Sara Wheeler

Graffiti outside the American University of Cairo reads ‘Revolution’ (December 2011)

The revolution that went up in smoke

‘Every day’, writes the foreign correspondent Wendell Steavenson in this account of the 2011 Egyptian revolution, ‘see-sawed between joy and…

Rabdentse, near Pelling, the ruined former capital of Sikkim, with Mount Kanchenjunga in the distance

The story of Sikkim’s last king and queen reads like a fairy tale gone wrong

Sikkim was a Himalayan kingdom a third of the size of Wales squeezed between China, India, Nepal and Bhutan. I…

‘Jeddah from the sea’— sketch by Thomas Machell in one of his journals

A Victorian sailor is the new love of my life

Jenny Balfour Paul is an indigo dye expert. She has written two books on the subject, and lectures around the…


Dreaming of a golden future: there will always be people willing to sacrifice all in the pursuit of gold

In 2008, the price of gold lofted above $1,000 an ounce for the first time in history, inspiring a rush…

USS Jeanette Photo: Getty

The greatest American Arctic disaster

In the course of the 19th century, various flotillas of expeditions hastened to the polar regions in little wooden ships…


A paralysed landscape

‘Very, very, very sexy’, a field-researcher scratches in his Antarctic notebook. He is describing a meteorite the size of a…

A new world in the making

Alexis de Tocqueville is a prophet for all seasons, continually reinterpreted as the zeitgeist shifts.


Way out west

This year America celebrates the cent-enary of Mark Twain’s death.

The iceman cometh

True North: Travels in Arctic Europe, by Gavin Francis


Lust in a hot climate

Sara Wheeler on Frances Osborne's biography of Idina Sackville

The year of the rat

‘Ah,’ Robert Sullivan exclaims in this artful book, ‘the excitement, the nail-biting and palpably semi-wild thrill of ratting in the…

Serving Christ and colonialism

Fergus Fleming is the author of three volumes of narrative history, the best of which, Barrow’s Boys, gives a rollicking…