Jonathan Mirsky

Members of the Red Guards carry portraits of Mao Tse Tung as they parade through the streets of Beijing (Photo: Getty)

Chairman Mao devours his foes

30 April 2016 9:00 am

Frank Dikötter, professor of humanities at the University of Hong Kong and winner of the Samuel Johnson prize in 2011,…

A soldiers best friend (Photo: Getty)

The beloved, mistreated and traumatised dogs of war

26 September 2015 8:00 am

If you love dogs and or live with one — I declare an interest on both counts — there is…

A paramilitary guard stands on Tiananmen Square before a portrait of chairman Mao Zedong (Photo: Getty)

Chairman Mao: monster of misrule

22 August 2015 9:00 am

Mao Zedong, once the Helmsman, Great Teacher and Red Red Sun in Our Hearts, and still the Chairman, died in…

Gyalo Thondup (right) pictured with the Dalai Lama on their arrival in India in 1959

From diplomacy to disillusion with the Dalai Lama’s big brother

18 April 2015 9:00 am

Can there ever have been another book in which one of the authors (Anne Thurston in this case) so effectively…

Deng Xiaoping Photo: Getty

Deng Xiaoping: following in Mao’s footsteps

6 December 2014 9:00 am

Much has been written about Deng Xiao-ping (1904–1997), most recently by Ezra Vogel in Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of…

Sit In Protest Continues In Hong Kong Despite Chief Executive's Calls To Withdraw

Am I wrong to fear another Tiananmen?

4 October 2014 9:00 am

Looking at these protests, I fear another Tiananmen

The lone demonstrator who stood down a column of tanks in Tiananmen Square on 5 June 1989 was dubbed ‘Tank Man’ or the ‘Unknown Rebel’. Though the image achieved worldwide fame, neither the man’s name nor his fate has ever come to light

Talking to the ghosts of Tiananmen Square

31 May 2014 9:00 am

Twenty-five years ago, Rowena Xiaoqing He, then a schoolgirl, was participating in the Tiananmen-supporting demonstrations in Canton. Far from the…

Greta Garbo (Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Bill Bryson's 'long extraordinary' summer is too long

9 November 2013 9:00 am

Hands up Spectator readers who can remember the American celebrities Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, Al Capone, Jack Dempsey, Zane Grey,…

Jonathan Mirsky and his whippet, Iris, with the Dalai Lama

Is your dog enjoying more than physical exercise when you walk him?

19 October 2013 9:00 am

Skip this book if you dislike dogs, or even if you are indifferent to them, or echo an acquaintance of…

Against Their Will, by Allen M. Hornblum - review

6 July 2013 9:00 am

After the Morecambe Bay Hospital scandal a new era opens of compassion, -whistle-blowing, naming names and possible prosecutions. But what…

Chinese refugees stream through the wrecked streets of Chungking after heavy bombing by the Japanese in 1937

China’s War with Japan, by Rana Mitter - review

22 June 2013 9:00 am

While the second world war raged in Europe, a separate conflict was devastating China, whose effects still linger to this day, says Jonathan Mirsky

The Dark Road, by Ma Jian - review

1 June 2013 9:00 am

If you are considering adopting — that is, buying — a Chinese baby girl, recycling a television or computer, or…

Joan Fontaine in Max Ophuls’s  1948 film version of Letter from an Unknown Woman

Letter from an Unknown Woman and Other Stories, by Stefan Zweig - review

23 March 2013 9:00 am

Do men or women of the world still exist? Well-educated, they are from families that value taste, manners and intellectual…

Going under

2 February 2013 9:00 am

As someone slightly older than Al Alvarez, and also a regular swimmer — although not in the ice-edged Hampstead Heath…

The plot thickens

8 December 2012 9:00 am

At last! At the age of 80, I have read my first digital book. According to Penguin, these brief ‘Specials’…

All in the telling

17 November 2012 9:00 am

I like Jewish jokes. I begin every conversation with the literary editor of The Spectator with one or two, do…

Apart from that, Mrs Lincoln, how was the play?

‘Ill luck was my faithful attendant’

6 October 2012 9:00 am

Here is the melancholy story of Mary Todd Lincoln, widow of President Abraham Lincoln, who was shot next to her…

Star-crossed lovers

11 August 2012 6:00 am

Having lived for 15 years in Japan, Lesley Downer has already written several highly informed books with Japanese themes. For…

‘Am I not God’s chosen?’

16 June 2012 6:00 am

Never write blurbs. That is my modest advice to Sir Harold Evans, who in his endorsement of Muckraker describes the…

Back to the Dreyfus Affair

26 May 2012 4:00 pm

Not bad, this life. Now 95, Bernard Lewis, is recognised everywhere as a leading historian of the Middle East.He is…

Pawns in the game

31 March 2012 10:00 am

The authors of this book have attempted a difficult thing: to ‘write about something that could never be known’. Here…


Fall from grace

28 January 2012 5:00 pm

Barack Obama is not up to the job. That is Ron Suskind’s oft-repeated contention. The President, he states, compromised with,…

Chaps v. Japs

14 January 2012 12:00 pm

Does anyone do derring-do anymore? Here’s the real thing. On Christmas Day 1941, despite Churchill’s call to fight to the…


Lifelong death wish

10 December 2011 10:00 am

In February 2009, in a review in these pages of Stefan Zweig’s unfinished novel, The Post Office Girl, I wrote:…