Books

Jennifer Jones in her first starring role as Bernadette Soubirous

Moguls and other Hollywood monsters

6 February 2016 9:00 am

This collection of Hollywood tittle-tattle is moderately interesting, unpleasantly salacious and largely unsourced, says Philip Hensher

Litvinoff spent time with wealthy ex-public-school boys in Chelsea and gangsters in Soho, including Ronnie Kray (Photo: Getty)

David Litvinoff: queeny aesthete or street-hustling procurer?

6 February 2016 9:00 am

Even David Litvinoff’s surname was a concoction. It was really Levy. Wanting something ‘more romantic’, he appropriated that of his…

‘The Evening’ by Caspar David Friedrich

At the going down of the sun

6 February 2016 9:00 am

One of the epigraphs to Peter Davidson’s nocturne on Europe’s arts of twilight is from Hegel: ‘The owl of Minerva…

Catullus

Catullus, Clodia and the pangs of despised love

6 February 2016 9:00 am

Reading Daisy Dunn’s ambitious first book, a biography of the salty (in more ways than one) Roman poet Catullus, it…

The dark side of London (Photo: Getty)

Ben Judah feels like a stranger in his native London

6 February 2016 9:00 am

‘I was born in London,’ Ben Judah tells us early in this vivid portrait of Britain’s capital, ‘but I no…

Pyramid texts at Saqqara

The writing on the wall at Saqqara is plain to see

6 February 2016 9:00 am

Available from the Spectator Bookshop, £20.00. Tel: 08430 600033

The Duke of Cumberland takes centre stage at Culloden

Culloden: the bloody end of the Jacobite dream

6 February 2016 9:00 am

What a wretched lot the Stuarts were, the later ones especially, the males at least. James II fled England without…

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A deadly role reversal

6 February 2016 9:00 am

Who would you trust to take a blade to your brain? Medical schools and hospitals, arbiters of this outrageous intimacy,…

The Festival of Britain, 1951 (Photo: Getty)

The great austerity con

6 February 2016 9:00 am

Not so long ago I stumbled into a little pop-up in Hoxton: a delightful tearoom hardly bigger than a walk-in…

Raoul Moat (Photo: Getty)

Inside the mind of a murderer

6 February 2016 9:00 am

For one week in July 2010, the aspiring spree killer Raoul Moat was the only news. ‘Aspiring’ because he didn’t…

Humboldt talks to one of the indigenous people in Turbaco (today’s Columbia) en route to Bogotá.

Alexander Humboldt: a great explorer rediscovered

6 February 2016 9:00 am

The Prussian naturalist Alexander von Humboldt was once the most famous man in Europe bar Napoleon. And if you judge…

Big Ben at night

If you read one spy novel this year, read Real Tigers

6 February 2016 9:00 am

Most spy novels have a comfortable air of familiarity. We readers can take moles in our stride. We have grown…

The SS deport Jews from the Warsaw ghetto

David Cesarani's final, fascinating, wrong-headed book

6 February 2016 9:00 am

David Cesarani, Research Professor of History at Royal Holloway University of London, died at the age of 58 on 25…

Grotesque holy man, Tsar Alexei

The ruthless Romanovs’ horrible history

30 January 2016 9:00 am

It’s hard to tell at times who came off worst in Romanov Russia — the tsar or his subjects, says Adam Zamoyski

Red sky of warning: Elephants and Cape buffaloes cross the Luangwa River

The Luangwa is far from being a happy valley

30 January 2016 9:00 am

Simon Barnes opens with a presumably true idea, that we are all in search of our own versions of paradise…

A local leader of the Mara gang (photo: Getty)

The new mafias that rule the world

30 January 2016 9:00 am

You may not have heard of the Maras. Or Barrio 18. Or the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, or the Zatas,…

Egypt on its knees: Friday prayers in Tahrir Square

For Egypt, a bitter winter has followed the Arab spring

30 January 2016 9:00 am

Jack Shenker is a throwback to an older, more romantic age when foreign correspondents were angry, partisan and half-crazed with…

Author Howard Jacobson

Howard Jacobson's Shylock is full of mercy and compassion

30 January 2016 9:00 am

Howard Jacobson’s novelistic riff on The Merchant of Venice for the Hogarth Shakespeare project turns, unsurprisingly, on what makes some…

Christopher Hitchens (Photo: Getty)

Cultured — and combative — criticism from America

30 January 2016 9:00 am

Four years after his death, it is still faintly surprising to recall that Christopher Hitchens is no longer resident on…

Clarke

How to avoid being taken for a ride

30 January 2016 9:00 am

This book, the blurb warns us, was written by ‘an established voice in popular psychology, with a regular column on…

Freediving

The dreadful (and unnatural) toll of freediving

30 January 2016 9:00 am

In principle, freediving is simple and perilous: divers take one breath, then dive as deep as they can, with no…

Getty images

Carly Simon: funniest, most sexually blunt star of her generation

30 January 2016 9:00 am

I usually dread the final 15 minutes of a celebrity interview: the awkward section during which the writer must steer…

Noon

Liars, stalkers and snipers populate in the latest crime novels

30 January 2016 9:00 am

We fully expect con artists to be caught in a sting themselves, but even with that thought constantly in mind…

The Emperor Maximilian I by Bernhard Strigel

The Holy Roman Empire has been much maligned

23 January 2016 9:00 am

The Holy Roman Empire has been much maligned over the centuries. In fact it worked remarkably well, says Jonathan Steinberg

Edinburgh International Book Festival

The tortured genius of Shostakovich

23 January 2016 9:00 am

When I look at the black-and-white photograph of Julian Barnes on the flap of his latest book, the voice of…