Gorbachev and Reagan sign the historic treaty on 8 December 1987 eliminating Soviet and Us intermediate-range and short-range nuclear missiles

The four men who averted the Apocalypse

28 November 2015 9:00 am

Robert Service’s account of the greatest turning point in modern history is unlikely to be bettered, says Sherard Cowper-Coles


Erica Jong's middle-aged dread

28 November 2015 9:00 am

Who’d get old? Bits fall off, your loved ones start dropping like flies and, perhaps worst of all, the only…

Dusty Springfield at the Royal Variety Performance in 1965 (Getty).

Everything you always wanted to know about Sixties pop —and more

28 November 2015 9:00 am

It might seem an odd choice, but after reading Jon Savage’s new book, I think if I had a time…

Walter Crane and James Silvester Sparrow, detail of Psalm 148, window (1896), Holy Trinity Church, Hull, Yorkshire. From Arts & Crafts Stained Glass, by Peter Cormack (Yale)

From cave painting to Maggi Hambling: the best Christmas art books

28 November 2015 9:00 am

It’s been a memorably productive year for art books (I have published a couple myself), but certain volumes stand out.…

Aleister Crowley (Getty).

K2’s fatal attraction

28 November 2015 9:00 am

Take one drug-addled occultist, one forlorn aristocrat, an assortment of urgent colonials and you have, no, not the western canon…

Illustration by Jane Ray for Kevin Crossley-Holland’s Heartsong

The best children’s authors of 2015 — after David Walliams

28 November 2015 9:00 am

The easy way round buying books for children at Christmas is just to get them the latest David Walliams and…


The best short story collections — from childish gabbling to jaded nihilism

28 November 2015 9:00 am

Anyone who enjoyed Ali Smith’s novel How to be Both, with its charmingly loopy monologue of an Italian Renaissance painter…

Ivor Novello as a ‘sympathetic Ripper’ in Hitchcock’s The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog

Jack the Ripper unmasked again

28 November 2015 9:00 am

The Whitechapel Fiend is a psychic conduit for the vilest aspects of Victorian sex and class, and a creature mainly…


A further selection of books of the year — the best and most overrated of 2015

21 November 2015 9:00 am

A further selection of the best and most overrated books of 2015, chosen by our regular reviewers

Into the deep (Photo: Getty)

The deeper secrets of Britain’s submarines

21 November 2015 9:00 am

The Silent Deep is a compelling and fascinating exposé of a service that for too long has had to remain…

Samuel Palmer’s ‘The Harvest Moon’: ‘the bowed forms of peasants are shadows of divinity’

Samuel Palmer: from long-haired mystic to High Church Tory

21 November 2015 9:00 am

In his youth, Samuel Palmer (1805–1881) painted like a Romantic poet. The moonlit field of ‘The Harvest Moon’ (1831–32) glows…

The morning after a bombing raid on Coventry (Photo: Getty)

Shock and awe in Coventry, 14 November 1940

21 November 2015 9:00 am

On 14 November 1940, at seven in the evening, the Luftwaffe began to bomb Coventry. The skyline turned red like…

Perfectly stacked wood, Norwegian-style

Top tips for gardeners — from stroking seedlings to stacking logs

21 November 2015 9:00 am

I spent the summer of 1976 working as a trainee gardener at the Arboretum Kalmthout in Belgium. My employer was…

Rab Butler after the defeat of the Conservatives in 1964. ‘His clothes were truly tragic,’ said Chips Channon

Rab Butler was too indecisive (and badly dressed) to be Prime Minister

21 November 2015 9:00 am

‘The best prime minister we never had’ is not an epithet exclusive to Rab Butler. Widely applied to the late…

Author Helen Simpson (Photo: Getty)

Time is of the essence in Helen Simpson’s Cockfosters

21 November 2015 9:00 am

Helen Simpson is not a prolific writer; six slim collections of short stories in 25 years, each timed quinquennially with…


On a British newspaper, Tintin would have been fired years ago

21 November 2015 9:00 am

Reading Tintin when I was a child, in Britain in the 1970s, I always assumed Georges Remi’s creation was just…

Mel Gibson in Braveheart (Photo: Getty)

The top loo books of 2015

21 November 2015 9:00 am

There is not, sadly, a dedicated Trivia Books section in your local Waterstones, although at this time of year there…


This novel is hilarious (unless you're Richard Dawkins)

21 November 2015 9:00 am

Dan Rhodes apparently had trouble finding a publisher for this short novel, and it’s possible to envisage a certain amount…


The evil genius of Dr Fu Manchu

21 November 2015 9:00 am

In late Victorian south London a ‘lower-middle-class’ boy, Arthur Ward, is lingering over his copy of The Arabian Nights. The…


Books of the Year: the best and most overrated of 2015

14 November 2015 9:00 am

Our regular reviewers choose the best and most overrated books of 2015

Beautiful English countryside landscape over rolling hills

There’s nothing wrong with plugging a friend’s book

14 November 2015 9:00 am

The advantage of reviewing books by a friend is that you can invite him out for a walk across the…


Charles Williams: sadist or Rosicrucian saint?

14 November 2015 9:00 am

Charles Williams was a bad writer, but a very interesting one. Most famous bad writers have to settle, like Sidney…

Patti Smith, Amsterdam, 1976

Patti Smith grows old too gracefully

14 November 2015 9:00 am

‘Jesus died for somebody’s sins/ but not mine’: the opening lines of Patti Smith’s 1975 debut album, Horses, find a…

John Stapp enduring the effects of acceleration and deceleration (Photo: Getty)

John Paul Stapp: the fastest man on earth, who saved millions

14 November 2015 9:00 am

There’s a moment in Craig Ryan’s spectacular biography of John Paul Stapp — the maverick American Air Force doctor who,…

Franz Marangolo’s advertisement , 1950 (From The Life Negroni)

A soothing Negroni for la dolce vita

14 November 2015 9:00 am

The first draft of the famous story was called ‘A Martini as Big as the Ritz’. That’s not true, but…