John Lennon ‘adapted’ by Felix Dennis, 1966

Would even Blair have put Felix Dennis in the Lords?

24 October 2015 9:00 am

This is not only an authorised but a commissioned biography. Felix Dennis, the tiny, depraved, manipulative media mogul, was hardly…

The Beatles arrive back to London after their Australian tour, 1964.  (Photo: Getty)

John Lennon’s desert island luxury

24 October 2015 9:00 am

Beatlebone is an account of a journey, a psychedelic odyssey, its protagonist — at times its narrator — John Lennon,…


From Spike Milligan — and Marge Simpson — with love, light, peace and great respect

24 October 2015 9:00 am

This book is a serious bit of kit. Its hard covers measure 28.9 by 21 centimetres, and it weighs 1.62…

A depiction of the martyred Edmund Campion

When English Catholics were considered as dangerous as jihadis

24 October 2015 9:00 am

Martyrdom, these days, does not get a good press. Fifty years ago English Catholics could take a ghoulish pride in…

The Grand Hotel after the bombing (Photo: Getty)

Behind the scenes at the Brighton bombing

24 October 2015 9:00 am

Sadly, I can’t see it catching on, but one of the notable things about Jonathan Lee’s new novel is that…

Avocado pear, photographed by the legendary Tony Evans

Green is the colour of happiness

17 October 2015 8:00 am

According to this wonderfully thought-provoking book, human attachment to plants was much more evident in the 19th century than it…

What motivates heroes? (Photo: Getty)

The kindness of strangers is a pleasing mystery

17 October 2015 8:00 am

When I applied to medical school, an experienced doctor offered me some advice: ‘Don’t give them reason to think you’re…

The meeting of Thatcher and Gorbachev in 1984 initiated the process that brought freedom to millions in Eastern Europe

Margaret Thatcher’s most surprising virtue: imagination

17 October 2015 8:00 am

Margaret Thatcher’s second administration saw bitter divisions at home, but abroad the breakthrough in Anglo-Soviet relations really did change history, says Philip Hensher


The best thing about Harry G. Frankfurt’s On Inequality is the paper

17 October 2015 8:00 am

Ten years ago, a philosophy professor at Princeton wrote a book with a provocative, slightly indecent title. It was a…

Author Ruth Rendell (Photo: Getty)

Curtain call for Ruth Rendell

17 October 2015 8:00 am

Ruth Rendell’s final novel, Dark Corners, is about how psychological necessity can drive perfectly ordinary people either to terrible deeds…

(Photo: Getty)

The greatest surprise about Nigeria at 100 is that it exists at all

17 October 2015 8:00 am

A giant was born in 1914, an African giant. The same year European powers set about each other in the…

Detail of the bridge of the kora, a harp made from calabash and cow hide, with strings aligned in a perpendicular plane

The polyphonous Babel of global music

17 October 2015 8:00 am

‘Following custom, when the Siamese conquered the Khmer they carried off much of the population, including most of their musicians,…

A Roman gladiator fighting a tiger

Mary Beard minds her S, P, Q and R

17 October 2015 8:00 am

Having rattled and routed Mark Antony and his bewitching Egyptian at the battle of Actium in 31 BC, Octavian was…

New York blackout, 1977 (Photo: Getty)

Is City on Fire just a box set masquerading as a novel?

17 October 2015 8:00 am

Ninety pages into the juggernaut that is City on Fire, I begin to think that this is really a box…

1972: Park Hill Estate, Sheffield. Photo: Fox Photos/Getty Images

A crushing case for brutalism — with the people left out

10 October 2015 9:00 am

Elain Harwood’s flawed but impressive study of modernist architecture manages perfectly to reflect its subject, says David Kynaston

John Buchan, 1935 (Photo: Getty)

The many lives of John Buchan

10 October 2015 9:00 am

Ursula Buchan casts further light on her grandfather’s famous novel

The Winter Palace, St Petersburg, 1840, by Ferdinand Victor Perrot (Pushkin Museum)

The man who knows all the Hermitage's secrets - and he's keeping them

10 October 2015 9:00 am

The front cover of this book describes the Hermitage as ‘the Greatest Museum in the World’. That sobriquet must go…

beauty girl cry

Proof that the British hardly ever had a stiff upper lip

10 October 2015 9:00 am

The last time I cried was September 1989. That was my first week at public school. The reason I cried…

German troops marching along the Champs Elysees (Photo: Getty)

Allan Massie’s Bordeaux Quartet: truer to Occupied France than any history

10 October 2015 9:00 am

In a recent book review, the historian Norman Stone wrote: ‘Maybe the second world war can now be left to…

W.G. Grace, by W.T. Wilson, 1887: Grace is beginning to show signs of the gluttony that marked his late career

Sport’s first celebrity: W.G. Grace

10 October 2015 9:00 am

Should you wish to have a good copy of the 1916 edition of Wisden, cricket’s annual bible, you should be…

The scene in Hitchcock's film in which Pamela (Madeleine Carroll) removes her stocking while handcuffed to Hannay (Robert Donat) gives off an erotic spark to this day

Retracing The Thirty-Nine Steps in Buchan’s beloved Borders

10 October 2015 9:00 am

To celebrate the centenary of the publication of The Thirty-Nine Steps William Cook travelled to Tweeddale, where John Buchan spent his youthful summers

A life at sea

The most gripping sea-catastrophe writing I have read outside Conrad

10 October 2015 9:00 am

When the novelist David Vann was 13, his father — a difficult, unhappy dreamer in his thirties, constantly in dread,…

Frederick strolls with Voltaire through the palace of Sans-Souci

Atheist and gay, Frederick the Great was more radical than most leaders today

3 October 2015 9:00 am

Reacquaintance with Germany is long overdue for most English people. Before 1914 it was at least as familiar as France…


Superforecasting could spark a revolution in politics

3 October 2015 9:00 am

Forecasts have been fundamental to mankind’s journey from a small tribe on the African savannah to a species that can…

Marcus Tullius Cicero: our guide to ‘the most tumultuous era in human history’

How the world's first great republic slipped into empire and one-man rule

3 October 2015 9:00 am

Marcus Tullius Cicero was the ancient master of the ‘save’ key. He composed more letters, speeches and philosophy books than…