Is America headed for tyranny? It is when the other side's in charge...


A review of The Once and Future King: The Rise of Crown Government in America. The presidency's power is increasing ominously – although perhaps not quite as much as this book thinks

Portrait of Thomas Cromwell wearing ‘the George’, by Hans Holbein

Thomas Cromwell: more Tony Soprano than Richard Dawkins


A review of Thomas Cromwell: The Untold Story of Henry VIII's Most faithful Servant, by Tracy Borman. More conviction is needed from this otherwise engaging new biography


It's Henry James meets The Young Visiters, and someone needs to call social services


Man at the Helm, Nina Stibbe's first novel, is like What Maisie Knew, but with laughs and four-letter words

Coco Chanel, one of the ‘rackety celebrities’ of the 1920s, with Duke Laurino of Rome on the Lido

A Hello! magazine history of Venice


A review of Italian Venice: A History, by R.J.B. Bosworth. Informative but clichéd history of the past 200-years with guest appearances by Chanel, Coward and Diana

W.B. Yeats and T.S. Eliot Photo: Getty

Sorbet with Rimbaud


A review of Bloomsbury and the Poets, by Nicholas Murray. A delightful guide to the rich literary history of the London district

Peter and Ian Fleming as boys at Joyce Grove (Peter is on the left)

Was Ian Fleming as cool as his brother?

Secondary Feature

7 August 1964 4 Old Mitre Court, EC4 Darling Fifi, A thousand thanks for your sweet letter & for Heaven’s sake don’t think of bringing me back anything from Brazil, except perhaps a Diamond as big as the Ritz if… Read more

Santiago Carrillo Photo: Getty

Stalin's Spanish bezzie


A review of The Last Stalinist: The Life of Santiago Carillo, by Paul Preston. Carillo betrayed the Republican cause and was probably responsible for the worst atrocity committed by the Left during the Civil War

Charles Scott Moncrieff (left) had a deep personal affinity with Proust (right). His rendering of 'À La Recherche du Temps Perdu' is considered one of the greatest literary translations of all time

Soldier, poet, lover, spy: just the man to translate Proust

Books feature

Charles Kenneth Scott Moncrieff’s Englishing of Proust — widely and immediately agreed to be one of the greatest literary translations of all time — very nearly didn’t happen. Scott Moncrieff only suggested the project to his publisher after they rejected… Read more

‘While some observers were impressed, others felt the depiction of a doddery Churchill propped up on a walking stick unbecoming’

The lost Victorian who sculpted Churchill


A review of Abstraction and Reality: The Sculpture of Ivor Roberts-Jones, by Jonathan Black and Sara Ayres. This follower of Rodin has a solid legacy, though his most famous commission was 'a most unpleasant business'


The Zone of Interest is grubby, creepy – and Martin Amis's best for 25 years


He has done his subject justice. The final release for the reader is an almost physical relief

The ring-necked parakeet, one of the most successful birds to colonise London, still looks conspicuously out of place in Hyde Park in the snow

What's eating London's songbirds?


Andrew Self's The Birds of London is a thorough and entertaining history, but far too sympathetic to predators and bureaucrats

Chris Barber Photo: Redferns/Getty

Chris Barber should let someone meaner tell his story


Jazz Me Blues is a memoir of a remarkable life by a man far too nice to do it justice

Ruth Rendell cr Jerry Bauer

Fifty years of Inspector Wexford – and a new detective on the block


Ruth Rendell's The Girl Next Door is another quirky, satisfying mystery. But her fans have something else to celebrate

A Siberian exile prepares to shoot a black fox (c.1819)

Siberia beyond the Gulag Archipelago


A review of Siberia: A History of the People, by Janet M. Hartley. The region's past is harrowing, but its potential is staggering


Nation-builders on a sticky wicket: the farce and heroism of Pakistani cricket


A review of Wounded Tiger: A History of Cricket in Pakistan, by Peter Oborne. Not even civil war stops play

ACF Fiorentina v Hellas Verona FC - Serie A

The hooligan and the psychopath


Painting Death, the latest of Tim Parks's Maurice Duckworth novels, draws profitably on A Season with Verona


The case of the amnesiac autobiographer


In The Answer to the Riddle is Me, David Stuart MacLean rediscovers who he is – and doesn't entirely like what he finds


A toast to beer, from Plato to Frank Zappa


‘He was a wise man who invented beer,’ said Plato, although I imagine he had changed his mind by the following morning. Beer: A Global History (Reaktion, £9.99, Spectator Bookshop, £9.49) is the latest addition to ‘The Edible Series’, following… Read more

Ian Fleming on the beach near Goldeneye Photo: Getty

From Jamaica With Love: how the Caribbean made Bond

Books feature

Ian Fleming’s first visit to Jamaica was pure James Bond. In 1943, as assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence, he flew from Miami to Kingston to attend an Anglo-American naval conference and to investigate the rumour that Axel Wenner-Gren,… Read more

The dangerous allure of the unseen. Students of the occult are alarmed by their own success in conjuring up the dead

An invisibility cloak? You might just be able to see it on the horizon...


A review of Invisible: The Dangerous Lure of the Unseen, by Philip Ball. Scientists and occultists held hands in their quest for the invisible

Drawing of a goshawk by the leading wildlife artist Bruce Pearson. From A Sparrowhawk’s Lament: How British Breeding Birds of Prey are Faring, by David Cobham (Princeton University Press, £24.95, pp. 256, ISBN 9780691157641, Spectator Bookshop, £23.95)

Falling in love with birds of prey


A review of H is for Hawk, by Helen Macdonald. It’s when describing the murderous, sulky, fractious birds themselves that this story comes alive

Victorian Teatime

The Jane Austen of Brazil


A review of The Diary of ‘Helena Morley’, translated from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Bishop. A delightful, funny and revealing memoir of Brazilian teenage life in a 19th century mining town

‘Lady Sarah Bunbury Sacrificing to the Graces’ by Sir Joshua Reynolds

Reynolds produced some of the finest portraits of the 18th century – and a few of the silliest


A review of Reynolds: Portraiture in Action, by Mark Hallett, an investigation of the strate­gies by which the painter achieved unprecedented fame

Ismail Kadare Photo: Getty

Soviet greyness, literary mediocrity and hot dates


A review of Twilight of the Eastern Gods, by Ismail Kadare. Women rescue this Virgilian tour through Khruschev’s Russia

Laurie Taylor interviews Sir David Attenborough

Interviews with the great, the good, the less great and the really quite bad


A review of In Confidence: Talking Frankly About Fame, by Laurie Taylor. An artful distillation of over 60 long-form TV interviews, featuring everyone from Michael Frayn to Uri Geller