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

He who must be obeyed: portrait of the Kaiser by Ferdinand Keller, 1893

Kaiser Wilhelm's guide to ruining a country

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The role of personality in politics is the theme of this awe-inspiring biography. This is the third volume, 1,562 pages long, of John Röhl’s life of the Kaiser. It has been brilliantly translated — the labyrinth of imperial Germany navigated… Read more

The William A Clark Mansion on Fifth Avenue and recluse, Huguette Clark Photo: Getty / PA Images

The robber baron who 'bought judges as other men buy food’


A review of Empty Mansions, by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr, a materialistic, yet hypnotic bestseller about W.A. Clark, one of the most ruth­less accumulators of wealth in American history

Leading with the chin: Dusty Springfield in the mid 1960s

The mad, bad and sad life of Dusty Springfield


A review of Dusty: An Intimate Portrait, by Karen Bartlett. The sexually repressed and mentally unstable singer’s rise to stardom was as meteoric as her fall

Telluride Hot Air Balloon Festival in Colorado

Like Birdsong – only cheerful


A review of The Birdcage, by Clive Aslet. This Ripping Yarns version of British trench warfare makes for an entertaining – if not entirely serious - read

Russian communist party supporter carrie

The threat from Russia’s spies has only increased since the fall of Communism


A review of Britannia and the Bear, by Victor Madeira. This survey of interwar Soviet spying offers many lessons on how we deal with Putin’s Russia

Portrait of John Piper by Peggy Angus

Potato prints, paintings and the Soviet Union: the real Miss Jean Brodie


Peggy Angus: Designer, Teacher, Painter, by James Russell. Angus’s playful, naïve designs were rich and strange, as were her politics


Creepy, dizzying and dark: a choice of recent crime fiction


A review of four very readable new thrillers: Research by Philip Kerr, Remember Me This Way by Sabine Durrant, The Final Silence by Stuart Neville and Cobra by Deon Meyer.

Volvo China Open - Day Three

Banned – and booming: the strange world of Chinese golf


A review of The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream, by Dan Washburn. A book about money, power and whim that tells you everything you need to know about modern China