Cols and Passes of the British Isles
Andrew Strauss is a serious man and Driving Ambition (Hodder, £20, Spectator Bookshop, £18) is a serious book. It looks…
It so happened that in 1961 I was part of a little group — three of us — which welcomed…
Sam Leith has been enjoying two very different histories of England
A highbrow vision of our country
In the late 1960s I grew up in the London borough of Greenwich, which in those days had a shabby, post-industrial edge.
Governments in early modern England, having no standing army nor a civil service to speak of, required the consent of the governed.
Benjamin Franklin had this ambition for his body: that after his death it should be reissued ‘in a new and more beautiful edition, corrected and amended by the author’.
The book is interesting because it has insights and novelty, not least in taking a period and a culture regarded by many as second best compared with what was happening elsewhere at the time, and shows it to have been enlightened, intelligent and full of beauty.
In the past half century, much ingenuity and humdrum effort has gone into redefining Australia as a nation.
Charlotte Moore’s family have lived at Hancox on the Sussex Weald for well over a century.
The last words of Hungarian-born portraitist Philip de László, spoken to his nurse, were apparently, ‘It is a pity, because there is so much still to do.’ As Duff Hart-Davis’s biography amply demonstrates, for de László, art — which he regarded as ‘work’ as much as an aesthetic vocation — was both the purpose and the substance of his life.
Knole is a country house the size of a small village in the Kent countryside.
Ever since Edward II’s deposition and grisly murder in the dungeons of Berkeley Castle in 1327, his reign has always been regarded as a particularly embarrassing interlude in English history.
Jim, Crace’s latest novel, All That Follows, marks a deliberate change from past form.
Mary Kenny’s survey of Ireland’s relations with the British monarchy is characteristically breezy, racy and insightful, with a salty strain of anecdote.
This handsome and encouraging book is perhaps unfortunate in its title.
‘The Axis powers and France,’ declared Marshall Pétain and Hitler at Montoire in October 1940, ‘have a common interest in the defeat of England as soon as possible.’ Why this should have been so is one of the many interesting questions to which this book offers no satisfactory answer.
Ask Alice, by D. J. Taylor
The English Civil Wars, 1640-1660, by Blair Worden