriously extravagant The Wilder Shores of Love, the story of four…

Dean Inge, one of the last Victorians. Photograph: Topical Press Agency/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Daring? No. Well written? Yes

This has all the appearance of a book invented by a publisher. Two years ago W. Sydney Robinson published an…

Fanny Burney

The Thucydides of court gossip? Steady on...

Sir Brian Unwin leads off with some decidedly questionable assertions. He wonders why the first of his two subjects, the…


Was Roy Jenkins the greatest prime minister we never had?

Roy Jenkins may have been snobbish and self-indulgent, but he was also a visionary and man of principle who would have made a good prime minister, says Philip Ziegler

Prince Albert (Photo: John Jabez Edwin Mayall/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Clash of the titans

This is an odd book: interesting, informative, intelligent, but still decidedly odd. It is a history of the Victorian era…


Edwardian Requiem, by Michael Waterhouse - review

The photograph on the jacket, reproduced above, says it all — or at least all of what most of us…

Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography, by Charles Moore, and Not for Turning, by Robin Harris - review

It is a measure of Lady Thatcher’s standing that her death has been followed not only by the mealy-mouthed compliments…

'The Undivided Past', by David Cannadine – review

David Cannadine detests generalisations and looks disapprovingly on any attempt to divide humanity into precise categories. The Undivided Past provides…

Trader Faulkner celebrating the life and work of Lorca

More Lothario than Hamlet

Ronald ‘Trader’ Faulkner is that relative rarity: an unassuming actor. In their memoirs most actors, after the obligatory two or…

Two of the best: Chips Channon and Virginia Woolf

A painless lesson in political history

This book is not a history, explains Ruth Winstone, who has edited this collection of excerpts from diaries published between…

Highbrows and eyebrows

Juliet Nicolson is a member of a literary dynasty second in productivity only to the Pakenhams. She is herself the…


Agreeing to differ

‘Frankie and Johnny were sweethearts; Lordie, how they could love.’ The ballad has many variant versions but the denouement is…

Talking tough

This thoughtful, challenging and deeply depressing book takes as its launch pad the Nuremberg Trials, in which the author’s father…

Voyages of discovery

Roger Louis is an American professor from the University of Texas at Austin who knows more about the history of…

The Diamond Queen by Andrew Marr

‘Of making many books there is no end’, particularly when the subject is Queen Elizabeth II. It is less than…


At home in the corridors of power

To be the daughter of an enormously powerful man must always be an enthralling if sometimes daunting experience. To be…


Neither Greek nor German

Prince Philip’s childhood was such that he had every right to be emotionally repressed and psychologically disturbed.

A fate worse than death

Hugo Vickers has already produced a well-documented and balanced biography of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.


In from the cold

Philip Ziegler puts the case for Terence Rattigan, whose centenary is celebrated with numerous revivals of his work


How we roared!

To most people Christopher Plummer means Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music. Plummer would not be in the least ashamed by this.


The invisible man

Nicklaus Thomas-Symonds’s study of Clement Attlee is a specimen of that now relatively rare but still far from endangered species, the ‘political’ biography.


Golden youth or electric eel?

Patrick Shaw-Stewart was the cleverest and the most ambitious of the gilded gang of young men who swam in the wake of the not-so-young but perennially youthful Raymond Asquith.


Casualties of war and peace

John Simpson quotes Humbert Wolfe’s mischievous lampoon but makes it clear that, in spite of the somewhat disobliging title of his book, he does not accept it as fair comment.

Some sunny day!

In August 1945 Cyril Patmore of the Royal Scots Fusiliers returned on compassionate leave from India.

Home thoughts from abroad

This book is companion to a television series (though the times seem slightly out of joint — on the front cover we are told that it is ‘As seen on the BBC’ while at the back the series is described as ‘first broadcast in 2010’).